Belfast Telegraph

Nine branches shut as D2 chain in trouble yet again

By Clare Weir

D2 jeans has closed nine stores in Northern Ireland after the firm collapsed into administration for the second time.

Stores at the Kennedy Centre, Cityside and Connswater complexes and another at Castle Lane in Belfast, both stores in Bangor and further stores in Omagh, Lisburn and Newry have all had the shutters pulled down just days after Christmas.

It is not yet known how many jobs have been lost.

The news piles more misery onto the retail sector, just a week after the Barratts and Priceless shoe chain entered administration again, with the closure of shops in Strabane and Connswater Shopping Centre and the loss of 20 jobs.

D2's remaining shops are located in Enniskillen, Londonderry, Portadown, Ballymena, Coleraine and Newtownabbey.

The Scottish clothing company sells brands including Kickers, Firetrap and Nike, as well as cheaper discount ranges of denim and other leisurewear, accessories and shoes.

It is almost two years to the day since the Ayrshire firm, founded by businessman Sir Tom Hunter, once named one of Scotland's richest men, has gone into administration.

D2 was formed in 1999 from a combination of Fosters Menswear, part of the Jeanster casualwear chain, and Jeans for Sale.

Last time around it was understood that around 500 jobs were saved after management struck a deal to buy more than 40 stores out of administration.

But just over 30 stores employing more than 300 staff were not included in the initial rescue deal.

Overall, administrators BDO have said that 19 stores throughout the United Kingdom will now close with the loss of some 200 jobs.

The joint administrators will run the remaining 28 outlets with a view to the sale of all or part of the company as a going concern.

Other big casualties of the bloodbath on the high street are expected to include La Senza, which has 146 stores and 18 concessions in the UK, and Blacks Leisure, which owns 98 Blacks outlets and 208 Millets stores and employs 3,600 staff.

The D2 website was temporarily out of service after the announcement was made yesterday.

James Stephen, business restructuring partner, said: "It is unfortunate that the economic climate and extremely difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the retail sector."

He reiterated that BDO was hopeful of securing a sale of all or part of the firm and that the remaining stores would continue to operate.