On 23 June Avenue 32 announced it was putting itself up for sale following a strategic review of the business earlier this year. The company said an investor would “improve its long-term positioning”, and during the ongoing sale process “certain operations” were being “scaled back and put on hold”.

It added that the website will continue to trade as normal.

However, an email seen by Drapers indicated that Avenue 32 was “preparing to wind up the company”.

Drapers understands the etailer has cancelled orders for autumn 17, is not placing orders for spring 18 and has returned current-season stock to brands as product was being discounted.

The website is offering up to 80% off all stock.

Avenue 32 said it is currently in talks with a potential buyer but declined to comment further.

Several brand sources expressed concern about the future of the business.

“I was very surprised [when orders were cancelled],” said one brand director. “It is a shame, as it is a lovely website and we always sold really well on there. Luckily we didn’t have a big order placed for autumn.”

One agent who sells to Avenue 32 said: “We have been worried about it but haven’t had anything confirmed [by them]. Luckily we don’t have a lot of stock committed for autumn.”

One retail source said the business faced challenges as it “didn’t have the right investment for digital marketing acquisition”.

Another observer said the firm’s customer database is likely to gain interest from other etailers: “They need a lot of cash. It is a very nice business, so I’ll be surprised if one of the bigger ecommerce guys like Yoox Net-a-Porter Group don’t buy it out for the database.”

Other sources indicated that fashion director Stephen Ayres has left the business. He joined in 2015 from Liberty, where he was head of fashion buying and merchandising. Ayres did not respond to request for comment.

Established in 2011 by Roberta Benteler, Avenue 32 stocks emerging designers and established brands.

Source: Google News