Peacocks’ jobs saved as Woollen Mill buys brand

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THE Leven branch of Peacocks is to be kept open and staff retained, after the struggling firm was sold to Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Administrators from KPMG made the announcement last week that the Langholm-based clothing retailer had purchased 388 of Peacocks’ stores and concessions, including in Leven at the Shorehead.

Unfortunately for others, including Glenrothes, a remaining 224 stores were not included in the sale and closed with immediate effect, resulting in 3100 redundancies.

Eleven staff members in Leven are to be kept on, one less than the 12 employed by the store when it went into administration.

The Mail understands, however, an employee chose to leave their position during the administration period and has not been made redundant.

Peacocks has been in the town for 10 years and a petition had been set up in the store, urging shoppers to support a campaign to save the struggling chain.

It went into administration in mid-January after talks with lenders over the restructuring of its debts, of around £240 million, fell through.

The Peacocks brand has been included in the sale of the stores to Edinburgh Woollen Mill, so it is expected the shop will continue to trade as usual under the same name, despite the takeover.

Chris Laverty, joint administrator, said: “The deal ensures the continued trading of a well-known name on the high street.

“While it is unfortunate that redundancies have been necessary, we are pleased we have been able to preserve the majority of the business and jobs.”

Tricia Marwick, MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, said it would be a huge relief for the staff who work in Leven.

She added: “Leven needs as wide a range of retail outlets as possible and I hope Peacocks will now have a long-term future in the town, now this takeover has been completed.

“While it is most pleasing that Peacocks in Leven will continue trading, I am hugely disappointed that the company’s other store in my constituency, Glenrothes, was one of the 224 stores to cease trading as part of this deal. Every job loss is a tragedy for the person involved and their family.

“I previously made representations to the UK Government to see what support it could provide to Peacocks during this period of uncertainty for the company.

“I will now contact both the Scottish Government and Fife Council to ensure every step will be taken to help those who are losing their jobs find new employment.”

Employees at Peacocks in Leven said they were unable to talk to the press.