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Edinburgh Woollen Mill issues sale contracts to potential buyer

Tom Shearsmith
11 January 2021

Edinburgh Woollen Mill administrators are believed to have sent sale contracts to a potential buyer, accepting a rescue deal and saving a small number of its 400 stores.

According to The Sunday Times, FRP Advisory has issued sale contracts to the unnamed supposed buyer, potentially saving hundreds of jobs.

At the time of administration, the group permanently closed 56 EWM stores along, axing 750 jobs and putting a further 1,700 jobs under threat.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group was once a huge high street retail empire with brands including Peacocks, Bonmarché, Jaeger and Austin Reed. Most recently, Marks & Spencer hasreportedly been on the verge of a deal to acquire Jaeger. A potential MBO at Peacocks, led by head of e-commerce development, Josh Lowes, is reported to have stalled.

In November, Administrators at FRP Advisory said: "Recent months have proven extremely challenging for many retailers, even those that were trading well before the pandemic, including the teams at Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home. The administrations will provide some further protection while we continue our search for buyers to secure the long-term futures for both businesses."

"Regrettably, the impact of COVID-19 on the brands’ core customer base and tighter restrictions on trading mean that the current structure of the businesses is unsustainable and has resulted in redundancies."

As EWM collapsed in November, a FRP report suggested it owes creditors including suppliers and landlords approximately £192 million.

The outcome of the deal is expected to be formally announced in the coming weeks.

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