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East sets out expansion plans after Christmas sales soar

Like-for-like sales at womenswear chain East were up 25% over the Christmas trading period and it has outlined plans to expand in the UK and internationally in 2017.

The retailer is now gearing up to expand in the UK and internationally following a “significant” investment from new owners Crore Capital, which bought an 80% stake last September.

It will open a “number” of new stores, revamp its online offer and upgrade its IT systems, so it can deliver a more personalised omnichannel experience.

Vilkauls said: “With its emphasis on individual design and quality natural fabrics, the East brand has always resonated strongly with its customers. The brand is committed to ensuring that customer needs are at the heart of the design process and will plan for ’buy now, wear now’ rather than the traditional seasonality model.

”Design and innovation are central to the business and with the return of Penny Oliver, one of the original founders, and significant investment from the new owners, Crore Capital, East is ready to expand both nationally and internationally.”

Oliver, who founded East with Clive Pettigrew and Jonathan Keating in 1994, was product director until 2008 and returned to the role in October last year.

Vilkauls joined East as interim CEO the following November from Thomas Pink, where she chief operating officer. She replaced Suzi Spink, who stepped down as CEO of East after its former owner, Fabindia, sold a majority share to Crore.

The sale came just over a year after East entered administration, in June 2015, and was bought back by Fabindia in a pre-pack deal.

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