The online clothing retailer Missguided is teetering on the brink of collapse after being issued a winding-up petition by clothing suppliers who are owed millions of pounds.
The fast fashion company, which made headlines with its £1 bikini three years ago, is understood to be close to calling in administrators from the insolvency specialists Teneo as early as Monday.
Police were called to the retailer’s Manchester headquarters after suppliers turned up earlier this week demanding overdue payments be made, the i newspaper reported.
A winding-up petition was issued on 10 May against Missguided by the Manchester-based clothing supplier JKS Fashions. Creditors have applied for compulsory liquidation, and a Manchester court is due to hear the case in July.
The newspaper said three suppliers for Missguided warned they were at risk of going bankrupt because of outstanding payments.
The Guardian understands some UK and overseas suppliers have not been paid for months.
Last autumn, the online retailer was saved from collapse when the retail investor Alteri, backed by investment firm Apollo, stepped in. Alteri announced redundancies in December as part of a turnaround plan. Last month, Missguided said it was looking for a new buyer, as its founder, Nitin Passi, stepped down as chief executive. JD Sports and the Chinese-backed fashion retailer Shein have been linked with potential bids.
Missguided hired Teneo to assess strategic options last month and it is now understood that the corporate advisory firm would oversee any insolvency process.
The company said: “Missguided is aware of the action of being taken by certain creditors of the company in recent days, and is working urgently to address this.
“A process to identify a buyer with the required resources and platform for the business commenced in April and we expect to a provide an update on progress of that process in the near future.”
Founded in 2009 by Passi, Missguided was among a small number of internet fashion brands to have enjoyed success at a time when the traditional high street is on its knees. The company enjoyed rapid growth in the UK and expanded into the US, Australia, France and Germany, but has struggled recently. The £1 bikini was being sold at a loss as a marketing stunt.