Administrators from Bridgewood have confirmed they have agreed a deal with a buyer to acquire the Derby branch of Bennetts for an undisclosed sum. The deal means the store will remain open, saving 22 jobs at the Derby branch.
The Ashbourne store closed down on 13 April, with the loss of 17 jobs.
Bridgewood said they would release details of the buyer as soon as the sale completes, anticipated for before the end of April.
“We are very pleased to have achieved a sale in principle, which will ensure the iconic Bennetts brand continues to have a strong presence on Iron Gate,” said joint administrator Paul Mallatratt.
“We are confident that the proposed purchaser, who has existing retail operations in the South of England, will be able to revive the store whilst also preserving everything that is loved about the Bennetts brand.”
Regarding the Ashbourne store, Mallatratt said: “Disappointingly it has not been possible to secure a buyer for the Ashbourne store.
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to all staff in Ashbourne who, throughout the period of the trading administration, have conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism.”
Bennetts first opened in 1734, in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter.
Fashion retailer Young Ideas, which has a concession with Bennetts, launched a crowdfunding campaign after the store went into administration in February.
The Retail Gazette reported that one of the expressions of interest that Bridgewood received for Bennetts during the administration process was linked to Young Ideas’ crowdfunding campaign. Young Ideas stated that anyone who invested enough in the campaign would become a shareholder receiving an annual dividend payment. FSA guidelines scuppered these plans, as the crowdfunding platform used is not regulated for investments, only donations.
The crowdsourcing initiative shows, however, that individuals and companies are willing to work together to turn around a retail institution in ever-challenging circumstances.