Dec 2, 2020
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Bonmarché is latest retailer to collapse with new administration filing

Dec 2, 2020

Three days into the week and now a third major chain has collapsed. On Wednesday, value womenswear business Bonmarché filed for administration again, with 1,500 jobs at risk.


The 225-store company was controlled by Philip Day whose Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, and Jaeger businesses also collapsed last month.

RSM Restructuring Advisory’s Damian Webb and Gordon Thomson are joint administrators and they said the 225 stores would continue trading while they explore options. They seemed upbeat about its prospects.

Webb said: "Bonmarché remains an attractive brand with a loyal customer base. [We are] working closely with management to explore the options for the business. We will shortly be marketing the business for sale and based on the interest to date, we anticipate there will be a number of interested parties.”

Bonmarché’s core market is a cost-conscious 50+ customer and one issue could be that while the stores have been closed for much of the year, this age group is less likely to switch to buying online than younger consumers are. They also seem to be more reticent about going into those stores that are open while the pandemic still rages and they’re also less likely to feel the need to tap into new trends as often as their younger peers.

There’s also a danger than retailers will forget what really matters to these customers and chase too many trends, rather than focusing on things like quality and fit. 

The retailer has been in administration before, three times in fact, most recently a little over a year ago.

At that time, previous owner PhilipDay bought it back in a pre-pack deal that allowed the company to shed costs and close stores. 

But, like Philip Green with Arcadia, Day isn’t expected to step in again and that being the case, it would mean he’s completely retreated from the various retail businesses he’d built up.

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