Peacocks is a fashion retail chain based in Cardiff, Wales. The chain is a part of the group Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and employs over 6,000 people. There are currently over 400 Peacocks retail outlets located in the United Kingdom; and more than 200 stores located in twelve other countries throughout Europe. Originally selling home goods and basic clothing, Peacocks has been re branded over the years as a value fashion store.
Richard Kirk, the former owner of the chain, worked hard to transform Peacocks into a major fashion player. The retailer won numerous awards, notably the Best Value Retailer award from Drapers. In January 2012, Peacocks entered administration and was bought by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group. Edinburgh Group also owns the Jane Norman chain, a fashion outlet for women.
Peacocks was established in Warrington in 1884, as a family run business selling a wide range of goods. Over the years, Peacocks Penny Bazaar has expanded, opening more outlets and tailoring its look to keep up with the times and trends. It has remained a family business throughout the Peacocks family history.
In the 1940s, the company relocated to Cardiff, where its headquarters remain. The move had a profound effect on the development of the group, whose growing network was concentrated in south Wales and southern England for many years. In the early 1990s, Peacocks grew further and, in December 1999, the firm was floated on the London Stock Exchange.
In October 2005, a £400 million management buyout led by Richard Kirk was agreed to, supported and arranged by Echelon Capital and supported by Goldman Sachs, and hedge funds including Och-Ziff and Perry Capital that own 55% of the new holding company. The company unlisted from the exchange on 1 February 2006, again becoming privately owned.
In line with the increased demand for value for money fashion, Peacocks began to provide high fashion women's wear, men's wear and children's wear. High street outlets were revamped and placed together, with a steer towards prime locations.
On 16 January 2012, Peacocks confirmed that it planned to enter administration, putting up to 10,000 jobs at risk. Staff and supporters started the "Save Peacocks" campaign on Facebook and Twitter. On 18 January 2012, KPMG was appointed administrators to Peacocks. On 19 January 2012, 250 head office staff were made redundant.
On 22 February 2012, it was announced that Peacocks had been sold to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group. EWM purchased the Peacocks brand, 388 outlets, concessions, the headquarters and logistics functions in Wales. 224 outlets were not sold to EWM, resulting in 3,100 immediate job losses.
Some branches reopened, and EWM has stated plans to open hundreds more in the United Kingdom and abroad at some stage in the future. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill (Group) now consists of three core brands: Peacocks, Jane Norman, and Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Pearl Lowe was hired by Peacocks and designed "exclusive" ranges for the company. Her "black dress" was the fastest selling product on the High Street in autumn-winter 2010, worn by celebrities including Holly Willoughby, Natalie Imbruglia and Courtney Love. In January 2011, Daisy Lowe, daughter of Pearl confirmed that she was designing swimwear for spring to summer 2011.
Currently, they have not signed with either Pearl or Daisy Lowe.
Branded as Peacocks London, Peacocks has more than 200 franchise outlets outside United Kingdom, in Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Kuwait, Malta, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates.