Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Ethel Austin announces job cuts

Ethel Austin branch
Ethel Austin first went into administration in 2008

A total of 469 jobs are to go at clothing retailer Ethel Austin and its sister firm, Au Naturale, which both went into administration this week.

The jobs will go in Knowsley, Merseyside, where the head office and distribution depot are located.

The companies' administrator, MCR, said 129 stores would also close, making further job losses inevitable.

The shopworkers' union, Usdaw, said that remaining staff now faced a period of uncertainty about their future.

Closing down sales at the affected stores are due to begin on Thursday, MCR said. The stores will close if a buyer for the retail group cannot be found.

The rest of the group's 300-strong network of stores will continue to trade normally while the administrator looks for a buyer.

"This is devastating news for our members, many of whom are long-serving, loyal employees," said John Gorle from Usdaw.

"We will be working hard with the administrators to salvage what is left," he added.

Ethel Austin went into administration for the second time in as many years earlier this week.

Together with Au Naturale, the chains employ more than 3,700 people.



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