Jan 6, 2021
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M&S expected to buy Jaeger brand, but not its stores

Jan 6, 2021

M&S is reportedly close to a deal to buy Jaeger, which is part of retail billionaire Philip Day’s failed Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group. But while it’s believed to be taking on the brand and its stock, the stores aren’t part of the deal.

Photo: Sandra Halliday - DR

A change of ownership for the loss-making brand is expected perhaps as soon as this week, Sky News said. It represents the latest twist in the sometimes unfortunate history of the Jaeger Brand this century.

Once a premium-priced stalwart of the classic women's and menswear sectors, it has struggled in an increasingly casualwear-focused world and the pandemic was the final straw. It has changed ownership more than once and an attempt to make it into a ‘designer’ brand that took part in London Fashion Week was a stylistic success but not commercially viable. 

Since then it has returned to its more classic roots but its image as a formalwear brand has been a problem in the past year as social events were cancelled and working from home became the norm.

Yet the label, which once operated a chain of 250 stores, still has a strong reputation and could work well within the M&S set-up, having operated department store concessions for many years. 

M&S, like rival Next, is increasingly looking at adding new brands to its formerly-own-brand-only offer. The company has launched link-ups with Ghost and Nobody’s Child in recent periods and was also in the frame to take on the UK Victoria’s Secret operations, although Next eventually won the business.

Sky News, which cited unnamed sources close to Philip Day, said many of the other former assets that were part of EWM are “less likely to be salvaged”. The company also owns Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert, none of which are thought to be part of M&S’s deal. 

And as mentioned, the standalone Jaeger stores are also not on the M&S shopping list, which is understandable given M&S’s own huge estate of department store-style locations spread across the UK.

No official comment has been made by EWM or M&S and administrator FRP Advisory is also staying tight-lipped for now.

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