Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Principles' 2,300 staff face axe

Principles store
Principles was owned by Mosaic, which collapsed this week

A significant number of the 2,300 staff at the Principles high street fashion chain are to go, administrators said.

Lee Manning from Deloitte blamed "current market conditions" for the failure to sell the brand.

Sixty-six shops will close and department store Debenhams will acquire most of the stock.

Mr Manning said staff will be put on a "fast track" for redundancy payouts. More than 100 head office staff were made redundant on Friday.

Principles was owned by parent company Mosaic, which collapsed earlier this week with debts of about 400m.

Mosaic's other high street chains Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Karen Millen have been bought by a new company Aurora Fashions.

The firm is owned by by Icelandic bank Kaupthing and Mosaic's former management.

Principles was not included in the deal.

Continue operating

There was speculation that Debenhams would take over 121 of Principles' 300 concessions, which already exist in its department stores, but not buy its 94 high street shops.

Mr Manning, said: "Regrettably, we will be closing 66 high-street Principles stores, but will be continuing to trade the remaining 19."

"For the time being the remaining 172 non-Debenhams concessions will also remain trading.

"Unfortunately there will be significant redundancies over the coming weeks, and we can confirm that yesterday 110 head office staff were made redundant."

Mr Manning added that Debenhams has been given a temporary non-exclusive licence to continue operating the Principles brand.

The brand was created in 1984 to provide clothing aimed at "career women at affordable prices", developing its focus on to fashion for the "30-something" customer.

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