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Evans sizes up maternity and premium collections

Plus-size womenswear retailer Evans is adding a maternity line and a premium occasionwear range as it aims to broaden its offer.

The maternity range will be the first of its kind by a dedicated plus-size high street store, and follows maternity launches at Topshop and New Look.

The 16-piece offer will have a casualwear focus and will initially be sold exclusively online from June, with a planned store roll-out at a later date. Prices will be in line with Evans' current price architecture, with jeans from £28 and jerseys from £8 to £15.

The as-yet-unnamed premium range will hit stores in October in time for the Christmas trading period. It will be limited to 20 top locations, including London Marble Arch, Bluewater in Kent, Manchester's Trafford Centre and the MetroCentre in Gateshead.

Head of buying Diane Frankel said that although the designs had not been finalised, there would be between 12 and 15 pieces in silk satin or silk viscose mixes. "Our customers have been requesting a collection like this. It is likely to include an evening coat, a floor- length dress, a kimono, a bustier-style dress, long tunic tops and wide-leg trousers. A black, ecru and silver print will tie the collection together." Prices are expected to be 20% to 30% higher than the mainline.

Evans' current offer, spanning sizes 16 to 32, includes a 12-piece organic cotton range and Georgina Goodman-designed footwear and accessories.

Key trends for autumn 07 include a 1960s-inspired futuristic story, as well as metallic fabrics and graphic prints.

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