Former Missguided employees say they found out they were being fired via an ’emotionless’ automated voicemail message amid reports they were taking legal action against the company. Some 330 jobs have been at risk after the Greater Manchester-based fast fashion retailer went into operation last month following claims the business owed suppliers millions of pounds.
Staff have now claimed they were given less than half an hour’s notice to join a conference call about their whereabouts, as colleagues who were on vacation discovered it via social media. The retailer, which is headquartered in Trafford Park, has appointed Teneo Financial Advisory to sell its business and assets after supply chain costs, rising inflation and ‘slowing’ confidence consumers would have been the main causes of the company’s collapse.
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The online retailer has since been taken over by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which confirmed it bought the intellectual property from Missguided. According to Manchester-based lawyers Aticus Law, some employees are now set to take legal action over claims they were not properly consulted during the redundancy process.
Speaking on the shock collapse, a former employee now looking to take legal action said: “For the last three or four weeks there has been no communication from the company.
“The whole company had a conference call with 25 minutes notice, people who weren’t there or on annual leave missed it. The call was an emotionless automated message saying we’d been laid off and that our services were no longer needed. Many colleagues discovered that they had lost their jobs via social networks, everyone is devastated”.
Aticus Law says they are now looking into those claims, with a view to taking legal action over how the dismissal process was handled. It comes after Missguided received a liquidation petition last month from vendors who claim to be owed millions. Police had already been called to the retailer’s headquarters after suppliers showed up to demand overdue payments be made.
The company was founded in 2009 by Nitin Passi and has grown rapidly amid growing demand for online fashion. But Missguided has been hit hard by soaring supply costs, greater inflationary pressures and declining consumer confidence in an increasingly competitive market.
Boohoo was in talks to buy the business in a pre-pack administration deal, while Asos and JD Sports were also reportedly interested. Last fall, Missguided was rescued by a takeover by investment firm Alteri, which announced layoffs in December as part of a turnaround plan.
Last month the retailer confirmed it was looking for a potential new buyer as founder Mr Passi stepped down as chief executive amid continued financial pressure. In March, BusinessLive reported that Missguided had launched a 45-day consultation that put 140 jobs at risk.
Frasers Group, which also owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, confirmed last week that it had purchased the intellectual property of retailer and sister brand Mennace for around £20million. He confirmed that Missguided will continue to be operated by administrators for a transition period of approximately eight weeks.
Frasers said he then intended to continue to run Missguided as a “standalone” brand within his group.
Michael Murray, Managing Director of Frasers Group, said: “We are delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided, which will benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform and our operational excellence. women’s fashion trends will bring additional expertise to the wider Frasers Group. »
The Teneo administrators were approached by the Manchester to comment on reports of possible legal action, but declined to comment.
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