Peacocks totters on the brink

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THE Leven branch of Peacocks is among hundreds across the UK plunged into doubt, as the firm stands on the edge of administration.

The discount clothing chain filed a notice of intention on Monday to appoint an administrator, after a series of talks with lenders including the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Discussions were focused on trying to restructure the company’s business and finances – after reports suggested the taxpayer-owned RBS had decided to pare back its lending support for high street retailers.

Peacocks has over 600 stores and concessions in Britain - including the well-known outlet at Leven’s Shorehead, which has been in the town for 10 years.

The company declined to reveal the staff numbers in Leven who now have a cloud of uncertainty over their jobs. Peacock bosses still hope to lure new investors – as Leven faced a fresh threat this week to its town centre prosperity.

The clothing chain confirmed on Monday it was seeking an administrator.

The move followed reports that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), one of Peacocks’ main lenders, was reducing its support for town centre operators.

A Peacock Group statement said talks over the restructuring of business had concluded without agreement, but discussions with other potential investors were ongoing.

It added: “To protect the business while discussions with such investors are progressed, the directors have filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator. Existing management remains in place, as an adminstrator has not been appointed.”

The taxpayer-owned RBS indicated it had not changed its policy or pushed Peacocks towards administration.

It said: “Each company restructure is judged on its own merits but, clearly, the difficult conditions retailers face is an important factor.

“We have been, and continue to be, supportive of the company. New investors willing to inject sufficient capital could not be found.

“If further funds are required, this is an issue for shareholders and for approval by a majority of the lenders.”