Peacocks rescued by new buyer - 2,000 jobs and 200 stores set to be saved

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 10:46 am
Peacocks in Littlehampton, West Sussex (Shutterstock / AVM Images)

A takeover of collapsed fashion chain Peacocks is set to save 2,000 jobs and 200 stores - which it is hoped will reopen once lockdown restrictions are eased.

Chief operating officer Steve Simpson, with the backing of an international consortium, will take over the business, it has been announced.

The chain was part of retail mogul Philip Day's Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) fashion empire which collapsed in November last year.

Mr Day was the biggest creditor of Peacocks and is owed money by the business he once owned.

Administrators FRP negotiated a deal with him by signing a deferred loan agreement between a consortium of investors and the businessman which will eventually see him get his money out of the company.

Who are the international investors?

The consortium of international backers are primarily based in Dubai, where Mr Day lives.

A similar deal was set in place with the EWM and Bonmarche brands, while Mr Day's other brand, Jaeger, was sold to Marks & Spencer, where it will become an online-only business.

The deal essentially sees the EWM brands - excluding Jaeger - reform under the old management led by Mr Simpson.

Mr Day will not be in control of the business - ending several decades of involvement in the UK high street - and will hope to recoup the cash he invested as a secured creditor through the deal.

Unsecured creditors, including landlords, suppliers and the taxman, will lose out and are unlikely to get their money back.

Who else was interested in the chain?

According to reports, Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley was also said to be interested in the Peacocks brand, although administrators failed to reach an agreement with him.

Peacocks had 400 stores going into the pandemic a year ago and announced a series of job losses and store closures as it struggled to manage under the various restrictions.

The chain had a poor online presence compared with rivals and - along with Arcadia and Debenhams - struggled to recoup business through its websites, leading to its collapse.