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Edinburgh Woollen Mill sold in rescue deal protecting 1,453 jobs
12 January 2021

Philip Day, the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, has secured a deal to rescue the brand and its sister business Ponden Homes from disappearing for good after they fell into administration last year.

Administrators at FRP confirmed 246 stores will be saved by Purepay Retail, which is controlled by Day. The deal secures the future for 1,453 workers.

The new owner will operate under licence across both brands, saving 1,347 shop workers, 72 employees at head office and a further 34 jobs at the company’s Carlisle distribution centre.

However, 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and 34 Ponden Home stores have been permanently closed as part of the agreement.

The fate of value fashion chains Peacocks and Bonmarche, which remain in administration, is not yet clear.

Tony Wright, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said: “We have extensively marketed these businesses for sale and this transaction provides the best chance to save stores and jobs, but also meet our own statutory obligations to creditors.

“However, with such little visibility on future trading conditions in UK retail, we regret that not all of Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home could be rescued.

“This has resulted in a significant number of redundancies at a particularly challenging time of year and period of economic uncertainty.

“We have a team working hard to support all those affected as we help make applications for redundancy payments.”

Former owner Day was a major secured creditor when EWM collapsed in November. The Dubai-based businessman is behind the deal to rescue the retailer and lined up a series of international investors who will provide the cash it needs to continue trading.

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