North-west-based designer independent Competitive Edge is to sell its Southport store to the owner of three-store independent Zucci, and has closed its Competitive Edge Two Thousand holding company.
The deal to sell the Southport branch to Zucci owner Duane Roberts is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks, and Roberts is thought to be planning to rebrand the Union Street site and reopen the store within three weeks.
Atherton said: “It is hard to tell what we did wrong with the Southport store. We moved out of our original location in the Cambridge Walks arcade, which proved fatal for footfall even though it was only 200 yards down the road. Womenswear wasn’t really working.”
Competitive Edge opened its Southport branch in 1990 and initially sold just footwear. The business later expanded into designer menswear, selling brands such as Moschino, Duffer of St George and Paul Smith. Womenswear was added after the second store opened in Ormskirk in 1995.
Atherton added: “Southport is more of a fashion-forward shop, but trade went the other way and people wanted the bread and butter labels.”
Roberts plans to rebrand the Southport store to Zucci and introduce Nudie Jeans, but will retain Armani Jeans and Paul Smith jeans, pitching the offer slightly higher-end than the standard Zucci mix. He said: “We will only sell menswear and use the space that was given to womenswear to buy deeper into existing brands.”
Zucci, which was set up in 2002, has three stores in Wrexham and Shropshire, as well as a transactional website. It sells branded menswear and womenswear including Lyle & Scott, Henleys, Gio-Goi, Adidas Originals, Lipsy, Morgan, Lacoste and Bench.