Rescue of UK clothing chain Peacocks saves about 2,000 jobs

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FILE PHOTO: Women wearing protective masks pass a Peacocks shop that was closed down in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British discount clothing chain Peacocks has been bought out of administration by Steve Simpson, the chief operating officer of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, backed by a consortium of international investors, saving about 2,000 jobs.

Peacocks fell into administration in November, blaming the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

EWM Group, the private investment group controlled by the family of Philip Day and Peacocks' leading secured creditor, said on Tuesday it was supporting Simpson's bid, providing a deferred loan to the consortium.

Simpson hopes to reopen up to 200 Peacocks stores when lockdown rules ease. Prior to the administration it traded from 423 stores with a staff of 4,369.

Some 1,850 store staff are currently on furlough.

The transaction was negotiated by FRP, Peacocks' administrator. No further financial details were disclosed.

(Reporting by James Davey. Editing by Mark Potter)