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British clothing company Joules to call in administrators

LONDON (Reuters) -The board of British clothing company Joules plans to appoint administrators after failing to find a new investor, becoming the latest retailer to face collapse as shoppers tighten their belts.

Joules tried to secure new financing last week after a mild autumn hit sales of coats, Wellington boots and wooly jumpers but it said on Monday that talks had failed and it intends to appoint administrators from Interpath Advisory.

Britain's shopping streets are struggling as soaring household bills squeeze discretionary spending and company insolvencies have hit their highest level for 13 years, data showed last month.

Online furniture seller Made.com has been the highest-profile casualty so far, appointing administrators last week, resulting in 400 job losses.

Joules employs 1,600 people and has 132 shops in Britain and Ireland.

The retailer was already in a weak position before the consumer downturn and unseasonably warm weather, says Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter, hurt by out of date designs and too much discounting.

"The Joules brand is still strong and, though it will need a modern twist to help it survive longer term, there is likely to be significant interest in the name and the intellectual property," Streeter said.

Joules had hoped that rival Next, which ended up buying the Made.com brand last week, would invest in the company to help with its turnaround but Next pulled out in September.

Shares in Joules, which is listed on the AIM junior market, will be suspended and a further announcement will be made in due course.

The company's value peaked at 440 million pounds ($519 million) in mid-2018.

($1 = 0.8482 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah YoungEditing by James Davey and David Goodman)