UK: Grampian To Sell Off Edinburgh Woollen Mills Chain
Grampian Holdings, the Scottish-based clothing group, is to sell its Edinburgh Woollen Mills (EWM) chain, the company announced yesterday.The plan to divest EWM was announced when Grampian revealed its half yearly results, which showed that pre-tax profits for the group had plummeted from £6m to £2.7m. The group will now concentrate on building up it distribution and warehousing arm, the Malcolm group.Grampian said that falling tourist numbers, increasing fuel costs, and competition on the high street had pushed EWM into decline."Having reviewed the operations of the two businesses, the board believes that in the current market environment, and taking cognisance of the sectors in which the EWM group and the Malcolm group operate, it should focus its resources on building up the Malcolm group," said Sir Donald MacKay, chairman of Grampian. Deutsche Bank has been appointed to handle the divestment.EWM, which employs around 3,000 people in it 280 outlets in Britain, plans to reposition some of its high street stores to attract the growing late middle-aged sector. Mr McGibbon denied that jobs would be put at risk: "I don't think it's a question of jobs at risk. It's a very good business and we will find the right home for Edinburgh Woollen Mills."Sales for EWM were sluggish during the half year, with retail sales down 1.1 per cent and like for like sales down five per cent. The Malcolm Group's turnover increased by 22.9 per cent.
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