£67.5m Edinburgh Woollen Mill deal 'vote of confidence'

Retail chain Edinburgh Woollen Mill has been bought in a £67.5m buyout deal led by its chief executive, it was announced yesterday.

The group, which is based in Langholm, Dumfriesshire and operates from 285 outlets, has been bought by a newly-formed company financed by Bank of Scotland's corporate banking division and led by boss Philip Day.

Under the deal, the team has bought out private equity firm Rutland Fund Management.

Chief executive Mr Day, who is now majority shareholder in the group, said: "This is a massive vote of confidence in the company and its future. The deal presents my management with the key to the door of future growth."

Mr Day said the past year had seen a "significant turnaround" in EWM's fortunes after seeing "record profits".

He said under the restructuring, the product range was improved, its supply chain was made more efficient and the group had developed a nationally recognisable brand.

"With the support of the Bank of Scotland going forward we should be able to maximise the growth of the business over the medium to long term.

"This is a new chapter in the company's history and we aim to build on the business's inherent strength."

A spokesman for EWM, which employs 3,410 staff, said the deal would allow the group to grow organically and by acquisition.

EWM traces its roots back to 1946, when it was founded as the Langholm Dyeing and Finishing Company. It moved into retailing in 1970 when it opened its first shop in Randolph Place, Edinburgh.