Apr 6, 2021
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Peacocks rescued by Bonmarché owner Simpson, hopes to reopen 200 stores

Apr 6, 2021

A rescue deal has been struck for the Peacocks chain that was part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill empire. But while a large number of stores have been saved, only around 200 of what was once a 400-strong chain will reopen when non-essential stores return this month.

Photo: Sandra Halliday

The brand shed around 200 stores and 2,000 jobs during the pandemic. But it said that all 2,000 remaining staff will hopefully return. The Peacocks business went into administration as part of the overall EWM failure lat last year. 

Although the plan is to reopen "up to" 200 stores, the final number of stores that will be operated – as has happened so often in recent periods – depends on the outcome of talks with landlords, sources close to the deal said.

As to the new owners, they’re headed by former EWM group exec Steve Simpson, backed by an investment consortium.

It's an interesting deal given that Peacocks’ former stablemate and one-time rival Bonmarché was sold to a vehicle (along with the Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain) including Simpson. 

It's not yet become clear who else is involved in the Peacocks deal, but it's believed that the investors are mainly based in Dubai, which is where Philip Day lives. It's unclear what his involvement is, although he's Peacocks’ biggest creditor and has agreed to support the deal with a deferred loan to the business.

It's also been reported that existing management will continue to run the business, as was the case with the Bonmarché/EWM deal.

The sale of the brand is particularly significant as it’s the last of the EWM group chains to be sold and in theory represents retail billionaire Philip Day's exit from direct involvement in the UK retail sector.


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