Peacocks: New chief executive plans to pump £120m into firm

The new owner of clothing chain Peacocks says he plans to invest £120m over the next two years.

Philip Day, chief executive and owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, bought the Cardiff-based firm out of administration for £23m last month.

The money will go into infrastructure, IT, the supply chain and stock.

Peacocks went into administration in January as a result of debts of more than £700m caused by a management buyout seven years ago.

"Clearly when anyone goes through an administration, it's not pleasant and a lot of things have been broken," said Mr Day.

"Now what we're trying to do is desperately trying to fix them, and the morale here is very, very good.

"A number of people left behind felt quite guilty they had jobs and some of their colleagues didn't so what we're trying to do is get ourselves to a position where we can get as many of our colleagues back again."

During the administration process, 234 stores closed while 388 stores and concessions were bought by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill group.

About a third of the 9,000 workforce lost their jobs.

It is now beginning the process of re-opening 40 of the stores that were closed.

The first to open will be the flagship one in the centre of Cardiff on Saturday. It means about 400 people will be taken on around the UK.

Recruitment is also under way for 50 people to work in areas like merchandising in the Cardiff headquarters.

Mr Day insists the HQ and distribution depots will remain in Wales, saying local identity is critical for the future of the business.

He said that despite the fact that the Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) group is based in the Scottish borders, he is looking to buy a flat in Cardiff where he will be based in future.

EWM has bought a number of retailers like Jane Norman that have got into difficulty in recent years, but the acquisition of Peacocks is by far the biggest so far.

The family-owned group now has 1,200 stores in total.

Mr Day said he believes Peacocks could become as big as it was before it went into administration.

He added: "One of the key things for us is not necessarily turnover but providing long-term employment hopes to our team.

"Every business that the family has bought, we keep.

"We are in it for the long term, we've never sold a business within the group and we've got younger members from the family who want to be part of it."

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