Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) has temporarily closed its House of Fraser concessions, including Berwin & Berwin, Jaeger, Jane Norman and Calvetron Brands while discussions continue, Drapers can reveal.
In an internal email sent on Saturday, EWM instructed staff across the concessions to cease trading immediately while negotiations continue between the two companies. It asked them to rope off their areas and remove stock from display.
“A member of staff must remain on the department at all times to ensure that no goods/products are sold,” the email stated. ”Please ensure that you communicate with the adjacent store/concession staff to ensure sales are not processed through the till.”
The suspension of trading also applies to own-brand HoF product supplied by Berwin & Berwin.
One industry source said: “Day is pulling his concessions, which will affect 30 stores, so it is big enough to hurt. My understanding is that he looked to do a deal with [new HoF owner Mike] Ashley, but couldn’t get the deal he wanted.”
It is understood that Day had expressed an interest in taking on several House of Fraser stores following his unsuccessful bid to take over the company last month.
News of EWM’s suspension of trading comes after Ashley slammed HoF’s former directors for mismanaging the company. Speaking to The Sunday Times, Ashley said the demise of House of Fraser ”should be fully investigated”.
EWM declined to comment on the decision to close its concessions. Sports Direct has been contacted for comment.