Philip Day to close offer on Bonmarche following trading update

Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day has given notice that he will close his offer to acquire womenswear retailer Bonmarche, following an update on the state of the business.

The takeover offer, which was made in early April, valued the company at £5.7 million and was triggered when Mr Day’s holding company Spectre acquired more than 50% of shares in the firm.

But Mr Day’s firm said on Thursday that its proposed turnaround plans, which included possible store closures, were urgently needed at the time and that Bonmarche’s position had now worsened.

The retail tycoon said a further decline in the business’s trading performance had eroded his team’s “ability to provide the advice, guidance and support needed” to support the brand’s future.

The 11.4p-a-share offer made to Bonmarche investors will remain open until the end of the day on July 12.

If Spectre receives enough acceptances by this time to bring its holdings to more than 75% of the company, it plans to take Bonmarche off the stock market.

The latest development follows Bonmarche’s announcement on Wednesday that it had reconsidered Mr Day’s offer, having previously rebuffed it.

It also revealed its auditor may include a reference to the “uncertainty with regard to going concern” in full-year accounts due to the trading troubles and without any sign of improvement in revenues.

Spectre pointed to this and dwindling trading as concerns, as well as a fear that Bonmarche may soon no longer have its £5 million overdraft and other banking facilities available to it.