Around 2,000 jobs saved after Peacocks is rescued from closure

Around 2,000 jobs at clothing store Peacocks have been saved after a senior executive backed by an international consortium launched a rescue deal following its collapse.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 10:04 am

The brand has stores in The Galleries retail park in Washington, Byron Place in Seaham, King Street in South Shields and the Viking Centre in Jarrow, as well as Chester-le-Street, Bishop Auckland, Consett North Shields, Redcar and Morpeth.

Chief operating officer Steve Simpson will take over the business, saving 2,000 jobs and 200 stores, which he hopes to reopen once lockdown restrictions on non-essential retailers ease.

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Collapsed fashion chain Peacocks has been bought out of administration by a senior executive with backing from a consortium of international investors, saving 200 stores and 2,000 jobs, 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.

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.

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.

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