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MK One chain sold to retail restructuring company; RETAIL.

Budget clothing chain MK One has been sold to a retail restructuring specialist, it was announced yesterday by Baugur Group, its former majority owner.

The Icelandic investment firm, which owned around 60 per cent of the business said Mark One had been sold as a going concern, for an undisclosed sum to Hilco, which specialises in acquired under-performing business and turning them around.

Based in north London, MK One sells budget clothing for women, girls and teenagers and has a total of 172 stores across the UK and around 2,500 staff, but is currently lossmaking.

The chain has more than a dozen outlets around the Midlands, including stores in Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Leicester, Redditch, Coventry and Sutton Coldfield.

Baugur had owned the majority of the retailer with other major shareholders including Icelandic bank Landsbanki, Barclays and the retailer's management.

The chain has been up for sale following an overhaul of the Icelandic group's portfolio which has seen the sale of its media, property and technology interests.

Baugur is looking to concentrate solely on retail investments with the biggest growth potential.

Baugur's chief executive Gunnar Sigurdsson said: "MK One no longer fitted into the portfolio and we are pleased to announce the sale.

"It has a strong customer base with three good brands in the value sector, and I wish Hilco every success."

Baugur is also a major investor in fashion chains including Karen Millen, Coast and Oasis, as well as shoe brands such as Nine West and Pied a Terre.

Its investments in listed companies include Debenhams, Moss Bros and Woolworths, although the value of these has fallen as economic clouds gather over the high street.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 3, 2008
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