The way has been cleared for fashion brand Karen Millen to buy Coast's Irish concession stores

The move will save half of the jobs under threat at the Irish wing of the clothing chain.

By Aodhan O'Faolain

THE HIGH COURT has given the provisional liquidator of the Irish wing of woman’s fashion chain Coast permission to sell part of the business to UK fashion house Karen Millen. 

Under the sale agreement, some 50 of the 99 full- and part-time jobs in the Irish subsidiary, which is part of the UK-based Coast group of fashion outlets, will be saved.

Coast Stores Ireland Limited has five stand-alone stores in the Republic and a further 10 concessions outlets at various Irish department stores.

The agreement will see Karen Millen Fashions Limited, which has bought the entire Coast Group in the UK, retain all the concession outlets in Ireland and purchase all of the Irish subsidiary’s stock.

Declan McDonald of PwC was appointed as provisional liquidator by the High Court to the Irish subsidiary, which is completely dependent on its UK parent for its stock, finance, distribution and marketing.

Stephen Byrne, Bl for McDonald, told the High Court that after assessing all the options, his client’s view is that proceeding with the sale agreement with Karen Millen was in the interests of all the creditors and the company as a whole.

Karen Millan did not wish to acquire any interest in the five stand-alone stores, the court also heard.

Following submissions from counsel, the sale agreement was approved by Justice Caroline Costello.

When seeking the appointment of the liquidator, the company cited difficulties experienced by its parent, including the collapse of department store group the House of Fraser where Coast has many concession stands, as the reasons for seeking the liquidator’s appointment.

Turnover at the Irish chain for the year ended February 2018 was €6 million, down from €7.1 million the previous year.

The court heard that the UK parent went into administration in the UK on Thursday and was bought by Karen Millen.

The Coast group, whose ultimate parent is the Aurora Fashions Group, has been engaged in a sales process which has been accelerated in recent months.

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