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Edinburgh Woollen Mill future hangs in the balance

Created on 09/10/2020 @ 19:20

The future of one of Welshpool’s bigger retailers is in doubt after its owner admitted that it is the latest big name to run into trouble as a result of Covid-19.

The shop is located at the former railway station, but jobs are now a risk after it filed a notice to appoint administrators and warned of “significant cuts and closures”.

The high street fashion chain also owns Peacocks, which has a store in Newtown, and Jaeger, and employs over 20,000 staff.

But it has now lodged a notice of intention to appoint administrators to look for potential buyers as it attempts to keep the business afloat. Bosses told staff on Friday morning that national and local coronavirus lockdowns had hit sales hard.

The company also blamed allegations, which it denies, that it and several rivals failed to pay some Bangladeshi suppliers during lockdown in an attempt to cut the cost of clothes they were unlikely to sell.

For now, EWM Group's stores will continue trading while insolvency specialists spend 10 days preparing an urgent review ahead of further action.

EWM chief executive Steve Simpson said: "Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult.

“This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance.

“Traditionally, EWM has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet, but these stories, the reduction in credit insurance, against the backdrop of the lockdown and now this second wave of Covid-19, and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible.

“As directors we have a duty to the business, our staff, our customers and our creditors to find the very best solution in this brutal environment.

“So we have applied to court today for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators.

“Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.

“I would like to thank all our staff for their amazing efforts during this time and also our customers who have remained so loyal and committed to our brands.”

An FRP spokesman said: “Our team is working with the directors of a number of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group subsidiaries to explore all options for the future of its retail brands Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Jaeger, Ponden Home, and Peacocks.”
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