LONDON — In a further indication of the tough retail climate in Britain, Woolworths, the 819-door, 99-year-old U.K. retail chain that sells everything from children’s clothing to household goods, last week filed for administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11.
Deloitte said it had been appointed administrator to Woolworths plc, the company’s retail division, and Entertainment U.K. Ltd., the wholesale division of Woolworths Group plc, which distributes entertainment products.
Woolworths split from its original American parent company, F.W. Woolworth and Co. Ltd., in 1982.
“Woolworths has suffered a number of cash flow problems,” said Neville Kahn, reorganization services partner at Deloitte. “Strenuous efforts over recent weeks to keep these companies going have unfortunately failed and the businesses are now looking to be rescued under the administration process.”
Deloitte said the stores will remain open past Christmas, and that the 25,000 staff employed by the companies would all be paid this week. The Icelandic investment company Baugur holds a 12 percent stake in Woolworths through the investment vehicle Unity.
“In the last 24 hours we have received expressions of interest from a number of parties for both the retail and wholesale businesses,” said Dan Butters at Deloitte. “We are working hard to ensure that any sale of the business, in whole or part, will preserve jobs.”
Woolworths Group plc’s DVD business, 2 Entertain, has not been placed in administration and BBC Worldwide has made a bid to acquire that arm of the business.
Woolworths was spun off from the fast growing Kingfisher group in 2001 and struggled to carve out a niche in the increasingly competitive U.K. retail scene. The chain was the second to go into administration last Friday; U.K. furniture retailer MFI also did so.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast