Buyout lifeline for town centre shops

Blackpool Town Centre and Bid manager Eileen Ormand
Blackpool Town Centre and Bid manager Eileen Ormand
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ALL three of the Fylde coast’s Bonmarche stores will remain open after the troubled firm went through a buyout.

However, private equity firm Sun European Partners, will close 160 stores nationwide with the loss of 1,400 jobs

Bosses at the Cleveleys, Blackpool, and St Annes branches confirmed their stores will remain open following the takeover.

A spokesman for the St Annes Road West, St Annes, branch, said: “We’re delighted we’re staying open, but the staff are upset about the other stores which are to close.”

It’s understood Sun European has bought the firm in a controversial ”pre-pack” deal which gives it the assets of the firm but little of its debts.

Chris Laverty, joint administrator at administrator KPMG, said: “Given the hostile conditions on the high street, we’re pleased to have concluded a sale with Sun European Partners.

“The deal is a positive step forward in underscoring Bonmarche’s future.”

The stores to be closed were informed this week of the news.

The retailer was part of the Peacocks group which crashed into administration last week, saddled with huge debts.

Blackpool town centre manager Eileen Ormand (above) said: “With all of the bad news we seem to be suffering from, it’s great news that a much-loved national name such as Bon Marche will be staying on the high streets of the Fylde coast.

“The Blackpool store is a strong trading one so we’re delighted it is staying for the customers in Blackpool.”

Matthias Gundlach, said it was working with current management to put “a sustainable growth programme” in place.

It’s thought Sun European, which already owns the Alexon and Jacques Vert brands, spent £10 million acquiring the retailer.

The sale of Bonmarche will see administrators now turn their attention to the Peacocks chain.

As yet there is no deal for Peacocks and their stores remain under threat.