Edinburgh Woollen Mill, best known for knitwear aimed at over 45-year-olds, has acquired the Jane Norman name, 33 standalone stores and the stock from all of its 94 stores, UK concessions and some overseas outlets in a surprise pre-pack administration deal.
Zolfo Cooper, the US accountancy firm that was appointed as administrator on Monday, has also struck a “transitional services agreement” with Edinburgh Woollen Mill for a further 28 stores and a number of concessions, which it claims will allow all parties time to consider their future.
In a statement, Edinburgh Woollen Mill said it was “excited” to be the new owner of Jane Norman and said it plans to introduce a new design team to reinvigorate its product offering. The majority of Jane Norman’s UK stores will be reopened today, after being closed on Sunday as the chain struggled with cash-flow issues.
Jane Norman’s concessions in Debenhams will continue to trade as normal for now, but Zolfo Cooper is also seeking a buyer for these.
Debenhams declined to comment on the future of the outlets or the space allocated to them.
The remaining 33 Jane Norman stores will be closed. It is not clear what will happen to the chain’s stores in Denmark and the Netherlands. Only 396 out of 1,600 roles will be saved by the deal.
Zolfo Cooper partner and joint administrator Alastair Beveridge said: “It has been an exacting time for the company, which has a substantial amount of debt. We are pleased to have ensured the survival of such a familiar presence on the high street.”
Edinburgh Woollen Mill has 192 stores, 94 speciality tourist shops and 28 outlet stores. It also has a transactional website.