The EWM group, that includes the store brands Peacocks, Jaegar, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home Interiors, is reported to of filed notice with the High Court of its intention to appoint administrators today, October the 9th. There is 200 strong workforce living in Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway who have been furloughed since March.
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill was founded by Drew Stevenson in 1946 as the Langholm Dyeing and Finishing Company, undertaking the dyeing of yarn on a contract basis. The development into retailing began in 1970, when the Group opened its first shop in Randolph Place, Edinburgh. In 1972 the first store south of the Border opened, appropriately enough at 81 English Street, Carlisle.
The company has had a number of owners dating from the early 1970s and was divested by Grampian Holdings in 2001. The business was taken over by a management buy-in led by Philip Day and, over the next few years Philip returned the company back to being an independent privately-owned business which is now owned 100% by the Day family.
The company had gone through a chequered performance history when it was acquired by Philip Day and he set about improving its store appearance, delivering excellent customer service in a friendly environment and creating a “first price right price” approach with the delivery of excellent quality and superb value for money products to our customers.
Steve Simpson, chief executive of EWM Group, said: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult. This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading, which have impacted our credit insurance. Traditionally, EWM has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet but these stories and the reduction in credit insurance – against the backdrop of the initial lockdown, current local lockdowns and the second wave of Covid-19 reducing footfall – have made normal trading impossible.
“As directors, we have a duty to the business, our staff, our customers and our creditors to find the very best solution in this brutal environment. We have applied to court today for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators. Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.
“I would like to thank all our staff for their amazing efforts during this time and also our customers, who have remained so loyal and committed to our brands.”