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Richard Kirk, Chief executive, Peacock Group

Richard Kirk’s strategy to reposition Peacocks as a fashion-led rather than value-led chain has paid off, giving the retailer a point of difference against Primark and a sales uplift of 9.1% over the six months to October.

Like-for-like sales were up 7.3% and gross profit rose 11.4% during the same period.

Peacocks’ former buying and merchandising director Jane McNally, who is now chief executive of Alexon Group, says Kirk is a great leader. “He’s an ideas person and is exciting to be around. He’s a great motivator of people,” she says.

After successfully launching womenswear online last year, Kirk has cemented Peacocks’ online presence by adding menswear to the site this summer. Peacocks’ international store expansion is now at the same rate as its UK operation. But Kirk lost two key players this year – McNally and Mark Tesseyman, brand director of Peacock’s Bonmarché chain, both of whom are yet to be replaced.

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