Shops facing uncertain future

Peacocks ps1203-21
Peacocks ps1203-21

A cloud of uncertainty surrounds the future of two Bridlington shops after clothing retailers Peacocks and Bonmarche announced their intention to call in administrators.

Both retailers, owned by the Welsh based Peacock group, announced the decision on Monday, citing a failure to restructure the company’s debts of around £240 million with the banks.

Bon Marche ps1203-22

Bon Marche ps1203-22

The move has left employees of the two Promenades Shopping Centre outlets in limbo as the Peacocks group said it is in advanced talks to sell Bonmarche and is searching for a new investor in its Peacock stores.

The latest announcement does not necessarily mean either Bonmarche or Peacocks, which opened in the Promenades Shopping Centre in 1995 and 1997 respectively, will close but the move is not good news for the shopping centre or Chapel Street on which Peacocks have a prominemt frontage.

Bridlington Mayor Councillor Cyril Marsburg said: “If the shops go it’ll be a blow for the town, just when the promenades was filling up with customers it would be a shame and would change the street scene in Chapel Street.

“In this economic climate we find ourselves in, nothing surprises me, we don’t know what’s round the corner.”

The Peacock Group acquired Wakefield based clothing retailer Bonmarche, which employs over 4,000 people in almost 400 stores across the UK, in 2002,

In total the Peacock Group employs 11,000 people nationwide and any closures would be a significant blow for the UK’s stuttering high street economy.

Peacocks now seems certain to enter administration if an injection of new money cannot be found in the coming days.

The failure of Peacocks to reach an agreement with either RBS or Barclays Banks, who hold a significant proportion of the company’s debt, has led to criticism that the institutions are only looking at the short term when making difficult financial decisions.