Bonmarché (/bɒnmɑːrˈʃ/ bon-mar-SHAY) is a clothing retailer based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The business was founded in 1982, and was acquired by the Peacock Group in July 2002. The clothing retailer had over 380 stores nationwide, employed over 4,000 people and was the United Kingdom's largest budget fashion retailer selling womenswear in a wide range of sizes – especially plus size clothing. Ranges included casual and formal separates, outerwear, swimwear, lingerie nightwear and accessories, all designed for larger women.

FateSale Pending to Peacock Group
FoundedWakefield, England
(1982 (1982))
FounderSingh Chima
HeadquartersWakefield, England
Number of locations
Over 300
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Helen Connolly
Chief Executive
Number of employees
ParentSun European Partners


Bonmarché was founded in 1982, by Parkash Singh Chima. The Sikh businessman arrived in the United Kingdom in 1950, from the Punjab and settled in Ely, Cambridgeshire, from where he launched a door-to-door business selling clothing items.

The family bought two retail clothing firms in 1982 – Wiltex and Hartley – which had twenty six indoor market locations across the north of England. Mr Chima moved to Huddersfield and ran the business with two of his sons Gurchait and Gurnaik.

The first Bonmarché store opened in Doncaster in 1985, and this was the start of the chain that grew into more than three hundred stores, a huge headquarters at Grange Moor, and a turnover of more than £200 million. Mr Chima retired and left two sons to run the business, before they sold to the Peacock Group in July 2002.[1][2]

In March 2011, it was reported that Peacocks were looking to sell Bonmarché, and in January 2012, the business was sold for an undisclosed sum to private equity group Sun European Partners.[3][4]

In July 2019, the company said that trading in recent months was so poor, it was recommending a £5.7m rescue bid from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day, less than three months after rejecting it. [5] The company was placed into administration on 18 October 2019. The administrators stated that initially, all stores would remain open and no redundancies had yet been made.[6]

David Emanuel

In August 2007, Bonmarché launched a collection, designed in collaboration with David Emanuel, the designer famous for the co design of Lady Diana Spencer's wedding dress in 1981.


Building collapse at Savar

On 24 April 2013, the eight story Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed in Savar, a sub district near Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. At least 1,127 people died, and over 2,438 were injured.[7]

The factory housed a number of separate garment factories employing around 5,000 people, several shops, and a bank, and manufactured apparel for brands, including the Benetton Group, Joe Fresh,[8] The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, and DressBarn.[9][10][11]

Of the twenty nine brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only nine attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarche and El Corte Ingles.[12]


  1. Atkinson, Neil (16 February 2010). "Bon Marche founder Parkash Singh Chima dies at Sikh Leisure Centre". huddersfieldexaminer.
  2. "Sikhs Online – Bonmarché founder dies at 86 among Sikh friends (18 February 2010)". Archived from the original on 20 December 2010.
  3. Harrington, Ben (20 March 2011). "Peacocks considers Bonmarché sale" via
  4. "Bonmarche fashion chain bought". 23 January 2012 via
  5. Kollewe, Julia (26 June 2019). "Bonmarché rethinks rescue bid after weak trading" via
  6. "Bonmarché falls into administration in latest high street failure". Telegraph Media Group Limited 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  7. Ahmed, Saeed; Lakhani, Leone (14 June 2013), "Bangladesh building collapse: An end to recovery efforts, a promise of a new start", CNN, retrieved 16 December 2013
  8. O'Connor, Clare. "'Extreme Pricing' At What Cost? Retailer Joe Fresh Sends Reps To Bangladesh As Death Toll Rises". Forbes.
  9. Zain Al-Mahmood, Syed (24 April 2013). "Matalan supplier among manufacturers in Bangladesh building collapse". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  10. Nelson, Dean (24 April 2013). "Bangladesh building collapse kills at least 82 in Dhaka". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  11. Alam, Julhas (24 April 2013). "At least 87 dead in Bangladesh building collapse". USA Today. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  12. Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (2013), Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality, retrieved 16 December 2013

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