British menswear chain Austin Reed is set to file for administration on Tuesday (26 April), threatening approximately 1,000 jobs across the company.
The news is another devastating blow for the British high street scene, as it comes just 24 hours after fellow embattled retailer BHS admitted it had lost the battle to stay afloat and entered administration, putting 11,000 jobs at risk.
Austin Reed, which was founded 115 years ago, is understood to be set to officially appoint Alix Partners as its administrators at 11am, after revealing on Friday (22 April) that it was considering such a move.
In February this year the tailor, which sold its flagship Regent Street store in 2011, came to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors which allowed it to dispose of a number of loss-making stores. That, however, seemed to have been a case of too little too late now. The company shut 31 shops over the last 12 months after seeing its annual losses in the year to 31 January 2015 widen from £1.2m (€1.5m, $1.7m) to £5.4m.
Revenues fell to £100.5m from £109.1m as the group has fallen behind to rivals such as TM Lewin, Moss Bros and high-street powerhouse Marks & Spencer.
According to sources cited by Sky News, Better Capital, the private equity firm headed by veteran investor Jon Moulton, was among the parties likely to be sounded out about a rescue of Austin Reed in the coming days.
Meanwhile, former BHS boss Sir Philip Green faces severe scrutiny for selling the already struggling retailer to a group of relatively unknown retailers for just £1 last year and after it emerged that the current owner Retail Acquisitions (RA) apparently received £25m worth of payments since it took over BHS in 2015.
Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle accused the Arcadia tycoon of taking out £422m in dividends which was "far more in value than he paid for the business in the first place". Green has offered £80m to help the BHS's pension deficit, but the Pensions Regulator wants him to pay more.