Womenswear chain East is to open standalone accessories stores and open more mainline stores, following a return to profit last year.
The expansion will be funded in part by investment from Indian retailer and East franchisee Fabindia, which bought a 25% stake in the business in January 2009.
East is planning to trial standalone jewellery and accessories stores towards the end of 2011. Chief operating officer Suzi Spink said: “Younger customers buy into our accessories, so standalones would target them more directly.”
East, which has 50 stores and 27 concessions, is plotting a further 20 UK mainline stores and 20 concessions by the end of 2013. Four stores are slated to open this year.
East will refit all its stores over the next year to accommodate the introduction of two new higher-priced sub-brands for autumn 2011 - a premium line with a 30% higher price point and a heritage sub-brand with 15% higher prices than its current clothing collection, which retails for £32 to £179.
Spink said East was also planning a return to wholesale in late 2011 or early 2012.
East posted pre-tax profits of £2.1m for the year to January 31, up from a loss of £1.7m last time. Spink said the brand became too mainstream in 2008 but a return to ethnic styling had boosted sales.