Fashion chain Republic has revised its long-term store growth target in response to the “changing nature of the customer” that now flocks to the internet to buy clothes.

Republic chief executive Tim Whitworth said Republic remains an “expanding business” but added: “We’re a 200-store chain, which has come down from the 225 to 250 previously stated.”

He added: “We’re being more conservative in light of the changing nature of the customer. It’s not to do with tough trading.”

Whitworth said Republic’s online store is “going a storm”. Click-and-collect now represents 10% of store sales. However, he insisted that stores are still crucial.

“We firmly believe we need stores and the internet to create the full multichannel offer,” he said.

The 117-store retailer, which is opening 14 stores this year, is in discussions with its banks about providing more headroom.

Whitworth said: “We’re operating in a tough market and have the opportunity to accelerate growth. We are having a proactive dialogue with the banks. We have not, and will not, breach our covenants.”

Whitworth added that Republic would not be running its normal summer Sale this year as it does not have enough stock. He added Republic’s sales may suffer as a result.

  • Republic finance director Ed Bennison has left the retailer. A replacement has been secured but not yet disclosed.