Alshaya's La Senza returns to administration

Underwear chain bought by Kuwaiti retail giant in 2012 fails to recover from credit crunch

Alshaya's executive chairman, Mohammed Alshaya

Alshaya's executive chairman, Mohammed Alshaya

La Senza, the British chain of underwear stores bought out by Kuwait’s M H Alshaya Co in 2012, has gone into administration for the second time in two years.

The firm, which has 77 stores across the UK, as well as three Pinkberry outlets, was sold to Lion Capital in 2006, but went bust in 2012 due to the effects of the financial crisis on British high street brands.

Alshaya bought the business for an undisclosed sum two years ago, but has failed to turn it around. A source told the Financial Times that the Kuwaiti company had been looking to sell the business.

“The challenging conditions in the UK high street are well documented,” Robert Moran, a joint administrator at PwC, which has been appointed to handle the administration, said. “Like many other retailers, La Senza has been hit hard by the difficult economic environment and a slowdown in consumer spending.

“The administrators are continuing to trade the businesses as normal for the time being whilst discussions take place with interested parties in respect of a sale. We welcome any approaches to purchase all or part of the store portfolio.”

La Senza’s other operations outside the UK are not affected by the move. The firm employs 752 people in the UK.

Alshaya is one of the Middle East’s biggest franchise retail operators, managing over 70 brands and with over 2,600 stores. Among the brands the company operates in the region are Starbucks, H&M, Mothercare and Boots.

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