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Ben Sherman to axe womenswear

Young fashion brand Ben Sherman is proposing to exit its womenswear business and focus on menswear.

Ben Sherman said in a statement today that it is entering in to a consultation process with staff in order to “minimise potential headcount reductions”.

Miles Gray, outgoing chief executive of Ben Sherman Group added: “We propose to concentrate on what we do best. We have a 50 year history in producing great menswear with significant success internationally with leading store groups. We will also continue to open our own stores concentrating on our complete menswear lifestyle offer.”

Womenswear is thought to represent between 10% to 15% of sales at the group, which is a division of Oxford Industries.

Ben Sherman saw operating losses widen to $6.3 million (£3.8m) over the three months to August 1, from $2m (£1.2m) over the same period the year before. Sales fell to $23.6m (£14.4m) compared to $32.5m (£19.8m) during the second quarter of 2008.

Ben Sherman said that the reduction in sales was due to an 18% reduction in the average pound to dollar exchange rate and that challenging market conditions had hit wholesale shipments.

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