Thousands of jobs saved as high street fashion chain Peacocks reaches rescue deal

The Cardiff-based company was part of retail mogul Philip Day's fashion empire, which collapsed in November last year.

Around 2,000 jobs across the UK have been saved after a deal was reached to rescue fashion chain Peacocks from administration.

A group of international backers, primarily based in Dubai, are behind the deal to save the Cardiff-based company.

Chief operating officer Steve Simpson will take over the business, saving thousands of jobs and 200 stores - which Mr Simpson hopes to reopen once lockdown restrictions on non-essential retailers ease.

Peacocks was part of retail mogul Philip Day's Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) fashion empire, which collapsed in November last year. Chains Jaeger and Austin Reed were also part of Mr Day's retail empire.

Jaeger was also owned by the EWM empire. That brand has been bought by Marks and Spencers and will move to be sold online only. Credit: PA Images

Phillip Day was the biggest creditor of Peacocks and is owed money by the business he once owned.

Administrators negotiated a deal with him by signing a deferred loan agreement between a group of investors and the businessman himself, which will eventually see him repaid the money he invested in the company.

A similar deal was established with the EWM and Bonmarche brands, while Mr Day's other brand, Jaeger, was sold to Marks & Spencer. Jaeger is set to become a solely online business.

This new deal essentially means that the EWM brands, excluding Jaeger, reform under the old management team, led by Mr Simpson.

Mr Day will no longer be in control of the business, ending several decades of his involvement in the UK high street.

As a secured creditor through the deal, Mr Day will hope to recoup the cash he paid in. However any unsecured creditors, including landlords and suppliers, are unlikely to get their money back.

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 survive under lockdown restrictions.

Along with Arcadia and Debenhams, the chain struggled to recoup business through its websites, eventually leading to its collapse.