Peacocks Group has officially confirmed it is to enter administration leaving the jobs of around 9,000 staff hanging in the balance.
There are 400 staff based at its Cardiff headquarters in addition to the various stores around the country operating under both the Peacocks and Bonmarché brands.
In a statement issued by the group, it said the board and its advisers had been discussing the restructuring of the business with the group’s lenders for some time.
It added: “These talks have now concluded and no agreement has been reached. However, discussions with other potential investors are on-going.
“To protect the business while discussions with such investors are progressed, the directors have filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator.”
An administrator has not yet been appointed and the existing management team remains in place for now.
A sale of the Bonmarché stores still looks likely, however. In a second statement, the Peacocks Group confirmed the board has been reviewing the Bonmarché brand separately from the main group.
It said it believes it will be better positioned under different ownership and is in advanced and exclusive discussions with a potential purchaser.
It noted: “In order to provide protection for the business while this sale process completes, the board has filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator for the Bonmarché business.”
Turnaround practitioner Adrian Doble, a partner at FRP Advisory LLP, is also the chief executive of discount shopping mall, the North Point Centre in Bransholme, Hull.
Doble said that both Peacocks and Bonmarché had both kept rental payments up to date before today’s announcement.
He explained: “Peacocks haven’t been trying to negotiate with us at all. They are up to date with their rent and they have been excellent tenants.
“In up-market locations, the demise of Peacocks is no surprise but I think in discount locations, there is no reason why there can’t be a continuing presence.”