There is tremendous pressure in another lockdown on many high street businesses and retailers resulting in many empty shops appearing all over the country. Some have been lucky enough to find new tenants or owners, but many big name brands are disappearing – probably forever in many cases.
And Rye cannot escape the pressures, and banks and established businesses with household names which brought footfall and business to the town have gone or might go, including EWM (Edinburgh Woollen Mill).
According to the trade press, administrators for Edinburgh Woollen Mill, FRP Advisory, are believed to have sent out sales contracts to a potential buyer and, if a sale goes ahead, the deal could save hundreds of high street jobs – but The Telegraph national daily has also reported this week that Middle East investors have come to the rescue of the fashion group.
Philip Day’s retail empire which includes Jaeger, Bon Marche, Austin Reed, Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) is thought to owe creditors over £190M but, if a rescue deal is concluded, it could save a number of EWM’s 400 stores.
The retail group is now being broken up and last November the administrators stated that “regrettably, the impact of Covid-19 on the brand’s core customer base and tighter restrictions on trading mean that the current structure of the businesses is unsustainable and has resulted in redundancies,” when EWM fell into administration.
At the time of administration, the group permanently closed 56 EWM stores and 8 Ponden Home shops, axing 866 jobs and putting a further 1821 under threat.
The Rye EWM store closed last year, but thankfully it reopened again before Christmas, but has since closed again and stock has now been removed from view with the new lockdown. The closure may be permanent this time, but let us hope we see a stay of execution for all concerned as it would be such a shame to lose another established High Street business and more local jobs disappearing as a result.
Its immediate neighbour, Rye Shoes, has now also closed its doors and with the Nat West bank also closed next door, the High Street is changing quickly.
However all is not lost as it is understood Marks & Spencer could be on the verge of purchasing Jaeger, with EWM this week saying a transition was “imminent” and that M&S could sign an agreement to acquire Jaeger as soon as this week.
No doubt a further press release will be issued at some stage regarding the future of our Rye EWM and, when it is issued, we will keep you informed.
Image Credits: Nick Forman .