Business

Woolovers races to snap up ailing Hotter Shoes in pre-pack deal

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Woolovers, the privately owned clothing brand, is in advanced talks to buy the ailing footwear company Hotter Shoes.

Sky News understands that Woolovers, which sells knitwear, jewellery and home accessories, could acquire Hotter through a pre-pack administration as early as Tuesday afternoon.

City sources said a deal was “likely but not certain” to be struck with Interpath Advisory, the restructuring firm which has been lined up as administrator to Hotter’s parent company, Unbound Group.

One insider added that a pre-pack sale of Hotter would enable Unbound to stay out of insolvency proceedings while its board considers options for its future.

Last week, Sky News revealed that Unbound was on the brink of collapse as it sought up to £2m in funding from shareholders.

The company confirmed in a stock exchange announcement on Monday that it had resolved to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators and requested a suspension of its shares.

Woolovers, which is owned by Verdane, a European investment firm, tried to buy Hotter solvently in April but was trumped by a rival offer that was subsequently withdrawn.

Hotter Shoes trades from 17 standalone stores and just under 10 concessions in garden centres.

The company has been struggling for some time and in May announced that a £10m investment from Marwyn Investment Management had fallen through.

Unbound then said in a stock exchange announcement on 27 June that it had terminated a formal sale process for the Hotter Shoes business.

In 2020, it launched a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which resulted in the permanent closure of 46 stores.

Unbound has been contacted for comment.

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