Footwear retailer, Barratts Shoes, calls in administrators as latest UK retail casualty

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Administrators called in

Administrators called in

Philip Duffy and David Whitehouse from global financial advisory and investment banking firm, Duff & Phelps, were appointed joint administrators of footwear retailer Barratts Shoes on 8 November 2013.

The joint administrators are reviewing the company’s financial position whilst seeking a going concern sale of the business. At this stage redundancies and/or store closures cannot be ruled out, Duff & Phelps said.

Duffy said: “Difficult trading conditions in the sector led the directors to explore potential refinancing options and additional equity for the business. The company had recently received an offer from an investor to inject £5m into the company but that offer was withdrawn on the evening of the 7 November 2013. In view of the financial position of the company and withdrawal of that equity offer the directors were left with no choice but to appoint administrators.”

The company operates from 75 stores and 23 concessions across the UK and Ireland employing 1,035 (of which 521 are part time). Interested parties should contact Duff & Phelps directly.

Mark Collin, head of retail Europe at software company, ThoughtWorks, said: “It has been a gloomy end to the year for the high street, as Blockbusters and Barratts have filed for administration within days of each other.

“While some retail propositions will simply not make it because they are too entrenched in the past and have not moved fast enough to align their brand or propositions with changing customer behaviour, others will succeed and take their place.

“The big winners – such as John Lewis, Next and Dixons – have not only focused on the customer experience and fine tuning how they interact, but have profited from the demise of Blockbusters and Barratts, who have been slow to respond.

“So how do big retailers respond? Some of the answers lie in a change of mindset and approach. These can be characterised as ‘lean start up’ principles. If l look at the retailers who are responding well, I see organisations willing to reach out to their customers, asking them what they prefer and what makes a good customer experience.”