Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds likely to lose jobs in Bonmarche rescue deal

Around eight people are employed in each of the 30 stores set to close down, while 25 jobs have been lost at head office and among middle managers.

Fashion chain Bonmarche is preparing to close shops amid a rescue deal (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Fashion chain Bonmarche is preparing to close shops amid a rescue deal (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

About 240 workers at Bonmarche could lose their job when the collapsed clothing retailer closes 30 under-performing stores as sister chain Peacock looks set to buy it out of administration.

The stores, which employ around eight people each, will close down on December 11, administrators acting for the business said, and the staff will “potentially be made redundant”.

The remaining 285 stores will continue to trade, but will also be kept under review, and their future cannot be guaranteed.

“We deeply regret that, as part of the administration process, 30 stores will close and staff may be made redundant,” said administrator Tony Wright, from FRP Advisory.

The deal comes a month after Bonmarche collapsed into administration, putting a potential 2,887 jobs at risk across the country.

On top of the jobs lost in store, 25 people from middle management and head office have been laid off.

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Peacocks itself entered administration in 2012 (Yui Mok/PA)

The closures come as part of a deal with sister company Peacocks, which itself entered administration in 2012, along with Bonmarche. The two were rescued at the time by private equity firm Sun European Partners.

However, administrators stressed that the deal still hinges on negotiations with landlords, and due diligence, and could yet fail.

“Whilst we are optimistic that a transaction can be completed, ultimately it will depend on ongoing negotiations between our preferred bidder and landlords on market rents and there remains a risk that the business could cease to trade,” Mr Wright said.

Nine companies are understood to have been in the running for Bonmarche, but Peacocks was chosen as the preferred bidder after the deadline passed on November 15.

Bonmarche fell into administration in the middle of October after a series of profit warnings.

It blamed a “sustained period of challenging trading conditions” as the business became the latest victim of a malaise on the high street.

Bonmarche had been floated on the London Stock Exchange until earlier this year when retail tycoon Philip Day took over the struggling retailer.

PA

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