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UPDATE 1-Edinburgh Woollen Mill rescued from administration, saving 1,453 jobs

(Adds comment from administrators, background)

Jan 12 (Reuters) - British retailers Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home, owned by businessman Philip Day’s EWM Group, have been rescued and sold to a consortium of international investors, saving 1,453 jobs and 246 stores, its joint administrators confirmed on Tuesday.

Purepay, a secured creditor to the businesses backed by the consortium, has bought all the remaining stock, as well as the head office site and distribution centre in Carlisle. It will operate the stores under licence from both brands.

However, 85 Edinburgh Woollen Mill stores and 34 Ponden Home stores have been permanently closed, leading to the loss of 485 jobs.

“With such little visibility on future trading conditions in UK retail, we regret that not all of Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Home could be rescued,” joint administrator Tony Wright said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hammered the already struggling British retail sector, pushing players such as Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Oasis Warehouse and Cath Kidston into administration, and resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.

EWM, which also owns Peacocks and Jaeger, went into administration last year, putting 24,000 jobs at risk.

Marks & Spencer said on Monday it was in the final stages of buying Jaeger from its administrators as part of a strategy to bolster its clothing division with new names, while Peacocks is still in administration.

Day will effectively lend money to the consortium for the sale that will be paid back over a number of years, according to The Telegraph, which first reported the deal on Monday.

The report also said EWM-owned Bonmarché has been rescued from administration as well. (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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