Jane Norman is preparing to unveil a reinvented look for autumn 13 – but the young fashion retailer has angered some suppliers by cancelling orders at the last minute.
No imagery has yet been shot but Philip Day, chief executive of Jane Norman’s parent company Edinburgh Woollen Mill (ewm), said the new collection would focus on separates, denim and a “head-to-toe signature look” rather than the “glitzy gypsy wedding-style dresses” the company has produced in the past.
Price points of the ‘New Jane’ will remain the same “on the whole”, but Day said the quality of the product has been “vastly improved”.
He said: “There was a lot wrong with the brand at the beginning and we had to reinvent the collections for Jane. It has been a slow and difficult process but we have dealt with the situation properly and worked through it with stores that we didn’t necessarily want to keep open.”
EWM acquired Jane Norman two years ago, and Day committed to opening 50 to 75 stores over a 15-month period.
However, the business is now looking to downsize, with Day confirming he was reviewing individual stores when leases came up. He told Drapers the strategy was to “remove Jane Norman from the mass market and make the brand more exclusive.”
Day is also looking to expand Jane Norman internationally, with plans to enter China, Japan, South Korea and India in the next two years. At present the retailer has 20 stores in the Middle East.
He said: “Jane Norman has the potential to be the next great British brand on the international market.
Unlike Peacocks and other mass-market retailers, Jane Norman is a fashion brand and could be rolled out to a huge customer base across the globe.”
But while EWM is looking to move Jane Norman in a new direction, Drapers has learned that suppliers are being left out of pocket through last-minute cancellations of orders. One such case saw a supplier losing out to the tune of five figures.
Day said poor weather had dampened trading, and therefore “every fashion retailer” was being cautious about stock intake. He insisted orders were only being cancelled for “late or inferior products”.
Jane Norman has undergone a significant period of change since it was bought out by EWM, including the closure of its London headquarters, which resulted in around 40 redundancies.