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Past Times has appointed administrators from KPMG to try to sell the business as a going concern. Whilst Clothing retailer Peacocks says it intends to call in the administrators.

Peacock employs more than 400 at its Cardiff HQ and nearly 10,000 more across the UK. The firm has experienced spectacular growth over the past 15 years, but is saddled with debts dating back to a management buy-out. However, it said discussions with other potential investors were continuing. 

The board has filed an "intention to appoint administrators" for Peacocks and its sister chain Bonmarché which gives them 10 days to put together a plan while it prevents creditors pursuing debts through the courts. Sources suggested Kirk was close to making an offer for the chain which has 611 stores and more than 10,000 staff, but there was no certainty that it would succeed.

"The loss-making business is a casualty of difficult trading conditions for the retail sector, which has seen discretionary spend fall as consumer confidence declined during the last year," the administrators' statement said.

Past Times was owned by Epic Private Equity, a firm specialising in "distressed" companies, which bought it out of administration for £7.75m in 2005.

It had announced its intention to call in administrators late last year, but then had to leave at least a 10-day gap before doing so.

On the Peacock front, A spokesman said: "The board of the Peacock Group and its advisers have been discussing for some time the restructuring of the business with the group's lenders.

"Unfortunately these talks have now concluded and no agreement has been reached. However, discussions with other potential investors are ongoing.

"To protect the business whilst discussions with such investors are progressed, the directors of the Peacock Group have filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator."

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