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Fashion retailer Coast goes into administration with Karen Millen set to save Kent stores

By Chris Britcher

Another fashion retailer has gone into administration - with hundreds of jobs put at risk.

Coast, which has outlets in Bluewater and Fremlin Walk in Maidstone, is expected to close dozens of shops despite some stores being taken over by Karen Millen.

It says it is likely to keep its concessionary outlets open - which means the Maidstone branch is likely to survive as it sits within another troubled retailer, House of Fraser.

The future of the Coast store in Bluewater is bleak
The future of the Coast store in Bluewater is bleak

The future of the stand-alone Bluewater store, however, remains unclear.

Nationwide, the deal is expected to protect some 600 jobs.

PwC was appointed administrators of Coast.

Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director, said: “The businesses had been facing financial difficulties due to structural challenges in the retail space and specifically the concession partner market, as well as a softening of demand for occasion wear.

Coast concession in House of Fraser in Maidstone is likely to survive
Coast concession in House of Fraser in Maidstone is likely to survive

“This sale puts the ongoing business on a firmer financial footing. Karen Millen will be working with the existing management team to continue to grow and develop the new business.

“Regrettably, other parts of the business including 24 retail stores were not included in the transaction.

"We will make every effort to help those employees in parts of the business that were not included in the sale and will support those affected at this difficult time by liaising with the Redundancy Payments Service and Job Centre Plus.”

Karen Millen was created by the Maidstone-born designer, which gave the brand her name, and sold by her in 2004 for £95m.

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