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Exclusive: EWM Group ‘mothballs’ Jane Norman to focus on newer brands

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has put Jane Norman on hold to focus on its more recently acquired brands. It sees Jaeger and Austin Reed as a priority and is understood to have recently acquired Calvetron Brands.

The group is seeking to build its position in the “luxury fashion market” with a portfolio of womenswear and menswear brands.

Drapers understands Jane Norman has been put on hold for the past few months and the standalone website is no longer operating. There is a note on sister brand Peacocks’ website which says: “Jane Norman is no longer available online. You can continue to shop Jane Norman in over 50 Peacocks stores.”

It is thought that the group has no intention of putting the company into administration or selling the Jane Norman brand.

A small number of people decided to take voluntary redundancy but the majority have been reallocated within the group, Drapers understands.

A spokesperson for EWM said: “We put the Jane Norman brand on hold a number of months ago to focus our energy on newly -acquired brands, such as Jaeger, Austin Reed and Viyella, which continue to go from strength to strength as we build our position in the luxury fashion market.

“The Jane Norman brand continues to be a part of our business and we will relaunch the brand in the future.”

EWM acquired Jane Norman after it collapsed into administration in 2011, taking the brand name, 33 stores and stock from all its stores and concessions into its fold.

Philip Day, the secretive owner of EWM Group, has more recently been assembling a portfolio of brands targeting the premium market including Austin Reed, Viyella and Jaeger. Today it has emerged that he has acquired Calvetron Brands labels, which include Jacques Vert, Eastex and Windsmoor, from administrators Duff & Phelps.

Day has been linked to a rescue deal at House of Fraser, which is urgently seeking funding after the Chinese owner of Hamleys said it would no longer be investing £70m in the department store chain.

The acquisition of the Calvetron portfolio of brands will add more weight to Day’s department store concept, Days Department Store, the first branch of which opened in Carmarthen last May.

A source told Drapers: “He has already tested the concept [with these brands] with Days Department Store and getting involved with House of Fraser would allow him to accelerate that quickly.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • Didn’t House Of Fraser kick out Brands like Eastex Windsmoor & JV because they weren’t viable?

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  • Exactly. Most stores kicked out or reduced spaces for classic brands as they aren't relevant in todays market.
    Women don't want to wear what their mothers or grandmothers wore.

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  • Maybe they should stick to actually launching the brands the have acquired rather than laying off people and buying more brands.

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  • Jane Norman is too 90's and hardly aspirational.

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