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Duo appointed to key Peacocks posts

Value chain Peacocks has promoted Ben Smith to head of menswear and recruited supply veteran Ray Walters as head of buying for basics.

Smith has been at Peacocks for six years, most recently as menswear buyer, a position the chain is now seeking a replacement for. He will report to Peacocks associate buying director for accessories, kidswear and menswear Sarah O’Shea. Adam Foskett, who was head of both menswear and kidswear, has moved to focus solely on kidswear, creating the new head of menswear position.

In the newly-created role of head of buying for basics, Walters has responsibility for lingerie and nightwear and will report to associate buying director for womenswear Jane Hotz.

Walters began his career in retail in 1978 as a management trainee at Marks & Spencer and held various roles in department and store management at M&S before becoming head of buying for men’s formal and casual wear in 1983 and head of product formalwear in 1993.

Three years later, he joined now-defunct supplier Sterling Group as menswear director, and moved to tailoring supplier Bagir UK as managing director in 1999. Between 2005 and 2009 Walters was a director of new business at Offshore Procurement Services (OPS), which designs, sources and supplies men’s, women’s and kids’ footwear as well as accessories and homeware.

A spokeswoman for Peacocks said Smith had “made a significant contribution to the growth of menswear and had been instrumental in taking forward the strategy of positioning Peacocks’ menswear.” She added: “Ray has a wealth of knowledge across retail and sourcing.”

The Peacocks Group, which comprises the Peacocks chain and the mature womenswear chain Bonmarché, is currently undergoing a strategic review, which could lead to a £600m sale of the business.

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