Young-fashion retailer Republic is trialling an out-of-town concept as it seeks to widen its appeal.
Republic opened its first out-of-town shop last month at Fort Kinnaird Shopping Park in Edinburgh and is to open a second at Glasgow Fort. Republic said that the opening of the two out-of-town stores is a trial, but that it is confident the format will work well in its chosen locations, where it is complemented by other strong retailers. It has also identified 20 other possible locations for out-of-town stores.
The retailer said that its offer will add to the fashion mix and that it is “excited” about its prospects.
Republic finance director Ed Bennison said: “We are pleased with initial performance, with Fort Kinnaird hitting expectations in the first few weeks.”
Republic, which was bought by private equity group Change Capital Partners for £105m in 2005, has been aided by operating in a relatively recession-proof part of the market. It expects record sales and profits this year, and will also open its 100th store.
Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said that the move to out-of-town could be a “leap of faith”. “It mainly works for the mainstream retailers, such as Next, rather than young fashion,” he said. “Very young-fashion brands tend to be concentrated in high streets and shopping centres.”
He said that although in the past out-of-town locations have been cheaper, prices have caught up with the high street in the past few years.
However, he said: “Scottish retail parks have a more mature position, as city centre locations have become very expensive,” adding that if this move proved successful other similar retailers could follow suit.