Peacocks fashion expansion after strong Christmas trade

Budget fashion chain Peacocks added to signs of a robust Christmas for Britain’s retailers, helped by its tie-up with singer-turned-designer Pearl Lowe, and yesterday said it planned to step up its expansion.

The firm, taken private in 2005 by a consortium including US hedge funds Perry Capital and Och-Ziff, said sales at stores open at least a year rose eight per cent in the eight weeks to 2 January, including 17 per cent growth from December. Peacocks said it planned to open around 40 stores in 2010-11, up from around 30 in 2009-10.

Peacocks, which currently trades from 546 stores in Britain and also has 84 franchises abroad, reported strong demand online and for a range of dresses produced in collaboration with Lowe. The group said it planned further ranges with Lowe for the Spring/ Summer season.

Peacocks adds to a growing list of British retailers, including fashion chain Next, grocer J Sainsbury and department store group John Lewis, to report strong Christmas sales.

However, shopkeepers have also sounded a cautious tone about the coming year, warning that steps to cut government debt – likely to include higher taxes and lower public spending – could dent a consumer recovery.