STAFF at Peacocks in Eastwood breathed a sigh of relief this week as the store was saved from closure – a second retail boost for the town centre in under a month.
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.
Rumours about Peacocks closing in Eastwood began circulating the town just days after it was announced Jonathan James shoe shop was set to shut, leaving shoppers worried about the future of Eastwood town centre as two of the last remaining retail shops were earmarked for closure.
But following a buyout, we revealed that Jonathan James had re-opened and now Peacocks has followed suit.
Brian Sanders, who runs Sanders Menswear, is the president of the Eastwood Town Centre Forum and the town’s Traders Guild.
He said he was pleased when he heard Peacocks had been saved, but admitted there was ‘concern’ when both Peacocks and Jonathan James were under threat.
“These things are always difficult for the town but I think there’s some stability here now to be honest and I hope we can keep it,” he said.
“Buildings are being filled, and they are not standing empty long. There’s obviously interest in the town.”
Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which is one of the UK’s largest high street chains, acquired Peacocks stores 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.”