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Edinburgh Woollen Mill Owner Running Out of Time to Rescue Peacocks

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owner Philip Day is still cobbling together a rescue package for the knitwear specialist, and is expected to seek to delay appointing administrators.

Ten days ago EWM filed a notice of intent to appoint administators that expires Thursday. The company won’t be protected from creditors unless it can win approval from the High Court for its extension request, which would give Day more time to secure a rescue package saving value chain Peacocks and Bonmarche. However, EWM would likely be shut down as it relies heavily on tourists and an older consumer base, demographics that are likely to remain scarce and unwilling to spend, especially as coronavirus pandemic seems to be heading into a second wave.

Day has been in talks with U.S. hedge fund Davidson Kempner to inject capital into the distressed operation.

Speculation began last month that EWM could be in trouble, particularly after word leaked that strategic players began expressing interest in EWM’s other fashion brands, which include Jaeger, Austin Reed, Jacques Vert and Jane Norman. That was also about the time Day was said to have hired FRP Advisory to review the brands, as well as offer a valuation for the EWM business. FRP is expected to be named administrator when EWM, which employs more than 21,000, finally collapses.

Sky News on Wednesday reported that Torque Brands, which recently acquired shirt-maker TM Lewin, is now in discussions to possibly purchase Jaeger, although it is not the only potential buyer.