Ethel Austin shuts up shop

editorial image

LEVEN High Street suffered the demise of another major store last week as Ethel Austin shut its doors for the final time.

Although the company crashed into administration last month, eight relieved members of staff at the Leven store were told their branch would not be one of 22 store closures across the UK.

However, last week their hopes of trading until another buyer could be found evaporated overnight as the store fell victim to another sudden wave of closures.

Admistrator RSM Tenon shut a further 12 branches and, in addition to 274 last month, another 181 members of staff were made redundant.

In a short statement, Simon Bonney, joint administrator, said: “Regretfully, to ensure the long-term future of the overall business, we have had no alternative but to close further stores.”

Ethel Austin, which is run by Life and Style Ltd., took over the former Woolworths store on Leven High Street in 2009.

The store was saved from the chop when the firm went bust last year, but Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes branches were axed.

The troubled clothing and homeware firm – which has a sister company Au Naturale – crashed into administration in February 2010 with debts standing at more than £59 million, despite a restructuring effort two years earlier.