Majid Al Futtaim Fashions is understood to be in talks over the future of its Jane Norman stores in the Gulf, after the UK fashion chain collapsed into administration in June.
The UAE retailer is in discussions with Scotland’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which bought 33 Jane Norman shops out of administration, in a bid to reach an agreement over the chain, Arabian Business has learned.Staff sources at Jane Norman stores said it was likely the Middle East branches would be bought by another company and said they did not expect the chain to shut down.Jane Norman, whose fashion lines target 16-24 year olds, went into administration in June after failing to find a buyer for its business, and struggling with depressed high street sales and debts of about £140m.The company is one of several retailers, including TJ Hughes, Thorntons and interiors firm Habitat, to go bust in the first half of 2011, as UK consumer spending reached an all time low.
British department store Debenhams said last week it had axed nearly 400 jobs after closing down 95 Jane Norman concessions in its branches.The future of the remaining 28 standalone Jane Norman stores, which employ 250 people, remains subject to talks between Edinburgh Woollen Mill and administrators at restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper.
More than 50 people are employed across the firm’s seven Gulf stores, where the company has previously recorded healthy profits.In 2008, the company’s finance director Ian Findlay announced plans to open 30 more stores in the Middle East over a period of four years, noting that there was “profitable growth” to be had.In July, Majid Al Futtaim said it was “seeking clarity on the Jane Norman situation in the UK” in relation to its stores, but said they remained open for business in the interim.
From / Arabian Business News