>> The 161-year-old label Aquascutum entered administration, the British equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, on Tuesday.
In a statement, Aquascutum executives attributed the company's precarious financial situation to "challenging conditions in the UK," which has "unfortunately meant that the team have been unable to successfully turn the business around."
The company is now in the hands of FRP Advisory, a British restructuring firm. Geoff Rowley, who is leading the administration efforts, says he hopes he can keep the company's doors open.
"We are conscious of the value of the Aquascutum brand and its long-standing heritage and because of this are keen to enter into early discussions with interested parties open to purchasing the business as soon as possible," Rowley said.
Aquascutum lost over $38 million in 2008, and British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman bought the struggling brand in 2009 for an undisclosed price. He appointed Belinda Earl as its CEO and hired designer Joanna Sykes as creative director in May 2010. Sykes's work for the brand was well-received, but didn't translate to the turnaround Aquascutum needed.
If the company can't be saved, the 250 people who work for it will be out of work.
Update: Aquascutum announced on Thursday, April 19 that it will shut down its UK manufacturing plant in Corby, Northamptonshire, due to "loss-making operations and a lack of funding." The factory employed 115 people, all of whom the company says will get help finding new jobs.
"Whilst a difficult decision, it has been necessary in order to stem on-going losses for the business, and to protect the positions of the 135 remaining employees," a spokesperson said. "We plan to provide appropriate assistance to all affected employees . . . All head office and retail operations across the UK and international high street, concession and outlet stores are operating as usual at present."
Photo: The finale of Aquascutum's Fall 2012 runway show.