Coast website bought by Karen Millen

The website and brand of High Street fashion store Coast was bought by rival retailer Karen Millen last night after the chain collapsed into administration.

Last night administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers said the sale of the chain to Karen Millen would save around 600 jobs, but 300 roles are understood to be at risk.

The collapse means all 24 of Coast’s standalone stores are to close.

The administration deal will see Coast’s premium occasion wear sold across Karen Millen’s websites and in store concessions around the UK and Ireland.

Parent company Aurora, which also owns Oasis and Warehouse, has been trying to find a buyer for the business in recent months after it suffered losses linked to House of Fraser’s collapse into administration.

Coast staff were informed yesterday evening of the decision.

Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director, said: “The businesses had been facing financial difficulties due to structural challenges in the retail space and specifically the concession partner market, as well as a softening of demand for occasion wear.”

He explained the sale of the business will put it on a firmer financial footing, adding that Karen Millen will work with Coast’s existing management team to continue to grow and develop the new business.

He concluded: “Regrettably, other parts of the business including 24 retail stores were not included in the transaction. We will make every effort to help those employees in parts of the business that were not included in the sale and will support those affected at this difficult time by liaising with the Redundancy Payments Service and Job Centre Plus.”

The collapse comes on the heels of a torrid year for the UK High Street, with major retailers including Marks and Spencer and Debenhams announcing store closures while rival House of Fraser fell into administration before being purchased by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley for £90 million.

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