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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Big profits rise for Peacocks
Peacocks store
Peacocks has hundreds of stores on UK high streets
Clothing group Peacocks has announced a big increase in profits.

The Cardiff-based company announced on Wednesday that its pre-tax profits had risen to £32.4m in the 53 weeks to 31 March - up nearly 60% over the year.

The group - which has over 700 Peacocks and bonmarché stores across the UK - also said it was buying perfume chain The Fragrance Shop (TFS) for £11m.

There are plans to open a minimum of 20 new TFS stores, increasing the number of shops from 29 to 150.

According to Peacocks, adding TFS to the group would allow it to move into "an attractive and growing" sector.

It paid £11.3m for TFS - including £1.3m of debt - and will pay up to £5m more depending on its performance.

TFS, established in 1995, sells brand-name fragrances at discount prices.

Rapid expansion

Last year, it made operating profits of £610,000, more than double the previous year.

Peacocks said it planned a rapid expansion of the brand with a minimum of 20 new stores a year, and hoped to eventually increase the number of outlets to 150.

The announcement of the buy-out came as the Peacocks group unveiled a 59.8% increase in pre-tax profits, with both its Peacocks and bonmarché divisions delivering "excellent" profit growth.

The Peacocks group's own profits increased to £32.4m in the last financial year - total sales rose 23.7% to £490.4m after it added 81 new stores.

It now has 397 Peacocks stores and 314 bonmarché stores.

'Strongly positioned'

The bonmarché chain - bought in July 2002 and aimed at women aged 45 and over - saw operating profits rise 39.3% to £16.3m.

The company's core Peacocks stores specialise in discount clothing.

Peacocks Chairman, Gavin Simonds, said: "The group is strongly positioned in the growing value retail sector, where it now has three complementary brands."

He added he was confident the group would deliver another year of good growth.

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