LONDON — Yet another British heritage label is collapsing: The premium tailored clothing brand Jaeger.
Jaeger, which has been struggling to update its image and keep up with international fast-fashion competitors, has filed its intent to appoint administrators.
The consulting firm Alix Partners has confirmed that it will be named an administrator to Jaeger if a solution for the business is not found within the 10-day period of protection from creditors.
“The business now has a 10-day period of protection in which to identify the best possible route forward. If a solution cannot be found at the end of that period then it is likely our appointment will take effect,” said a spokesperson at Alix Partners.
According to the latest Companies House filings, the official registry of U.K. businesses, Jaeger’s sales fell by 5.8 million or $7.2 million in the year ending Feb., 2016 to 78.4 million pounds or $97.8 million.
The news comes after the company’s owner, the private equity firm Private Capital, sold Jaeger’s debt for 7 million pounds, or $8.7 million, last Friday. The sale left Private Capital with a 62 million pound or $77 million loss.
Filings at Companies House also confirm the exit of Better Capital’s chief executive officer Simon Pilling and assistant director Richard Leighton from the company.
Although the buyer has not been confirmed, Edinburgh Woollen Mill is said to have bought the debt from the private equity firm and is among the top contestants to buy the retailer out of administration.
If Jaeger were to fall into administration, Britain’s equivalent of Chapter 11, it would put more than 700 jobs at risk.
The British label, which was launched in 1884 is best known for its classic shapes and high-quality fabrics. It received a Royal Warrant in 1910.
Since the Eighties, however, it has struggled to compete with the European labels that have been flooding the capital.
There was often a disconnect between the new, updated image it had tried to project and its core clientele which continues to consist of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.
The brand has also been the victim of weak management strategies in an increasingly competitive market. The advent of names such as Zara, COS and & Other Stories — and the rise of Internet shopping — has dented the sales and reputations of so many traditional brands.
“London Fashion Week collections and more fashion-forward designs may appeal to younger shoppers, but with 45-54-year-olds accounting for a fifth of spend, Jaeger’s tendency to overlook them has critically damaged its brand,” said Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.
“Remarkably, discounting accounts for over three-quarters of Jaeger sales. This constant stream of sales and offers has discouraged shoppers from paying full price and has lessened their trust in the quality of the Jaeger product — one of its fundamental selling points. This trend is replicated across the wider market and other retailers will be at risk if they fail to get their discounting levels under control,” Tooke added.
The retailer, which was previously owned by the British retail entrepreneur and former British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman, operates 28 stores in the U.K. Most recently, it opened a 2,000-square-foot store in London’s fashionable Marylebone area and revamped its branding, with a new bright-colored motif featured on its shopping bags and online order boxes.
Jaeger is the latest in a series of heritage retailers succumbing to harsh trading conditions on the British high street. Men’s wear label Austin Reed and British Home Stores, BHS, also collapsed into administration last April, failing to keep up with a fast-paced market dominated by omnichannel retailers.