Thousands of jobs are at risk after a fashion chain with Tayside and Fife shops fell into administration.
Peacocks confirmed on Thursday that they have appointed administrators, putting 423 stores and more than 4,000 jobs at risk.
The chain operates branches in Arbroath, Kirkcaldy and Leven. The chain’s Forfar branch closed suddenly in September.
Peacocks is part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) retail empire, which also includes the Jaegar brand, which has also appointed administrators from FRP Advisory.
Securing a future
The administrators said no redundancies or store closures have been confirmed yet.
Jargar, which was bought by EMW’s billionaire owner Philip Day in May 2017, runs 76 stores and concessions and employs 347 staff.
Mr Day’s EWM Group had already placed its Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home business into administration earlier this month.
Tony Wright, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said: “Jaeger and Peacocks are attractive brands that have suffered the well-known challenges that many retailers face at present.
“We are in advanced discussions with a number of parties and working hard to secure a future for both businesses.”
Discussions with buyers
An EWM Group spokeswoman said: “In recent weeks we have had constructive discussions with a number of potential buyers for Peacocks and Jaeger Ltd but the continuing deterioration of the retail sector due to the impact of the pandemic and second lockdown have made this process longer and more complex than we would have hoped.
“While those talks are ongoing, we no longer have an option to extend the standstill agreement originally imposed by the High Court six weeks ago any further.
“Therefore as directors we taken the desperately difficult decision to place Peacocks and Jaeger into administration while those talks continue.
“We will continue to do all we can to support FRP Advisory in trying to secure the best outcome possible for these businesses.”
Warning to staff
There are Edinburgh Woollen Mill branches in Dundee, St Andrews, Blairgowrie, Pitlochry, Arbroath, Perth, Dunfermline and Brechin.
The Courier revealed last month that the fashion chain would leave Dundee as soon as a new tenant was found for the Commercial Street site.
Last month the group wrote to staff to warn them that national and local lockdowns had hit sales very heavily.
In the October update EWM chief executive Steve Simpson said: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult.
“This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance.
“Traditionally, EWM has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet, but these stories, the reduction in credit insurance, against the backdrop of the lockdown and now this second wave of Covid-19, and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible.
“As directors we have a duty to the business, our staff, our customers and our creditors to find the very best solution in this brutal environment.”