Rags to riches story of Bon Marche
IT is, quite literally, a rags to riches story.
Two brothers built up a huge fashion empire – after starting out selling clothes on a market stall in Huddersfield.
Over the years, Gurchait and Gurnaik Chima steered Bon Marché into becoming one of the leading lights of UK retailing, having been inspired by their father Parkash Singh Chima.
But now the future of the firm and its parent company Peacocks is under a shadow.
The present owner of clothing chains Peacocks and Bon Marché announced late on Monday it planned to place both businesses into administration.
The Peacock Group, which employs a combined 11,000 staff, said it made the decision after discussions with lenders over the future of the group broke down.
The parent company said it would seek a potential buyer for the Bon Marché business, which includes some 394 stores, but will appoint an administrator in the meantime.
Bon Marché is based at Liley Lane, Grange Moor, moving there in 2002 from its previous base in School Lane, Kirkheaton.
Hundreds of people work for the firm at its headquarters and thousands more in the hundreds of shops – which include one in New Street, Huddersfield.
A statement from The Peacock Group said it had been reviewing the future of the Bon Marché chain and its role within the group and decided to sell the business.
The group has entered “exclusive talks” with a potential buyer but said that to “protect” the business while the sale process completes it had filed an intention to appoint administrators.
Meanwhile, the wider group, which includes the larger Peacocks chain, said it would also appoint administrators after it failed to reach an agreement with its banks, which include Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.
The Chima brothers, who founded the fashion chain Bon Marché, featured regularly in the Asian Rich List.
The Chima brothers – credited with a joint fortune of £50m – built up Bon Marché from a stall at Huddersfield open market in 1982.