Peacocks deal sees 2,000 jobs lost: Fashion chain to return to High Street after rescue by old management team
Fashion chain Peacocks will return to the High Street with 2,000 fewer staff after it was rescued from administration by its old management team.
Chief operating officer Steve Simpson will take over the business, with the backing of a consortium of Middle Eastern investors, primarily based in Dubai.
The deal protects only half of the 4,000 jobs and 200 of its 400 stores will not reopen.
Saved: Fashion chain Peacocks is set to return to the High Street but 200 of its 400 stores will not reopen
The chain was part of billionaire retail mogul Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) fashion empire.
The group was made up of five brands: Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, Jaeger, Bonmarche and Ponden Home.
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home chains collapsed into administration at the start of November, with Peacocks and Jaeger following suit a fortnight later. Bonmarche went into administration in December, the second time it had gone bust in 14 months.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Ponden Home and Bonmarche were then rescued in January by the syndicate of investors which has bought Peacocks.
Marks & Spencer bought Jaeger in the same month, taking it online-only, leading to the closure of 67 stores and the loss of more than 300 jobs.
Day is no longer in control of the EWM group following decades as the head of a major player on the High Street. But company sources said the tycoon, who lives in Dubai, helped in the hunt for a new buyer for Peacocks.
Unsecured creditors, including landlords, suppliers and the taxman, will lose out and are unlikely to get their money back. Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley was interested in Peacocks, but administrators failed to reach an agreement with him.
Peacocks had 400 stores going into the pandemic a year ago and announced a series of job losses and store closures last year as it struggled to manage under the various restrictions.
It was one of the highest-profile business failures of the pandemic, along with Topshop owner Arcadia and Debenhams, whose collapse led to 23,000 job losses and 600 store closures.
Around 16,000 shops closed their doors permanently last year, and it is expected that 400,000 retail staff will lose their jobs in 2020 and 2021.
Last night Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group said it had been frozen out of the sale process by Peacocks’s administrator.
It said FRP Advisory denied access to key information about the brand’s property, stock and finances, making it ‘virtually impossible’ to make a credible offer.