Edinburgh Woollen Mill buys Peacocks

The Scottish clothing group Edinburgh Woollen Mill has acquired the fashion chain Peacocks out of administration, saving 6,000 jobs.

EWM has bought 338 of Peacocks' stores and 49 concessions, as well as the brand, for an undisclosed sum.

But 3,100 staff at Peacocks have lost their jobs, as 224 of its shops have closed. The deal saved about half of the 500 head office jobs in Cardiff.

The Dumfriesshire-based group, which has 265 Edinburgh Woollen Mill shops, dropped out of the process to buy Peacocks 11 days ago, but returned to talks this week.

SKNL, an Indian supplier to the fashion chain, was the other remaining bidder. Peacocks had debts of £240m when it appointed KPMG as administrator last month.

EWM, which is controlled by Philip Day, has a record of buying distressed retailers. It acquired the failed fashion retailer Jane Norman last year, and previously bought from administrators the stores and assets of the soft furnishing chains Ponden Mill and Rosebys.

Mr Day carried out a £67.5m management buyout of EWM 2002. His personal fortune is estimatedat £300m.

Separately, administrators at KPMG have closed the remaining stores of the gift chain Past Times.

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