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Bonmarché to expand its business overseas

Value womenswear retailer Bonmarché is eyeing international expansion after bolstering its board with a new brand director.

The retailer – which currently has just one overseas store, in Gibraltar – has this month opened up its website to international customers for the first time, with a view to opening stores overseas.

Bonmarché marketing director Katherine Scott said one of the “key reasons” to open up its website is to pinpoint overseas demand for the brand, which will in turn help the retailer decide where to open international stores.

Bonmarché has created another new position on its board of directors, last week appointing Beth Butterwick to the new position of brand director. She joins from Dutch fashion chain M&S Mode where she was commercial director.

Butterwick will oversee an international ad campaign for the website next year. Her brand director responsibilities were previously fulfilled by Richard Kirk, chief executive of parent Peacock Group.

Scott said: “The main focuses are product and branding.”

The appointment comes after the retailer hired Dan Finley as business development director in August. Finley initially worked in the same role at Peacocks and now works across both chains.

Finley has been charged with growing the business overseas, and will also be looking at developing ecommerce and multichannel.

Scott said that the retailer’s investors including Goldman Sachs and Perry Capital are backing the retailer fully and have invested further capital into the business.

Peacock Group had put Bonmarché up for sale this year, but talks with private equity firm Duke Street were abandoned in July, and the sale process was scrapped.

Bonmarché has opened six new stores this year and is mulling further UK openings.

Peacocks has hired Sainsbury’s head of non-food trading and merchandising John Cooper as merchandise director. It has also appointed Sue Swannie, at present with Shop Direct, as buying director. She starts in December.

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