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Drapers news in brief

Drapers' news in brief from the week ending October 13, 2007:

Gant recruits retail and sales bosses
Lifestyle brand Gant has appointed Ella Hitchins as head of retail. She was previously at Oasis. Gant has also promoted former store manager Jacqui Capocciama to sales manager for womenswear. Marc O’Polo’s Andy Ross has been recruited as sales manager for accessories. Meanwhile, Gant has launched a limited edition menswear line to be sold exclusively at Harrods in February. Retail prices range from £85 for a cotton V-neck sweater to £199 for a cashmere waffle knitted hoodie.

British Fashion Awards nominees revealed
The British Fashion Council has announced its nominees for the 2007 British Fashion Awards. Nominees for the Best Designer award are Stella McCartney, Luella Bartley and Anya Hindmarch, while the shortlist for the menswear award includes Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Cassette Playa and Alexander McQueen. The event takes place on November 27 at Lawrence Hall in Victoria, London.

Mothercare to offload 17 high street locations
Mothercare has put 17 of its high street shops up for sale, as it looks to strengthen its out-of-town proposition. The maternitywear and baby products retailer has instructed CB Richard Ellis to sell the leases and called on Harvey Spack Field and Churston Heard to search for new out-of-town sites on retail parks. The business, which is conducting a review of its store portfolio, has 226 Mothercare stores and 215 Early Learning Centre shops.

Dune’s finance boss heads to The Shoe Studio
Footwear retailer Dune has lost its finance director Nick Murty to The Shoe Studio Group. Murty had been finance director at Dune for a year, after working in the finance department for seven years. He is expected to join next month.

MBO rumours surround Lambert Howarth
Speculation that Lambert Howarth chief executive Pamela Harper was attempting to rescue part of the business from administration mounted as Drapers went to press. Administrator BDO Stoy Hayward is understood to be in discussions regarding the sale of all or parts of the business as a going concern. David Gilbert, a partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said he was attempting to secure supply to customers.

Tom Tailor set to make UK debut in Belfast
German retailer Tom Tailor will open its first UK store in Belfast next year. The men’s, women’s and kids’ casualwear chain will unveil a 5,586sq ft store in the Victoria Square development, which is set to open in March. The store, a franchise run by Ark Retail Group, will join retailers including House of Fraser, Ted Baker and Monsoon at the development.

Irregular Choice takes a bite of Big Apple
Footwear brand Irregular Choice has unveiled its first store, on Lafayette Street in the heart of New York. The 1,000sq ft store opened last week, and the Brighton-based business has now set its sights on a London store opening next year, once a location has been found.

Brighton tailor launches London fitting service
Brighton-based tailor Gresham Blake has opened a fitting room on London’s South Molton Street. Gresham Blake has had a shop in Bond Street in Brighton since 2002, which sells made-to-measure suits and ready-to-wear clothing. The tailor, whose made-to-measure suits start at £550, started taking appointments from the Mayfair address at the beginning of this month.

Hi-Tec launches kids’ charity footwear range
Footwear brand Hi-Tec has unveiled a kids’ footwear range designed to raise money for the NSPCC and Scottish sister charity Children’s 1st. Hi-Tec aims to raise at least £25,000 by donating 10p from every footwear sale to the charities. Prices start at £15.

Sales and product directors scale North Face
Outdoor clothing supplier The North Face has appointed a new sales director and product director for its Europe, Middle East and Africa structure. Timo Schmidt-Eisenhart, who is taking on the sales director role, will be based in Italy. He joins from Nike’s European office. René Skytte, who has worked at Intersport and Adidas, has been appointed product director and will identify growth opportunities in new and existing markets.

Cap fits for Walé Adeyemi with New Era deal
Global headwear designer and manufacturer New Era Cap Company has appointed British fashion designer Walé Adeyemi as creative director of its European clothing division. Adeyemi, who has his own clothing label, will contribute to the company’s clothing launch next year.

