Morrisons will launch its first clothing range next March as it bids to “shake up the world of supermarket clothing”.
The children’s own-brand, Nutmeg, will go into 100 stores on release, and the grocer is recruiting internally and externally for members of its clothing team.
Headed by clothing director Tim Bettley, the apparel division will be headquartered in Coalville, Leicestershire, less than 25 miles from Asda’s George base base in Lutterworth and close to other fashion retailes such as Next. The Nutmeg office will be open by the end of the year.
The fashion initaitive is significant for Morrisons and follows two years of planning. Morrisons aims to challenge rivals Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s which all offer value clothing through their F&F, George and Tu brands respectively.
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips told Retail Week that the market has great potential. He said: “Nutmeg has connotations of fresh food, which ties in with our overall strategy. It will be affordable fashion and basics. This is a great opportunity. We are going to need a sizeable team and will be recruiting new staff and bringing some over from Morrisons.”
The “no nonsense” value kidswear range will feature items such as T-shirts at £2 and jeans at £5, and will run alongside Morrisons’ existing adults clothing offer supplied by Peacocks.
Bettley said: “Our ambition for Nutmeg is to shake up the world of supermarket clothing by providing a different approach. Customers tell us that they want a range which is fashionable but hard-wearing.
“We’ll also meet their need for simpler clothing that they can pick up as they do their food shop.”
Morrions last week reported 0.9% fall in like-for-like sales in its first half as trading conditions as consumer spending remained under “sustained pressure”, the retailer said. Underlying profit was up 1% in the period to £445m.