The Irish branches of popular British fashion brands Oasis and Warehouse have been forced into liquidation by Ireland’s High Court due to their inability to secure a buyer or financial support amidst the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Even before the outbreak, these companies were already experiencing trading difficulties, making it even more challenging to sustain their operations.

The closure of these Irish businesses will have a significant impact, as they employed 248 individuals and operated 13 physical stores along with 29 concessions. Without fresh investment or a buyer, it is clear that the companies were unable to overcome their financial struggles.

Compounding their problems, the appointment of administrators to the UK parent companies meant that the Irish subsidiaries lost access to essential services provided by the parent, including HR, IT, and stock sourcing. These services were crucial for the Irish branches to continue trading.

As a result of the liquidation, part of the business has been acquired by Hilco Capital, the former owner of HMV. Hilco Capital has taken ownership of the brands as well as the remaining inventory. Unfortunately, this acquisition has led to the closure of all UK stores associated with Oasis and Warehouse.

The future of Oasis and Warehouse’s online presence is uncertain. Currently, their online shops remain closed with a message stating that they hope to be back soon. It remains to be seen if the brands will be able to continue operating solely through online platforms.

The struggles faced by Oasis and Warehouse are not unique in the retail industry amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Other notable casualties include Laura Ashley and Animal in the UK, and J. Crew and Neiman Marcus in the United States. Cath Kidston was also on the brink of collapse but managed to survive through a pre-pack administration deal orchestrated by its owner.

Overall, this liquidation serves as a reminder of the challenging times the retail industry is facing due to the impact of the pandemic. Companies must adapt and find new ways to navigate these uncertainties in order to remain operational.

Useful Links:
The Guardian: “Coronavirus pushes nearly 80% of small firm owners to give up hope”
BBC News: “Cath Kidston shops to close permanently”