The first store locations have been secured and ranges are being selected for the fashion chain established by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond and South African retail heavyweight Christo Wiese, which will be called Pep&Co.
Although the value chain has not revealed the exact locations of its first stores, Drapers understands they will be approximately 3,500 sq ft and in high street locations in smaller market towns deemed to be successful hubs for discount food shopping and general merchandise. As previously reported, at least 50 shops are planned to open during a six-week burst from mid-July.
Pep&Co is aiming to put pressure on big name multiples as they downsize store portfolios in the face of changing shopping habits.
It is using parent company Pepkor’s existing global sourcing capabilities for the fashion ranges.
The business will be run by managing director Adrian Mountford, who previously ran the Sainsbury’s Tu business and is a former Matalan board member.
Former Marks & Spencer head of merchandising Cathy Haydon is trading director, while Mark Jackson, former finance director at Heal’s department store, is chief financial officer.
The head office team, which is based in Watford, is expected to increase to 35 by the time the first stores open in summer.
“Over the past five years discounters have changed the face of UK shopping in food and general merchandise,” said Bond. “My ambition for Adrian and his Pep&Co team is that they will do the same in fashion.”
Pepkor UK was established in 2014 by Bond and ex-Bain & Company consultant Mark Elliott. It is part of the Cape Town-based Pepkor group, which has a diverse portfolio of retail chains including clothing, footwear and homeware stores Pep and Ackermans in South Africa, and Pepco in Poland.