Retail billionaire Philip Day is planning to open 50 Austin Reed stores by early 2018 as he seeks to capitalise on the collapsed retailer’s heritage.
Day, owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, is expected to announce the plans today as part of a three-year £100m investment programme.
Having relaunched the brand online, the group is now preparing to open its first stores at the end of next year. These will include a new flagship store in central London.
It will also open another 150 stores across its Peacock and Jane Norman fasciae by early 2018.
The store openings come on the back of a sales rise of 2.5% to £576.3m in the year to February 27 2016. The group said that like-for-likes were strong but did not disclose a figure.
Pre- tax fell 14.5% to £89.8m, largely due to a restatement required under International Financial Reporting Standard. Pre-tax profit before exceptionals rose 2.4% to £90.9m.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group commercial director Steve Simpson said that current trading was “strong”.
He added: “We are committed to continuing this organic growth, while also bringing our offer to more customers by opening new stores across the UK.
“The addition of the Austin Reed brand will help us to do that, while, by remaining debt-free and with a strong balance sheet, we are always ready to take advantage of any further opportunities through acquisitions, as and when they may arise.”
Group owner Philip day acquired the Austin Reed, Country Casuals and Viyella brands in April.
It came in the wake of Austin Reed’s collapse into administration, leading to loss of about 1,000 jobs.
All Austin Reed’s 120 stores were shut down as a buyer for the retail side of the 116 year-old business could not be found.
Day told The Times: “I come from a working-class background and have always admired Austin Reed — it is an incredible heritage brand but it had lost contact with who its customer was. I jumped in [and bought it] as I felt that if it was run properly with the right kind of capital investment it would work.”
The group now has 981 standalone stores across the UK, as well as operating a concessions model.
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