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Headen & Quarmby, the licensees appointed to manufacture Mary Portas’ ‘Kinky Knickers’ underwear brand, are taking administration advice following a tough festive period.

Ms Portas expressed her surprise in a post on her Facebook page, revealing that Headen & Quarmby were still planning ways to strengthen the Kinky Knickers brand, as well as launching their own ranges.

But over the Christmas period, a large retailer cancelled an order and several smaller retailers went bust, with disastrous knock-on consequences for H&Q.

“This is, of course, the sad reality of retail and manufacturing in Britain today,” Ms Portas wrote.

She admitted that the news came as a real surprise, as H&Q were speaking positively to her “right up until this announcement”.

While the revelation might sound like an embarrassment for Ms Portas, whose advice is generally aimed at avoiding firms needing administration advice, rather than the other way around, the Kinky Knickers brand itself is unaffected.

This could see it licensed to another manufacturer or, if H&Q can be saved from company liquidation, they may be able to retain the contract, which would be likely to play a significant role in helping them to find their feet once again.