Hollingworth told Retail Week that Viyella is “a good fit for the group”. His short-term goal is to expand the business to 50 stores and concessions. Austin Reed bought 21 stores and 16 concessions from the administrator, saving about 230 jobs.
Hollingworth also wants to bring to the UK Viyella’s menswear offer, which currently operates abroad only via licences. He said: “Viyella menswear is certainly an opportunity.”
Hollingworth said a handful of Viyella stores could be rebranded Austin Reed or its womenswear offer CC (formerly Country Casuals). However, he has not yet made a decision on whether Viyella products will be sold in Austin Reed stores.
“We want to revitalise the brand,” he said. “There will be no repositioning. It will be the same price and quality, but the design will be more desirable.”
According to Hollingworth, there are also strong international opportunities for Viyella, as it already sells in South Africa, Europe and Canada through licensing agreements.
Austin Reed had eyed the Viyella business last year, but Hollingworth said the price had not been right for an acquisition.