Job fears as chain in administration

Bank: Houndshill Shopping Centre

Bank: Houndshill Shopping Centre

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Jobs at a Blackpool fashion store have been put at risk after the chain went into administration.

Around 1,500 positions across the country at Bank, which has a store at the Houndshill Shopping Centre, are now at risk following the loss-making business’ announcement yesterday.

Bank, which operates 84 stores primarily in the Midlands, North of England and Scotland, was part of JD Sports Fashion until November.

Deloitte was appointed as administrator after a review of the business determined that a solvent turnaround would not be possible.

All stores are open as normal and no redundancies have been made while Deloitte considers potential interest in the business from several parties, according to a statement.

But Bill Dawson, a partner in Deloitte’s restructuring services practice, said: “Bank has struggled in a highly competitive segment of the retail industry and has been loss-making for a number of years.”

He added that additional sale discounts will be implemented later this week.

Mr Dawson said: “The company has already been approached by several parties who have expressed an interest in the business and the administrators are trading as a going concern with a view to progressing these options and seeking further interested parties for some or all of the business.”

No one at the Blackpool branch of the store would comment.

Bank was founded by Andy Scott – a former Macclesfield Town footballer – in 1994 and largely sells branded fashion items aimed at the youth market.

JD bought the chain from private equity owners Phoenix Equity Partners and management for £18.5 million in 2007.

In November it disposed of the business to HMV owner Hilco, a retail turnaround business, under terms which were not disclosed.

JD’s fashion division, which includes the more successful Scotts brand, recently slumped to a half-year loss of £8.2 million despite continued efforts to revive Bank, including through the appointment of a new management team.

Bank has been offering discounts of up to 70 per cent as it attempts to attract shoppers in the face of fierce competition.

The company’s collapse comes a week after parcel courier firm City Link went into administration with the loss of 2,400 jobs.