Peacocks owner on brink putting 24,000 jobs at risk

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, owner of the Peacocks and Jaeger clothing brands, said it plans to appoint administrators in an attempt to save the business.

The move puts 24,000 jobs at risk amid what the company described as “brutal” trading conditions.

“Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult,” said Edinburgh Woollen Mill chief executive Steve Simpson.

The stores will continue to trade as a review of the business is carried out.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which is owned by billionaire businessman Philip Day, has 1,100 stores for its brands which also include Bonmarché and Austin Reed.

Mr Day has a £1.14bn fortune according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

He bought Bonmarché out of administration in February. The deal ruffled some feathers, since Mr Day was its previous owner and landlords and suppliers were expected to forgive some of its debts.

“Significant cuts”

EMW said it has filed a notice to appoint administrators due, in part, to “the harsh trading conditions caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Mr Simpson said: “Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.”

EWM has appointed FRP to review the business. The firm was also hired for the Bonmarché administration.

A spokesperson for FRP said: “Our team is working with the directors of a number of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group subsidiaries to explore all options for the future of its retail brands, including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Jaeger, Ponden Mill, and Peacocks.”

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