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Braintree appoints first German country manager

Mainstream women’s and menswear brand Braintree Clothing has hired its first German country manager as it ploughs ahead with its European expansion.

Braintree would not divulge her name, but said the new country manager will join the brand next week, tasked with growing its stockist base in Germany – where it is in about 120 stores – and getting it into retailers of a higher calibre. 

After Germany, the focus will be on the Nordic and Benelux countries, France and Switzerland, with more key hires to follow by the end of this year. In total, Braintree has around 300 stockists outside of the UK, but it is hoping to triple this within three years. 

“Two-thirds of sales come from the UK and a third from Europe – and we think we can flip that,” said John Snare, founder and chief executive of Braintree, who runs it with creative director Rachel Kelly.

“People love natural fibres in Europe; they associate them with good quality, regardless of what they think about sustainability.”

In the UK, where Braintree has 400 independent stockists, the aim is the same: to grow the number and improve the quality of its retailers.

Braintree, which uses organic materials including bamboo and hemp, is moving away from some of its more traditional, sustainability-focused stockists and attempting to reposition itself as a fashion-forward brand.

It launched a new logo and redesigned website at the beginning of this year.

Over the past 18 months, the core womenswear collection has moved away from a heavy focus on jersey and casualwear towards more workwear, and the exit level price points are higher.

For autumn 16 there are more pieces in the £50 to £70 wholesale price range, including a wool coat at £64.

New stockists for autumn 15 include Pookie in Barnsley and Harrogate and Caramel in Devon, while for spring 16 it will go into Irish retailer Avoca.

Braintree moved into two House of Fraser stores for autumn 15 and is in talks to up this to 30 for autumn 16. “But indies are still at the heart of the business,” said Snare.

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