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Bonmarché Collapses Into Administration—Again

Women’s fashion chain Bonmarché becomes the latest retail victim of the coronavirus pandemic, collapsing into administration on the day the U.K. lifted a national lockdown.

The second, month-long restrictions rolled out last month in a bid to curb a second wave of coronavirus infections across the pond. Before the lockdown, Bonmarché was already struggling and had hoped to find a way to avoid heading into administration. Wednesday’s collapse was the second meltdown for the women’s retailer in just over a year, following a bout of administration in October 2019 that led to a rescue by value chain Peacocks.

For now, Bonmarché’s 225 stores remain open, and there are no layoffs yet, although more than 1,500 jobs remain at risk. The filing comes on the heels of the collapse this week of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia, which also fell into administration, following by bankrupt Debenhams failure to secure a buyer, which means a liquidation that threatens 12,000 jobs.

In the case of Bonmarché, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owner Philip Day has been trying to cobble together a rescue package for both Bonmarché and Peacocks, which fell into administration last month, although talks are still ongoing with potential buyers.

Meanwhile, Bonmarché is expected to court buyers for the bankrupt chain.