// Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group given 10-day extension on filing for an intention to appoint administrators to avoid collapse
// Bosses started closing 50 stores with 600 job losses as they work on securing backing for the business
// There is interest in parts of the business, understood to be the Peacocks and Jaeger brands
Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has been granted a further 10 working days to speak to potential suitors and work on a rescue plan.
The company – which operates the eponymous Edinburgh Woollen Mill alongside Jaeger and Peacocks and several other fascias – said earlier this month that it would go bust without filing for an intention to appoint administrators with the High Court, with 24,000 jobs in the balance.
Since then, bosses have started closing 50 stores with 600 job losses, while they work through securing backing for the rest of the business.
- Mike Ashley eyes rival Philip Day’s Jaeger brand
- TM Lewin owner mulls Jaeger takeover
- Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s Philip Day plots to rescue Peacocks
According to a memo seen by the PA news agency, there is interest in parts of the business, understood to be the Peacocks and Jaeger brands.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group and TM Lewin parent company Torque Brands have been among those to have expressed interest in taking over Jaeger.
Philip Day, the retail mogul who owns Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, is also reported to be trying to save Peacocks, with a capital injection from US hedge fund Davidson Kempner.
However, it is understood a further 100 to 150 stores across the company are being earmarked for closure while talks continue with landlords.
Discussions on the sale of the Peacocks brand were also hit by lockdown restrictions in Wales, as Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s headquarters and distribution centre are based in Cardiff.
Bosses wrote to staff on Friday morning, warning them that the national and local lockdowns had hit sales heavily.
In a note written to staff, the company – owned by retail tycoon Philip Day – said it had been a challenging time and thanked workers for their efforts.
“Two weeks ago we wrote to you to say that we had applied to the High Court to protect the group from creditors for a short time, while we worked on a longer term plan to rescue as much of it as possible from the devastating effects of Covid-19 and the lockdowns,” the memo read.
“Since then we have been working on that plan and have made good progress, but it is a complex and difficult process.
“We are speaking to a number of parties who are interested in either buying parts of the business or offering investment.
“What is clear is that this process will mean a lot of change for all of us and inevitably a significant number of store closures.
“We are pleased to say though that today the High Court has agreed to extend the breathing space for another two weeks to give us more time to work on the details and further pursue these opportunities.
“We will use this time as best we can to protect the businesses and save jobs.”
with PA Wires