New homewares chain launched by Ethel Austin owner

Elaine McPherson, whose fashion retail business Ethel Austin went into administration in February, has secured an injection of funds to launch a fashion and homewares chain called Life & Style.

New homewares chain launched by Ethel Austin owner

She rescued Ethel Austin from administration for a second time in March, buying back the business, which comprises 90 stores, for an undisclosed sum.

Ms McPherson has formed a new company, Life & Style Retail, after acquiring the trade and assets of Ethel Austin and sister homewares chain Au Naturale.

A significant cash injection was supplied by Suresh Ruia, managing director of Manchester-based textile business Beamfeature, which supplies high street retailers in the UK and overseas.

The cash injection will be used to accelerate the expansion of the new business, which Ms McPherson wants to grow to 200 stores over the next two years.

Mr Ruia has become a major shareholder in the business.

Ms McPherson originally bought Ethel Austin out of administration in May 2008, but due to a lack of banking facilities and poor trade in January it collapsed again in early February 2010. Administrators MCR sold the business back to its former owner for a second time on March 31.

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