Herbert Smith to advise retail chain administrator

Herbert Smith is advising Levy Gee as the administrator of Jeffrey Rogers Retail.`The women’s retail business went into administration on 18 May 2001.`Levy Gee has instructed Herbert Smith because of its relationship with corporate recovery partner Stephen Gale, which stems back to his time at Hammond Suddards Edge.`Jeffrey Rogers has been suffering losses for a number of years and had accumulated a debt in the region of euro15m (£10.6m).`The original plan to put a rescue strategy in place was abandoned because Levy Gee was unable to find the funding. Levy Gee administrator Maurice Moses said: “The debt was so big and the retail sector so unstable.”`The retail sector has become increasingly competitive and in the past six months Salisburys and Ciro Citterio have both gone into administration.`Jeffrey Rogers has come under particular strain because its portfolio of stores is relatively expensive and therefore it needs a high value contribution in order to make the business pay.`But Moses said that there has been a number of companies expressing interest in buying the business.`Since the implementation of the Insolvency Act 2000 earlier this year, administration has become more of a rescue tool. The new legislation allows businesses to be protected from creditors, including landlords who could otherwise close the business down if the rent was unpaid. Administration is therefore particularly useful in sectors such as retail where there are a number of properties at stake.`Moses said: “Granting administration means that we can save jobs. We don’t want to close the stores down and sell the leasehold units, we want to sell the whole thing as a business.”`In this case there are three lots of secured creditors and Levy Gee is open to offers for the business.`Moses said that the retail sector’s troubled image makes Jeffrey Rogers an important case. “Lawyers that have retail clients should be aware of the problems that face them and they should take advice as early as possible.”