Oct 19, 2020
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EWM might buy back Peacocks chain only, Tillman reportedly interested in jaeger

Oct 19, 2020

Philip Day, the retail billionaire behind Edinburgh Woollen Mill, could be preparing to buy back the budget fashion chain Peacocks after an administration filing, while exiting the rest of the business. 


That’s according to a report in The Sunday Times, which said that current EWM CEO Steve Simpson could run the new entity that would focus on the best-performing Peackocks branches.

The deal would reportedly include US hedge fund Davidson Kempner, which would take a minority stake. 

EWM, which also owns brands such as Jaeger and Austin Reed, has filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators to the business, temporarily blocking any creditor action. It had 10 days to work out a plan and the period expires on Thursday, although an extension could be requested.

Any Peacocks-focused recovery plan would jeopardise thousands of jobs. The wider group had been operating 1,100 stores, employing 21,000 people. The company closed 50 of its stores last week with the loss of 600 jobs and it’s believed that another 150 could close in the next few weeks.

Peacocks itself has around 400 stores, but it’s not known how many of those might be included in the new set-up. It’s also believed that Peacocks peer Bonmarché, which Philip Day controls through another company, would continue as it’s run outside of the EWM Group.

So what might happen to the firm’s other brands? Edinburgh Woollen Mill is up for sale and could be liquidated if a sales doesn’t go through. But it’s been profitable for years prior to the pandemic so could generate plenty of interest. 

And The Sunday Times said Day has received bids for Austin Reed and Jaeger with former Jaeger owner Harold Tillman believed to be among the suitors for the latter.

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