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Profits take off at Peacocks

The value fashion retailer Peacocks has posted a near 50 per cent rise in pre-tax profits, as news emerged that its finance director has left after 11 years at the business.

The group, which operates 570 Peacocks and 390 Bonmarché shops in the UK, also grew turnover by 7.6 per cent to £526.7m over the year to April 3, boosted by new store openings and soaring online revenues. Peacock's Stores delivered a 49.4 per cent leap in pre-tax profits to £39.4m over the period. This was driven by a sharp jump in margins, although like-for-like sales fell by 0.4 per cent.

Peacocks was the subject of bids by the private equity firms Bain Capital and Blackstone last year, but the retailer pulled the sale process after bids of £500m fell short of its price tag of £600m.

Michael Killick, Peacocks' finance director, left the business at the end of 2010 around the time it concluded a strategic review. Peacocks, which is private equity-owned and has 110 shops abroad, declined to comment.