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Osborne Clarke has advised the administrators on the disposal of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home


Written on 20 January 2021

Osborne Clarke has acted for the administrators of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Limited (in administration), and Duvetco Limited (in administration) (t/a Ponden Home) on the sale of the business and assets of the companies to a consortium of international investors.

FRP Advisory instructed Osborne Clarke’s restructuring and insolvency partner Will Gunston who completed the deal working alongside partners Douglas Hawthorn and Robert Guthrie, associate director Sarah Beard, and senior associate Aisling Connaughton.

The buyer will operate 246 stores under licence across both the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home brands and take on the remaining stock, head office, and distribution centre in Carlisle. The corresponding 1,347 store staff will transfer to the buyer, alongside all 72 head office staff and 34 distribution staff.

Unfortunately, 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores and 34 Ponden Home stores have been closed permanently, with the loss of 485 jobs.

Tony Wright, Joint Administrator and Partner at FRP, said: “We extensively marketed these businesses for sale and this transaction provides the best chance to save stores and jobs in what are challenging trading conditions for retail, but also meet our own statutory obligations to creditors.”

Will Gunston, restructuring and insolvency partner, Osborne Clarke said: “Some retailers have suffered directly as a result of the pandemic, despite being fundamentally good businesses. We are pleased to have been able to play an important role in this transaction, which offers a bright future for the remaining stores and employees.”

The buyers were advised by Derek McCombe, partner at Dentons UK and Middle East.

Osborne Clarke’s restructuring and insolvency group has also recently advised on matters relating to the restructurings of retailers Bonmarché, Laura Ashley and Oasis/Warehouse, the fintech business Neyber, and acting for the consortium that purchased the Jewish Chronicle newspaper.