West Midlands fashion chain Store Twenty One has collapsed into liquidation with the loss of 900 jobs. The company will close its remaining 122 shops after last year shutting down 200 of its outlets. Corporate recovery firm Quantuma has been appointed to oversee the liquidation of Store Twenty One which has been struggling for some time. Partner Simon Bonney said the retail sector is facing challenges, “not least with the changes in business rates”. He added: “The company was founded in 1932 and unfortunately it is another example of the difficulties arising in the current economy.” Quantuma said that Store Twenty One’s sales have declined in recent years with sustained losses.
The retailer had been operating under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) since last year. This gives an insolvent business time to pay its creditors and, if they agree, to continue trading. However, a court recently issued an order to wind the company up after it failed to secure additional investment. The company was born out of a London-based manufacturing business which was set up in 1932 and supplied clothing to West End stores, in particular Marks & Spencer. After the war, its factory outlet shops became popular, which stocked products that did not meet stringent quality controls specified by M&S. In the 1970s, the company expanded its reach and went on to float on the London Stock Exchange in the 1990s. It was eventually taken private then acquired in 2007 by textile company Grabal Alok.