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Jacques Vert Group accelerates international plans

Jacques Vert Group is on the verge of completing a deal to launch its eponymous occasionwear brand Jacques Vert in the Middle East, Drapers has learned.

The group is also in active talks with potential partners to bring its outerwear brands Planet and Windsmoor to Russia and the Baltics, and has appointed a new head of business development - whose name has not yet been announced - to accelerate its expansion into international markets.

Group marketing director Mark Aldridge said there was already an appetite for the Jacques Vert brand, which targets women aged over 50, in Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey.

“Those customers are already shopping for Jacques Vert in the Oxford Street store [when visiting the UK] and online, so we know it resonates in the Middle East,” he said.

The company declined to reveal when the brand would launch in the Middle East, or whether this launch would take the form of a wholesale, concession or franchise-based strategy.

The first collection for Jacques Vert Group’s outerwear brand Planet London - a premium offshoot of the existing Planet brand designed specifically for international markets - will launch in the US on September 1. This will be via New York department store Lord & Taylor - which is the first to have signed the brand - initially for an online concession. For autumn 14, four coat styles in two colourways will be available with wholesale prices ranges from $119 (£69) for a short quilted jacket to $359 (£209) for a leather-sleeved trench coat.

This week Jacques Vert was showing the brand’s second collection, targeting spring 15, to buyers in New York. The collection of coats will wholesale at between $108 (£63) for a zip through raincoat and $180 (£105) for a compact fabric princess coat.

One of the New York department store buyers viewing the spring 15 collection said the Planet London name was a large part of the brand’s appeal. “London, like Italy, is synonymous with fashion. I think that cachet will help here.”

Kate Skitt, the brand controller who oversees buying and design for Planet, Planet London and Windsmoor, said the priority for Planet London over the next 12 months would be to obtain more customers in the US.

After that, it will explore franchise arrangements in Russia and the Baltics, with a hope to launch the brand in those territories for autumn 15.

As Drapers reported in May, Jacques Vert Group is to discontinue its Minuet Petite and Alexon brands as part of an ongoing portfolio rationalisation.

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