FASHION chains Peacocks and Jaeger have collapsed into administration, putting more than 4,700 jobs and almost 500 shops at risk.
It comes after a two-week deadline to find a buyer ended without a deal.
Peacocks has 4,369 staff across 423 stores, while Jaeger runs 76 shops and concessions and has 347 employees.
The administration means stores could disappear from the high street unless a new owner is found.
But no redundancies at either chain have been announced yet, and no shops have been closed for good.
Peacocks and Jaeger shops are currently temporarily closed in England due to lockdown restrictions.
What does it mean when a company goes into administration?
ADMINISTRATION is when all control of a company is passed to an appointed to a licensed insolvency practitioner.
It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the business.
Instead, administrators will try to help a company find ways to repay debts or solve its cashflow problems.
Administration can last anywhere from a few weeks to up to a year or more.
But if the administration process can't rescue the company or find a new owner, this usually leads to liquidation.
Liquidation is the process of selling all assets and then dissolving the company completely.
Insolvency firm FRP is handling the administration process.
It comes after the retailers' owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill put the stores of its same name into administration earlier this month.
At the time, the company confirmed it was trying to find a buyer for Peacocks and Jaeger.
Owner Philip Day was understood to be working on a pre-pack deal for Peacocks that would see the chain go through administration and be immediately sold back to him and his finance partner Davidson Kempner.
It's unclear if this is what's happening with the business at this stage.
High street job cuts
THE following chains have announced job cuts and store closures during the coronavirus crisis:
- Burger King: the fast food giant is restructuring – which could cost up to 1,600 jobs
- Pizza Hut: confirmed job losses up up to 450 jobs after a plan to close 29 restaurants was approved by landlords
- H&M:-announced plans to shut 250 stores globally next year.
- TSB – 164 branches are at risk of closure – with 848 employees at risk
- Fuller's: Fuller's said more than 500 jobs could be lost as a result of the pandemic.
- Pizza Express: Confirmed 73 restaurants to close putting 1,100 jobs at risk
- Premier Inn: Owner Whitbread to cut 6,000 jobs due to coronavirus
- Wetherspoons: To cut up to 450 jobs from six pubs in airports
- Costa Coffee: announced plans to cut 1,650 jobs
- Cineworld: 5,500 jobs thought to be at risk as all UK and Ireland cinemas are set to shut temporarily
- Pret A Manger: 2,800 jobs at risk as 30 stores are earmarked for closure
- Marks and Spencer: confirmed plans to axe up to 7,000 workers over the next three months
- WHSmith: says 200 jobs are at risk as it looks to close 25 stores
- Argos: 3,500 jobs are to go at Sainbury's and Argos, with the majority at the toy retailer
- John Lewis: 1,5000 head office jobs are to go following 1,300 gone in stores
EWM employs more than 21,000 people in all, including at stores such as Peacocks, Jane Norman, Bonmarche, Jaeger and Austin Reed.
Bonmarche is unaffected by the administration. We've asked EMW what it means for Jane Norman and Austin Reed and we'll update this article.
The business has been hit by poor trading in lockdown coupled with a credit insurance problem.
A spokesperson from EWM said: “In recent weeks we have had constructive discussions with a number of potential buyers for Peacocks and Jaeger.
"But the continuing deterioration of the retail sector due to the impact of the pandemic and second lockdown have made this process longer and more complex than we would have hoped.
“While those talks are ongoing, we no longer have an option to extend the standstill agreement originally imposed by the High Court six weeks ago any further.”
Tony Wright, joint administrator from FRP Advisory, said: "Jaeger and Peacocks are attractive brands that have suffered the well-known challenges that many retailers face at present.
"We are in advanced discussions with a number of parties and working hard to secure a future for both businesses."
It's been a tough time for the UK high street, with Greggs the latest chain to confirm job cuts with 820 roles on the line.
WH Smith said 200 jobs are at risk as it closes 25 of its high street stores, while Caffe Nero has brought in restructuring experts to avoid store closures and redundancies.
Covid has plunged 782,000 into unemployment, the latest official figures show.
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