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Eaden Lilley in St Ives is bought by Townrow

Independent department store business Townrow is to snap up retailer Eaden Lilley’s store in St Ives in Cambridgeshire, after the company went into administration.

Established more than 100 years ago, indie department store business Eaden Lilley, which had four stores, fell into administration in February after tough trading.

Essex-based Townrow, which has three stores in Braintree, Frinton-on-Sea and Halstead and two shops in Maldon selling the likes of Jacques Vert, Windsmoor and Planet, was in the process of completing a deal to buy Eaden Lilley’s 10,000sq ft shop in St Ives in Cambridgeshire as Drapers went to press.

Eaden Lilley did not own the freehold on any of its stores, and after it fell into administration Townrow took a temporary licence from administrator Benedict Mackenzie and continued to operate the St Ives shop, which has about 30 staff.

Eaden Lilley’s shops in Saffron Walden in Essex and Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire have shut, along with a photographic shop it owned in Cambridge.

Townrow, which has been trading for 138 years, plans to integrate Eaden Lilley of St Ives into its store portfolio, although no decision has been made about whether it will retain the Eaden Lilley name.

Eaden Lilley’s offer includes womenswear brands Fenn Wright Manson and Olsen, and menswear brands Gurteen and Haggar.

Townrow director Edward Townrow said the deal was a good opportunity to expand the business. He said: “St Ives was the store that had the biggest potential for us. It’s a dream for us to take on another store like that and we are actively looking for new stores.

“The difficulty is finding the right ones in the right towns, but for indies who have been prudent over the past few years it’s a good time for opportunities.” He added: “Trade for us hasn’t really been hit in the downturn, but we’ll have to wait and see how the next six months goes.”

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