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Philip Day, owner and CEO, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group

The notoriously media-shy owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) hit the headlines numerous times this year, as the company continued its acquisition trail. 

philip day

In February, Day bought men’s tailoring supplier Berwin & Berwin out of administration, and in August, he added Calvetron Brands, which includes Jacques Vert, Eastex and Windsmoor, to his portfolio. 

The brands have joined the line-up at Days Department Store alongside their stablemates, Jaeger, Austin Reed and Peacocks. To date there is still only one branch of Days, in Carmarthen, Wales. 

Day went head to head Mike Ashley for control of House of Fraser this year. In August, he led a consortium of suppliers in a bid to buy the chain out of administration for £100m, pledging to take on its pension scheme. However, Day claimed he was “frozen out by administrators”, and Ashley’s Sports Direct bought HoF for £90m. 

In September, Day pulled all EWM Group stock out of HoF, including the private-label ranges it supplied, after negotiations with Sports Direct collapsed. 

Day is continuing talks with a group of landlords to take over several HoF stores with a view to running them under the Days Department Store fascia. He is also planning to roll out stores for Jaeger and will relaunch Austin Reed in 2019.  



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