// Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group is mulling a sale of some of its brands
// The retail group has seen the interest come from international strategic investors
Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) has seen some of its heritage brands approached by a number of interested buyers.
The group, owned by billionaire Philip Day, has seen the interest come from international strategic investors – including parties based in China, which remains unsolicited.
EWM’s brand portfolio includes the likes of British retailers Jaeger and Austin Reed.
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Retail Gazette understands that the interest has largely been on the basis of the brands’ British heritage, history and international appeal.
EWM has appointed an adviser to evaluate the bids. Any sale process would be on a solvent basis.
A source close to the situation has said there was no suggestion that Day was examining a sale of a stake in the wider EWM Group.
In 2016, EWM acquired fashion retailer Austin Reed, as well as its stock and five concessions in Boundary Mill Stores.
The following year, it took over premium retailer Jaeger, after it fell into administration.
Moreover, EWM added retailers Jacques Vert and its Calvetron Brands stablemates, Eastex and Windsmoor, to its portfolio in 2018, after the parent company collapsed.
It also acquired men’s tailoring supplier Berwin & Berwin out of administration.
In June, EWM was criticised by manufacturers in Bangladesh over allegations that it has not paid its bills.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) wrote in a letter on May 26 to EWM to address that the group should stop asking for discounts otherwise it would be blocked from placing future orders.
Bangladeshi suppliers to EWM accused it of taking “undue advantage of the Covid-19 situation” and “demanding unreasonable discounts”.
EWM told Retail Gazette at the time that it has operated in Bangladesh for 30 years without any issues or problems at all, and “continues to feel a strong and positive relationship with the vast majority of suppliers”.