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Feminique owner sells store after 28 years

Independent retail entrepreneur Lorraine Paige has sold her mainstream womenswear business Feminique in Leamington Spa to former Debenhams sales manager Gary Barnes.

Paige, who owns a series of independent stores in the Warwickshire town, told Drapers it was time to sell Feminique after 28 years of trading.

“I started the business from scratch,” said Paige. “One of the reasons I sold up was because the lease was going to run out and I needed more time for family commitments. It started out as just a lingerie shop and then it snowballed. I wish Gary the best of luck.”

Paige will continue to grow her existing independent retail portfolio, which includes premium menswear retailer Status, mainstream store Parkes Menswear, hirewear shop Parkes Hire and menswear outlet store Opportunities.

Barnes, the former owner of now-defunct womenswear indie Intoto Clothing in Nuneaton in Warwickshire, saw an advert offering the Warwick Street business for sale and bought it with a view to expanding the three-storey operation into a five-storey store. Barnes will also widen the branded offer and develop an online strategy this year.

He said: “After I sold Intoto Clothing I did an MBA in retail studies and then got a job as sales manager at Debenhams in Merry Hill [shopping centre in Dudley]. I always knew I’d return to independent retail. The first thing I am working on is the pricing architecture to make sure my brand entry and exit level pricing is right.”
Barnes told Drapers that a transactional website would be developed later this year and the office and warehouse space at the store would be converted into sales space.

“The business offers a great opportunity,” added Barnes. “We have a great position in the centre of Leamington Spa. There is the potential to take the concept to other locations and I’d be interested in becoming a destination store in other towns.”

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