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Austin Reed ready for womenswear growth as CC Petites gets new face

Austin Reed is embarking on a womenswear push and has signed Just Good Friends actress Jan Francis as the face of its CC Petites range.

Francis was brought on board to join Selina Scott, who was recently signed as the face of the chain. CC Petites accounts for 20% of the retailer's turnover.

Chief executive Nick Hollingworth said Austin Reed was looking for an acquisition. He said: "We have the backing of the board. The best fit would be in womenswear - we want to add value and scale."

He said CC aimed to open about 40 new stores in the next three years. He told Drapers these would be about 1,000sq ft in smaller towns. "It is a pretty expansive plan. As we open stores, I wouldn't be surprised if we gain in confidence to open more," he said. There are 65 CC stores at present.

New sites for CC include Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire and Summertown near Oxford in the next month, plus concessions in House of Fraser and Debenhams.

Austin Reed was taken private by Guy Naggar's Dawney Day investment group last November. It has returned to profit after two years in the red, posting profits of £4.4m for the year to January.

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