THERE are fears for the future of two stores in Ballymena town centre.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill, owner of the Peacocks brand, says it plans to appoint administrators in an attempt to save the business across the UK.
‘Closing down sale’ posters have appeared in the windows of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill store at Church Street in Ballymena and Peacocks on the town’s Ballymoney Street.
In recent days, Edinburgh Woollen Mill said it plans to appoint administrators in an attempt to save the business across the UK.
The move puts 21,000 jobs at risk across the UK amid what the company described as “brutal” trading conditions.
“Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult,” said Edinburgh Woollen Mill chief executive Steve Simpson.
Stores will continue to trade as a review of the firm is carried out.
The company says it has had “a number of expressions of interest for various parts of the group” which it will consider.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which is owned by billionaire businessman Philip Day, has 1,100 stores for its brands.
Mr Day has a £1.14bn fortune, according to the Sunday Times Rich List published in May 2020.
He bought Bonmarché out of administration in February.
Bonmarché is not part of the plans announced on Friday. Edinburgh Woollen Mill, including Bonmarché, employs 24,000 people.
EWM said it had filed a notice to appoint administrators, partly because of “the harsh trading conditions caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a recent reduction in its credit insurance”.
Mr Simpson said: “Through this process, I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.”
EWM has appointed FRP to review the business. The firm was also hired for the Bonmarché administration.
A spokesperson for FRP told the BBC: “Our team is working with the directors of a number of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group subsidiaries to explore all options for the future of its retail brands, including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Jaeger, Ponden Mill and Peacocks.”