Edinburgh Woollen Mill in administration, 860 jobs have been cut
EWM Group’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home chains went into administration at the end of last week, jeopardising thousands of jobs. The first chain has 328 stores and employed 2,571 until last week while Pondem Home employed 329 people.
Out of that total, 860 jobs were cut immediately, with the cuts mainly linked to the decision to close 56 Edinburgh woollen Mill shops permanently and eight stores and concessions belonging to the homewares chain.
This leaves a further 2,000 posts at risk as the administrators look at various options for the future, with the hope that a buyer or buyers could be found.
Administrators FRP said that the two businesses will continue selling online with the stores remaining open where possible (many of them will be closed because of the lockdown in various parts of the UK at present).
Edinburgh Woollen Mill had been a successful part of the EWM operation before the Covid crisis hit but joint administrator Tony Wright said: “Recent months have proven extremely challenging for many retailers, even those that were trading well before the pandemic, including the teams at Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home.
“Regrettably, the impact of Covid-19 on the brands’ core customer base and tighter restrictions on trading mean that the current structure of the businesses is unsustainable and has resulted in redundancies. We are working with all affected members of staff to provide the appropriate support.”
The EWM and Ponden chains are part of the retail group controlled by billionaire entrepreneur Philip Day. The business also includes the budget fashion chain Peacocks, as well as more upmarket brands Jaeger and Austin Reed. Reports have suggested that Day is working to retain control of Peacocks but that the other brands could be sold, with a number of bidders already showing an interest.
Day also control Peacocks rival Bonmarché through a separate company.
The EWM news came at the end of a distressing week for UK retail workers as Sainsbury's announced the loss of 3,500 jobs, mainly due to it closing most of its Argos stores, while John Lewis said it would cut up to 1,500 roles and Clarks announced a possible 700 job losses.
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