Philip Day bids £5.7m for Bonmarché

Edinburgh Woollen Mill boss Philip Day has unconditionally offered £5.7 million to buy Bonmarché.

The women’s fashion retailer revealed expected losses of between £5 million and £6 million for the year ending 31 March, following an update in November which showed in-store like-for-likes down four per cent as the brand was hit by “weaker consumer sentiment and footfall”.

Day - who also owns Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jaegar - made the bid for Bonmarché as part of his Dubai-based investment vehicle Spectre, which holds more than 26 million shares, placing it above the 30 per cent threshold for a takeover approach.

A stock exchange statement explained that a complete a store-by-store profitability assessment would be undertaken, with the intention of identifying all current stores that “do not make an acceptable contribution to the performance of the business as a result of inappropriate rent levels, staffing levels, or other factors”.

Those stores identified as underperforming may be closed unless reduced rents, staff reductions or other cost-saving measures can be successfully implemented.

“As a result of its review, and based purely on publicly available information, Spectre expects a material reduction in headcount across Bonmarché,” it added.

Day also promised to examine internet fulfilment and digital marketing processes, with a view to reviewing the efficiency of handling, distribution, Click and Collect, returns handling processes and of the return on digital marketing spend.

Bonmarché has a footprint of over 300 stores and concessions across the UK and currently employs around 1,900 full-time staff.

Day added that he was “well positioned to provide advice, guidance and support to secure the long term future of the Bonmarché business, its stores and employees”.

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