Bonmarché bought by Edinburgh Woollen Mill billionaire Philip Day

Fashion chain Bonmarché

Fashion chain Bonmarché has been bought by UK billionaire Philip Day, owner of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.

The struggling retailer warned last month that trading had deteriorated, adding that it expected to lose £5-£6m this year.

The deal values the Yorkshire-based chain, which began in 1982 and now has 312 shops specialising in clothing for the over-50s, at around £5.7m.

Mr Day warned he expected a “material reduction” in headcount at the chain.

The company currently employs approximately 1,900 full-time equivalent people, according to its website.

Mr Day said he would do a “store-by-store profitability assessment” with the aim of closing underperforming shops unless it was possible to implement “reduced rents, staff reductions or other cost saving measures”.

He added he was “well positioned to provide advice, guidance and support to secure the long term future of the Bonmarché business, its stores and employees”.

The businessman started his career at clothing manufacturers Coats Viyella and Wensum before eventually taking over Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Through Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Mr Day has bought several clothing chains, including discount chain Peacocks and the upmarket Austin Reed and Jaeger brands.

Mr Day has bought Bonmarché via his Dubai-based investment vehicle Spectre.

Spectre’s statement said: “The owner of Spectre, Philip Day, has a successful track record within the retail sector, especially in turnaround and distressed situations.”