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Buyer Rescues Bankrupt Aldo UK, Saves Hundreds of Jobs

The U.K. operations of footwear retailer Aldo was sold to Bushell Investment Group, a move that will help save hundreds of jobs and maybe even create new ones down the road.

The Birmingham-based firm acquired the footwear operation out of administration, the U.K. equivalent of a bankruptcy in the U.S.

The Montreal-based Aldo filed its bankruptcy case in Québec in May, and subsequently made similar filings in the U.S. and Switzerland, followed by similar moves in the U.K. and Ireland in June. Aldo blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for derailing sales and forcing the bankruptcy filings.

Noting the rapid and significant changes in the retail landscape in recent years, CEO David Bensadoun said at the time of the Canadian filing: “We were making strong progress with the transformation of our business to tackle these challenges; however, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has put too much pressure on our business and our cash flows.”

The footwear firm shuttered five U.K. stores, leaving eight in operation following the filing. Aldo, which retained RSM as its administrator, subsequently opened three new stores while in administration. At the time of the filing, it had eight stores in London, and the balance in Manchester, Watford, Croydon, Thurrock and Kent. It wasn’t immediately clear which stores were slated for closure.

With the sale of the U.K. business to Bushell, the footwear retailer will keep 11 stores and its e-commerce platform in operation.

“Working with the Aldo Group, we believe there is a real opportunity to develop this globally recognized brand in the U.K.,” Lee Bushell, Bushell’s chairman, told Retail Gazette, which reported that the acquisition will save more than 700 jobs and protect more than 30 million pounds ($38.4 million) of investment.