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Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Bonmarche Skirt Shutdown

An international group is giving bankrupt Edinburgh Woollen Mill a new lease on life, and staving off a full-blown shutdown.

Word surfaced Tuesday that an international investor group has acquired fashion company, along with the Ponden Home and Bonmarche retail chains. BBC reported that Sir Philip Day will loan the group funds to acquire the business, with the funding to be paid back over time.

The British billionaire businessman owned Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, whose brands collapsed into administration in November. Bankrupt Peacock remains in administration. The intellectual property of the upscale fashion Jaeger brand has been acquired by Marks & Spencer.

At one point, there was concern about the future of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, since its stores are based in mostly tourist destination spots and its mid-price knitwear tended to appeal to older consumers. It wasn’t immediately clear how many jobs and retail doors would be saved. The BBC estimated that 2,500 positions could be saved, along with 3oo stores.

“We regret that not all of Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home could be rescued,” Tony Wright, partner at FRP, the administrator in the case, said. “This has resulted in a significant number of redundancies at a particularly challenging time of year and period of economic uncertainty.”

Because the buyer is an investor group, executives at the three brands will likely continue steering operations.

The stores across the U.K. are currently in lockdown as a new, more infectious variant of Covid-19 continues to cause a spike in infection rates. Now in its third lockdown, the U.K has been hard hit by the pandemic. Last year, the British retail sector saw Laura Ashley, Debenhams, the U.K. arm of Victoria’s Secret, Topshop parent Arcadia Group and Edinburgh all collapse into administration.