Wiltshire clothing firm goes into administration

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Director David Selby pictured with staff at the Southwick warehouse at the time of the 2012 buy-out Director David Selby pictured with staff at the Southwick warehouse at the time of the 2012 buy-out

Trowbridge based fashion retailer Rowlands Clothing has gone into administration just two years after it was saved from closure by a private equity firm.

At one time the firm, which is based at Dunkirk Business Park, Southwick, had seven outlets across the south west and employed 60 people.

But this week people working for insolvency firm KCBS were clearing out the headquarters of the firm which ran a mail order and internet business from its base off Frome Road.

KCBS confirmed it was acting as administrators for Rowlands but said no-one was available for comment.

The shop in St Margaret’s Street, Bradford on Avon, closed last year. A person who answered the shop’s previous phone number said: “This is now a private number but I know what this is about. The people at the Bath shop are the ones that know what is going on.”

At the Bath shop a member of staff who answered the firm declined to comment if the shop was still open. She said: “I am not able to say anything at all.”

There was no answer at the firm’s shop in High Street, Marlborough and the website link said the site was no longer available.

In February 2012 the company, which also had shops in Salisbury, Farnham and Lymington, was bought by Rosemex Trading a subsidary of London based consortium New World Private Equity just says after in went into administration.

A total of eight people were made redundant by the new employers. At the time director David Selby said: “We have been able to save the majority of our jobs and give the company more financial security, which is great news because many of our employees have worked here well over 10 years and we are like a family.

“We are very much appealing to the market of women who are over 55, as we don’t feel there is enough out there for them.

“We have been through difficult times and times are still uncertain, but we think we can grow in this market.”

Stewart Cantley, chairman and chief executive of Rowland’s, said in 2012 that the retailer had shed its debts and had an injection of about £2m, which would be investing in developing its own-brand for the 55-plus market.

He said the product overhaul would be followed by a refresh of the stores, and was expected to boost turnover from a predicted £8m in its financial year ending in July, 2012, to £20m in its 2014 financial year, In 2013 the future looked bright for the firm when it produced its first in-house designed spring/summer collection after it appointed Annabelle Hartley, as head of design.

Rowlands was established nearly 30 years ago, as a shop in Bath by the Rowlands family and expanded until it opened its headquarters and warehouse in Southwick nine years ago.

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