Jobs threat as Peacocks administration is confirmed

DISCOUNT clothing chain Peacocks has entered administration it was confirmed tonight, putting some 9,600 jobs at risk.

Accountancy firm KPMG said it had been appointed administrator to Peacocks, which has 611 stores, including more than 20 in East Anglia, plus 49 concessions, and its parent company, The Peacock Group, which gave notice of plans to enter administration on Monday.

However, Bonmarche, also owned by The Peacock Group, which employs 3,800 staff and operates 394 stores, has not gone into administration and talks over its potential sale continue.

KPMG said all Peacocks stores remained open as it sought to find a buyer for the business and no redundancies had been made.

Peacocks warned that planned to call in administrations following the breakdown of talks with its lenders over a restructuring of its debts, thought to total around �240million.

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It is understood that the group was seeking to convert part of its debt into equity but that Royal Bank of Scotland, which accounts for around 18% of the group’s total borrowing, was not willing to provide any further support.

Chris Laverty, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said tonight: “Like many retailers Peacocks has suffered from tough economic conditions, which have seen its customers reduce their spending on the high street. This factor, combined with a surplus of stores and high overheads, led to the business becoming financially unviable in its current form.”

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Richard Fleming, joint administrator and UK Head of Restructuring at KPMG, added: “We are actively seeking a buyer for the 611 stores and 49 concessions and encourage interested parties to get in touch.”

There are more than 20 Peacocks stores across East Anglia, in towns including Ipswich, Colchester, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Stowmarket, Thetford, Newmarket, Haverhill, Harwich, Frinton, Clacton, Braintree, Witham and Chelmsford.

There are also more than at dozen Bonmarche branches, at locations including Ipswich, Colchester, Bury, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Haverhill, Braintree, Harwich, Clacton and Chelmsford.

Peacocks join a string of casualties in the retail sector following a brutal Christmas trading period for the High Street.

Other firms to have gone into administration include Suffolk-based Tobar, owner of the Hawkin’s Bazaar toy shops chain, outdoor leisure specialist Blacks, denim specialist D2 Jeans, shoe shops group Barratt Priceless, lingerie retailer La Senza and retro-themed gift shops chain Past Times.

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