Towns’ shops saved by deal

NILABE120224c1, Peacocks Bath Street Ilkeston
NILABE120224c1, Peacocks Bath Street Ilkeston

STAFF at clothes shops in Ilkeston and Long Eaton breathed a sigh of relief this week as their stores were saved from closure.

Fashion retailer Peacocks was bought out of administration last Wednesday by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, saving 6,000 jobs across the UK in 388 stores.

But another 224 stores – including Derby, Nottingham and Mansfield – have been closed, resulting in 3,100 job losses.

The firm announced it had gone into administration in January, blaming debts it had not managed to clear, despite years of successful trading.

Ian Viles, chief executive of Ilkeston-based regeneration agency Erewash Partnership said the decision to keep the borough’s only two Peacocks stores open was ‘fantastic’.

“We are very, very pleased to hear that Peacocks will continue trading,” he said.

“That’s fantastic news for the staff and the shoppers.”

Mr Viles added that things were not looking as bleak in Erewash’s town centres as many people believe, revealing that about 15 per cent of Ilkeston town centre shops were vacant and 10 per cent in Long Eaton.

He said this compared favourably with some towns in the UK, where up to a third of shops are empty.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which is one of the UK’s largest high street chains, acquired Peacocksstores as well as the business’s headquarters and logistics functions in Cardiff, where 16 redundancies were made.

Chris Laverty, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said on Wednesday: “Today’s deal ensures the continued trading of a well-known name on the high street.

“While it is unfortunate that redundancies have been necessary, we are pleased that we have been able to preserve the majority of the business and jobs.

“Like many other retailers, Peacocks suffered from a decline in consumer spending due to the tough economic conditions and this, combined with a surplus of stores and unsustainable capital structure led to the business becoming financially unviable.

“However, a strong brand presence and loyal customer following meant that Peacocks attracted a great deal of interest from both trade and private equity bidders.”