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Fashion Rocks sets date for debut store

Fashion Rocks, the premium young fashion retail concept planned by the founders of USC, is poised to launch early next year under the aegis of former Cruise managing director John Heath and design director Martin Lacey.

Fashion Rocks will launch a transactional website in January and is expected to open its first bricks-and-mortar store in March, at Meadowhall in Sheffield. It has agreed a lease on a 3,888 sq ft store on Meadowhall’s Park Lane, in a site formerly occupied by premium chain Austin Reed.

Heath and Lacey were two of the driving forces behind Cruise, the premium mini-chain that fell into administration in May 2009 after hitting financial difficulties following the Icelandic banking crisis and over-expansion of its retail presence. Cruise was immediately acquired in a pre-pack administration by a newly formed company led by Heath and Cruise finance director Iain Baird, but both men announced they were leaving the retailer six months later. Lacey stayed on until summer 2010.

It is understood Lacey will lead the buying team and personally oversee womenswear. Heath’s position has yet to be confirmed.

Fashion Rocks is principally planned as an online branded fashion operation but is understood to be targeting about six stores over the next three years, including sites in Glasgow, Manchester and London. It is expected to pursue slightly more premium brands than USC.

As revealed by Drapers in April, David Douglas and Angus Morrison, who founded young fashion chain USC and also hold stakes in streetwear brand Gio-Goi, started planning Fashion Rocks as a retail spin-off from the Fashion Rocks charity event that they also own. Douglas will be a sleeping partner.

The property agents for Meadowhall are Smith Young Partnership and CB Richard Ellis.

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