UK menswear chain The Officers Club in administration

UK menswear chain The Officers Club in administration

London: British menswear retailer, The Officers Club became the latest British high street victim of the financial crisis as administrators moved in and 118 of its 150 stores were sold to its chief executive.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrators appointed late on Tuesday at the height of the Christmas shopping season, said in a statement that 32 stores excluded from the sale would close immediately.

It said TimeC 1215 Limited, a company backed by David Charlton, CEO of The Officers Club, had purchased the business and assets of the 118 stores, securing the employment of 1000 staff.

No financial details were disclosed. Administration in Britain is a type of protection from creditors.

Privately-owned, The Officers Club also operates under the Petroleum brand.

News of The Officers Club deal came hours after Whittard of Chelsea, the tea and coffee retailer owned by Icelandic investor Baugur, fell into administration and was immediately sold to private equity investor Epic for an undisclosed sum.

Wednesday’s Financial Times reported that loss-making Allied Carpets, the UK’s second biggest flooring retailer, has been put up for sale by its French owner, Tapis Saint-Maclou.

With consumer confidence dented by crumbling house prices and soaring unemployment, British retailers are experiencing the most difficult trading environment for years and many have already collapsed into administration.

Variety store retailer Woolworths and flat-pack kitchen seller MFI are the most high-profile casualties so far.

Earlier this week, insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor predicted 15 national and regional retail chains will collapse early next year.