Beth Butterwick (2011–)
Sun Capital Partners, Bonmarche Holdings
Bonmarché (pronounced bon-mar-SHAY) is a clothing retailer based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The business was founded in 1982, and was acquired by the Peacock Group in July 2002. The clothing retailer has over 380 stores nationwide, employs over 4,000 people and is the United Kingdom's largest budget fashion retailer selling womenswear in a wide range of sizes – especially plus size clothing.
Ranges include casual and formal separates, outerwear, swimwear, lingerie nightwear and accessories, all designed for larger women. In March 2011, it was reported that Peacocks were looking to sell Bonmarché, and in January 2012, the business was sold for an undisclosed sum to private equity group Sun European Partners.
Bonmarché was founded in 1982, by Parkash Singh Chima. The Sikh businessman arrived in the United Kingdom in 1950, from the Punjab and settled in Ely, Cambridgeshire, from where he launched his door-to-door sales of clothing items that were in demand after the Second World War.
The family bought two retail clothing firms in 1982 – Wiltex and Hartley – which had twenty six indoor market locations across the north of England. Mr Chima moved to Huddersfield and ran the business with two of his sons Gurchait and Gurnaik.
The first Bonmarché store opened in Doncaster in 1985, and this was the start of the chain that grew into more than 300 stores, a huge headquarters at Grange Moor, and a turnover of more than £200 million. Mr Chima retired and left two sons to run the business, before they sold to the Peacock Group in July 2002.
In August 2007, Bonmarché launched a collection, designed in collaboration with David Emanuel, the designer famous for the co design of Lady Diana Spencer's wedding dress in 1981. This collection has a slightly higher price point than the main Bonmarché range but is still regarded as value for money.
On 24 April 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed in Savar, a sub-district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. At least 1,127 people died and over 2,438 were injured.
The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people, several shops, and a bank and manufactured apparel for brands including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh, The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and DressBarn.
Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only 9 attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarche and El Corte Ingles.