Staff at Peacocks Market Street branch will be breathing a sigh of relief at the news that the Eastleigh branch of the discount clothing retailer has been spared from the axe by the chains new owners Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Workers in other Peacocks stores nearby are not so lucky. Both the Portswood and Southampton City stores are closing part of 224 branch closures and 3,100 job losses throughout the country.
The troubled retailer had gone into administration on January 19 succumbing to a falling market as the big supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda take a larger slice of clothing market share in a recession hit economy, however it was the cost of servicing its £750 million debt mountain that proved fatal.
In 2005 Peacocks were subject to a £400 million management buyout – unfortunately the finance came with an eye –watering 17% interest rate.
As well as Peacocks, Edinburgh Woollen Mill has its own store in Market Street and in addition owns the branch of Ponden Home a few doors away.
The Market Street branch of Roseby’s linen shop was another EWM owned business, although it closed three years ago.
Sainsbury’s plan to build a Megastore in Eastleigh with extra floor space devoted to its clothing range will surely be a cause of concern to EWM’s town centre stores.
Sainsbury’s announced in its last trading statement that it’s clothing and household goods sales are growing three times faster than food – making Sainsbury’s the seventh largest clothing retailer by volume in the UK.
Last year the BBC ran an exposé on James Pringle jumpers (£140 a pop) a label owned by and sold by EWM. Although the jumpers are labelled ‘Designed in Scotland’ the BBC discovered they are manufactured in Mongolia by North Korean workers.