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Wed, Dec 31, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Clothing company files for bankruptcy protection in UK

AP , LONDON

British clothing company USC filed for a form of bankruptcy protection on Monday as the economic downturn claimed another major UK retailer.

Edinburgh, Scotland-based USC, a retailer that sells clothing brands such as Diesel, Lacoste and Ted Baker in the UK, went into administration, said PKF, the company’s administrator.

Meanwhile, British children’s clothing retailer Adams Childrenswear Ltd was seeking bankruptcy protection. The 75-year-old central England-based concern was expected to be placed in the hands of administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers later on Monday, spokeswoman Ginette Gisborne said. PricewaterhouseCoopers declined to comment.

USC and Adams are the latest in a series of big British retail brands to be hit by the economic turmoil — 99-year-old general store Woolworths, tea and coffee merchant Whittard of Chelsea and music chain Zavvi, have already been forced to file for administration.

About 200 Woolworths stores closed on Saturday and the remainder are expected to close over the next week unless a buyer is found.

USC administrator Bryan Jackson said he had already secured the sale of 43 of the retailer’s 58 stores to Dundonald Holdings Ltd, saving 1,127 jobs. But, he said, the remaining 15 stores had not yet been able to secure a deal, putting about 300 jobs at risk. Those stores will be temporarily kept open.

The picture at Adams is less clear. Gisborne said the company was not yet in administration and that the company did not yet know if the stores would remain open, close or be sold.

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