Administrators to keep Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Peacocks stores open while buyer is sought
Clothing chain Peacocks fell into administration tonight - putting some 9,600 jobs at risk.
Professional services firm KPMG said it had been appointed administrator to Peacocks, as well as its parent company The Peacock Group.
The Peacock Group owns 611 stores and 49 concessions across the UK including in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Gorleston, Dereham, King's Lynn, Wisbech and Downham Market.
KPMG said all Peacocks stores remain open as it seeks to find a buyer for the business and no redundancies have been made.
Meanwhile, KPMG said Bonmarche, also owned by The Peacock Group, which employs 3,800 staff and operates some 394 stores, has not entered administration and a buyer is being sought for the business.
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Bonmarche filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators on Monday but this allows 10 working days before the appointment of administrators.
Chris Laverty, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said: 'Like many retailers Peacocks has suffered from tough economic conditions, which have seen its customers reduce their spending on the high street.
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'This factor, combined with a surplus of stores and high overheads, led to the business becoming financially unviable in its current form.'
The Cardiff-based retailer reportedly failed to persuade its lenders - including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland - to enter a debt for equity deal.
However, after the announcement was made, a spokesman for Barclays said: 'This is not the end for Peacocks, there is a viable business here and our support continues.'
Peacocks, owned by hedge funds Och-Ziff and Perry Capital, has been boosted by the success of a collaboration with the singer-turned-fashion designer Pearl Lowe. Like-for-like sales rose 17% over the Christmas period and the company said it was benefiting from its ability to react quickly to fashion trends.
The exact amount of the debt within the business remained unclear but �647 million of borrowings was reported to be within the business at the end of April 2010.
KPMG has overseen the administration of several retail firms in recent weeks including outdoor retailer Blacks Leisure, gift retailer Past Times and lingerie firm La Senza.