Prada appoints new chief operating officer
Prada has appointed Brian Blake as chief operating officer, a newly created role. Blake, who has held senior management positions at Burberry and Gucci, joined the Italian fashion group on Monday. Prada is understood to be considering a float.

Sales and profits up at Stella McCartney
Operating profits at designer brand Stella McCartney rose to £395,000 for the year to December 31 2006, against a loss of £1.2 million the previous year. Sales rose by 25% to £9.1m during the same period. The company, which is jointly owned by the designer and Gucci Group, attributed the growth to a rise in sales at its London store and strong sales from its Adidas sportswear licence.

FrostFrench’s transactional site hits the web
FrostFrench launched its transactional website this week after opening its first standalone store last month. The online store,, carries the brand’s entire collection, including accessories and lingerie. Consumers can shop by individual product or complete look.

Victoria Beckham line makes Harrods debut
Victoria Beckham unveiled the first concession for her dVb clothing brand at Harrods in London last week. The 250sq ft space sells a 20-piece capsule collection of the singer’s denim range and features heavy industrial tables, offset by floral detailing and deep velvet curtains. Prices range from £180 to £260.

Chief operating officer joins Umbro early
Gary Brown has taken up the position of chief operating officer at Umbro this week, a month earlier than expected. Brown, who has previously worked at Matalan, Instore and Sainsbury’s, replaces Steve Makin, who was promoted to the role of chief executive at the sportswear brand earlier this year.

Asos unveils fashion students’ ranges will launch the winning pieces from its Fame, Fortune & Fashion student award, in association with the London College of Fashion, this month, giving shoppers the chance to buy from the limited-edition ranges. The collections, by London College of Fashion students Eyizera Phoenix and James Hawkes, will go on sale on October 22.

Shopworks celebrates a decade in business
Retail design consultancy Shopworks celebrates its 10th birthday this month. The Hertfordshire-based company has offices in Russia, India and Australia. Its retail clients include sports brands Nike and Sweaty Betty.

Fashion duo join Corby redevelopment
Jane Norman and River Island have signed stores in the Willow Place redevelopment in Corby, Northamptonshire. Jane Norman will open a 3,890sq ft shop, while River Island has signed a 9,000sq ft unit. The centre, redeveloped by Land Securities, will open on October 26 and will house retailers including TK Maxx, New Look, Dorothy Perkins and MK One.

American Apparel makes its Scottish debut
US casualwear retailer American Apparel has signed its first Scottish store, in Glasgow. The chain already has four London stores and a shop in Brighton, and plans to open a further two stores in London’s Covent Garden and Oxford Street before Christmas.

Hudson Walker nets a merger with Big Fish
London-based recruitment firm Hudson Walker International has merged with Big Fish Executive Search to increase its presence in the fashion recruitment sector. Big Fish principal consultant Richard Whaley will be based in Hudson Walker’s Dover Street office in central London.

Timberland’s boots walk onto the web
Outdoorwear brand Timberland has launched a transactional website in the UK. The site, at, offers footwear, clothing and accessories for men, women and
kids. It will form part of a marketing campaign to promote Timberland’s waterproof collection, including an ad for the brand’s seam-sealed waterproof boots. Customers can build their own customised boots by clicking on a boot style and choosing colours and fabric.

Portas pays a royal visit to Birmingham
‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas will visit Birmingham next month to encourage more independent retailers to open in the city. Portas will also meet with Birmingham City Council to look at ways of supporting existing retailers. Her visit will strengthen the Style Birmingham campaign, created to promote Birmingham as a leading shopping and fashion destination in the UK. The campaign, which is being rolled out nationwide, includes national ad campaigns, awards and fashion shows.

LVMH boss to chair Supreme Luxury event
Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of luxury business LVMH, will be the keynote speaker at the International Herald Tribune’s Supreme Luxury conference in Moscow on November 28-29. Arnault’s speech will advise luxury brands on how to survive and grow in a competitive market, and will also cover emerging markets in areas such as Russia, China and India. Other speakers include Louis Vuitton chief executive Yves Carcelle, Christian Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano and designers Tom Ford and Donatella Versace.

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