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1,400 jobs saved in Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home rescue deal

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Tiverton, United Kingdom - August 17 2020:  The frontage of Edinburgh Woollen Mill  clothes shop on Fore Street
The frontage of an Edinburgh Woollen Mill clothes shop in the UK (Source: Getty)

Collapsed retail giants The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Limited (which owns The Edinburgh Woollen Mill) and Duvetco Limited (which controls Ponden Home) have been saved from administration by an international investor consortium, according to the joint administrators at advisory firm FRP.

Purepay Retail Limited, a secured creditor to the businesses, has acquired all remaining stock for the businesses, as well as the head office site and distribution centre in Carlisle. Purepay will also operate 246 stores under licence from across both brands.

The deal will protect 1,347 store employees, who will be transferred to the buyer, in addition to all 72 head office and 34 distribution staff, said FRP in a statement to Yahoo Finance.

A 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.

“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,” said Tony Wright, Joint Administrator and Partner at FRP.

“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. 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.”

EWM Group owner Philip Day previously included Ponden Home and Edinburgh Woollen Mill as part of his vast retail portfolio.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill is known for selling mid-price knitwear and other clothing to an older demographic. Ponden Home is one of the UK's leading suppliers of homeware, curtains, bedding and furniture.

READ MORE: European stocks flat amid soaring COVID-19 cases and vaccination campaigns

On Monday, Marks & Spencer signed a deal to take over Jaeger, which was part of Day’s retail empire and also entered into administration last year.

A string of high street retailers have been struggling amid the devastating impact of COVID-19 restrictions on footfall in stores. Despite online sales keeping some afloat, the likes of Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley, and Oasis all entered administration last year and massive sale declines.

Cath Kidston cut 900 jobs after it said it was permanently closing all 60 of its UK stores under a rescue deal with its Hong Kong-based owner, Baring Private Equity Asia. In April, Laura Ashley also cut over 250 jobs after it announced it would make up over 700 redundancies when the retailer slid fell into administration.

WATCH: Retailers suffered worst year on record in 2020 despite Christmas sales boost

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