In a significant development for the struggling UK retail industry, Purepay Retail, a company controlled by former owner Philip Day, has managed to save the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home brands from administration. The deal ensures the rescue of 246 stores and a total of 1,453 jobs, including head office and distribution centre roles. If Bonmarché is also included in the deal, which is yet to be confirmed, it would mean the salvation of an additional 300 stores and 2,500 jobs.

While this news brings relief to many employees and stakeholders, it is not without some losses. Unfortunately, 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill shops and 34 Ponden Home stores will not reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown, leading to nearly 500 redundancies. The administrators overseeing the process expressed regret over their inability to save all stores and jobs, acknowledging the challenging circumstances.

The deal itself is quite complex. Purepay Retail, under the control of Philip Day, has acquired the Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s head office and remaining stock. Additionally, an international investor consortium, funded by Day, has acquired Purepay Retail. Interestingly, the existing management of Edinburgh Woollen Mill will reportedly continue to hold their positions, which could bring stability to the company during this transition period.

However, the future of EWM’s Peacocks business, which is currently in administration, remains uncertain and is not a part of this deal. Only time will tell what lies ahead for Peacocks and its employees.

In a separate move, it was recently announced that M&S has acquired the Jaeger brand from Edinburgh Woollen Mill as part of its strategy to bolster its fashion and online business. This acquisition, however, does not include Jaeger’s store chain and concessions.

Overall, the rescue of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home brands is a positive development for the retail sector, saving a significant number of jobs and stores. However, the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt, resulting in some unfortunate store closures and redundancies.

Useful links related to the article:
1. Edinburgh Woollen Mill
2. Ponden Home