Gran’s Christmas-present shopping vouchers now worthless

COCK-UP? Iris outside the Peacocks store on Hucknall High Street with her worthless vouchers -- DISPIC NHUD12-0797-1.
COCK-UP? Iris outside the Peacocks store on Hucknall High Street with her worthless vouchers -- DISPIC NHUD12-0797-1.

A GREAT-grandma from Hucknall says she is “gobsmacked” after finding out that £50 worth of shopping vouchers she holds could now be worth peanuts.

Iris Woodfield (82), of Trueman Drive, was given the vouchers for the Peacocks chain of stores as a Christmas present by one of her six daughters.

She spent £22 worth at the Peacocks shop on Hucknall High Street in January.

Soon afterwards, the parent company, Peacock Group, went into administration under a £700 million mountain of debt, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Peacocks stores were taken over in February in a buyout, and the Hucknall shop was saved from closure at the 11th hour.

An unsuspecting Iris duly returned to the High Street store to spend the rest of her vouchers on clothes.

But she was told by staff the vouchers were no longer being accepted.

Now she has received a letter from administrator KPMG to say that she is likely to get just 7p for every £10 worth of vouchers she owns.

“They might as well say they are worthless,” said Iris, who also has two sons, 21 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

“There must be people out there with a lot more in vouchers, and they are going to miss out.

“This company has had the money for these vouchers, yet we can’t spend them.

“I know there is one member of staff at the Hucknall shop who still has £100 worth of vouchers.

“This is not right. People can’t afford to lose out on money like this, especially with the financial struggles we are all facing.

“When I first read it, I thought it was 7p for every £1. But I got a shock when I read it again.

“People might have vouchers sat in a drawer, so they need to know this is the position.

“I have always used Peacocks but it makes you doubt whether you should shop there if this sort of thing can happen.”

One of Iris’s other daughters, Julie Riley, of Strathmore Close, Hucknall, said: “It seems there is nothing we can do about it. There must be thousands of customers across the country who are losing out as part of this.”

The Peacocks chain is now owned by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which bought it out of administration for £23 million.

Iris is classed as one of Peacock Group’s unsecured creditors, which means she and her fellow voucher-holders are towards the bottom of the list of those owed money after the company’s collapse.

A spokesman for KPMG says the administrators were unable to accept vouchers in-store during attempts to find a buyer for Peacocks because of the “severe levels of debt” the business was in.

He added that the priority was to stabilise the company as quickly as possible.

Anyone who has vouchers needed to fill in a form to claim their compensation.

However Iris said: “It’s pointless. My vouchers aren’t even worth enough to cover the cost of a stamp now.”