Owner of Peacocks fashion chain set to create 1,100 jobs

More than 1,100 jobs are set to be created by the owner of fashion retailer Peacocks, it has emerged this week.

The chain was rescued by Edinburgh Woollen Mill after it fell into administration in March 2012, and now it has been announced that around 100 of the new posts will be created at Peacocks as it undergoes a rebrand.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, based in Langholm, also includes Ponden Home in its portfolio and employs 12,000 people at about 1,000 shops across the country.

It generated pre-tax profits of 56.7 million in the year to March, with sales reaching 566.7 million.

A total of 80 million has so far been injected into the revival of the clothing chain, which at the height of its troubles when owned by hedge funds Och-Ziff and Perry Capital was around 240 million in the red.

As well as strengthening the brand's online position, the acquisition has proved fruitful, securing a double-digit rise in like-for-like sales in the year to March 2, and saving more than 6,000 jobs across the UK.

Commercial director Steve Simpson said: "UK retail remains a tough environment and we are focused on serving customers who are seeking value at a time of reduced discretionary spend but who will not compromise on quality."

New Peacocks stores are now set to open at the start of 2014, with a view to expansion overseas in "robust international markets" such as Germany, the Middle East and Russia.

Eight new stores should hit the high street in the first two months of next year, with the hope that 30 stores will be added to Edinburgh Woollen Mill's portfolio by June.

The whole group has reported a 1.2% rise in like-for-like sales over the year, with online sales up by more than half.

In the same time, the privately-owned group has opened 56 new shops, creating more than 900 jobs.

Copyright Press Association 2013