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Can My-Wardrobe’s foray into bricks and mortar turn the company around?

My Wardrobe is dipping its toe in the world of bricks and mortar - but will it be enough to turn around the troubled etailer’s fortunes?

The online site is opening a 1,200 sq ft office and retail space in the shopping centre which will stock an edited selection of brands and act as a click-and-collect hub, letting customers pick up and return products.

But will the move to bricks and mortar prove a step too far for the struggling business?

The high street continues to prove difficult for many with business rates, rents and other overheads the cause of many casualties in the last few years.

Many successful multiples, including New Look and the Arcadia Group, are choosing to downsize their retail portfolio in order to cut costs.

But the new management believes this store marks a new beginning for the business.

Head of ecommerce Matt Henton told Drapers that customer service was at the heart of the decision - click and collect being essential to “underpin the mechanics” of the system and compete with competitors.

The store will be followed up by a mobile website, which will launch on September 1.

If executed correctly, this multichannel approach, under an all new team backed by investor Stephen Tucker, is a smart move as the UK enters the next phase of multichannel shopping - one in which being a pureplay etailer has pitfalls.

The business has had a challenging 12 months, falling into administration last November and then rocked by a wave of departures including co-founders Andrew and Sarah Curran, chief executive David Worby, trading director Joanna Stephenson and fashion director Carmen Borgonovo.

The Whiteley store opening will be a testing ground for a wider retail roll-out for the business but in order to turn the company around My-Wardrobe now needs to ensure the nuts and bolts are solid first.

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