Bonmarche to shut 30 stores before Christmas and 240 jobs could be lost

A RETAILER is set to close 30 under-performing store before Christmas.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 1:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th November 2019, 1:10 pm

Bonmarche collapsed into administration in the middle of October and discussions are ongoing with bidders to purchase it.

The company’s administrators announced that it would be closing 30 of its stores on December 11 and that up to 240 staff will ‘potentially be made redundant’.

Bonmarche has stores in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Waterlooville but has not announced which 30 shops it will be shutting.

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The high street retailer collapsed into administration last month. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The remaining 285 stores will continue to trade, but will also be kept under review, and their future cannot be guaranteed.

Peacocks are in talks to purchase Bonmarche but the deal has not been finalised and is subject to negotiations with landlords.

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Tony Wright, administrator from FRP Advisory, said: ‘We deeply regret that, as part of the administration process, 30 stores will close and staff may be made redundant.’

On top of the jobs lost in store, 25 people from middle management and head office have been laid off.

The closures come as part of a deal with sister company Peacocks, which itself entered administration in 2012, along with Bonmarche. The two were rescued at the time by private equity firm Sun European Partners.

However, administrators stressed that the deal with Peacocks still hinges on negotiations with landlords, and due diligence, and could yet fail.

‘Whilst we are optimistic that a transaction can be completed, ultimately it will depend on ongoing negotiations between our preferred bidder and landlords on market rents and there remains a risk that the business could cease to trade,’ Mr Wright said.

Nine companies are understood to have been in the running for Bonmarche, but Peacocks was chosen as the preferred bidder after the deadline passed on November 15.

Bonmarche fell into administration in the middle of October after a series of profit warnings.

It blamed a ‘sustained period of challenging trading conditions’ as the business became the latest victim of a malaise on the high street.

Bonmarche had been floated on the London Stock Exchange until earlier this year when retail tycoon Philip Day took over the struggling retailer.