ORIGINALLY founded in Warrington by Albert Frank Peacock in 1884 as a true Victorian Penny Bazaar, collapsed fashion chain Peacocks has been bought out of administration, a move that includes transferring 2,000 jobs and 200 shops.
It means the other half of the 400 stores trading at the time of the chain’s collapse last November will not reopen as Peacocks.
Founded in Warrington by Albert peacock as a family business with his founding principle of value, Peacocks developed a successful business that continued to grow throughout the twentieth century.
It was more recently owned by Edinburgh Woollen Mills (EWM) and the new buyers are an international consortium, led by Peacocks’ former chief operating officer, Steve Simpson.
His aim is to reopen the stores once non-essential retailers are allowed out of lockdown next week.
EWM Group is a private investment group controlled by the Day family, which is owed money by Peacocks and is supporting the consortium.
A statement from the administrators, FRP, said the collapse of the chain was due to “the devastating effects of the Covid-19 lockdown” on the business.
The Peacocks’ management team hope that, with the support of their partners, suppliers, and landlords, they will be able to reopen up to 200 stores.
The statement added the company hoped all 1,850 store staff, who are currently on furlough, will be able to return to work once stores reopen, along with more than 150 in head office and support.
A similar deal was set in place with EWM and Bonmarche brands, while another of EWM’s brands, Jaeger, was sold to Marks & Spencer, which intends to run it as an online-only business.
Peacocks had 400 stores going into the pandemic a year ago and announced a series of job losses and store closures as it struggled to manage under the various restrictions.
Peacocks had two stores in Warrington at one time based on Bridge Street and at Birchwood Shopping Centre, where two of more than 200 closed nationally in March 2012, although the Birchwood store re-opened before closing again last year.