Jaeger is planning to roll out a raft of new UK stores over the next 12 months, under owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, Drapers can reveal.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group acquired Jaeger after it went into administration in April 2017. The retailer opened new Jaeger stores in Lymington and Marlborough last month, taking its total to nine in the UK. This will increase to 11 by the end of the year, following openings in Salisbury and York. The group plans to have 30 by the end of 2019.
Lauren Day, group development director of EWM Group, and daughter of chief executive and owner Philip Day, told Drapers there was a “big opportunity” for Jaeger on the British high street: “For our store strategy, we’ve looked at locations where Jaeger used to trade well in the past, as well as looking at new towns to find a new customer base.
“It’s quite an aggressive [expansion] strategy but they have to be the right stores in the right locations. We won’t open for the sake of it – at the end of the day, they have to be profitable.”
Jaeger opened concessions in Irish department store chain Shaws this autumn and is also stocked in John Lewis. It has a total of 24 concessions. Day said the business was in talks with “a few other partners” for 2019.
“For us it has to be a partnership that works, and they need to reflect our values. We’re very much of the thinking of ‘first price, right price’, and if our partners don’t support that, we aren’t afraid to stick to our guns.”
Liza Canneford, product director at Jaeger and Austin Reed, agreed the brand would hold firm on discounting: “Under our previous owner [private equity firm Better Capital] there was a lot of discounting. Our customers will not see that from us going forward. We won’t be discounting mid-season. We have improved the quality and our prices, and we’ve worked hard to deliver that.”
The overall price architecture has not changed at the brand, but certain prices have been lowered: a camel wool belted coat that previously would have retailed for £499 is now £375, for example.
“We’ve worked closely with our suppliers to introduce better value on some classic pieces,” explained Canneford. “Like a lot of people, I’ve grown up with Jaeger and it was clear that we needed to bring back the Jaeger quality that had disappeared a bit. It is about creating great classic pieces that shoppers can bring back out year after year. We’re not about disposable fashion.”
Canneford, who was product director at Jaeger for four years until it went into administration and rejoined the business in September 2017, said the new owner is investing in the future of the business.
“It’s great having a family run the brand, they see the potential and the value of the business. Philip [Day] is a retailer and he understands product, which makes such a difference. He is as passionate as us about the business and wants to see it grow. We want to push forward now so it’s all hands on deck.”
Austin Reed, which EWM Group bought out of administration in May 2016, will relaunch for autumn 19.