Belfast Telegraph

Fashion company rescue secures 100 retail jobs

Almost 100 retail jobs in a Northern Ireland chain have been saved after a business restructuring, it has emerged.

SVM Textiles, headed up by Sam Morrison, went into administration but its assets have now been bought by sister company Hire Class.

The company, which was set up in 1987, operates nine fashion shops in Northern Ireland including Clockwork Orange stores and franchise outlets selling the Tommy Hilfiger brand.

It also operated the Miss Sixty franchise through a store in Belfast's Wellington Place, which has since closed down.

A spokesman said: "SVM Textiles Ltd was placed in administration on Wednesday but its assets were immediately acquired by a sister company, Hire Class Ltd, headed by Mr Morrison."

It is understood high rents for the shops have forced the restructuring.

In a statement, Mr Morrison said: "Our business has built a very strong reputation for young men's and women's fashion brands and we're confident it has an excellent long-term future.

"However, we need to restructure costs to match current trading conditions and the steps we have taken today give us the opportunity to do that.

"I'm delighted we have been able to secure a positive outcome both for our loyal customer base and particularly for the 99 staff whose jobs will transfer across to the new company."

He said the business would continue to focus on popular brands such as Diesel, G-STAR, Ugg and Paul's Boutique. He also said he had identified further sites for Tommy Hilfiger franchise stores and planned to relaunch the Clockwork Orange website in Belfast.

He operates two stores in Victoria Square, one a Clockwork Orange and the other a Tommy Hilfiger.

Mr Morrison's father, also called Sam Morrison, is the chairman of property company Corbo which owns retail parks around Northern Ireland.

News of SVM's restructuring comes after figures showed retail sales volumes were weaker than expected in September due to anxiety over the government's deficit-busting cuts.