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Jack Wills, with stores in Tunbridge Wells, Ashford, Canterbury and Bluewater, seeks new buyer

Another major fashion retailer on the high street has admitted it is looking at a potential new buyer after struggling with declining sales.

Jack Wills, which has stores in Tunbridge Wells, Ashford, Canterbury and Bluewater, has appointed business advisors KPMG to examine all possible options for the company to allow it to survive.

According to industry reports, the firm has struggled with a double whammy of pressure from its bank, HSBC, and a decision by its owner Bluegem Capital Partners to not invest further funds.

The future of Jack Wills remains uncertain
The future of Jack Wills remains uncertain

In a statement, Jack Wills said KPMG would "carry out a review of the business and explore future opportunities".

It added: "In the meantime, management remains focused on its strategy of new product development, improving margins and driving cost efficiencies, which is already reaping benefits.”

In its latest financial figures up to the end of January 2018, it saw an operating loss of £14.2million - a year before it had delivered a £2.2m profit.

Jack Wills is just the latest retailer to run into difficulties on the high street
Jack Wills is just the latest retailer to run into difficulties on the high street

It's struggles come hot on the heels of problems at another high-end fashion outlet, LK Bennett, which went into administration in March before a rescue deal saved it in April - but not before 15 stores were forced to close.

Jack Wills was founded by Peter Williams and Robert Shaw in 1999 - the name coming from one of the co-founders' grandparents.

Today it is owned jointly by Williams and private equity company BlueGem Capital Partners.

"Management remains focused on its strategy of new product development, improving margins and driving cost efficiencies."

Designed as a premium brand, it was made to "bottle what being at a British university was all about".

Like most students, it seems it too found itself struggling with its finances.

KPMG and BlueGem did not comment when contacted by KentOnline.

Read more: For the latest business news for Kent

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