In an update the group said it is “responding to the harsh trading conditions caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a recent reduction in its credit insurance” and the review is part of a drive to “secure their future”.
The group has filed a notice to appoint administrators with the High Court today ( 9 October) which it said will give the business “necessary breathing space” while it assesses the various options available.
In recent weeks EWM had received a number of expressions of interest for various parts of the group and it added these are being “assessed along with all other options”.
It added it has appointed FRP Advisory as administrators who will then carry out the necessary restructuring of the wider business at the end of the review.
Steve Simpson, chief executive of EWM, said: “Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult. This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance.
“Traditionally, EWM has always traded with strong cash reserves and a conservative balance sheet but these stories and the reduction in credit insurance – against the backdrop of the initial lockdown, current local lockdowns, and the second wave of COVID-19 reducing footfall have made normal trading impossible.”
He added: “As Directors we have a duty to the business, our staff, our customers and our creditors to find the very best solution in this brutal environment. We have applied to court today for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators.
“Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this.I would like to thank all our staff for their amazing efforts during this time and also our customers who have remained so loyal and committed to our brands.”