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Folk unveils expansion plan as A Butcher of Distinction closes

Folk, the young fashion brand and retailer, has pushed the button on wholesale and retail expansion and will open a second store at a site set to be vacated by iconic menswear indie A Butcher of Distinction. Folk will take over the site in Shoreditch, east London, on November 20.

A Butcher of Distinction, which stocks Folk as well as young fashion menswear brands including Nom de Guerre, Levi’s Vintage and Haversack at its store on Dray Walk, just off Brick Lane, will close at the end of this month but has plans to reopen in London’s West End in a year’s time.

A Butcher of Distinction owner Matt Paton said the decision to close the store was made in order to allow him to focus on other business projects, including his established manufacturing deals through supply chain contacts in Portugal.

A Butcher of Distinction manager Jimmy Tucker denied the closure was a result of the credit crunch. He said: “We’ve had our best ever start to the season. Matt wanted to focus on other things and also felt the area was no longer right for our brand.”

He said consumers in Shoreditch were looking for cheaper product than that stocked in the indie.

British brand Folk, which sells menswear and men’s and women’s footwear and has more than 50 UK stockists and one standalone store on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, central London, is looking to open a further five UK stores in the next two years including the Shoreditch branch.

Folk managing director Fraser Shand said retail sales at the Lamb’s Conduit Street store had doubled in the past year. Wholesale sales rose 30% in the UK and 100% internationally against 2008.
Folk will be stocked in Selfridges and Urban Outfitters’ sister chain Anthropologie for spring 10. Shand said he was looking for additional UK stockists but added that he would focus more attention on overseas expansion in the US, Scandinavia, Germany and Italy. He added that he would like 20 to 30 stockists in each country outside of the UK.

Shand said: “We are in talks with other stockists, including Manchester’s Oi Polloi, about creating a stronger in-store brand presence to grow awareness and facilitate our retail development.”
He said of the expansion plans: “The market is turning around.

We are the best-selling brand in A Butcher of Distinction so I know we will do well in that location.”

Folk expansion plans

UK retail stores Currently one, with five more stores expected to open in the next two years
International wholesale stockists 130 in 17 countries, including the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Japan
UK stockists 50-plus
Shop-in-shops One
In Amsterdam’s Cowboys2 Catwalk, with more to follow
Overseas targets Scandinavia, Benelux countries, Italy, Germany and the US

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