Bonmarche re-enters administration just months after rescue

Bonmarche re-enters administration just months after rescue thumbnail

Fashion retailer Bonmarche has tumbled into administration again, little over a year since its last collapse and just months after it was bought up.

The failure represents the third major high street brand to throw in the towel in as many days – with Debenhams being wound down and Sir Philip Green’s Topshop empire calling in administrators.

In Bonmarche’s case, it leaves 1,500 jobs at risk on top of the 25,000 already announced this week at the larger chains.

Bonmarche places itself as a value fashion retailer. Pic: Bonmarche

RSM Restructuring Advisory, which has been appointed to handle the administration, said Bonmarche would continue to trade normally from its 225 stores while a buyer is sought.

The brand last collapsed in October 2019 under pressure of weaker sales and rising costs from things like rents and business rates.

The bulk of the company was resurrected in a rescue deal by Peacocks – part of Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group – in February.

However, the coronavirus crisis struck just weeks later, exacerbating the tough trading environment for stores as all non-essential retail was shut down UK-wide.

EWM placed Peacocks and another of its brands, Jaeger, in administration last month – putting more than 4,700 jobs at risk – as shops continued to face disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

Non-essential retail has been able to throw open its doors in England since Wednesday morning, following the conclusion of a second lockdown.

Damian Webb, joint administrator, said: “Bonmarche remains an attractive brand with a loyal customer base.

“It is our intention to continue to trade whilst working closely with management to explore the options for the business.

“We will shortly be marketing the business for sale, and based on the interest to date we anticipate there will be a number of interested parties.”