// 2 retailers in Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s stable fall into administration with 866 job cuts & a further 1821 at risk
// 56 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores permanently close along with 8 Ponden Home shops
// Remaining 328 Edinburgh Woollen Mill & 65 Ponden Home stores will continue to trade while a buyer is sought
// Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group also granted a further 2-week extension to continue rescue talks for Peacocks & Jaeger
Two of the four brands in Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s stable of high street chains have fallen into administration with 866 jobs gone and a further 1821 jobs under threat.
Administrators from FRP Advisory confirmed on Friday afternoon that 56 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores have now permanently closed along with eight Ponden Home shops.
The remaining 328 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and 65 Ponden Home stores will continue to trade, Covid-19 restrictions permitting, while a buyer is sought.
- Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group begins shuttering several stores
- Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group given 10-day extension to avoid collapse
- Mike Ashley eyes rival Philip Day’s Jaeger brand
However, sources close to the process say they believe a buyer is unlikely to be found and a total of 2571 staff face losing their jobs.
“Recent months have proven extremely challenging for many retailers, even those that were trading well before the pandemic, including the teams at Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home,” FRP Advisory partner and joint administrator Tony Wright said.
“The administrations will provide some further protection while we continue our search for buyers to secure the long-term futures for both businesses.
“Regrettably, the impact of Covid-19 on the brands’ core customer base and tighter restrictions on trading mean that the current structure of the businesses is unsustainable and has resulted in redundancies.”
Separately, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group – owned by retail tycoon Philip Day – has been granted a further two-week extension by the High Court to continue discussions with potential suitors for its other brands Peacocks and Jaeger.
The company said last 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.
It is understood there is interest in parts of the business but a further 100 to 150 stores across the group are being earmarked for closure while talks continue with landlords on reducing rents.
Discussions on the sale of the Peacocks brand were also hit by lockdown restrictions in Wales, with the retailer’s headquarters and distribution centre based in Cardiff.
“Over the past month we explored all possible options to save Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home from going into administration, but unfortunately the ongoing trading conditions caused by the pandemic and lockdowns proved too much,” aa spokesman for Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group said:
“In the case of Peacocks and Jaeger we are speaking to a number of parties who are interested in either buying parts of the business or offering investment, and those conversations are ongoing.”
The company is reportedly in talks with TM Lewin parent company Torque Brands to buy Jaeger and other parties – such as retail mogul Mike Ashley – are said to be interested.
It is also reported to be trying to save Peacocks, with a capital injection from US hedge fund Davidson Kempner.
with PA Wires