Historic fashion chain Jaeger falls into administration

Tue, 11 Apr 2017

Historic fashion chain Jaeger, which has counted models, royalty and Arctic explorers among its fans, has collapsed into administration with 680 jobs at risk.

Its owner, private equity house Better Capital, called in AlixPartners after struggling to find a buyer for the company, established in 1884, at a suggested price of £30 million.

Jaeger’s clothes have been worn by, among others, explorer Ernest Shackleton, models Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy and Kate Moss and the Duchess of Cambridge.

The brand’s clothes have also appeared in feature films, with Kristin Scott Thomas wearing
Jaeger in The English Patient and Judi Dench wearing the brand as ‘M’ in the James Bond film GoldenEye.

But like other retailers, the company has struggled of late, with falling customer numbers and sales and intense competition on the high street.

The brand employs 680 people across 46 shops, 63 concessions, a head office in London and a warehouse in King’s Lynn.

AlixPartners said Jaeger would continue trading. “Our focus now is in identifying an appropriate route forward and work with all stakeholders to do this. We will ensure that we communicate further as this process unfolds,” the firm said in a statement.

Better Capital bought Jaeger for £19.5 million in 2012 and, according to the Financial Times, recently sold its debt in the company to an unknown buyer.

The administration means whoever bought the debt will decide the company’s fate.

Last year Jaeger said its annual sales fell four per cent to £78 million with a pre-tax loss of £17 million.

Commenting on the administration, Glen Tooke of analysts Kantar Worldpanel, said Jaeger had “struggled for years” to understand its core clientele.

“London Fashion Week collections and more fashion-forward designs may appeal to younger shoppers but, with 45- to 54-year-olds accounting for a fifth of spend, Jaeger’s tendency to overlook them has critically damaged its brand.”

Tooke said the firm’s reliance on discounting had also been a problem.

“This constant stream of sales and offers has discouraged shoppers from paying full price and has lessened their trust in the quality of the Jaeger product – one of its fundamental selling points,” he said.

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