British fashion chain to axe 300 jobs: financial group

LONDON, Dec 29, 2008 (AFP) - Fashion retail chain USC is to axe 300 jobs, or a fifth of its staff, becoming Britain's latest victim of an economic downturn, the financial group charged with helping to save the company said Monday.

www.usc.co.uk

USC will shut 15 of its 58 shops across Britain, while the remaining 43 will be sold to Dundonald Holdings, in turn safeguarding 1,127 jobs, said Bryan Jackson, a spokesman for the PKF group.

He blamed a poor economic climate for USC's misfortune but hailed the rescue package as a "positive deal."

"The impact of the credit crunch is continuing to spread into the wider economy beyond the property and financial sectors," Jackson said.

"As has been well publicised, retail operators are facing extremely challenging times. Given these circumstances this is a positive deal which retains the majority of jobs and shops."

The news comes a day after British children's clothing manufacturer Adams applied to go into administration -- the process whereby a troubled company calls upon independent expert financial help in a bid to remain operational.

Last week, three well-known British stores -- music retailer Zavvi, luxury tea-sellers Whittard and menswear chain Officers Club -- each said they faced collapse.

Century-old toys-to-clothes retailer Woolworths has said it will close all of its 813 stores nationwide, affecting around 27,000 employees, unless a buyer is found by January 5.

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