House of Fraser plans to launch a Kenneth Cole menswear collection next year, after it secured exclusive rights to the brand name in the UK.
The range is understood to be mostly formalwear-based, including trend-led suits and casualwear. It will be designed in-house and merchandised within its own "sleek and modern" shopfit, said a source. He said the long-term objective was to take it to wholesale, with Baugur-owned Scandinavian store Illum providing a natural phase one.
Kenneth Cole will provide a contemporary menswear identity to mirror the new womenswear sub-brand Untold. The introduction also fits into chief executive John King's plan to position HoF as a more aspirational, international store.
Prices will be set once the range has been configured later in the year, but it will be HoF's most premium own-label. At present, the upper price point for suiting in its Linea own-label is about £200 to £250.
HoF is poised to reveal its new strategy and shape of the future business in September. By then it plans to have kicked off the first phase of its Oxford Street store redevelopment in London. It will include an overhaul of the shop exterior, with vertical House of Fraser branding up the side of the building, black canopies, stone cladding and black aluminium fascia panels, as well as uplighting.
King is also understood to be looking at future formats for HoF. Rather than a full-line department store, it would concentrate on the strongest product categories for its catchments.
Chief financial officer Stefan Cassar will leave the business in October to pursue other interests. He will be replaced by director of finance Mark Gifford.
HoF held a catwalk show last week, where it unveiled the first complete collection bought under the new management team.
June Lawlor, director of womenswear, accessories and beauty, said autumn 07 represented the start of a repositioning for Linea, with a more sophisticated range.