Fat Face wants to show off its quality credentials with the launch of a premium collection as it eyes international expansion.
Chief executive Anthony Thompson hopes the refocus on quality will woo back customers. Former George at Asda managing director Thompson was parachuted into the business last year when the retailer’s EBITDA fell from £25m to £19.4m after a policy of heavy discounting.
He said: “The quality of our clothing had suffered and the customer realised that. Now we’re focused on quality, and more importantly, value for money.”
The UK-manufactured British Heritage Collection is designed by Cro-Jack and made from luxury fabrics. It debuts in-store in October and will retail at a higher price point than its typical product. Jackets range between £175 to £220 and knitwear is priced at £120. Typical knits are between £35 and £65.
The premium range will return for spring and autumn next year, and Thompson said it could be a permanent feature.
Thompson is contemplating taking the brand overseas again. He believes the retailer should be as successful in holiday destinations worldwide as it is in the UK.
He said: “We are seeing web traffic from abroad and this is making us start to consider our international offer and routes to market.”
The retailer has had several enquiries from interested parties in various countries to expand, which it is “taking very seriously”.
It expanded into Asia in 2007 with franchise partner Robinson but Thompson said the timing and product offer was “not quite right”.
Fat Face is to open a new model 3,000 sq ft store at Westfield Stratford City, which has a wooden facade and is fitted with reclaimed materials that the retailer said showed its authentic roots.
It is trialling new fixtures and fittings including hanging rails made from rope.
Fat Face is to kick-start a store refurbishment programme in an attempt to improve its retail environment. Up to 30 stores a year will be revamped.