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Jaeger plans to overhaul stores on back of £7.5m investment

Jaeger is to revise about a third of its 42-store portfolio, through a combination of closures and new stores, following a £7.5m investment from its private equity owner, Better Capital.

The retailer plans to use around £5.6m of the funds, which it announced last week, in its bricks-and-mortar stores. The outlay will initially go into “basic housekeeping” to get certain stores up to standard, chief executive Colin Henry said.

The cash will also be used to open in locations where it currently has no presence, such as Bath, St Albans and Knightsbridge, relocating shops into more premium sites in existing locations, such as Edinburgh and Belfast, and refits of stores that will not be moved. The first of these will be King’s Road in west London, set to reopen in September, which Henry said would be the “template”.

“We will be refreshing the entire estate – every freestanding store will be brought up to standard. Beyond that we are actively looking for stores in ‘Jaeger locations’ – the Jaeger customer is quite specific, and there are certain locations that do well – affluent high streets, for example – and certain ones that don’t, such as out-of-town centres. It’s a balancing act between having the volume of consumers but making sure they are the right type of consumers.”

Non-profitable stores will close when leases run out, although Henry said he was “willing to talk about a relocation deal”. Ultimately, although he expects a third of the portfolio to change, the net total will remain around 42 stores.

The rest of the cash will be ploughed into ecommerce, which will include the hiring of a three-people teamunder Caroline Lee, who was appointed director of menswear and ecommerce last September.

Other than these hires, Henry said he anticipated no further changes to the senior team.

As Drapers reported last month, Jaeger has just undergone its second staff consultation in six months.

It comes on top of more than £20m ploughed in shortly after Better Capital acquired the business in 2012.

The investment comes as the turnaround begins to take pace, with Henry saying he expected Jaeger to post a profit for the first time since it was bought by Better Capital.

“I’m confident we will be reporting profits for this financial year – if we could get into six- figure profit,  that would be an enormous change considering it was losing so much money before,” he said.

Jaeger posted losses of £35.5m in the 2012/13 financial year and £13.1m in 2013/14.

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