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Exclusive: Redundancies at EWM Group

Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group has made more than 100 redundancies across the business, Drapers can reveal. 

Over 100 employees across the head office and business functions, including those who had received job offers at the company, have been let go. The company has also introduced a temporary ban on further recruitment. 

Elsewhere, EWM Group has reduced hours for remaining staff and warned that it could reduce salaries by up to 50% in the coming weeks. The company employs 25,000 people. 

Meanwhile, the retailer will close all of its stores from Sunday 22 March until further notice. 

A spokesman for EWM Group said: “Like many other high street retailers, we are currently experiencing a significant reduction in footfall on the high street. This collapse in footfall has especially affected our core over-60s customers, who have been explicitly told to self-isolate and stay at home by the government.

“To prepare effectively today we opened a consultation with our employees about moving to flexible working hours from next week as a way to ensure that we can limit the impact on the business, the team and, most importantly of all, safeguard as many jobs as possible.

“This suggestion was discussed with all our employees today, and was unanimously agreed. We have not taken any final decisions about whether we will move to reduced working hours yet as this is a very changeable and fast-moving policy environment, and we are watching both the high street and government closely. We are following all the government announcements closely to find the best way to support our team.

“Sadly, as part of these preparations, we have also made a small number of redundancies across the group, where people have been very recently hired or were due to start very soon. We have also put a ban on further recruitment in the business, as we work towards safeguarding as many jobs as possible.”

Earlier this year collapsed retailer Bonmarché was sold to EWM’s Peacocks. The company acquired most of Bonmarché’s assets, including stock and around 200 stores. However, it is understood that a deal has still not been completed on the remaining 70 stores. 


Readers' comments (16)

  • Perhaps it’s time for Philip Day to dip into his billions and pay staff full salary, most of them will be on minimum wage so won’t be able to live on a reduced salary

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  • Don’t believe it to me unanimous at all. Late Friday afternoon decision with employees threatened to be fired if they don’t sign. Great work in a time of chaos and uncertainty (for employees, not Philip).

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  • This is a lie. Peacocks staff have been given no information whatsoever and their health and that of their families is at risk

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  • Shocking! Up to 1000 jobs are under consultation and everyone under 2 years service have been made redundant -are they not paying suppliers again also?

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  • I hear he’s a really nice, straightforward honest and legit gentleman or maybe I got that wrong? Mmmm

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  • I work for EWM and there's been NO consultation with any of our store staff. In fact information from head office is very thin on the ground. We have been asked to reduce staff hours but keep stores open all day, every day. Putting us all under extreem pressure. They only seem to care about the profits, not our safety.

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  • No consultation with Jaeger staff. About 3 days ago anyone employed for 2 years or less were made redundant and told they much work their notice and leave on 26th March. At least 127 Jaeger staff were dumped at a time when the government offered to support businesses and the whole country is in crisis, Multi billionaire Philip Day who does not even reside in the UK is no double self isolating on a yacht in the Caribbean !

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  • We will stop supply to Peacocks after this crisis. I don’t trust Sir Philip Day or Steve Simpson. We just don’t know where we stand. Payments are months late and we got hit with Bonmarche. We have employees and families to consider!

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  • Surely DR needs to pick up on this story or is it one for The Sunday Times... either way MR Day and Mr Simpson need to be called out for what they are ?

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  • DRAPERS....Can you pick up on this?? Surely the press have a duty to stop this??

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