LONDON — Ernst & Young has been appointed administrator of Leeds, U.K.-based fashion retailer Republic, which operates 121 stores across the UK and employs around 2500 people.
TPG Capital, formerly known as Texas Pacific Group, which owns the brand has twice had to inject more cash to keep the chain afloat since it acquired it in 2010.
“Republic suffered poor trading results in the autumn, and whilst sales picked up in December there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January,” said joint administrator Hunter Kelly in a statement. “The impact on cash flows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 150 employees at the head office in Leeds redundant. We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern.”
Republic’s profits crashed by 86 percent to 3.7 million pounds, or $5.7 million at current exchange, in the year to January 2012 (the latest year available at Companies House) and Andy Bond, the former chief executive of Asda, quit as Republic’s chairman last week as KPMG was brought in to help offload some of its stores.
Change Capital Partners LLP, the London-based private equity firm, sold the multi-brand denim and sportswear retailer to TPG in June 2010 for an estimated 300 million pounds, or about $469 million at current exchange. Change, which is run by former Marks & Spencer executives Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes, more than quadrupled its money by selling the chain to TPG.
The business began as a men’s denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds. It currently offers casual fashion, under multiple brands to young adults, including G-Star, Diesel and Firetrap.