M&S closes in on deal to salvage Jaeger brand from scrapheap

·2-min read

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is closing in on a deal to buy Jaeger, the loss-making fashion brand which fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic late last year.

Sky News has learnt that M&S could sign an agreement to acquire Jaeger as soon as this week.

The brand was part of the clothing empire owned by Philip Day, the Dubai-based tycoon who was forced to appoint administrators to Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) last November.

A source close to Mr Day's business said a transaction with M&S was "imminent" but added that many of his former assets were less likely to be salvaged.

EWM also owned Peacocks, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert, none of which are thought to be on M&S's shopping list.

M&S's deal is expected to involve the acquisition of Jaeger's brand and stock, but not the scores of standalone stores which remained in place following the closure of 13 shops in November.

FRP Advisory, which is handling the administration process, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday evening.

Like other clothing chains, Jaeger has been left largely unable to trade for most of the last ten months as lockdowns and the tiering system have imposed severe restrictions on non-essential retailers.

For M&S's chief executive Steve Rowe, the acquisition would represent a consistent fit with the company's new strategy of selling third-party brands which appeal to core M&S shoppers.

It has launched collaborations with Ghost, the cult dress brand, to offer a series of limited edition collections; Nobody's Child, a sustainable fashion brand; and Early Learning Centre.

Last year, M&S also lodged a bid to become the UK franchisee of Victoria's Secret but lost out to rival Next.

If completed, the takeover by M&S will mark another chapter for Jaeger, one of Britain's best-known clothing labels.

Founded in 1884, it has been owned in recent times by the financial investor Jon Moulton's Better Capital and Harold Tillman, former head of the British Fashion Council.

M&S declined to comment, while a spokesman for Mr Day did not respond to a request for comment.