Value group Peacocks is increasing the number of suppliers to its Bonmarche stores, after supply chain glitches hampered first-half sales.

Underlying interim sales at Bonmarche fell 7.2 per cent and Peacocks group finance director Keith Bryant pointed to delivery and quality problems.

He explained that 80 per cent of product came from two suppliers and said it was dangerous to have 'all your eggs in one basket'.

The eponymous chain powered ahead, with like-for-like sales leaping 9 per cent.

Following successful trials, a jewellery offer and a larger selection of men's gifts is being rolled out. More 'trading up' price points are also being introduced because of the wider appeal of refurbished stores.

Group sales rose 13.2 per cent to£261.2 million in the 26 weeks to October 2. Pre-tax profit surged 24.3 per cent to£14.3 million.

- Primark, the value chain owned by Associated British Foods, is to test stores in Spain next year. Primark, which claims to hold 10 per cent of the UK value clothing market, posted preliminary operating profit up 23 per cent to£108 million on sales of£858 million.