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Links of London jewellery chain falls into administration leaving 350 jobs at risk

Links of London has become the latest high street chain to go into administration. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

High street jewellery retailer Links of London has gone into administration, putting 350 jobs at risk.

The retailer has appointed Deloitte as administrators in an attempt to secure a rescue sale, while the business continues to trade.

Links sells luxury British jewellery, watches, cufflinks and gifts from 35 stores across the UK and Ireland.

The company had been seeking a buyer in recent weeks with Sports Direct owner, Mike Ashley, said to be among potential bidders, as well as the Hilco group.

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But administrators said that “in light of ongoing cash flow pressures”, the firm’s directors were left with “no choice” but to place it into administration.

Deloitte said the retailer has struggled to cope with “difficult trading conditions” which have weighed on a number of other UK high street chains.

It added that the business intends to continue to trade while it seeks out sale options, but said it could sell stock and assets over a period of trading “for the benefit of the company’s creditors”.

The British brand is owned by troubled Greek company Folli Follie, which was plunged into crisis over a fraud related to overstating sales.

Mike Ashley was said to be one of those interested in investing in Links. Credit: PA

Links, which was founded in 1990, saw sales slide 12% to £42.9 million and plunged to a £20.5 million pre-tax loss in its most recently filed accounts for the year to December 2017.

The owners had considered a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) restructuring process, refinancing or a straight sale but were unable to conclude a deal.

Matt Smith, joint administrator for Links of London, said: “The company is well-known in its market, having been present on British high streets for almost 30 years.

“This is not the outcome we hoped for and will of course be difficult news for employees and their families.

“We appreciate the support of management and we will continue to support employees through this time.”