Arabian firm steps in after La Senza collapses

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LINGERIE chain La Senza has collapsed into administration triggering 1,300 redundancies and the closure of more than 100 outlets.

Administrator KPMG said it had closed 84 stores and 18 concessions, resulting in more than half of the workforce losing their jobs.

However 1,100 jobs were saved when 60 of its stores were bought by an Arabian retail group Alshaya, which owns stakes in a number of UK retailers including Next, Debenhams and Mothercare.

It bought the stores in a controversial “pre-pack” administration deal that allows the assets of companies to be snapped up while its debts are written off.

Almost 100 jobs in Yorkshire have been saved with the sale of stores in Hull, Leeds, Meadowhall, the White Rose Centre and York.

However 36 jobs have been lost with the closure of stores in Castleford, Harrogate and Wakefield.

It was also announced yesterday that sportswear firm JD Sports Fashion has bought all of Blacks Leisure’s 290 stores out of administration for £20m.

It bought the stores, which trade under the Blacks and Millets names, and the bulk of the rest of the business immediately after Blacks Leisure was put into administration.

JD Sports, whose largest shareholder is Berghaus owner Pentland Capital, has beaten Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones, rival Sports Direct, which is owned by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, and outdoor retailer Trespass to land the stores.

Blacks appointed KPMG as administrator earlier as it admitted it has failed to find an outright buyer after putting itself up for sale following dire trading.

The chain employed some 3,500 staff who it is understood will keep their jobs at least for the time being but redundancies are thought to be inevitable.

Its new owner said it will evaluate the performance of each store before it decides how many to close. The likely fate of Blacks’ Northampton-based head office and warehouse was unclear last night.

JD executive chairman Peter Cowgill said he hopes to restore Blacks to its profitable, market-leading position as it improves its offer, closes loss-making stores and makes cost savings.