Bonmarché to be rescued from administration

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Bonmarché, the Wakefield-headquartered womenswear retailer that fell into administration last month, is set to be rescued by rival Peacocks.

Peacocks is the “preferred bidder” for the business, although further negotiations are still required.

However, a total of 30 Bonmarché stores will be closed by 11 December, the administrators said, which endangers up to 240 jobs. The retailer’s 285 remaining stores will continue to operate.

The administrators said the “vast majority” of these are expected to be acquired by Peacocks.

However, they told the BBC today: “The future of all remaining stores cannot be assured at this time and remain subject to negotiation between any future purchaser and landlords given the period of historical market difficulty on the High Street.

Administrators FRP Advisory confirmed 25 posts have been made redundant in both head office and middle management roles.

A spokesperson for Peacocks said: “We are working very hard to reach a deal that secures the future of the company and the greatest number of jobs. But given the unprecedented pressures the business continues to face, it is also important to recognise this cannot be assured at this time.”

Tony Wright, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, said: “Whilst we are optimistic that a transaction can be completed, ultimately, it will depend on ongoing negotiations between our preferred bidder and landlords on market rents and there remains a risk that the business could cease to trade.”

Peacocks has about 500 stores in the UK. It was established by Albert Frank Peacock in Warrington in 1884 as a penny bazaar.

In 1940, the business moved to Cardiff, and from the 1990s it concentrated on clothing. Peacocks was bought out of administration itself in 2012 by Edinburgh Woollen Mill.