Fast-fashion retail chain Peacocks owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) has filed a notice of intention (NOI) to appoint administrators. 

The group is seeking potential buyers with the aim to save its business. 

Owned by billionaire businessman Philip Day, EWM also owns Austin Reed and Jaeger brands. 

According to media reports, the move could risk several thousands of jobs. 

Edinburgh Woollen Mill chief executive Steve Simpson was quoted by The Independent as saying: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult. 

“This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance. 

“Traditionally, the group has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet but these stories, the reduction in credit insurance – against the backdrop of the lockdown – and now this second wave of Covid-19 and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible. 

So we have applied to court today for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators. 

“Through this process, I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.”