Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group administration proposals “outrageous” BPF says

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British Property Federation BPF Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group EWM Philip Day
Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owns Peacocks and Jaegar
// The British Property Federation slams Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s administration proposals
// The federation said wealthy UK business owners are “manipulating and abusing” insolvency rules
// Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators FRP Advisory earlier this month

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s (EWM) administration proposals have reportedly been condemned by the British Property Federation (BPF).

In a letter from representatives of the group, EWM said administrators are reviewing its lease portfolio with a view to determining which stores – if any – may be “retained and/or potentially transferred by the company”.

The letter also said that a “rationalisation plan has been formulated, which will result in the closure of over 50 stores within the next few days”.


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The BPF’s chief executive Melanie Leech said that anyone reading the letter should be “outraged”, Property Week reported.

Leech added that wealthy business owners are “manipulating and abusing” the UK’s insolvency rules.

EWM, which owns Peacocks and Jaegar and is owned by billionaire Philip Day, filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators FRP Advisory to advise it on its restructuring earlier this month.

Day is seeking to push through a pre-pack administration that will see him retain ownership of the group.

On Thursday, property group Ratcliffes Chartered Surveyors, which manages four retail properties leased to The EWM Group, wrote in response to the letter that “it is the intention of the EWM directors to place this previously very profitable company into administration”.

The response stated that Ratcliffes Chartered Surveyors and its clients are “surprised by this decision in respect of a company which reported pre-tax profits for the year to November 2019, of £23.4 million, and for the half year to March 2020, of £14.7 million”.

Ratcliffes Chartered Surveyors said its landlord clients reject EWM’s proposals for the stores in question.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Laura October 15, 2020 At 12:51 pm
    I’m not even surprised he’s attempting to buy his own businesses back. But it’s still outrageous. Billionaires shouldn’t be allowed to treat staff, landlords and suppliers this way

    Reply
    Lois Wilson October 15, 2020 At 4:31 pm
    I have worked for this company for a number of years . They have never treated people well but during covid it has been shocking . No contact , no payslips , getting wages incorrect over and over again , reducing hours with no consultation . So this is not a suprise. The workers will be on the dole . Mr Big will still be rich.

    Reply
    kenny owen October 15, 2020 At 7:02 pm
    Lois
    I totally agree with you!! I worked with them albeit part-time for few years,
    But because I was I stuck it out for awhile, most shop floor staff were Uni students trying earn a few Bob but treatment was shoddy to say the least even amounting to bullying from management!!
    So sorry for any loss of jobs not at the demise of billionaire owners and up thereselves managers,!

    Reply
    Lois Wilson October 15, 2020 At 4:31 pm
    I have worked for this company for a number of years . They have never treated people well but during covid it has been shocking . No contact , no payslips , getting wages incorrect over and over again , reducing hours with no consultation . So this is not a suprise. The workers will be on the dole . Mr Big will still be rich.

    Reply
    Peter October 15, 2020 At 5:22 pm
    It’s about time the landlords stood up to the retailers. If these stores are so unprofitable then as the man says send back the keys and get out, they know they make profit they are just trying to increase it by paying less in rent which ensures that the rich get richer and out pensions become worthless as much of them are tied up in property.

    CVA’s should be banned they are abused. The business should be sold on the open market, if he was told that a CVA meant an open sale of his business he wouldn’t do it because he knows someone like Mike Ashley would swoop in.

    Reply
    Liz October 15, 2020 At 5:30 pm
    I too have worked for this company for several years and have nothing good to say about them. Staff are way down at the bottom of their list of priorities. Sadly, Day will retain his fortune, and the staff and suppliers that he has exploited will suffer.

    Reply
    Shaz October 15, 2020 At 5:32 pm
    Worked for this company for 18years been off sick 5 years have not been played off still on the books was not even told my store closed and didnt open after 1st lockdown glad i am away from the bullying techtics I loved my store and my work colleagues nothing else

    Reply
    Sue October 15, 2020 At 5:43 pm
    I felt very let down by EWM when they finished me on the first day of the lockdown. I didn’t get anything in writing just a phone call telling me l was being made redundant. As l hadn’t worked for them for 2 years( they didn’t count the 9 months l worked to cover sickness) l wasn’t entitled to any redundancy. It was months later that l got and envelope with my P60 and P45 with no covering letter in the post. I felt very aggrieved. However l am sad that the company are currently going through these hard times. EWM has been around for years and it will be a shame if it disappears from the High Street.

    Reply
    Donna October 16, 2020 At 9:21 am
    Dishonest, abusing furlough scheme, closing stores so positions have gone but instead of making redundant he’s returned them to furlough. Now furlough scheme ending we are going into administration, so government now have to pay redundancies and not mr Day. If positions aren’t there, shops have closed then surely their jobs are redundant and they should receive redundancy straight away from the company. Thinks he above the law, untouchable and doing wrong by so many people in so many ways. Things should be looked into.

    Margaret October 16, 2020 At 10:31 am
    I have only worked for this company 4 yrs, I loved my job, staff and some of the management. We worked hard with hardly ever any thank you from the manageress. She really was a good manageress for the company, but for the staff, NO. Our store was hardly ever out of pocket, it was most of the time always full of customers.
    But at the end of the day, we are just numbers. I agree with all previous comments!

    Reply
    Selina October 16, 2020 At 11:18 am
    It’s me again I’ve been with them for 24 years I did not get any recognition or any service award in that disgusting

    Reply
    jimbob October 16, 2020 At 11:40 am
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54559888

    Lois Wilson October 16, 2020 At 12:19 pm
    I am glad that my experience of EWM is not unique . A lady who I used to work 5 years ago h rang me after seeing my post . She too worked in an EWM store in North Yorkshire . They were not given all the holiday they were entitled to and was basically bullied if they questioned anything. This included wages discrepancies, hours , days off . When they went to complain to the area manager they were basically told “if you don’t want to work here there are plenty who do” . Not a great attitude in Covid Britain in lock down . when i here about companies paying back furlough money to the government because they did ok through lock down it shows up precisely what EWM are all about .

    Reply
    Divewench October 16, 2020 At 5:23 pm
    5 members of staff at my branch were sacked as lockdown started. Shrewd move Mr Day.
    I loved working at EWM but as our store hadn’t been open for the 2 years, 2 months that makes you permanent, no redundancy money.
    Won’t shed any tears if my old branch closes. Worked bloody hard for no credit.

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