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Edinburgh Woollen Mill rescue saves 2,500 jobs

Christian Fernsby |
Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Ponden Home and Bonmarché have been bought out of administration in a rescue deal, which will save almost 2,500 jobs and 300 stores.

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Topics: EDINBURGH   

The chains, part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group controlled by the billionaire Philip Day, collapsed last year as Covid-19 restrictions led to financial difficulties.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain, known for its knitwear, as well as the homeware retailer Ponden Home and the fashion brand Bonmarché have been bought by Purepay Retail, a company backed by a consortium of international investors.

Purepay has acquired all of the chains’ remaining stock, as well as the head office site and a distribution centre in Carlisle.

The company will operate 246 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home stores under licence, while 1,453 staff will transfer across to the new owner. Purepay will also take over about 1,000 Bonmarché staff and about 50 stores that operate under that fascia.

The administrators FRP said the remaining 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores and 34 Ponden Home stores would remain permanently closed, with 485 staff being made redundant.

Those job losses are on top of the 860 announced when Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain and Ponden Home fell into administration in November, and 64 branches were closed down.

Purepay is a secured creditor to the business, and Philip Day remains a secured creditor, although the rescue deal signals the end of Day’s control of the businesses.

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