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German designer produces Tchibo's first fashion tie-up

Coffee-to-clothing retailer Tchibo is launching its first designer clothing collaboration, called Mitch & Co, as it looks to take on the high street and attract a younger market.

The new collection, which will hit stores on June 6, is a collaboration with German designer Michael Michalsky and will be priced above the retailer's own-label range.

Fashion accounts for half of the chain's product categories, which vary from clothes to kitchenware, through its 73 UK stores and online.

Tchibo UK marketing director Ella Tracey said the collaboration would enable Tchibo to keep up with fast fashion. "With Mitch & Co, we'll be able to offer stylish basics at a fair price, filling a gap in the European market. It is also a way to improve our brand image and reach a younger and more fashion-conscious customer," she said.

But Verdict Research analyst Maureen Hinton said the German retailer could struggle to compete with high street fashion retailers. "Tchibo has such a mixed offer and I think it will find it difficult to position itself as a clothing destination," she explained. "Attaching itself to a designer who is unknown to the UK market won't solve the problem."

Michalsky has previously worked with Levi and Adidas.

The womenswear and menswear collection comprises 33 pieces and will be available in all 73 stores. Prices range from £6 for a pair of flip-flops to £25 for a hooded sweatshirt. The offer also includes accessories and footwear.

The collection is the first in a number of collaborations with the designer, with the next one set to launch in stores this summer. A new lingerie line will also launch on May 30 as part of Tchibo's own-label range. The retailer rebranded its own-brand non-food offer from TCM to Tchibo last month.

The German company, which launched in the UK in 2002 and changes its stock weekly, also has 280 concessions in supermarkets, including Sainsbury's and Somerfield, and operates a mail order and online business.

Total group sales grew by 3% in 2006 reaching EUR9 billion (£6.1bn).

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