Victoria's Secret UK arm enters administration

The Victoria's Secret store on New Bond Street, London, as the UK arm of lingerie brand, which runs 25 stores across the UK, has slipped into administration. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret has entered administration in the UK, placing more than 800 jobs at risk.

The chain, which has 25 stores across the country, has been taken over by administrator Deloitte following the closure of all its shops since COVID-19 lockdown began in March.

Deloitte said there would be no immediate redundancies whilst it tried to find a buyer for the underwear brand or re-negotiate rents on its High Street stores.

Some 785 workers were already furloughed before administrators were appointed.

The UK arm of the firm, which is owned by parent company L Brands (LB), had been struggling before the pandemic struck and made an operating loss of £170m ($215.3m) in the year to February 2019.

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In recent years critics have accused Victoria's Secret of being outdated, sexist and lacking diversity.

And just last month a deal fell apart with private equity firm Sycamore Partners who were set to acquire a 55% majority stake in the company for $525m.

Deloitte is now taking a "light touch" approach to the administration which means managers can keep running the business.

All of its UK shops will remain closed but they will not be shut permanently for the time being.

The online business will continue trading and is excluded from the administration process.

Rob Harding, joint administrator at Deloitte said this was a "further example of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entire retail industry."

He added: "The effect of the lockdowns, combined with broader challenges facing bricks and mortar retailers, has resulted in a funding requirement for this business, resulting in its administration."

Several other UK high street brands have called in administrators since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak including fashion firms Cath Kidston, Debenhams and Laura Ashley.