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Tue, Dec 30, 2008 - Page 10 News List

UK kids’ clothing firm Adams calls in state administrators

AFP , LONDON

Children’s clothing manufacturer Adams has applied to go into administration, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) said on Sunday as another high-profile US firm felt the grip of the financial crisis.

The company filed a notice of its intention to appoint PWC as administrators on Wednesday.


3,000 AFFECTED

The 75-year-old firm has around 260 stores among its 500 distribution outlets in the UK and is understood to employ around 2,000 people. It also has more than 100 international outlets in the Middle East and Europe.

Adams’ troubles come amid a bleak economic climate for UK retailers, with three well-known stores going under within 24 hours earlier this week: high street music retailer Zavvi, which employs more than 3,000 people; luxury tea-sellers Whittard; and menswear retailer Officers Club.


WOOLWORTHS

Meanwhile, high-street institution Woolworths will close all of its 813 stores nationwide, affecting around 27,000 employees, company officials said, unless a buyer is found by Jan. 5.

Analysts have speculated that between 10 and 15 national and regional retail chains could collapse by the end of next month.

The Sunday Times newspaper said creditors had cranked up the pressure on Adams.

The firm is reported to owe £10 million (US$14.6 million) to Burdale, an arm of the Bank of Ireland, and £20 million to owner John Shannon, who bought it out of administration in February last year.

A PWC spokeswoman said it was not certain when PWC would be formally appointed as administrators.

“They put the thing into court on Christmas Eve but I cannot really say much more than that,” she said.

No one from Adams was available to comment.

REAL ESTATE

Meanwhile, UK housing prices fell by an average 8.7 percent this year and will likely plunge a further 12 percent next year, property information firm Hometrack said yesterday.

The company’s research director Richard Donnell warned of further price falls to come as rising unemployment forces more sellers into the market.

“The onset of recession and the prospect of rising unemployment over 2009 will continue to dampen confidence and in turn demand, which will inevitably lead to further house price falls over the next 12 months,” he said.

Properties in London, the surrounding southeast England region and in eastern England were the hardest hit, according to Hometrack’s survey of more than 1,800 estate agents and surveyors across the UK.

It said the biggest average price fall this year was in the capital — a slump of 10.1 percent.

Earlier this month, the UK’s biggest provider of home loans said housing prices slumped by a record 14.9 percent in the three months to last month compared to a year earlier.

The average price of a house the UK stood at £163,605, said Halifax, which is part of UK bank HBOS.

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