La Senza goes into administration
More than 750 retail jobs are at risk after the UK stores of l ingerie chain La Senza went into administration for the second time in just over two years.
A corporate rescue team from PwC said it will listen to offers for the 55-store chain, which was rescued by the UK arm of an Arabian retail group in 2012.
Marnixheath, which operates the La Senza stores in the UK as well as t hree Pinkberry frozen yoghurt outlets in London and the South East, employs 752 people across England, Wales and Scotland.
Robert Moran, who has been appointed joint administrator of Marnixheath, said: " Like many other retailers, La Senza has been hit hard by the difficult economic environment and a slowdown in consumer spending."
PwC will continue to trade the businesses as normal whilst discussions take place with interested parties over a sale. The North American operations of La Senza and others worldwide are unaffected by the administration.
Mr Moran added: " There are no immediate plans to close any stores and the administrators shall continue to assess the trading strategy over the coming days and weeks."
Staff have been paid and will continue to be paid for their work, he added.
When La Senza collapsed into administration in 2012, there were 1,300 redundancies and the closure of more than 100 outlets.
However, 1,100 jobs were saved when 60 of its stores were sold by KPMG to the UK arm of Kuwait-based Alshaya. The UK business changed its name to Marnixheath in January.
Visitors to La Senza's UK website are greeted with the message: "Oops! You caught us with our panties down. We're performing some essential website maintenance. Please check back soon."
At the time of the pre-pack administration deal in January 2012, Alshaya said it would invest around £100 million in the business over the next two years through new products and store designs.
It said it would run the stores as franchises after buying the exclusive rights to the brand in the UK from its US owner Limited Brands.
Alshaya's operations are mainly overseas but at the time of the La Senza deal it had a limited presence in the UK through Pinkberry outlets in Selfridges and the Westfield centre in Stratford.
Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis bought the chain in 1998, revived its fortunes, and then sold his stake in the company to Lion Capital for £100 million.
Marnixheath said: " Every effort has been made for two and a half years to transform and revitalise the La Senza UK business, but it has continued to experience difficult trading conditions, against the backdrop of a challenging economy and the changing dynamics of the UK retail market.
"We have, therefore, decided with regret that there is no alternative to administration.
"We will work closely with the administrators as they explore their options for the business and if they choose to close all or part of the business, every effort will be made to support staff in finding alternative opportunities for employment."