Day's Peacocks is preferred bidder for Bonmarché, but talks continue
today Nov 28, 2019
Value fashion retailer Bonmarché could continue to operate with a preferred bidder being announced, although 30 stores are likely to close before Christmas. The 30 sites have been described as “underperforming and unsustainable” and it would mean a number of redundancies.
Peacocks, which is part of the business empire owned retail billionaire Philip Day, is the preferred bidder and while its plans would leave 285 stores continuing to trade, those sites aren’t out of the woods yet as the company is still in negotiations with both the administrator and landlords. This could mean that more than the 30 stores earmarked for closure might eventually cease trading.
A spokesperson for Peacocks said: "We are working very hard to reach a deal that secures the future of the company and the greatest number of jobs. But given the unprecedented pressures the business continues to face, it is also important to recognise this cannot be assured at this time.
"We will now enter a period of advanced negotiations with the administrator and landlords to find a way forward that provides a sustainable, long-term future for the business."
Philip Day’s Spectre Holdings investment firm bought control of Peacocks rival Bonmarché earlier this year for a sum that valued it at less than £6 million. But it put the operation into administration several months later as it seemed unfixable in its existing form.
However, it had always seemed that the most likely purchaser of the failed company would be a business linked to Day, although it’s interesting that the administrators said the retailer “attracted a range of bids”.
Joint administrators Tony Wright, Alastair Massey and Phil Pierce of FRP Advisory said selling the retailer to Peacocks offered the “best opportunity to maximise returns for creditors and sell the business on a going concern basis”.
The administrators talked about saving the greatest number of jobs via their chosen option but added that there’s still “a lot more work to do”. And the completion of the transaction “will depend on ongoing negotiations between our preferred bidder and landlords on market rents and there remains a risk that the business could cease to trade”.
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