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700 jobs under threat as Jaeger takes step closer to administration

Struggling fashion chain Jaeger has cast doubt over the future of 700 high-street jobs after taking a step closer to administration.

The 133-year-old firm has filed a notice of intent to grant administration with the High Court, handing the retailer 10 working days to bolster its financial position.

The Press Association reported last month that Edinburgh Woollen Mill had emerged as front-runner to snap up the brand.

The retail group run by the billionaire Philip Day is slugging it out with a group of bidders also thought to include Mike Ashley's Sports Direct and Jaeger's former owner Harold Tillman.

Jaeger is valued at £30 million by Better Capital, which is headed up by private equity baron Jon Moulton.

Glen Tooke, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel, said customers had become reluctant to pay full price for Jaeger clothes after a "constant stream of sales".

He said: "Jaeger has struggled for years to truly understand its core clientele.

"London Fashion Week collections and more fashion-forward designs may appeal to younger shoppers but with 45 to 54-year-olds accounting for a fifth of spend, Jaeger's tendency to overlook them has critically damaged its brand.

"Remarkably, discounting accounts for over three-quarters of Jaeger sales.

"This constant stream of sales and offers has discouraged shoppers from paying full price and has lessened their trust in the quality of the Jaeger product - one of its fundamental selling points ."

Better Capital acquired Jaeger for £19.5 million in 2012 but the firm has felt the strain under the difficult conditions for high-street fashion retailers.

Last year the firm said total annual sales fell from £84.2 million to £ 78.4 million while it booked a pre-tax loss of £5.4 million, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Better Capital has enlisted the services of AlixPartners to sound out potential buyers.

Jaeger, which has around 25 standalone stores, was founded in 1884 by businessman Lewis Tomalin.

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