MORE than 3,000 staff – including 16 in Huddersfield – are to lose their jobs with the sale of the embattled Peacocks fashion chain.
The store at the Piazza Centre in Huddersfield and another at King Street in Brighouse are among 224 Peacocks outlets to close “with immediate effect” following the sale of the business to rival retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Edinburgh, which has stores in Holmfirth and Batley and is one of the UK’s largest UK retail chains, has bought the Peacocks brand, 388 stores and concessions as well as the business’ headquarters and distribution centre in Wales. The deal safeguards about 6,000 jobs in the UK.
But the 224 stores excluded from the deal will close straight away, resulting in 3,100 redundancies.
About 16 jobs will go at Peacocks’ Cardiff headquarters.
Chris Laverty, joint administrator and restructuring partner at accountancy firm KPMG, said the sale ensured the continued trading of a well-known name on the high street.
He said: “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, leading to a successful sale.
“I would take this opportunity to thank the management team and staff for their continued assistance in very difficult circumstances. Their support has been invaluable in securing the sale.”
The manager of the Peacocks store in Huddersfield said she did not wish to comment.
Edinburgh was one of several potential bidders for the Peacocks chain – but had been ruled out as a front runner by some City analysts.
The company, which beat off Indian textile and clothing giant S Kumars Nationwide to land the deal, said it hoped to save some of the stores and jobs now being lost.
But chief executive Philip Day said: “As you can imagine, there will be a considerable amount of work to undertake over the next few months to stabilise the situation, turn this business around, get the supply chain moving again and excite the customers with great products.”
Last year, Edinburgh bought 33 of Jane Norman’s 94 stores out of administration, saving some 400 jobs.
Edinburgh, based at Langholm in Scotland, has about 380 Edinburgh Woollen Mill-branded stores UK-wide selling smart, casual, country wear and golf clothing aimed at the over 45s and including major brands like James Pringle, Hippo and The Golf Company.
Grange Moor-based women’s wear chain Bon Marché, which was part of the Peacock Group, was sold last month in a deal that will lead to 1,400 job losses and 160 store closures.
Private equity firm Sun European Partners is continuing to operate 230 stores – including one at New Street in Huddersfield – and employs 2,400 staff.