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Edinburgh Woollen Mill boss poised to buy more struggling businesses

Philip Day, the chief executive of Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), has said the company is poised to buy more struggling high street retailers, after its latest acquisition of premium brand Jaeger.

Earlier this month Drapers revealed that EWM had bought the Jaeger brand name as well as its debt from private equity firm Better Capital, in March. EWM already owns brands including Jane Norman, Austin Reed and Peacocks.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Day said he expects to acquire more retailers this year as the sector continues to battle against pressures including rising business rates and the devaluation of the pound, which he said would have a “major impact” on the British high street.

Day warned that the retail industry is the “hardest it’s ever been”. He said: “If you’re not absolutely on it, with the right product and the right price point, you’re done.”

The warning comes as EWM opens its first department store, Days, in the former BHS building in Carmarthen. Four more locations are set to open in the near future, with an ultimate plan for 50 stores across the country.

The department store will see all the EWM brands under one roof, including Jaeger, Austin Reed and Country Casuals. The hope, according to Day, is that when a “customer comes in, whatever her budget is, she will find something”.



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