Two Acton Chains Buck the Trend

Morrisons and Peacocks show strong Christmas sales


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Two chains with branches in Acton are flying in the face of the credit crunch after announcing good results after what was a dismal Christmas for many.

Morrisons is to create more than 5,000 jobs this year as part of its ongoing store expansion plans.

The grocer will create jobs across the business, including positions on its Market Street counters in butchery, fishmongery and bakery.

Morrisons group HR director Norman Pickavance said: "Working at Morrisons is not just a job, we're providing people with real careers. Even in these challenging economic conditions, Morrisons is committed to hiring and training new people to keep retail as the engine room of the economy and support our continuing growth.

"The Fresh Food Academy will strengthen Morrisons' position as the UK's leading proponent of retail craft food skills – skills which help people build a career and help Morrisons further increase the quality, value and service we provide to our customers."

Morrisons' Fresh Food Academy takes employees through a five-step career ladder and provides NVQ training.

At Peacocks trading is also bucking the trend. Gross profit is "significantly" ahead of last year. It said that stock was well controlled in the post-Christmas trading period and that clearance rates were also expected to be ahead of last year.

Over the quarter total sales grew 8 per cent with like-for-like profit growth of 5 per cent.

Peacocks has secured £20 million from private equity owners Och Ziff and Perry Capital to invest in its store roll-out programme, which will create up to 750 new jobs.

The retailer opened 25 core stores in the first nine months of the year to the end of December, 2008.

Chief executive Richard Kirk said: "Our formats are outperforming the market as shoppers want the exceptional value we provide, as our excellent Christmas period trading figures demonstrate.

"We are positive about the opportunities to expand our store portfolio on favourable terms and we have the financing in place to support our development plans. This is good news for all our stakeholders including suppliers, shareholders and colleagues, and above all, customers."


January 20, 2009