Apr 22, 2020
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Loss-making Animal chain to close as no buyer found

Apr 22, 2020

Surfing-inspired fashion brand Animal is being shut down by its parent company H Young, the latest failure due to a combination of the overall weak UK retail sector and the coronavirus crisis.


The parent company said that the retail business is loss-making and that it hasn't been able to sell it as a going concern. 

That news comes as a number of other retail businesses have collapsed due to the inability to sell them during the unprecedented tough times for the sector. Many potential brand buyers at present are possibly thinking that they could take over struggling businesses once they've collapsed as this would allow them to exit shops and lay off staff without major financial obligations. 

The company, which is based in Dorset, has a chain of shops and concessions in Debenhams, John Lewis, Blacks, Millets and Menkind.

But the closure won't happen immediately. In a statement, the owner said: “As a result of the extremely challenging retail market which has now further worsened due to Covid-19, H Young announces it will be closing its Animal business by the end of January 2O21. This will obviously be a very sad announcement for all Animal's hardworking employees and its loyal customers. ln this period, Animal will continue trading through its stores and its website and its clothing will also be available through its distributors.”

The company also told its staff that it has been examining “many options for Animal with an aim to securing a commercially viable future for the brand. Over that period, the business has been loss-making. This is clearly not a sustainable position”.

It also considered options to allow it to continue as part of the group, including “the use of third-party warehousing, relocation to smaller premises and an absorption into other group businesses”. But none of the business plans for these options “has been compelling enough to justify the investment required by the group”.

Animal was launched in 1987 by surfers Ian Elliot and Nigel Broughton. The company gradually expanded and currently has 29 stores and 236 stockists. Supplier and distributor H Young Holdings bought it in 1999.

The latest set of accounts available for the company showed turnover of almost £218 million in its 2018 financial year with a net profit of almost £10 million.

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