Undie firm Ultimo set up by Michelle Mone to close after 22 years in the bra business

THE Ultimo underwear firm set up by Michelle Mone has announced it is going to stop trading in the UK.

The Tory peer, now known as Baroness Mone of Mayfair, set up the lingerie brand – whose models have included Penny Lancaster and Rachel Hunter – in 1996.

The brand was made popular abroad after Hollywood actress said that she wore one of the bras in the hit film Erin Brockovich.

Sri-Lankan based MAS holdings took on a majority shareholding in parent company Ultimo Brands International Ltd in 2014, with Lady Mone resigning as a director of the company the following year.

Now the firm has announced that after reviewing the business, its UK arm will cease trading.

Staff at the Ultimo headquarters in East Kilbride were informed, with a formal redundancy consultation now underway with the 11 employees there.

Michelle Mone set up the business in 1996, which was made popular by models like Penny Lancaster and Rachel Hunter

The Tory peer, known as Baroness Mone of Mayfair, sold the business in 2014

An Ultimo spokesman said: “The last few years have been extremely challenging for Ultimo, driven by increasing competition in the market and more cautious consumer spending due to the uncertainty surrounding the UK economy over the last 18 months.

“Having reviewed the business’ performance over the last three years as well as future prospects and considering the retail environment within which the business is operating, the board has, with regret, decided to cease operations of the Ultimo business in the UK.”

The spokesman added the company “would like to thank all staff, customers and suppliers for their commitment, support and loyalty to the Ultimo brand over the years”.

Ultimo’s UK operations will be wound up at the end of June, with the company pledging to honour financial commitments with suppliers and partners.

Its website will continue trading until April 15, with Ultimo products still available while stocks last.

It’s been a tough time of year for traders who have been making tough decisions to scale back following poor Christmas trading.

New Look is set to close 60 stores across the UK putting 980 jobs at risk, while Toys R Us is to cease trading completely.

Earlier this year, Morrisons said it is planning on slashing 1,500 shop floor roles, with Tesco axing 1,700 and Sainsbury’s also taking similar steps.

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