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Ariella relaunches retail arm with Brent Cross store

Women’s eveningwear brand and supplier Ariella is restarting its bricks and mortar retail division after almost 30 years, having established a new company for its wholesale division.

A 2,400 sq ft store will open in Brent Cross on April 8, carrying cocktail, evening and special occasion dresses. It plans to open two or three more, if the initial store is a success. At its peak in 1986, Ariella operated 11 stores in London.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Cocktail Clothing Company, which began trading on April 1, will focus on creating collections for wholesale clients, such as John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser, and supplying unbranded dresses to the likes of Kenneth Cole, Laura Ashley and Phase Eight.

Founder and chief executive Achilleas Constantinou told Drapers the business is also planning to launch a new in-house line specifically for independent retailers, titled LanaMarie by Ariella, for autumn 16.

Ariella was founded in 1966 by Constantinou, who is also a founder of the British Fashion Council and board member of the UK Fashion & Textile Association. The womenswear business employs 32 staff at its headquarters in Hampstead, north London.

In January Ariella signed a year-long deal to become the first UK fashion sponsor of Hollywood red carpet awards events, including the Oscars, taking over from French champagne producer Moët & Chandon.

@LukeToddUK

Readers' comments (1)

  • Thierry BAYLE

    Congratulations.
    I have seen many Ariella Designs and there is this wow effect which I like very much.

    For the initial store to be a success, what do we do?
    For sure I would recommend having a break even analysis made as well as cash flow projection.
    The Brand must understand and track at primary level all the important product categories ( you may want to track around 20 classes for £1M business ).
    Sales MUST be forecasted by class per month and reviewed at least every 2 weeks.
    Another science element to properly manage is the stock to sales ratio. It varies according to the class, time of the year and store performance.
    There are of course a few more KPIs to track like MMU or GMROI.
    Markdown percentage in a mono brand store should not exceed 25/30% ( multilabel store not to exceed 10/15% ). This ratio is not to be confused with the "discount" percentage.

    Then there are all the key measurements to track sales staff and store performance :
    average basket size, units per transaction, visitors, conversion rate ...capturing customer data, marketing programme ...

    All the above starts from day 1!
    I have seen companies believing that there is no need to work hard before we have 3/6 months data. This is just an excuse to do nothing or the wrong things!

    Thierry Bayle
    @retailfashion

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