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Peacocks pushes sales ahead

Dip in Bonmarche like-for-likes hits fourth quarter figures UK clothing retailer Peacock Group saw sales growth of 10 per cent across the year to March 27, expecting to meet profit forecasts of £35m despite a dip in group in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Peacocks pushes sales ahead

Across the year, group like-for-likes increased by 3.5 per cent. In the three months to March 27, total sales grew by 6.3 per cent, with like-for like declining by 1.8 per cent.

Peacocks said the dip had been expected due to very strong sales at its Bonmarche chain a year earl

ier, as stock was cleared in the wake of Peacocks' acquisition of the business.

Across the quarter, the core Peacocks chain saw total sales grow by 12.3 per cent, with like-for-likes up 5.5 per cent. For the full year, Peacocks sales grew by 11 per cent with like-for-like growth of 5.8 per cent.

The group said that the Peacocks division has performed strongly since Christmas, achieving very positive like-for-like sales, despite strong comparisons with the prior year. The chain has seen the benefits of better quality and more fashionable products, as well as an improved store environment.

Across the quarter, 34 stores were refurbished, bringing the total number in the new format to 151. Combined with the opening of 29 new stores during 2003, 52 per cent of the Peacocks chain is now trading in the new format.

Bonmarche saw total sales decline by 3.8 per cent, with like-for-like declining sharply by 13.6 per cent . for the full year, the chain saw total sales growth of 8.2 per cent, with like-for-likes down by 0.7 per cent.

bonmarchestore.jpgThe group said that the decline in like-for-like sales, due to 'aggressive discounting of old and redundant stock' at Bonmarche a year ago, had been fully offset by margin improvements. Bonmarche is now trading against normal comparatives, and the group is encouraged by the response to its new spring ranges.

The group now operates 314 Bonmarche stores and 397 Peacocks stores in the UK. By the end of the month, three Peacocks stores will be trading in Turkey and the Arabian Gulf under the group's new franchise agreement with MH Alshaya.

Richard Kirk, chief executive said: "We continue to make good underlying progress in both divisions. Our investment programme is being implemented to plan to re-enforce the earnings momentum in the business. We are confident that we are well placed to meet market expectations for the year."

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