UK: 200 jobs at risk as Tie Rack winds down high street presence

Tie Rack is to begin closing its remaining UK stores.

Tie Rack is to begin closing its remaining UK stores. - Credit: Archant

Retiler Tie Rack is to begin closing its remaining 44 UK stores from tomorrow, threatening the loss of up to 200 jobs.

It marks the end of the brand’s British success story more than 30 years after it was founded by South African entrepreneur Roy Bishko, and 15 years since its heyday when it had more than 450 shops.

All its high street stores will close while some of its handful of outlets in airports will also be shut down with others facing uncertainty.

A spokesman said: “Following a period of prolonged decline in Tie Rack’s fortunes, it is with regret that we today announce this closing down sale. Management are working with staff to provide support during this difficult time.”

The closing-down sale is expected to begin tomorrow, with UK shops due to shut their doors for the last time by the end of the year.

The Fingen Group, Tie Rack’s Italian owners, are understood to have asked accountancy firm Grant Thornton to look for prospective buyers of around 30 overseas stores. The current owners will retain ownership of the brand online.

It comes in the wake of high street brands Blockbuster and Barratts Shoes going into administration as retailers struggle with shifting consumer behaviour including the growth of internet sales.

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Tie Rack’s overnight success after it was founded in an Oxford Street store in 1981 saw a clamour for shares when it was floated on the stock exchange six years later when it received £1 billion worth of applications for £12.5 million in shares.

It reached more than 450 stores in 1998 but has since been in decline as it struggled to keep pace with competitors. The company was taken private in 1999 and 10 years later, founder Mr Bishko sold his remaining stake.

Accounts for the year to the end of January 2012 show a pre-tax loss of £6.8 million on a turnover of £68.1 million.