Oasis and Warehouse close to collapsing into administration

The fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse are to collapse into administration as early as Tuesday, putting about 2,300 jobs at risk.

The advisory firm Deloitte will handle the insolvency process for the companies, which, until the coronavirus lockdown, operated 90 standalone stores and more than 400 concessions in department stores including Debenhams and House of Fraser.

The business, which is controlled by the Icelandic bank Kaupthing, had been seeking a new investor to take on the fashion chains. At least two prospective buyers are thought to have come forward but a deal is unlikely to be finalised before the imminent administration.

Uncertainty around the coronavirus crisis is understood to have made a solvent sale impossible to conclude, according to Sky News.

UK government support for workers and businesses during the coronavirus crisis

Direct cash grants for self-employed people, worth 80% of average profits, up to £2,500 a month. There are similar wage subsidies for employees.

Government to back £330bn of loans to support businesses through a Bank of England scheme for big firms. There are loans of up to £5m with no interest for six months for smaller companies.

Taxes levied on commercial premises will be abolished this year for all retailers, leisure outlets and hospitality sector firms.

Britain’s smallest 700,000 businesses eligible for cash grants of £10,000. Small retailers, leisure and hospitality firms can get bigger grants of £25,000.

Government to increase value of universal credit and tax credits by £1,000 a year, as well as widening eligibility for these benefits.

Statutory sick pay to be made available from day one, rather than day four, of absence from work, although ministers have been criticised for not increasing the level of sick pay above £94.25 a week. Small firms can claim for state refunds on sick pay bills.

Local authorities to get a £500m hardship fund to provide people with council tax payment relief.

Mortgage and rental holidays available for up to three months.

Oasis and Warehouse’s stores in the UK all closed temporarily last month under the government’s lockdown aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus.

They continue to trade online. Staff are understood to have remained on full pay, and were not furloughed ahead of the insolvency process.

The talk of administration comes only days after Debenhams, a major stockist of Oasis and Warehouse fashions, also called in administrators as clothing retailers struggle to survive the high street shutdown.

Kaupthing took control of Oasis and Warehouse in 2009 when the former parent group Mosaic collapsed into administration.

Mosaic, which also owned the Coast and Karen Millen chains, was hit by the slump in consumer spending during the financial crisis as well as the collapse of its then major shareholder, the Icelandic retail conglomerate Baugur.

Coast and Karen Millen closed their entire high street estate permanently last year after the brands were rescued out of administration by the online specialist Boohoo.

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