Topshop is the latest clothing retailer to hit financial strife, with receivers taking over the business today.

Facing ever increasing competition from online retail giants - whose size often lets them offer cheaper prices - bricks and mortar clothing stores in this country are enduring a tough time.

The key difference between Topshop and the rest? The heavyweights who brought the British clothing brand to New Zealand shores.

Among them is Karen Walker, arguably New Zealand's most high profile fashion designer.


Others involved are former Ballantynes managing director and ex-EziBuy chief executive Mary Devine, Barkers managing director Jamie Whiting and Christchurch rich lister Philip Carter.

It begs the question: if this group of extremely experienced and well-connected businesspeople can't make a clothing retailer work, who can?

Topshop also ran into difficulties in Australia - where it went into voluntary administration in May.

At that time, Top Retail - the company behind Topshop and Topman in New Zealand - was still reported to have plans for more stores over-and-above their two existing Auckland and Wellington sites.

It's not clear if these stores will remain open in the long-term, although receivers Conor McElhinney and Kare Johnstone will continue to trade in the meantime.

The pair said they will now "assess options for the company".

"Any parties interested in the business or assets or any part thereof, such as the leases or fit-out, should contact the receivers urgently."

While McElhinney and Johnstone could sell it as a going concern, I'd doubt there's many people in New Zealand retailing who'd be willing to take up the challenge, given the cachet of those who tried and failed.