The boss of Pep&Co has revealed its plans to offer around 150 menswear SKUs when it launches into the category in November.

Speaking to Retail Week on the day the Christo Wiese-backed value fashion chain opened its 49th store in Bootle, Adrian Mountford said there had been “phenomenal” demand for menswear since opening its first store in July. 

“It’s been overwhelming,” he said. “The question we get asked the most is ‘do you do menswear’.”

Mountford, who is running the business alongside former Asda boss Andy Bond, said it will offer men’s T-shirts, jeans, chinos, shorts and shirts and knitwear. This will be in addition to a small amount of men’s socks and underwear Pep & Co currently offers.

Of the categories it operates in, childrenswear is proving most popular, Mountford said, followed by womenswear.

Store target

The group, which is selling 95% of stock below £10, was targeting 50 stores in 50 days, but will miss that by 10 days when it opens in final shop in Dartford on Saturday.

“I’m happy with that, it’s been a phenomenal achievement,” said Mountford.  

He admitted it had been “harder that we thought” with the ambitious opening programme. “Everyone’s a bit tired but we’re still excited and optimistic,” he added.

Mountford declared a “high proportion” of its first tranche of stores are proving a success, with only one having missed its opening day sales target.

Stores that are performing particularly well are Chelmsley Wood, Yardley, Salford and Grays. “It’s the small and medium-size towns that are doing best for us,” he said.

Mountford said he was still happy with the target of 500 stores in total, but there could be the opportunity for even more.

“Andy Bond thinks there’s the opportunity for a few more and with the success of value chains like Poundland in smaller towns we could compliment that offer.” Its current average shop size is 3,500 sq ft, but this could rise to around 5,000 sq ft as its eyes slightly larger stores to incorporate new lines

One negative note, Mountford admitted, was that many stores have been left short of a number of lines as the group failed to buy in enough stock. But he added: “We see it as a quality problem to have.”