Peacocks and Jaeger have been placed into administration by parent Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) leaving 4,700 jobs hanging in the balance.
Administrators from FRP Advisory were appointed this afternoon and say they are in active talks with buyers for the two fashion chains.
Tony Wright, joint administrator, said: “Jaeger and Peacocks are attractive brands that have suffered the well-known challenges that many retailers face at present.
“We are in advanced discussions with a number of parties and working hard to secure a future for both businesses.”
At present no redundancies or store closures have been announced and the businesses will continue to trade while FRP examines options for their future.
Peacocks, which also owns fellow value fashion chain Bonmarche, trades from more than 400 stores with 4,369 staff, while Jaeger has 76 stores and concessions employing nearly 350 staff.
An EWM spokesperson added: “In recent weeks we have had constructive discussions with a number of potential buyers for Peacocks and Jaeger Ltd but the continuing deterioration of the retail sector due to the impact of the pandemic and second lockdown have made this process longer and more complex than we would have hoped.
“While those talks are ongoing, we no longer have an option to extend the standstill agreement originally imposed by the High Court six weeks ago any further.
“Therefore as directors we taken the desperately difficult decision to place Peacocks and Jaeger into administration while those talks continue.
“We will continue to do all we can to support FRP Advisory in trying to secure the best outcome possible for these businesses.”
EWM placed its eponymous Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain into administration earlier this month with the likely loss of all of its stores, and last month also filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators to Peacocks and Jaeger. This notice was extended for two weeks to help the company buy time to secure a rescue deal.
The group’s owner Philip Day was said to be in talks with Davidson Kempner, the American hedge fund, to take a stake in Peacocks and secure its future, allowing Day to retain control. He was also said to be keen to retain control of Jaeger. Day acquired Peacocks out of administration in 2012 and Jaeger in 2017.
Frasers Group was among those said to be interested in bidding for the businesses, but earlier this month pulled away from the process arguing that it had been “frozen out” and had not been provided with sufficient information to make a bid. Administrators denied this and said that the bid offered was insufficient.
Former Jaeger owned Harold Tillman was also said to be interested in picking up the brand he sold to Better Capital in 2012 with TM Lewin’s new owner Torque Brands is also said to be in the frame.