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Peacock and Past Times go into administration

Company behind Peacocks says talks to restructure its £600m debt have broken down, while Past Times is closing 46 stores with the loss of 574 jobs

The company behind fashion chain Peacock says it has run out of options and it plans to go into administration after talks to restructure its £600m debt pile broke down.

Its board said it had filed an “intention to appoint administrators” which gives them 10 days to put together a rescue deal as it prevents any of its creditors pursuing debts through the courts.

It came as nostalgia chain Past Times went into administration with the closure of 46 stores and the loss of 574 jobs. KPMG said the remaining 51 stores, which employ 500, would stay open in the short term but closing down sales had begun, adding: “There will be an orderly wind-down in the event a going concern sale cannot be concluded.” Its head office in Witney, Oxfordshire, will also see job losses.

Peacocks’ advisers have been trying to put together a rescue deal for months, but talks broke down at the weekend, leaving the future of the store chain, which has 550 branches and employs around 10,000 staff, hanging in the balance. “The board of the Peacock Group and its advisers have been discussing for some time the restructuring of the business with the group’s lenders,” said the retailer in a statement. “Unfortunately these talks have now concluded and no agreement has been reached.”

The Peacocks board is still in talks with potential investors but had filed an “intention to appoint an administrator” to “protect” the business while discussions continued. The company added that the existing management team led by chief executive Richard Kirk would remain in place as an administrator had not been formally appointed yet.

Peacocks also confirmed it was close to agreeing a sale of sister chain Bonmarché to turnaround firm Sun European Capital. The company said it had also filed a notice of “intention to appoint an administrator” for Bonmarché to “provide protection for the business whilst this sale process completes”.

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