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The Edinburgh Woollen Mill was founded by Drew Stevenson in 1946 as the Langholm Dyeing and Finishing Company, undertaking the dyeing of yarn on a contract basis. The development into retailing began in 1970, when the Group opened its first shop in Randolph Place, Edinburgh. In 1972 the first store south of the Border opened, appropriately enough at 81 English Street, Carlisle.
The company has had a number of owners dating from the early 1970s and was divested by Grampian Holdings in 2001. The business was taken over by a management buy-in led by Philip Day and, over the next few years Philip returned the company back to being an independent privately-owned business which is now owned 100% by the Day family.
The company had gone through a chequered performance history when it was acquired by Philip Day and he set about improving its store appearance, delivering excellent customer service in a friendly environment and creating a “first price right price” approach with the delivery of excellent quality and superb value for money products to our customers.
The company has grown substantially, it can now be considered as the best mid-market performer in the sector, delivering good consistent growth.
The Group has continued to invest in acquisitions and in the recent years has added to its portfolio. It has acquired the assets of Ponden Mill and Rosebys (which have been re-branded as Ponden Home with 91 stores nationwide), Proquip (the famous sponsor of the Ryder Cup European Tour, specializing in the very best waterproof clothing) and most recently Jane Norman (the high street young fashion brand with 78 stores and a strong international presence).
The Group turnover for 2009/2010 was in excess of £240m and the company operates in excess of 500 stores nationwide