Luggage brand Antler axes 164 jobs as it crashes into administration

Luggage brand Antler has slashed 164 jobs after crashing into administration.

The company, which operates 18 stores and one concession, said it has hired administrators from corporate finance firm KPMG.

Administrators said the company has had to make the vast majority of the firm’s 199 staff redundant after it was “profoundly impacted” by the coronavirus pandemic.

The suitcase maker was bought by fashion tycoon Michael Lewis in February from private equity company Endless.

KPMG said sales were solid prior to the pandemic but were hit hard by the closure of stores and travel restrictions.

We will continue to trade the business via its online channels while we assess options for this iconic brand and would invite any interested parties to make contact with us at the earliest opportunity

The company sells products through its website, Amazon and wholesale to large chains across the UK, including John Lewis and Selfridges.

The administration comes after a raft of other UK retail brands, including Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley, have been forced into insolvency during the Covid-19 outbreak.

KPMG partner and joint administrator Will Wright said: “Like so many companies across the retail and travel sectors, Antler has been profoundly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Although the business was trading well prior to the virus outbreak, restrictions imposed at the start of the lockdown period prompted the closure of Antler’s retail and wholesale outlets, while the impact on international travel has also significantly affected sales.

“With uncertainty over the lifting of travel restrictions placing further financial strain on the business, the directors concluded that they had no option but to appoint administrators.

“We will continue to trade the business via its online channels while we assess options for this iconic brand and would invite any interested parties to make contact with us at the earliest opportunity.”