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Barneys chases investment shoppers with upmarket label

Leather outerwear brand Barneys is launching a more upmarket sub-brand for autumn 12 as its bids to move into the booming premium and luxury sectors.

The range, Barney & Taylor, is inspired by the Manchester company’s 100-year history and will be priced higher than its mainline. Wholesale prices will range from £80 to £280, whereas mainline prices are between £64 and £110.

The sub-brand will comprise eight to 10 pieces each for both men and women, with styles including bomber jackets, aviator jackets and trench coats. It will use higher-quality leather than the mainline and jackets will also have more of a focus on detailing.

Co-owner Michael Arron said sales of Barneys’ mainline had been strong over the past few months, particularly with the colder winter weather now setting in, but added that the brand decided to expand into a higher-priced range because it is one area in which the fashion market is seeing growth as consumers look for investment pieces.

Despite the downbeat mood on the high street, sales at the upmarket end of the market have continued to grow. British brand Mulberry posted a 231% rise in profits last week.

Arron added: “Right now, if you are going to spend money you want to spend it wisely and on something that will last.”

He said the brand is looking for three or four agents to sell the brand across the UK, targeting premium indies as well as department stores such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, and etailers including Mr Porter and Net-A-Porter. The brand is looking to expand into China, Europe and Australia but no firm plans are yet in place, he added.

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