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News | 1st November 2020
 

Day earns extension to save retail empire

High Court grants EWM Group two more weeks to save firm

 
 
 

EDINBURGH Woollen Mill Group has been granted another two weeks to come up with a rescue plan.

But a company spokesperson said the whole 10 days may not be needed if talks with potential buyers of some of the brands come to a successful conclusion.

The fact the High Court had granted the extension was a positive step. If there had been no hope, the court would have appointed administrators.

There had been a lot of media speculation over the sale of parts of the business and there was interest.

Depending on how this progressed, there might be an announcement ahead of the 10-day deadline on the outcome to the situation.

The group operates Edinburgh Woollen Mill, along with Jaeger and Peacocks and several other brands. About 24,000 jobs are at risk, including employees in Eskdale and Liddesdale.

The proposed deal would not include the Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain, which could be liquidated unless a buyer was found, according to Retail Gazette.

It has started closing 50 stores affecting 600 jobs, while it works on securing backing for the rest of the business.

It’s believed there is interest in the Peacocks and Jaeger brands, particularly.

It’s also believed another 100 to 150 stores across the company are being earmarked for closure while talks continue with landlords.

Billionaire Philip Day, who owns Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, is reported to be trying to save Peacocks with a capital injection from a US hedge fund.

Discussions on the sale of Peacocks were hit by a new lockdown in Wales. The group’s headquarters and distribution centre are in Cardiff.

Staff were told that the national and local lockdowns had hit sales heavily.

The company had made good progress on its plans but there would be changes, including a significant number of store closures.

According to Drapers magazine, the group has reportedly set aside several stores in its UK portfolio for permanent closure.

It has permanently closed its stores in Penrith in Cumbria and Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands.

Stores in Andover in Hampshire, Oswestry in Shropshire and Newbury in Berkshire have left “closing down sale” signs in their shop windows.

Meanwhile, Peacocks stores in Acomb in North Yorkshire, East Dereham in Norfolk, Ryde and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, Washington in Tyne and Wear, and the Bonmarché stores in Newcastle upon Tyne also have “closing down sale” signs displayed.

The group has 1,100 stores in its portfolio.

Over the weekend Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group expressed an interest in acquiring Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert to boost the group’s portfolio.

Last week it was reported that TM Lewin’s parent company Torque Brands, Simba Sleep co-founder James Cox and Jaeger’s former owner Harold Tillman were among the bidders for Jaeger.

 
 
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