Nearly 2,900 jobs at risk as Bonmarche slumps into administration

21 October 2019

Nearly 2,900 jobs at risk as Bonmarche slumps into administration

Wakefield headquartered fashion retailer Bonmarche has become the latest high street casualty, after the business was forced to call in the administrators.

Nearly 2,900 jobs across 318 stores are at risk at the womenswear retailer, though the shops will remain open while a buyer is sought for the chain.

The BBC has reported that Bonmarché chief executive Helen Connolly said she had made the decision with “deep regret and sadness”, blaming difficult high street trading conditions, and the delay in resolving Brexit.

She said the firm had considered a refinancing or a rescue deal, known as a company voluntary agreement with its landlords and lenders.

This is an insolvency process which allows a business to come to an agreement with creditors to pay off all or part of its debts, and can also be used to renegotiate rents.

However, Connolly said the firm had concluded that neither option would “fundamentally change the core challenges facing the business.”

Administrator FRP Advisory said it had been appointed because Bonmarche could no longer meet its financial obligations. It also noted that trading would continue and no redundancies had been made.

Earlier this summer Spectre, the Dubai-based investment firm owned by billionaire Phillip Day, confirmed it had acquired Bonmarché after securing 93% of the struggling retailer –  triggering a de-listing announcement.

Spectre first announced its hostile takeover of Bonmarché in April, when it acquired 52% company shares for £3m.

Under takeover rules, it then had to make mandatory offer for the remainder of the company and did so for £2.73m – totalling £5.7m for the troubled retailer.

Bonmarché resisted the full takeover offer, but the firm changed its stance, after reporting poor first quarter trading.

Day is the owner of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, Proquip, Austin Reed, Country Casuals, Jaeger and Jacque Vert brands.