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De Gruchy poised for facelift as trading space increases

Jersey independent department store De Gruchy is set for a makeover under new owner Ulster Stores.

De Gruchy has signed design agency Jamieson Smith Associates to smarten up the 80,000 sq ft store, and the overhaul is expected to convert some 15,000 sq ft of back-office space into trading areas.

Ulster Stores managing director Neville Moore told Drapers that the investment in the revamp would be "significant", with the first floor contemporary and classic womenswear departments in need of a fresh look.

"The previous owners spent £6 million in the past two to three years, and where the store has had investment the sales densities are to die for," said Moore. "Young fashion is very strong, through to accessories and beauty. While parts of the first floor look tired, they still perform very well, so the potential is there."

Moore said the brand strategy is at an early stage, but added that the focus would be firmly mid-market. "We'll include a wide cross-section of brands. The market is not all top-end and we've got to remember the whole market. We have some very premium brands but at the end of day we're still the people's choice."

Sales for 2006 rose 5% to more than £20m, he added.

Ulster Stores bought De Gruchy in November from Hong Kong conglomerate AS Watson Group for an undisclosed sum.

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