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Browns beefs up with opening of third store

Browns of York is preparing to open its third shop as part of the family-run independent department store’s expansion plan.

The 118-year-old business has just inked a deal for a new 10,000sq ft premises in Beverley, East Yorkshire, which is due to open next year.
And the retailer is scouting for more locations in Yorkshire to add to its two stores in York and Helmsley, North Yorkshire.

Browns is also tentatively looking further south as it looks to take advantage of its strong position in the face of the credit crunch.

Chairman Nicholas Brown said: “The way the economic climate is at the moment plays into our hands. There is the opportunity to take advantage, as the bigger players are feeling the crunch at the moment. The demographic in market towns is becoming more affluent and offers good opportunities for independents which can react well to the smaller markets.”

The retailer has secured the Beverley unit with the help of London-based property firm MSBL. Mark Simmonds, chairman of MSBL, said: “This is the first step in Browns’ expansion plans. We are now actively looking for further stores for Browns – either existing department store units or new developments on a freehold or leasehold basis.”

The expansion plan is being funded by retained profits built up at the business, which was founded in 1890. The new store will be fitted out by design firm Jamieson Smith Associates, which has also worked with independent department store Camp Hopson in the past on the retailer’s store design.

Mr Brown added that many of his target brands for the Beverley store are looking to open standalone stores in the area, but he hopes the new shopfit and location will encourage them to sell through Browns.

Browns currently sells men’s and women’s wear alongside a wide range of footwear. Menswear brands include Camel, Féraud, Sidi Suits, Marc O’Polo and Dockers. Its womenswear offer includes Kaliko, Phase Eight, Dash and Elvi.

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