Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group to shutter over 50 stores as landlords reject proposals

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Edinburgh Woollen Mill Philip Day administration
The group, which owns Peacocks and Bonmarche, is seeking to push through a pre-pack administration
// Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group landlords attack administration proposals
// The group filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators from FRP Advisory earlier this month
// Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group is seeking to push through a pre-pack administration

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) landlords have reportedly criticised the administration proposals outlined by representatives of the fashion group, owned by billionaire Philip Day.

EWM filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators from FRP Advisory earlier this month to advise it on its restructuring.

The group, which owns Peacocks and Bonmarche, is seeking to push through a pre-pack administration that will mean Day will retain ownership of the group.


READ MORE: Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group calls in administrators, putting 24,000 jobs at risk


EWM wrote in a letter to landlords that the company and its “proposed 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”, Property Week reported.

The letter also said that a “rationalisation plan has been formulated and will be implemented immediately, which will result in the closure of over 50 stores within the next few days and it is anticipated that a further 100 – 150 stores will be closed during the next fortnight”.

Meanwhile, 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’ response also said that “other fashionwear groups have negotiated fair and appropriate concessionary rent arrangements with their landlords”.

Moreover, Ratcliffes Chartered Surveyors added that his landlord clients reject EWM’s proposals for the stores in question.

The letter concluded with Ratcliffe asking EWM to “kindly arrange for the shop keys, together with the alarm keys, details and codes, to be sent by recorded delivery to our offices forthwith”.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. 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

    • 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.

      • 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,!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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 .

  10. 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.

  11. I too worked for EWM and was made redundant by the manager of the shop who read out the notice off a scrappy piece of paper on the first day of lockdown in March, a few weeks later I received my p45 and any outstanding payslips through the post, no covering letter, no apologies (not that I expected one).
    Absolutely disgusted at how the bosses can get away with treating people in this way, as long as he and his family can still afford their private chef/housekeeper and all their luxurious lifestyles whilst their ex staff cling onto an existence he just doesn’t care.

  12. Why does no one ever think of all the suppliers who dont get paid . I was a supplier wanted 120 days credit. Knew they were in trouble . Luckily I told them to get stuffed and didn’t lose any money .

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