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It Came From Carlos Place

mike ashley
If Frasers, which spent the last three months attempting to right the Matches books, gave up so quickly, who would bother in their stead? Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
March 11, 2024

On Thursday night, the Frasers Group announced that Matches, the luxury retailer it bought just three months ago for a measly £52 million, would enter administration, the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection. The headlines mostly posited that Frasers, owned by skeevy British entrepreneur Mike Ashley, was “shutting” Matches down. That’s not true. Not yet, at least. The release explained that Matches, which includes a website and three stores, would continue to operate while Frasers looked for a buyer. (WWD suggested Next, another High Street group.) Exactly 273 employees are set to be laid off so that trade can continue. (Strategic comms firm Teneo is involved.) 

In the hours after the news broke, I heard several variations of “they owe us something like $100K,” from owners of brands. None were terribly surprised, even if Matches C.E.O. Nick Beighton was somehow blindsided, according to people in the loop. In January, the company started reaching out to partners, telling some of them that they wouldn’t be paid for their spring shipment unless they agreed to a 30 percent discount. Others were asked to grant a discount on upcoming orders, and to shave down the number of units on those orders.