Jobs threatened as administrators in at Lakeland Leather

More than 200 jobs are at risk after a northern-based clothing retailer called in administrators. Lakeland Leather which has 22 stores across the country says it has struggled after a mild winder damaged sales.

Lakeland is based in Ambleside in Cumbria. It has stores across the Lake district and the north of England but also has shops in Gloucester and Swindon. The economic downturn in the UK since 2007 has led to the collapse of high-profile retail names such as Woolworths and Comet. Data released this week from an accountancy firm claimed retail insolvencies have reached their highest point in five years with 1,287 in the past year. However, vacancy rates on UK high streets have started to stablise as the recovery in the economy has boosed consumer spending. In contrast to 2013 when there were high-profile administrations such as HMC and Blockbuser the focus of the retail industry this year has switched to the structural challenges facing the largest retailers such as supermarkets.
The family-owned company claims to be the UK's largest specialist retailer of fine leather goods but warm weather during the winter lowered demands for its leather jackets, handbags and luggage.

Lakeland, which is not connected to the kitchenware retailer of the same name has appointed McTear Williams & Wood as administrator. Martin Foster, managing director of Lakeland said the decsion to call in administrators was only taken after "ceaseless interrogation" of the alternatives. It is understood that a deal may be in place to try to rescue some stores but four have already closed. Richard Standring who founded Lakeland in the 1960s and whos famly still owns the business said he was "not giving up" on saving the retailer.

Daily Telegraph
19 June 2014

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