Brantano UK: The first retail casualty of 2016

High street footwear retailer, Brantano, has collapsed and been placed into administration by Alteri, who only acquired the activities of the company in October 2015.

Alteri acquired the activities of Macintosh Fashion UK (Brantano and Jones Bootmaker) from Macintosh Retail Group as part of their European retail sector investments. The deal included Jones Bootmaker which is not affected by the collapse of Brantano.

Currently the administrators, PWC, have said that the retail store network and website will continue to trade, but up to 2,000 jobs are now at risk. PWC say that despite sustained efforts to make the business more commercially viable, Brantano has been hit hard by the change in consumers’ shopping habits and the evolution of the UK retail environment.

Tony Barrell, lead administrator at PwC, said “The administrators are continuing to trade the businesses as normal whilst we assess the trading strategy over the coming days and weeks. Staff will be paid their arrears of wages and salaries, and will continue to be paid for their work during the Administration”.

This is the first major retail casualty of the year, thankfully no major retailers folded over the Christmas period, despite the challenging conditions of mild weather slowing early Autumn sales and more Christmas sales then ever being carried out on the Internet. Sadly it’s unlikely to be the last as retailers tied into long rent agreements simply aren’t able to close unprofitable stores and migrate their businesses to online.

In truth simply moving online and closing stores isn’t a solution – many retailers still need bricks and mortar outlets to attract customers even if they then prefer to purchase online. However we’ve also written before about budget brands and their inability to fully embrace the Internet with a true omnichannel presence.

The administrators are now looking for a potential purchaser of the Brantano business.