An older customer base, reluctant to visit stores, leaves Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s future in jeopardy

Following the news that the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has filed a notice to appoint administrators, Pippa Stephens, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the situation:

“The Edinburgh Woollen Mill group’s reliance on older customers will have exacerbated its struggles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as these shoppers remain the most cautious about returning to physical retail locations. Furthermore, while younger consumers have retained some desire to purchase fashion items, Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s shoppers will have fewer reasons to buy new clothing as many will continue to shield until the virus has been significantly supressed, making the retailer’s range largely redundant.”

“Out of the group’s brands, Peacocks is likely to be the most desirable to potential buyers, as it is the largest fascia, with its UK clothing market share forecast to remain stable at 0.8% in 2020. Its value proposition will be appealing to consumers, since the UK’s ongoing recession and increasing unemployment rates will drive many shoppers to minimise their non-essential spending for the foreseeable future. In addition, its wide range of childrenswear will also be beneficial, as this has been the most resilient clothing sub-sector throughout the pandemic thanks to the need for frequent replacement purchases. However, Jaeger is less likely to attract bidders, due its premium price points and focus on formalwear, which is out of favour as consumers continue to work from home. The group’s core Edinburgh Woollen Mill brand will also lack appeal amongst potential buyers, as it has the greatest proportion of older shoppers.”

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