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Peacocks, Bonmarché and Edinburgh Woollen Mill bounce back into profit

Peacocks, Bonmarché and Edinburgh Woollen Mill bounce back into profit

Peacocks, Bonmarché and Edinburgh Woollen Mill have returned to profitability for the first time since they were rescued from administration in 2021.

The three fashion brands’ strong performance has been spurred by an extensive restructuring plan across its store estate and investment into product ranges as it sought to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Peacocks reported a pre-tax profit of £8.3m in the 52 weeks to 25 February 2023, up from a loss of £19.3m.

Sales rocketed 49% from £159.9m to £238m, which it attributed to its investment into the shirts and activewear categories across ladies and menswear.

The fashion retailer opened five stores during the year and closed 20, leaving it with a portfolio of 336 stores. Peacocks retail employees dropped from 4,306 to 2,836.

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Chief executive Steve Simpson said: “In the last two years we have been focused on a strategy of offering our customers exceptional quality and value for the whole family.

“With the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis we have been committed to offering our customers even better products than we have done before, still at low prices.”

Bonmarché and Edinburgh Woollen Mill were also back in the black after the pair were bought out of administration in 2020.

The retailers, which are owned by Purepay retail – a consortium of investors led by former Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group COO Simpson, reported a pre-tax profit of £3.8m, up from a loss of £11m, for the same period as sales rocketed 59% to £195m.

The business said it had invested in its online offering, with digital orders on Edinburgh Woollen Mill increasing by 36% and 17.4% for Bonmarché on the year before.

Simpson said: “At Bonmarché we have continued to reward devoted customers through our new loyalty programme and more frequent updates and choice in the range.

“Our programme of store acquisition continues as we see opportunities on high streets across the country, as well as further developing our ecommerce platform.”

Bonmarché opened 30 new stores during the period and Edinburgh Woollen Mill opened 14 new shops, which Simpson said were targeted to “tap into tourists and staycationers attracted by our leisurewear and heritage aesthetic”.

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