Dragons’ star ‘regrets’ having to appoint liquidator to chain

A liquidator is to be formally appointed to Blacktie — the well-known chain of men’s formalwear shops — at the end of this month, its owner revealed yesterday.

Dragons’ star ‘regrets’ having to appoint liquidator to chain

The company’s founder and owner, Dragons’ Den star Niall O’Farrell, issued a statement revealing that he had personally informed all staff members across Blacktie’s 11 shops that a liquidator will be appointed on Friday, Feb 1.

In his statement, Mr O’Farrell — who also owns the Henry Jermyn shirt retailer — said that the decision to appoint liquidators was taken after consultation with the company’s bankers, “due to a combination of market and economic factors; including a decline in the formalwear rental market, increased lower cost retailers from the high street, higher utility and branch operating costs and unaffordable high levels of rates”.

He added that Blacktie shops will continue to trade as normal “for the coming weeks” and that management hopes that a buyer for the group can be secured.

“The business will continue to trade as usual, working to honour its commitments to customers and employees, with a view to securing a buyer for the business,” Mr O’Farrell said.

He added: “I deeply regret having to make this decision. I spent most of my career establishing and developing Blacktie, and have done all I could to bolster its prospects. I have not drawn a salary from the business for the past four years, and even invested substantial personal resources. I would like to pay tribute to Blacktie’s employees for their hard work, dedication and loyalty, and will ensure I am available to each and every one of them to answer, personally, any queries that they may have.”

The most recently filed accounts for Blacktie Ltd, for the 12 months to the end of June, 2009, show pre-tax losses of €2.7m. The business has been trading for 25 years.

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