Good news and bad for staff at Borders stores

Jobs at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill outlet in Jedburgh are safe after a deal was agreed for the sale of the chain.

By Kirsty Smyth
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:59 pm

But administrators have confirmed that the Abbey Mill store in Melrose is not part of the deal.

Both stores were on the brink of closure after Edinburgh Woollen Mill, along with Ponden Home and Bonmarché, went into administration in November following a collapse in sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The future of the shop in Edinburgh Road, Jedburgh has been secured after a deal was agreed for the sale of the three chains, controlled by billionaire Philip Day, this week.

Administrators at FRP Advisory confirmed 246 stores would be saved by Purepay Retail, a consortium of international investors led by Steve Simpson – the existing chief operating officer of Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group.

Joint administrator Tony Wright said the Purepay deal provided “the best chance to save stores and jobs”.

However, he added that not all of Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home could be rescued.

Some 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and 34 Ponden Home stores, including the Melrose site, will permanently close as part of the agreement, and around 500 staff are set to be made redundant as a result.

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont said: “The overall rescue deal is good news for jobs and the retail sector across the United Kingdom.

“It is great news that the store in Jedburgh will remain.

“However, I really feel for those who work in the Melrose store and whose future is now very uncertain.

“I will be contacting the new owners to ascertain what support is being offered.”