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Fat Face to trial kids' store as new owners eye growth

Lifestyle retailer Fat Face is planning its first kidswear standalone store as it expands the category under new owner Bridgepoint.

The 128-store chain will convert its shop in Clapham, south-west London to a kidswear standalone. Fat Face has also doubled its offer of kidswear styles available in seven stores and in a new kids' catalogue, which was sent out last week.

Chief executive Louise Barnes said the standalone would be a trial. "Kidswear has been doing very well for us and there's a lot of opportunity in that sector of the market," she said. "At the moment it's only about 5% of total sales, but we see it moving to 8%."

The retailer is also hoping to expand its presence in John Lewis from four shops to 20 by next spring, although there are no plans to expand the wholesale business with other retailers.

Private equity company Bridgepoint acquired a majority stake in Fat Face last week for £360 million from fellow private equity business Advent International, which paid £100m for its stake in 2005.

Fat Face is forecasting a turnover of £111m for the year to May 31 across stores and mail-order. The management team will remain in place and founders Tim Slade and Jules Leaver will continue to hold a minor stake in the company.

Barnes said the company would continue its growth programme of up to 15 stores a year for the next five years.

Fat Face opened its first store in Dubai in November and another 10 will open in the Middle East in the next year. Talks are under way with potential distributors in Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and Russia.

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