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Womenswear label, Karen Millen, was founded in 1981, opening its first store two years later. The business expanded to reach 32 UK stores and a number of international partners before being sold by its founders in 2004. By the 2010s, the brand had started to lose relevance with consumers and was sustaining heavy losses.

In June 2019, Karen Millen’s owners put the business up for sale. In the absence of offers for the business in its entirety, the company entered administration in August. The intellectual property and ecommerce operation were acquired by online fashion specialist, Boohoo plc, while the Administrators appointed Hilco Capital to trade the stores and sell through stock.

Karen Millen

Hilco Capital’s role

  • Appointed by the Administrators of Karen Millen to operate a store closure programme and run the stock liquidation process across the estate
  • Managed supplier liaison, negotiating settlements and ensuring continuity of supply
  • Deployed 12 retail consultants at store level to manage the closure process and handover of stores
  • Guaranteed the minimum recovery achieved from selling the inventory
  • Created custom POS designs to meet the individual requirements of different landlords and host stores
  • Provided head office and marketing support




  • Fast response to department stores’ signage requirements maximised concession sales within the limited trading period available
  • Advertising on shopping mall screens maximised sales in centres where lease agreements prevented ‘store closing’ messaging in store windows
  • 31 Karen Millen stores, one Coast outlet and 133 department store concessions operated and handed back ‘broom clean’ within an expedited trading period
  • Recoveries exceeded minimum guarantees agreed with Karen Millen’s Administrators, providing the highest possible returns to the company’s creditors