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Leicester’s Pilot flying high after store merger

Leicester premium indie Pilot has seen a growth in sales, footfall and profit across all categories since it completed a move from three separate stores to a single 5,000 sq ft site at the end of February.

Pilot previously had three stores in St Martin’s Square - one selling womenswear, one menswear and one streetwear. The new store on Leicester’s High Street sells all three categories.

Since the move, streetwear sales have grown 20% against the same period last year, with menswear and womenswear up 10% over the same two-month period.

Director Garth Coverdale decided to consolidate the stores after hearing that a large shopping centre was due to open at the other end of town.

“The High Cross shopping development opened at the end of 2008. We knew that would affect footfall so we found a site nearer to it,” he said. “We have gradually closed the other stores as their leases end and developed new parts of the current store.

Pilot, which stocks brands including Paul Smith, DKNY, G-Star and Supremebeing, sells streetwear in the basement and a mix of womenswear and menswear on the ground and first floors. Total selling space has increased from 3,200 sq ft in the three separate stores to 5,000 sq ft in the single store.

Coverdale added: “The new store gives us more trading space but lower rents, because it’s all under one roof.”

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