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Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant chain collapses

It is the latest victim of rough trading environment on Britain's high streets

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"I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade," - Chef Oliver (above).

London

BRITISH celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver on Tuesday said that his restaurant group employing 1,300 staff had collapsed.

Mr Oliver expressed deep sadness at the move that comes amid fierce competition. "I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade,"

Mr Oliver said in a statement. "I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected," he added.

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Mr Oliver's group has officially fallen into administration - the process whereby a troubled company calls in outside expertise to try and minimise job losses.

Mr Oliver founded his Jamie's Italian brand of high street restaurant in 2008. His restaurant group also includes Barbecoa, a steakhouse, and Jamie Oliver's Diner.

Mr Oliver is famed for his "Naked Chef" books and TV shows, which were broadcast in dozens of countries, as well as his campaigning over healthier school meals.

His restaurant chain is the latest victim of a rough trading environment on Britain's high streets. In March, Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) said it planned to close more than a third of its Giraffe and Ed's Easy Diner outlets, while Carluccio's, Prezzo, Strada and Gourmet Burger Kitchen closed branches in 2018.

The chef's company filed notice in the High Court for administration, a process similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. The proceedings involve 25 Jamie's Italian, Barbecoa steakhouse and Fifteen eateries in the UK but not the international division.

Mr Oliver has tried to revive his restaurant business for the past few years amid a tough consumer market, intense competition and rising costs. Last year the chef completed a company voluntary arrangement of his Jamie's Italian brand. Such a procedure allows a business to cut shops and slash rents, but that was not enough.

His restaurants are the latest victims of a shakeout that's spread to Britain's casual-dining business after hitting the likes of Applebee's, TGI Friday's and Ruby Tuesday in the US. News of the impending administration was first reported by Sky News. AFP, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG