Peacocks and Jaeger fall into administration, threatening 4,700 jobs

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which owns both brands, failed to secure buyers

Andy Gregory,Ben Chapman
Thursday 19 November 2020 17:52
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<p>No redundancies or store closures have been confirmed yet at Peacocks or Jaeger</p>

No redundancies or store closures have been confirmed yet at Peacocks or Jaeger

High street fashion retailers Jaeger and Peacocks have fallen into administration, putting more than 4,700 jobs at risk.

Bosses at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which owns both brands, failed to secure new buyers within a two-week deadline.

It comes less than a fortnight after two other brands in the EWM group – Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Hill – were plunged into administration, leaving 866 people without employment and permanently shuttering 64 stores.

“Jaeger and Peacocks are attractive brands that have suffered the well-known challenges that many retailers face at present,” said joint administrator Tony Wright, from FRP Advisory.

“We are in advanced discussions with a number of parties and working hard to secure a future for both businesses.”

No redundancies or store closures have been confirmed yet at Peacocks or Jaeger.

Bosses at the two companies had been granted an extension by the High Court in their search for a buyer, but this deadline passed this week.

Founded in 1946, the Carlisle-based Edinburgh Woollen Mill specialised in knitware and homeware, and is owned by entrepreneur Philip Day, whose EWM group employs more than 20,000 people. Mr Day has a £1.14bn fortune, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Lockdown restrictions and health fears have decimated sales among the group’s core customer base of overseas tourists and the elderly.

Last month, EWM chief executive Steve Simpson said this year had been “extremely difficult” for the company. He took aim at a trade organisation which claimed that EWM has not paid its suppliers in Bangladesh.  

“This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance,” Mr Simpson said.

EWM warned in October that a potential takeover of Peacocks had been threatened because of allegations circulated by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

BGMEA claimed that EWM had £27m of unpaid bills with suppliers, a claim which the group denies.

An EWM spokesperson said: "While talks are ongoing, we no longer have an option to extend the standstill agreement originally imposed by the High Court six weeks ago any further.

"Therefore as directors we taken the desperately difficult decision to place Peacocks and Jaeger into administration while those talks continue.

“We will continue to do all we can to support FRP Advisory in trying to secure the best outcome possible for these businesses.”

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