Morrisons has appointed former Peacocks managing director Tim Bettley as its first commercial director for clothing as it seeks to ramp up its non-food offer.

Sources told Retail Week Bettley has been brought in to extend Morrisons’ clothing range and launch an own brand fashion line for the first time, pitting it against Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, which have all had success with their own clothing ranges.

Bettley, who starts next month, has worked with Morrisons for some time. As Peacocks’ boss he helped manage the value retailer’s three concessions within the grocer’s stores.

Morrisons has been creating extra space in stores through its Project Liberate initiative. It is understood some of this space is likely to be allocated to clothing as the grocer seeks to expand its non food offering.

Sources suggest Morrisons may use a vertically integrated model in clothing as it has done in grocery. It has made several recent acquisitions in food, most recently a seafood factory in Grimsby.

Morrisons currently has three stand-alone Peacocks concessions and 21 stores are supplied with Peacocks Kids clothing. The retailer intends to expand both sales channels in-store in 2012.

A Morrisons spokesman declined to comment on whether the grocer intends to develop its own brand of clothing, but said Bettley has been appointed to expand the existing partnership with Peacocks.

He said: “We are extending our existing clothing offering with our partners, Peacocks, and to manage this have brought Tim into Morrisons as director of clothing.”

Bettley has worked at Peacocks since 1994. Prior to this he was a menswear buyer at Poundstretcher and an assistant buyer for menswear and childrenswear at Grattan.

Morrisons, due to report its full-year results to January 31 on Thursday, is also believed to be considering extending its range of Kiddicare products in store.

Morrisons has sold some Kiddicare products – including baby clothes and school uniforms – on a one-off seasonal basis.

The retailer acquired 10 large Kiddicare stores and moved across four of its senior directors across to Kiddicare.

Morrisons has been slow off the mark in introducing non-food instore compared with rivals Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s which all have sizeable non-food offers.