Esprit to lift profile with revamp at Regent Street

Fashion retailer Esprit will unveil its revamped flagship on London's Regent Street today, as part of its effort to build brand awareness before UK expansion.

The international retailer posted bumper yearly results last Thursday, but has struggled to impress British shoppers. Esprit recently had to close its Bluewater store because of a lack of sales.

Esprit executive director for sales and marketing Thomas Grote said the retailer was gearing up to a UK roll out of standalone stores, but first it had to make an impact on London with the new flagship.

The retailer is also pushing brand awareness with its first outdoor advertising campaign in the UK.

'We're not quite ready (for a national roll out). Our brand awareness in the UK is between 35 and 40 per cent, but if you look at our core markets it's more. We have 80 per cent brand awareness in France, Germany and Benelux,' he said.

The£1.5 million revamp of Regent Street is designed to increase footfall to the first floor. A Starbucks coffee bar has been installed, offering a break to tired shoppers while luring them upstairs.

Grote said five shops would open in London within the next 18 months - the first on Upper Street by March next year.

For the year to June 30, Esprit Holdings reported a record net profit of HK$1.19 billion (£93 million), while sales surged 34 per cent to HK$12.38 billion (£966 million). UK figures were not revealed.

Esprit has 570 directly managed stores in 40 countries and approximately 60 concessions and stores in the UK.