One of the oldest names on the British high street, Jones the Bootmaker, has filed an intention to appoint an administrator as the search for a buyer continues.
It is understood its owner, the private equity firm Alteri, has filed the intention to protect the business from creditors seeking to recover debts. An administration is not necessarily a foregone conclusion since some credible bidders are interested in purchasing the business.
However the filing, which was reported by Retail Week, does raise the possibility it may be sold in a pre-pack deal, where a buyer is able to purchase the business out of administration without some of its liabilities, in a move similar to that which was used to sell Agent Provocateur to Mike Ashley-backed Four Holdings earlier this month.
Jones the Bootmaker was founded 160 years ago and now has 100 UK shops and around 800 staff. It was acquired for £12m by Alteri two years ago from previous owner Macintosh Retail Group, along with fellow footwear retailer Brantano.
Brantano was put through a pre-pack administration process last year which allowed Alteri to salvage 1,400 jobs and ditch about 60 unprofitable stores. Jones was unaffected at the time.