Future of two Burnley clothes shops in balance

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THE future of two women’s fashion shops is in the balance after the clothing retailer Peacocks announced it intends to call in the administrators.

The company, which owns the newly-opened Peacocks and the long-established Bonmarche stores in Burnley’s Charter Walk Shopping Centre, has failed to restructure £240m. debts. It is in talks to sell off the Bonmarche arm of the business. The Peacocks store in Burnley opened in April and is the company’s newest.

A spokesman for its financial and corporate communications said the firm could not give any clarification about what would happen to its workers or the 700+ stores in its portfolio.

The group employs more than 14,000 people across the UK. Talks with one group of potential investors has stalled, but discussions with other potential investors are continuing.

A management buy-out was followed by the firm being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. The group acquired Bonmarche in 2002.

On intention of appointing an Administrator to deal with financial restructuring, a spokesman for the Peacock Group said: “The Board of the Peacock Group and its advisers have been discussing for some time the restructuring of the business with the Group’s lenders. Unfortunately these talks have now concluded and no agreement has been reached. However, discussions with other potential investors are on-going. To protect the business while discussions with such investors are progressed, the directors of The Peacock Group have filed a notice of intention to appoint an Administrator. Existing management remain in place as an administrator has not been appointed.

A separate statement was issued about Bonmarche. It said: “The Board of The Peacock Group and its advisers has been reviewing the future of its Bonmarche business and its role within the Group for some time.

Following this careful and thorough review, the Board believes Bonmarche will be better positioned under different ownership and is in advanced and exclusive discussions with a potential purchaser. In order to provide protection for the business while this sale process completes, the Board has today filed a notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator for the Bonmarche business. Existing management remain in place as an administrator has not been appointed.”