Fashion chain Bonmarche has collapsed into administration for the second time in just over a year, putting more than 1,500 jobs at risk.
Bonmarche’s announcement is the latest in a dire week for UK high streets that has seen Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia call in the administrators and Debenhams enter liquidation.
The news came as non-essential retailers across England reopened their doors on Wednesday after a four-week lockdown.
Retail tycoon Philip Day completed a takeover of Bonmarche early this year after an administration process in October 2019 but he has failed to revive the company’s fortunes.
Mr Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and Ponden Home went into administration last month, shortly followed by two other companies in his retail empire, Peacocks and Jaeger.
The pandemic has affected fashion sales particularly badly as people have stayed home and cancelled holidays and weddings while high street stores and shopping centres have been closed.
Yorkshire-based Bonmarche, which focuses on lower-priced clothing for the over-50s, has faced a tougher outlook than its rivals.
Damian Webb, of RSM Restructuring Advisory, has been appointed as joint administrator. He said: “Bonmarche remains an attractive brand with a loyal customer base.
“It is our intention to continue to trade whilst working closely with management to explore the options for the business.
“We will shortly be marketing the business for sale, and based on the interest to date we anticipate there will be a number of interested parties.”
Bonmarche issued a series of profit warnings in 2018 and 2019 after being hit by rising costs from the minimum wage and business rates as well as a shift to online shopping.
The company had been rescued in 2012 by private equity firm Sun European Partners which floated it on the stock exchange the following year.