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Custo trials lower prices with UK sub-brand launch

Premium womenswear label Custo Barcelona is launching its younger sub-brand into the UK, trialling a pricing architecture 40% lower than that available in other territories.

Wholesale prices for Custo Line will range from £11 for T-shirts to £32.50 for skinny jeans - far lower than in the existing 40 territories the sub-brand is already sold into. The recommended mark-up is 2.75.

Custo’s aim is to better distinguish between the two brands. The youngerskewing brand is expected to go into up to 250 UK stockists - significantly more than the premium label, which currently has 65 accounts.

Following a trial season with a handful of small department stores, distributor Love Brands is now in talks with a number of potential partners, including Selfridges, Fenwick and Bentalls, as well as a range of etailers and boutiques.

If UK take-up is strong, the lower price points for Custo Line will be rolled out internationally.

Love Brands director Michael Shalders said Custo was prepared to take a hit on margins to achieve more volume. “It would be suicidal to compromise on quality for a brand name that has been developed globally for the past 30 years,” he said. “We’ve only had a glimpse of the new product so far, but what I’ve seen suggests there is no change in direction there.

“But they have recognised that having something with a strong brand identity in the £25 to £50 market is a fantastic move. I agree - I wish other brands would do it.”

Shalders said Custo Line could sit alongside a broad range of labels, including Superdry, Diesel, Desigual, Uttam, Yumi, Noa Noa and Esprit, depending on the nature of the stockist.

“The type of collection it is could complement many brands - that is why it broadens out the market,” he explained.

This will not impact the mainline, Shalders added, although Love Brands is looking to up the number of stockists for Custo Barcelona to between 90 and 110.

“We have a very distinct and different distribution policy for the two brands - they have very similar identities and handwriting but they do a very different job,” he said.

The move follows the opening of Custo Barcelona’s first UK store - at Westfield Stratford - in May.

Custo Line will be sold alongside Custo Barcelona from the Love Brands showroom in Spitalfields, east London.

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