Peacocks is a high street brand that has become synonymous with good quality, fashionable clothing at reasonable prices, and the store is a common sight in many towns and cities across the UK. But, surprisingly to some, the fashion retailer has origins that go back to the Victorian era!
The original Peacocks actually began in Warrington back in 1884 and was renowned as a family business opened by Albert Frank Peacock, and at that time the store sold a wide selection of goods and was known as 'Peacocks Penny Bazaar.' Since 1940 the company has had it's headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, and for a few decades the business remained in the Welsh and southern England vicinity before expanding further afield in the 1990's. A mega multi-million pound buyout in 2005 saw a further expansion of the chain as a response to increasing demand for fashionable clothing for women and children, and the brand had a complete overhaul to modernise it's image and ensure stores were located in prime spots across the country.
Like many retailers during the economic recession, Peacocks went through some hard times and in 2012 announced that it would have to go into administration putting 100,000 jobs at risk. Supporters of the chain, including a number of staff, started a campaign to "Save Peacocks" and this gathered force on Twitter and Facebook, but nevertheless administrators were appointed in 2012 resulting in 250 staff redundancies.
However, the store started to make a comeback after being sold to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group shortly afterwards but still resulted in large job losses of more than 3,000 people. After the closure of a number of branches some were reopened and the store retained it's popularity and started a period of regrowth with plans by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group to open hundreds more shops in the UK and abroad.
Part of the popularity of Peacocks, and one that raised it's profile significantly, was the hire of Pearl Lowe as one of the chief designers with a view to acquiring exclusive ranges for the chain of stores. Such was the popularity of some her lines, including her little black dress, that a number of celebrities were seen wearing this item including Natalie Imbruglia, Holly Willoughby and Courtney Love.
As well as the main UK branches, the chain has a range of franchise outlets numbering more than 200, and these are spread across the globe including Egypt, Greece, Malta, Russia and the United Arab Emirates to name a few. With plans to open main branches in many other countries in the not too distant future the store is definitely now on an upward trend.
As well as regularly changing womens' clothing lines that suit most budgets and appeal to a wide variety of fashion tastes, the store has a range of childrens' wear including school uniform items that are essential at any time of year. In addition, shoes, bags, jewellery and other accessories add to the eclectic nature of the goods on offer.