Au Naturale homewares chain parent poised for administration

The Au Naturale homewares chain is facing an uncertain future, with its owner set to go into administration.
Distressed-debt investment specialist Agilo recently bought the entire £25m debt of the troubled Scottish Ossian Retail Group, which operates Au Naturale and the Internacionale fashion outlets. Now, Agilo has filed a notice to appoint Price Waterhouse Coopers as administrator.

Warning signs over Ossian’s viability emerged earlier this month when it failed to pay its full rent and service charges. The group has now asked landlords if it can pay rent monthly rather than quarterly in advance to ease its cashflow problems.

At the start of the year, Ossian got rid of most of the management team that led a private equity buyout of the business 2006, as it struggled to stay in profit.

Au Naturale, which sells kitchenware and tabletop products, has 105 stores across the UK and had been planning to add more.

Ossian’s brands and stores are now likely to be broken up and sold to different buyers. Around 10 are reportedly already interested.

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