202 immediate job cuts as Oasis & Warehouse files for administration

By Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

  • Oasis and Warehouse group files for administration, appointing Deloitte to handle the process
  • 202 jobs have been made redundant, while 1800 others are on furlough
  • Oasis, Warehouse & The Idle Man continue to trade online in the short-term while administrators assess options

An immediate 202 jobs have been made redundant and a further 1800 remain at risk after Oasis and Warehouse filed for administration today.

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

After reports emerged yesterday that the retailer was preparing for an insolvency process, directors appointed Rob Harding and Richard Hawes from Deloitte as joint administrators for the whole company – which comprises Oasis & Warehouse Limited, Oasis Fashions Limited, Warehouse Fashions Limited, Bastyan Fashions Limited, and online menswear retailer The Idle Man.

The firm employed over 2000 people in the UK at the time of the appointment, and it has been confirmed that today’s announcement will result in 202 redundancies.

A total of 41 head office roles will be retained to assist the administrators and 1801 employees will be furloughed across head office, stores and concessions.

It has not been made clear whether those on furlough will have their jobs secured for the long term once trading resumes after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

However, Oasis, Warehouse and The Idle Man will continue to trade online from their respective websites in the short-term while the administrators assess options for the future.

Oasis and Warehouse trade from 92 shops in the UK, plus 437 concessions located in third party retailers such as department stores.

The firm’s operations in Ireland, Sweden and worldwide franchise partners remain outside of today’s appointment.

The news comes three weeks after Oasis and Warehouse began exploring a sale of the business and drafted in advisers from Deloitte to hold conversations with potential buyers.

It’s not the first time Oasis and Warehouse were put up for sale.

In November 2016, administrators for Kaupthing – an Icelandic bank that was left with owning the retail business after the 2008 financial crash – launched a sale of the company, which then included Karen Millen and Coast.

Kaupthing then withdrew from the sale process in 2017, although it managed to sell off Karen Millen and Coast to Boohoo last year through a pre-pack administration.

Although there is understood to have been strong interest in Oasis and Warehouse for the more recent sale, the unprecedented uncertainty from the pandemic reportedly made it impossible to conclude.

It’s expected that talks would continue with potential bidders after today’s administration announcement.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on the entire retail industry and not least the Oasis Warehouse group,” Harding said.

“Despite management’s best efforts over recent weeks, and significant interest from potential buyers, it has not been possible to save the business in its current form. Therefore today it has been placed into administration.

“As administrators we appreciate the cooperation and support from the management, employees, customers, landlords and suppliers, whilst we investigate options for the business. This is clearly an unprecedented and difficult time.”

Oasis Warehouse chief executive Hash Ladha said: “This is a situation that none of us could have predicted a month ago, and comes as shocking and difficult news for all of us.

“We as a management team have done everything we can to try and save the iconic brands that we love. On behalf of us all I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge our colleagues for their hard work and dedication. These are amazing brands and the business is full of tenacious, talented and determined people. I am confident that my colleagues, together with Deloitte, will find the best outcome for the business. They have my thanks and my best wishes.”

Oasis and Warehouse are not the first retail casualties brought about the by coronavirus pandemic.

Laura Ashley was the first coronavirus-linked high street casualty last month after its administration saw it cut 268 jobs and shut 70 stores.

Last week, department store chain Debenhams officially filed for administration, making it the second time within a year that it had taken this kind of insolvency process.

Debenhams said the decision to enter administration was aimed at protecting the business from the threat of legal action from creditors, which could risk pushing the retailer into liquidation while its 142 UK stores remain closed due to the government-mandated lockdown.

Meanwhile, Cath Kidston filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators last week as the Covid-19 crisis took its toll on the retailer.

And just today, news emerged that footwear retailer Office was seeking a new owner urgently, having hired Alvarez & Marsal to run an accelerated sale process.