Nicole Farhi fashion chain in administration

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Nicole Farhi store

Nicole Farhi, the high-end fashion chain, has gone into administration. The firm has five stores, and outlets in several department stores. It employs 75 staff in the shops and 44 at its headquarters. For now their future is uncertain.

So what went wrong, what happens next, and what does this mean for the British high street?


The Nicole Farhi brand was established in 1982 by Nicole Farhi and French Connection boss Stephen Marks - who was her partner at the time.

It has been through a difficult few years recently - during which time OpenGate Capital (which bought the company in 2010) sold it to Kelso Place Asset Management. The last few months have been particularly tough and Kelso have decided it's the end of the line.

What next?

The future is currently uncertain. Restructuring specialists Zolfo Cooper have been appointed, and they are looking for a way to save the business. Peter Saville, a partner at Zolfo Cooper told the BBC: "Nicole Farhi is a very powerful retail brand. Unfortunately, as with many other fashion retailers, the decline in high street spend coupled with rising costs has led to increased financial pressures on the business."

He added: "We are already in discussions with a number of interested parties who value the strength of the Nicole Farhi brand. We intend to continue to trade the business and will be working hard to identify the best possible outcomes regarding preservation of jobs, the value of the business and returns to creditors"

The Telegraph speculated that one option would be for Farhi herself to take back control of the chain.

For now, the stores remain open and Saville has confirmed that at the moment they continue to accept gift vouchers and returns (although refunds will not be given). However, as is always the case with an uncertain business, it's worth spending gift vouchers and returning items sooner rather than later in case the position changes.

High Street

It's a sad addition to the long list of High Street failures since the onset of the financial crisis. There have been huge brands that have fallen into administration, including Comet, HMV, JJB Sports, Jessops, Clinton Cards, Habitat, Peacocks and Blockbuster.

There have also been a large number of fashion casualties, including Republic, Aquascutum and Jane Norman. Last month, both ModelZone and Internacionale went into administration.

The future for the Nicole Farhi chain is uncertain... the future of the high street is hardly guaranteed either.

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