Retail group The Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) is to take 33 stores from the failed Jane Norman business saving at least 396 jobs, it has been confirmed today.
Another 28 stores and a number of concessions may follow as part of a transitional services agreement but the remaining 31 stores in the UK & Ireland will be closed costing more than 1,200 jobs.
The news was revealed by Zolfo Cooper, the administrator for Jane Norman, which had agreed a pre-pack deal with clothing retailer EWM which saw the properties change hands after the business closed its doors at the weekend.
Debenhams had also been touted as a potential buyer due to its Jane Norman concessions, but no formal offer has been made by the department store group.
Alastair Beveridge, Partner at Zolfo Cooper, said: “It has been an exacting time for the company, which has a substantial amount of debt.
“We are pleased to have ensured the survival of such a familiar presence on the high street, while securing the jobs of at least 396 Jane Norman employees.
“Unfortunately, the sale has resulted in job losses, which we appreciate is difficult news for those involved. We would like to thank them for their professionalism and support during what has been an uncertain time.”
Details of Jane Norman’s demise emerged yesterday after the retailer closed all its stores at the weekend, following Friday’s rental payment due date.
The company’s concessions will continue in Debenhams stores for the time being with a view of securing the sale of these in due course.
It has been a tough few days for retail with several companies, including Habitat, Homeform and TJ Hughes either falling into or seeking administration, with the number of failed businesses in the industry the highest since the banking crisis three years ago.
Jonathan De Mello, Head of Retail Consultancy at real estate company CB Richard Ellis, commented: “With a recent spate of retailer administrations and profit warnings over the past week, it is clear that the retail sector - the UK’s second largest private sector employer - is going through troubled times.
“One can only hope that the recent demise of Jane Norman and TJ Hughes is not the start of a wider spate of high street casualties, as seen post Lehman brothers in 2008.”