HIGH street retailer Next has agreed to buy struggling lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret in a move that will save its UK shops and website.
In addition, The Sun understands there are plans to stock Victoria’s Secret’s products in Next stores and on its website.
It comes after the lingerie company plunged into administration on June 5 this year after struggling during the coronavirus crisis.
The move put 800 jobs and 25 stores at risk, although shops have continued to trade throughout the administration.
But now Next has agreed to buy a majority 51% stake in the company’s UK business, with L Brands – the parent company of Victoria’s Secret – remaining in control of the final 49%.
The move will save 500 jobs, as well as the UK Victoria’s Secret website.
It’s also hoped the sale will enable the 25 stores to continue trading, although this is dependant on discussions with the company’s landlords.
Some 300 roles, however, remain at risk.
The deal is also subject to regulatory agreement, so exact details still need to be confirmed and are subject to change.
Victoria’s Secret had already furloughed 785 of its 800 workers before Deloitte was called in three months ago for a “light touch” administration.
Victoria’s Secret’s global stores outside of the UK are unaffected.
Martin Waters, chief executive of L Brands international, said: “We are pleased to take this next step in our profit improvement plan for Victoria’s Secret.
“Next’s capabilities and experience in the UK market are substantial, and our partnership will provide meaningful growth opportunities for the business.”
Lord Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next PLC, added: “Next is very pleased at the prospect of working in partnership to expand the Victoria’s Secret brand in the UK and Ireland both in stores and online.”
Rob Harding, administrator at Deloitte, said: “This is an ideal way to secure the future of more than 500 employees in the UK.
“We are grateful to the creditors for working with us to deliver a solution that enables this business to survive and prosper.”
The deal comes as worrying new research from the Institute for Employment Studies warns how half a million people could lose their jobs across the UK this autumn.
Airlines, retailers, banks and restaurants have cut thousands of jobs, leaving Brits worried about their future working prospects.
By contrast, supermarkets have seen a boom in profits, with Co-op, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all creating temporary or permanent jobs during the pandemic.