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Seven UK Retailers Went Bankrupt In 2024

Ted Baker storefront

The retail landscape in the UK has seen significant turbulence in the early months of 2024, with several well-known brands facing financial difficulties. 

Ted Baker and Muji recently entered administration, highlighting the ongoing challenges within the sector.

Ted Baker

Ted Baker's UK operator, No Ordinary Designer Label (NODL), appointed administrators last month, which resulted in the closure of 11 stores and the layoff of 245 employees

This decision came after Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which licenses the brand in the UK and Europe, terminated its relationship with AARC, the Dutch firm previously managing Ted Baker's UK operations. 

ABG cited accumulated arrears and operational failures during AARC's management as key reasons for the breakup.

Muji

Japanese lifestyle retailer Muji also filed for administration at the end of March, with plans for a pre-pack deal to keep its European operations afloat. 

Despite the restructuring, Muji's management has assured that its stores in the UK, including six in London and one in Birmingham, will continue operating as usual.

MatchesFashion

In another major retail collapse, luxury fashion retailer MatcchesFashion entered administration in March.

It was just two months after being acquired by Frasers Group in a £52 million deal

The company struggled to meet its business targets and saw 273 job cuts across various departments.

Base Childrenswear and Kids Cavern

Frasers Group also placed Kids Cavern and Base Childrenswear into administration. 

These children's clothing retailers, acquired from JD Sports, had seen significant restructuring under Frasers, with several stores rebranded as Flannels Junior. 

The administration has put approximately 50 employees at risk of redundancy.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop was another notable casualty, with its owner Aurelius seeking administrators in February following its acquisition from Brazilian group Natura & Co. 

The move led to the closure of over 75 stores and a significant reduction in head office staff. 

A company voluntary arrangement (CVA) is currently being considered to reduce rents and keep the business viable.

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Farfetch

Luxury e-commerce platform Farfetch faced its own crisis, being sold to South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang in a pre-pack deal facilitated by a substantial bridge loan. 

The transition has resulted in significant job cuts, with 25 to 30 percent of its workforce laid off as part of a broader streamlining effort under the new ownership.

LloydsPharmacy

Finally, LloydsPharmacy entered liquidation in January, marking the end of its divestment process under private equity firm Aurelius. 

The pharmacy chain had been scaling back its operations, closing all of its branches within Sainsbury’s supermarkets and impacting approximately 2,000 jobs.

These developments paint a stark picture of the retail sector's current state as companies navigate financial hardships exacerbated by operational challenges and changing consumer behaviors. 

Continuing these trends could significantly reshape the UK retail landscape in the coming years.

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