Store is rescued

A CLOTHING chain with a store in St Helens town centre has been saved after slipping into administration.

The company which owns Ethel Austin has been sold by its administrators to Ashloch Limited - saving 62 UK stores from closure and protecting the jobs of more than 470 staff.

Among the stores saved is the one in the Hardshaw Centre in St Helens town centre.

Ashloch Limited, which has bought out fashion and homewares chain Life & Style, is owned by Sue Townsend - who has previously worked for Mothercare and BHS.

In a statement released last week, Ms Townsend said: “I am delighted with the conclusion to the purchase of the Ethel Austin chain and I am looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of returning this once great brand back to profitability.”

John Gorle, national officer for the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), agreed: “This is great news for all the loyal and hardworking staff at the company and very welcome news for the high street in general.

“Usdaw look forward to developing a good and constructive working relationship with the new owner Sue Townsend and I hope to meet with her as soon as possible to ascertain her immediate and medium term plans for the business.

“Usdaw will continue to do all we can to help revive the business and make it a success.”