Hobbs is ditching its NW3 brand as chairman Phil Wrigley leads a turnaround at the premium fashion retailer.
The NW3 brand will cease to exist from next year. The head designer for NW3 has already left the company and the rest of the design team has been integrated into Hobbs with no further job losses planned, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Hobbs chairman Phil Wrigley said a strategic review of the business that he conducted in March with consultants at OC&C had revealed Hobbs’ customers felt some of NW3’s designs were “too quirky, forced and unnatural”.
Wrigley added: “NW3 has done a good job for us, but the aesthetics of the business are becoming increasingly blurred and the brands look more and more like each other.
“We had wanted to engage a more youthful shopper, but there was confusion about what would be considered a Hobbs design and what would be NW3, which led to our shoppers being confused.”
Wrigley said Hobbs was prevented from making some designs, such as houndstooth skirts and footwear, because they were earmarked for the NW3 brand.
Some shoppers bought from NW3 because it sold a size six brand, while Hobbs’ smallest size is an eight. Wrigley said a size six is being introduced to Hobbs and it is going to sell a size zero in its Bloomingdale’s concessions in the US.
Hobbs named the brand after the old post code of Hampstead in north London, where the first Hobbs store opened in 1974.
Wrigley was appointed to the retailer in January after a disappointing Christmas, which led to Hobbs posting a £1.9m loss in 2013, according to accounts published last month.
New Hobbs chief executive Meg Lustman, former John Lewis fashion buying director, started at the retailer last week.