Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), the owner of the high street retailer Peacocks and Jaeger a British fashion brand, has revealed that it plans to appoint administrators in an effort to save the business. The announcement has put up to 21,000 jobs at risk.
EWM Chief Executive Steve Simpson said: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult. 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. Traditionally, EWM has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet, but these stories, the reduction in credit insurance, against the backdrop of the lockdown and now this second wave of Covid-19, and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible.
“As directors we have a duty to the business, our staff, our customers and our creditors to find the very best solution in this brutal environment. So we have applied to court today for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators. Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.
“I would like to thank all our staff for their amazing efforts during this time and also our customers who have remained so loyal and committed to our brands.”
Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which is owned by billionaire businessman Philip Day, has more than 1,100 stores across the UK. Stores will continue to operate as normal until a review of the firm can be completed.
EWM has appointed FRP to review the business. A spokesperson from the firm said: “Our team is working with the directors of a number of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group subsidiaries to explore all options for the future of its retail brands, including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Jaeger, Ponden Mill and Peacocks.”