Oct 21, 2019
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Scottish chain Watt Brothers goes under

Oct 21, 2019

Bonmarché wasn’t the only UK retail chain to file for administration on Friday with Scottish department store operator Watt Brothers also throwing in the towel after a history stretching back 104 years.

Watt Brothers is the latest UK retailer failure

The move means the loss of over 200 jobs out of the 306 roles at the company with only one of its 11 stores currently operational. Some 229 employees were made redundant immediately.

The company, which was family-owned, has a Glasgow flagship that remains open while running a stock clearance sale, although it’s unclear how long it will stay operational. It also had now-shuttered stores in Ayr, Clarkston, Clydebank, Falkirk, Hamilton, Irvine, Lanark, Livingston, Port Glasgow and Robroyston. It sells fashion along with categories including electricals and homewares.

KPMG’s Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden have been named as joint administrators of the business and are currently working to see whether they can sell any of the assets, as well as the business itself.

The firm's failure might have surprised some as its sales have been rising every year, hitting £214 million last year. But the increases didn’t come along with higher profits and margins have been under heavy pressure with the firm making a loss in both 2017 and 2018 as discounters and online stores chipped away at its market.

The company had been seeking new investment but this failed to materialise and the weak state of the UK retail market meant its losses continued to mount.

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