3,100 jobs axed with closure of 224 Peacocks stores

MORE than 3,000 workers at troubled retail chain Peacocks, including nearly 50 in Suffolk and north Essex, have been made redundant with the closure of more than 200 of its stores.

Administrators from accountancy firm KPMG have sold 388 Peacocks fashion stores to Edinburgh Woollen Mill, protecting the jobs of around 6,000 employees.

But 224 stores which were not included in the deal have been closed with immediate effect, resulting in the loss of 3,100 jobs.

In Suffolk, the Peacocks stores in Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket have both been axed, with the loss of 15 jobs at each site, while in Essex the company’s Chelmsford store is to go at a cost of 18 jobs.

However, the region has escaped relative lightly with 13 Peaocks, employing nearly 200 staff betweeen them, being included in the rescue deal.

In Suffolk, these include the branches in Ipswich (which has a workforce of 22), Felixstowe (14), Woodbridge (10), Stowmarket (14), Lowestoft (21) and Haverhill (13).

In north and mid Essex, Peacocks stores remaning open include those in Colchester (with 21 staff), Clacton (15), Frinton (13), Harwich (14), Braintree (12), Witham (12) and Maldon (nine).

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Besides the 388 stores acquired by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the deal also includes the Peacocks headquarters and logistics operations, based in south Wales, although a further 16 redundancies have also been confirmed at the HQ in Cardiff, where 249 jobs have already been axed following the appointment of the administrators.

Chris Laverty, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said: “Today’s deal ensures the continued trading of a well known name on the high street. While it is unfortunate that redundancies have been necessary, we are pleased that we have been able to preserve the majority of the business and jobs.

“Like many other retailers, Peacocks suffered from a decline in consumer spending due to the tough economic conditions and this, combined with a surplus of stores and unsustainable capital structure led to the business becoming financially unviable.

“However, a strong brand presence and loyal customer following meant that Peacocks attracted a great deal of interest from both trade and private equity bidders, leading to today’s successful sale.

“I would take this opportunity to thank the management team and staff for their continued assistance in very difficult circumstances; their support has been invaluable in securing today’s sale.”