Philip Day (he of Peacock, Jaeger, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Bonmarché fame) appears to be a sneaky little operator. As spring unfolds it seems that Day’s sidekick, Steve Simpson (his erstwhile Chief Operating Officer) set up a company called Purepay Retail, backed by his former boss, and Purepay bought Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Bonmarché, from right under the nose of Mike Ashley who was snuffling around them. Cool.
However, and this is the good bit, before embarking on the sale of his treasure-trove of tacky little businesses in the early autumn of 2020, Day took £140 million of security over its assets from Barclays, in effect giving him control over the process. The NTI newsroom want to point out that this is perfectly legal (in the same way as parking in a ‘loading bay - 30 minutes stay only’ whilst you pop to the cinema is perfectly legal).
One of Day’s henchmen, speaking from Dubai (although we made that last bit up ... for colour mainly; but this is where Day lives) said his boss gained security because Barclays sought repayment of an overdraft.
Barclays have explained that this is ‘inaccurate’. What? In the ‘it’s safe to snog your Gran’ type of ‘inaccurate’, or ‘Lisbon is the capital of France’ way? We cannot be sure.
Ratcheting up the drama, Peacocks is now about to be bought by Purepay, as the last part of Day’s empire is about to drop into new hands, and - guess what? - the one being cuckolded in all this is no less than our old mate Mike Ashley, who is trawling around the bottom of the retail gutter looking for bargains, as he seeks to grow his own empire.
Ashley, who is hungry for ... well, let’s be honest, a buffet or two, but also a retail deal, did conduct talks with the Administrators, FRP Advisory, over Peacocks and also enlisted forensic specialists from Kroll to investigate the transfer of Peacocks’ intellectual property to a company registered in Dubai, where Day lives. But it seems the Dubai connection has got the better of him and, gloriously, it will be Simpson (and Day?) who win the ... well, day.