We have been following the story about the fall of Philip Day's retail empire in the NTI newsroom for almost two months now, so are, it seems, more unsurprised than others in the media to see today's (Friday 20 November) announcement of the group going into Administration. FRP Advisory, who are running the job, said they remained in advanced discussions with a number of parties and were “working hard to secure a future” for the fashion retailers. They added that there would not be any immediate redundancies for the 4,700 staff.
Okay, so we have dutifully reported the story positioned on the lines, now to shift up half a return and read the other stuff between them. As this story unfolded last month Marks & Spencer; Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group and Harold Tillman, the former owner of Jaeger, and Torque Brands, the investment group that bought TM Lewin all showed an interest in Jaeger and, with Marks & Spencer at least, they two brands seemed a reasonable fit both for them and Joan (61), a retired civil servant from Stockbridge.
The group have said there is some interest in Peacocks, and Austin Reed seems to have raised half an eyebrow in one or two stuffy boardrooms across the nation. But the fact is that Philip Day himself is the main suitor for Peacocks (his jewel in a crown presumably bought in B&M), and always has been. The company is in Administration, Liquidation and Phil will be picking over the falling debris with his Phoenix wand, seeking to liberate some of the business from its debt. He has always favoured Peacocks in his empire (in the same way as Mrs Kray always thought Ronnie was the best of her twin boys) and the fact that "... uncertain trading conditions in the retail sector and a deteriorating commercial environment have thwarted negotiations for the group" just mean the eventual price is going down.
For those of you who do not want to hear the end of this gripping tale look away now. Philip Day will buy out Peacocks, shorn of its debt and may also go for Jaeger. Jobs will be saved, the Administration doing its job, and, just like Daniel Craig the remains will have to wait to die another day.