Edinburgh Woollen Mills, the middle-of-the-road 278-store retailer formerly owned by Scottish-based Grampian Holdings, has been sold for £49m to Rutland Fund Management.

Rutland has formed a new company, Ever 1489, to run Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Rutland would replace EWM's current CEO, Colin Birrell, reported Retail Week. Mr Birrell had hoped to lead a management buyout, but he will leave once the deal goes through. Paul Cartwright, one of the Rutland directors, said the company had a candidate in mind but would not give further details.

Cartwright said: "EWM has been underperforming and has lost its way. We wish to return to a focus on value-for-money for the more mature shopper. What attracted us to the business was its demographics and its sound base in high street and tourist retail. We want to nurture the existing customer, who may have felt a bit lost."

Last year 50.4 per cent of the sales in EWM stores in women's outerwear and casualwear came from customers aged 65 to 74, with 18.8 per cent coming from 55 to 64-year-olds and 21.6 per cent from 45 to 54-year olds.

In the year to February 2, Edinburgh Woollen Mill made an operating profit of £11.7m on sales of £157.3m.