Jobs go at troubled Apperley Bridge shoe company base

Wharfedale Observer: Michael Ziff Michael Ziff

An undisclosed number of jobs have been cut at the Bradford headquarters and main warehouse of beleaguered shoe retailer Barratts.

A spokesman for administrators Duff & Phelps confirmed the job losses but was unable to give a number.

One correspondent said anonymously that Barratts’ trading warehouse was now empty as almost all staff had been made redundant and only a skeleton staff was understood to remain at the Apperley Bridge base where about 150 worked before the latest crash.

Eleven more Barratts stores are being closed this week, mainly in Eire and Northern Ireland, but also including the Huddersfield branch.

Barratts went into administration for the third time in five years in October after failing to secure a £5 million cash injection from investors, in difficult trading conditions, and closed 19 of its 75 stores last month, including its Greengates discount store, affecting 200 jobs.

Former Barratts boss Michael Ziff, whose family had run the business since 1935, was sacked by the administrators last week, along with finance director John Weaving and buying and merchandising director Simon Robson. Mr Ziff had previously said he would not mount another rescue bid for Barratts.

The Duff & Phelps spokesman confirmed that the administrators had been unable to sell the entire Barratts business as a going concern but confirmed they were in talks with a potential buyer for parts of the operation, believed to be York-based shoe retailer Pavers.

It is understood Pavers has made an 11th-hour rescue offer for Barratts. It is understood that Pavers, which is being advised by accountancy firm Ernst & Young, is offering more than the £5 million and has put in a final offer for parts of Barratts.

Pavers is reportedly eager to seal a quick deal in order to retain staff and as much stock as possible.

Closing-down sales have started at 75 Barratts stores in the UK and Ireland and it is believed that Pavers would be unlikely to be interested in buying the real estate if they closed.

Pavers has continued to grow since being founded in 1971 by Cathie Paver. Earlier this month the family firm opened its 100th UK shop in the London Designer Outlet, while last year it became the first foreign single-brand retailer to be allowed to set up wholly-owned stores in India.

Pavers started selling its shoes in India in April 2008 when it set up a joint venture called Pavers England with Indian entrepreneur Ravi Mehotra’s billion-dollar Foresight Group.

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