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Bank targets ‘more premium’ brands to improve performance

Young fashion retailer Bank is revamping its brand mix to move towards a more trend-led offering.

The JD Sports Fashion-owned chain, which has 93 UK stores, is looking to focus on “more premium” brands to rejuvenate the struggling business.

Drapers understands Bank will focus on labels such as French Connection, with the aim of competing against mid-market retailers including Zara.

Instead of buying in bulk, the retailer is now selectively testing products online before moving popular items in store.

Some of Bank’s existing labels will be rolled out into more stores as part of the move, with the likes of womenswear label Neon Rose going from 17 to 30 stores.

The reworking of the brand mix comes as parent company JD reported a decline in its fashion arm, which was “concentrated” in Bank.

In its latest set of results for the 18 weeks to June 8, JD said Bank had “held back overall growth”, leading to a 5% dip in group sales.

The owner of one supplier said: “Bank is trying to get out of the bottom level of cheap own-label product and back to branded premium products.

“It doesn’t get enough customers through the door to focus on volume products like Primark.”

Bank is believed to be selling stock to TK Maxx, “almost like a refresh button”, said the source.

Another brand owner said the retailer was honing in on the popularity of the streetwear market.

He said: “It is becoming a bit more daring with its product and looking for a more unique fashion offering to place in store. It’s a great move and a brilliant opportunity for it to step in and cover the core market trend.”

The revamp follows key appointments to the management team this year.

Former Asos head buyer Debbi Ball joined as head of womenwear in March. Ball, who also worked as a buyer at Topshop and Topman for almost eight years, is now responsible for design and buying.

This was followed by the appointment last month of former Reiss trading boss Gwynn Milligan as managing director.

Bank declined to comment on the drop in sales.

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