1,600 jobs lost after Barratts fails to find buyer

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AROUND 1,600 jobs are to go at troubled shoe chain Barratts Priceless after attempts to find a buyer for the concessions business failed, administrators said yesterday.

The announcement came on the same day that Hawkin’s Bazaar became the latest victim of the squeeze in consumer spending when it collapsed into administration, putting nearly 400 jobs at risk.

The job losses at Barratts Priceless are at its concessions within other stores, mainly in Dorothy Perkins and Outfit shops, in the UK and Ireland.

It comes just a week after it was announced nearly 200 jobs were being lost with the closure of 18 stores. However, administrators Deloitte said the 173 stand-alone stores are unaffected by yesterday’s announcement as attempts to seek a buyer continue.

The administrators said failure to find a buyer for the concessions “will unfortunately result in redundancies of Barratts Priceless staff across units in the UK and the Republic of Ireland”.

Daniel Butters, joint administrator and partner in Deloitte’s restructuring services practice, said: “Following a marketing of the Barratts Priceless businesses it is clear that a satisfactory sale of the concession to a new party will not be achieved.

“Accordingly, the joint administrators have regretfully had to make approximately 1,610 Barratts Priceless Group full and part- time employees working in the various concessions redundant.”

The joint administrators are in conversation with the various concessionaires to see how many of the affected people they could either employ or absorb into their existing businesses. They are also in active discussions to rescue a significant part of the remaining business, they added.

It was announced last Wednesday that 18 stores, including one at Crossgates, in east Leeds, would shut. Five Barratts and 13 Priceless stores closed last Friday, with the loss of 127 jobs, and a further 60 staff members at the head office in Bradford were losing their jobs.

The shoe chain collapsed into administration earlier this month.

Meanwhile, administrators for Hawkin’s Bazaar, which has 65 UK stores employing 380 people, said they would be working to try and protect jobs as they seek to sell all or part of the business.

Hawkin’s was set up in 1973 and sells unusual toys, gifts, games, gadgets and curiosities and has six stores in the region, including Sheffield, Hull and York.

Shoppers who have gift vouchers for Hawkin’s Bazaar will still be able to use them in stores.