Around 2,000 jobs are to be saved at Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group after FRP Advisory agreed a deal with international investors to acquire Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Homes.
FRP advisory confirmed that the joint administrators to The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Limited (t/a The Edinburgh Woollen Mill) and Duvetco Limited (t/a Ponden Home) have completed the sale of the businesses to Purepay Retail Limited (“Purepay”), which is backed by an international investor consortium.
Purepay, a secured creditor to the businesses, has acquired all the remaining stock, as well as the head office site and distribution centre in Carlisle. Purepay will operate 246 stores under licence from across both brands. The corresponding 1,347 store staff will transfer to the acquirer, alongside all 72 head offices and 34 distribution staff.
The remaining 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores and 34 Ponden Home stores have been permanently closed. The roles from these stores, including 358 Edinburgh Woollen Mill staff and 127 Ponden Home staff, have been made redundant.
It is thought that Purepay will be led by Steven Simpson – the current COO of the EWM Group.
Tony Wright, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said: “We have extensively marketed these businesses for sale and this transaction provides the best chance to save stores and jobs, but also meet our own statutory obligations to creditors.
“However, with such little visibility on future trading conditions in UK retail, we regret that not all of Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home could be rescued.”
He added: “This has resulted in a significant number of redundancies at a particularly challenging time of year and period of economic uncertainty. We have a team working hard to support all those affected as we help make applications for redundancy payments.”
Bonmarche has also been acquired by Pureplay with a deal agreed by its administrators RSM.
Bonmarche will retain 72 of its stores and 531 staff including head office and distribution centre staff.