Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Adams shuts down 111 of its shops

Branch of Adams in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Picture: Kirsten Adkins
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Adams Childrenswear has announced that it has closed down 111 of its stores throughout the UK, five days after calling in the administrators.

The retailer said that its remaining 160 shops would stay open as the administrators try to sell the company.

As a result of the closures, 850 members of staff have been made redundant with immediate effect.

Adams blamed the decision on the "current downturn being experienced on the High Street".

Rob Hunt, from the administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers, said it was "with regret that it has been necessary to effect the closure of 111 stores throughout the UK as of today".

But he added the administrators were optimistic that they would be able to sell some parts of the business.

"Since our appointment five days ago, I am pleased to say that we have had a number of expressions of interest in the Adams business and brand," said Mr Hunt.

Trading deterioration

The Nuneaton-based firm has hit troubled times before. It was bought out of administration in February 2007 by Northern Ireland businessman John Shannon - a move which at the time led to about 40 stores being closed.

Mr Shannon - a former chairman of footwear firm Stead & Simpson and clothing chain Country Casuals - drove the company towards affordable children's fashion and launched its "kids love fashion" branding.

Adams, which sells baby clothes, school uniforms and clothes for children from two to 10 years, had appeared to be beginning to show signs of improvement under Mr Shannon.

Early in 2008 it saw a 25% increase in like-for-like sales in both boys' and girls' fashion ranges.

However it began to suffer from increasing competition from supermarket chains.

The group was founded in Birmingham in 1933 by Amy Adams and celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.

The group's collapse marks the latest in a recent string of company failures, following groups such as Woolworths, music and entertainment chain Zavvi, and MFI all entering administration.

Crystal and china firm Waterford Wedgwood also called in administrators on Monday.

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