Administrators have sold Rhodes & Beckett to its management

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Fashion clothing group Rhodes & Beckett, and associated label Herringbone, which went into administration in February, has been sold to its management.

The buyer, Black Bear Holdings Pty Ltd, is headed by current brand director Michel Boutin and supported by private equity firm AO Capital. The purchase price hasn’t been revealed.

“I would like to thank the staff for their unwavering support and dedication over the last 6 months,” says administrator Luke Targett, a Cor Cordis partner.

“It is satisfying that unlike so many recent retail collapses, we have been able to restructure the business to ensure that the brand, stores and business will survive albeit in a leaner and more focussed incarnation.

The group, based in Melbourne, has 29 stores with 140 employees. As a precursor to the sale, eight Rhodes & Beckett concession outlets in Myer were closed. Staff at the concessions were redeployed, where possible, to other stores.

Targett says the stock clearance program is progressing with significant discounts being offered across all product lines.

Negotiations are continuing with landlords of the 15 remaining Rhodes & Beckett and Herringbone stores.

The relaunch of Rhodes & Beckett is expected later in the year.

Fashion labels Marcs and David Lawrence went into voluntary administration earlier this year, citing deteriorating sales, general market conditions and poor cash flows.

They are the latest in a string of players in the retail sector, under pressure from online trading and emerging competitors, going into administration, including Payless Shoes, Pumkin Patch, Howards Storage World and Dick Smith stores, which closed last year.

Some retailers have been reporting disappointing December and January sales.

German group van Laack’s acquired Herringbone in 2009 and Rhodes & Beckett in 2012.