Clothing & Shoes

Ralph and Russo takeover on the rocks

The company fell into administration following a ‘dispute’ between its two co-founders

The sale of womenswear brand Ralph and Russo is reportedly in doubt as businesses are unable to commit due to the impacts of Covid-19 on the sector.

The company fell into administration in March following the resignation of Tamara Ralph, co-founder and creative director, after a “dispute” with fellow co-founder Michael Russo.

At the time of its collapse, Ralph and Russo owed £1m to its 137 staff members, £23.5m to property developer Nick Candy, and £2m to HMRC.

In turn, Paul Appleton, managing partner at Begbies Traynor Group, and Andrew Andronikou, managing director at Quantuma Advisory, were appointed joint administrators of the firm.

According to Drapers, five suitors showed initial interest in taking over Ralph and Russo, but the leading bidder pulled out two days before the completion of the takeover.

Andronikou told the publication: “We’re in discussions with lots of people, but nothing is tangible at the moment. We’re hoping to get a deal done, though. There are people talking to us – mostly entrepreneurs, individuals. I wouldn’t say businesses.

“We’ve not had any businesses in the fashion retail sector [show interest], although there were quite a few initially that we targeted ourselves. We went to all the big retailers in the industry, but they’re all going through their own problems and just aren’t interested.”

He added: “Retail has had a hell of a time over the past year. I know it’s made some recoveries online, but anything with people and retail shops has had a shocking time. 

“In any other economic cycle, I’m sure there would have been one or two household names associated with this, but given what Covid-19 has done to their businesses, and the uncertainty going forward, no one will be that committed to not only buying it, but also bringing in the working capital to fruition, which is fully understandable.”

The luxury brand’s administrator continued that if the group is to be sold, the suitor will likely come from “several rich lists” as “they’ve got the money, and they’ve also got the vision of what this could potentially develop into”.

Retail Sector has contacted Quantuma and Begbies Traynor for further comment.

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