M&S linked with possible rescue deal for fashion brand

A rescue deal for fashion brand Jaeger, owned by Carlisle-based Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), could be imminent.

But proposals to buy the brand from administration are unlikely to save many retail jobs as the 13 shops that closed last November are not included, according to Sky News reports.

It claims Marks & Spencer is in talks with administrator FRP Advisory to take on the established Jaeger name and an agreement could be reached this week.

Jaeger and Peacocks, both part of EWM, were placed in administration on November 19 last year.

The group had been badly hit by lockdowns and the tiering system which had limited opportunities for many non-essential high street retailers.

EWM is owned by Stockbport-born billionare Philip Day.

Jaeger operated from 76 stores and concessions and had 347 employees.

However, Sky reports that the M&S deal is expected to involve the acquisition of Jaeger’s brand and stock only.

Under chief executive Steve Rowe, M&S is focusing more on selling third-party brands, including cult dress brand Ghost, sustainable fashion brand Nobody’s Child, and Early Learning Centre.

Founded in 1884, Jaeger has previously been owned by the financial investor Jon Moulton’s Better Capital and Harold Tillman, former head of the British Fashion Council.

The administration of Jaeger and Peacocks put 4,700 jobs in jeopardy. Earlier in the month more than 900 jobs were lost when the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home retail chains were put into administration, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the retail sector.

The Jaeger and Peacocks brands continued trading from a reduced estate while administrators tried to find buyers. Sports Direct owner, Mike Ashley, had been linked with a possible bid for Jaeger.

Tony Wright, joint administrator from FRP Advisory, said: “Jaeger and Peacocks are attractive brands that have suffered the well-known challenges that many retailers face at present.

“We are in advanced discussions with a number of parties and working hard to secure a future for both businesses.”

A spokesperson for EWM Group said: “In recent weeks we have had constructive discussions with a number of potential buyers for Peacocks and Jaeger Ltd but the continuing deterioration of the retail sector due to the impact of the pandemic and second lockdown have made this process longer and more complex than we would have hoped.”