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Peacocks and Bonmarche in Maidstone both start closing down sales

Staff at the Peacocks store in The Mall shopping centre in Maidstone said they were still hopeful that a deal might be found that would save their jobs.

The bargain fashion brand is part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill group which last week gave notice of its intention to call in the administrators on Thursday.

The Bonmarche store in The Mall, Maidstone
The Bonmarche store in The Mall, Maidstone

The notice gave the company the legal right to stave off creditors while it sought a deal to save the firm.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) also owns the Jaeger, Austin Reed and Ponden Home brands, but is thought that buyers could be found for Jaeger and Austin Reed at least.

Within the last few days, Philip Day, the majority shareholder in EWM, has announced that he is looking to buy Peacocks from the administrators with help from an American private equity fund Davidson Kempner.

The initial stay of execution runs out in two days, but it could be extended for another 10 days if administrators are persuaded that a deal is imminent.

Meanwhile the Peacocks branch in The Mall has begun a closing down sale.

The Peacocks store in The Mall, Maidstone, looks set to close
The Peacocks store in The Mall, Maidstone, looks set to close

Edinburgh Woollen Mill chief executive in a letter to staff said: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult.

"Now this second wave of Covid-19, and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible."

The company has also been battling against claims from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, a trade organisation which represents some of EMW’s Bangladesh-based suppliers, that the firm owes its members £27m in unpaid debts.

EWM denies the claim, but said the "false allegation" was injuring its ability to forge a rescue attempt.

Meanwhile, Bonmarche, the women's wear fashion retailer, which too has a store in The Mall, has also begun a closing down sale.

The Bonmarche chain is also owned by Philip Day, but is outside the EWM portfolio.

It was only bought out of administration by Mr Day in February after administrators were called in by the previous owners last November.

There have been no recent announcement about the future of Bonmarche.

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