Sportswear giant JD Sports’s new menswear fascia Open has opened in Westgate Shopping Centre, Stevenage.
The store, which opened on August 23 as part of a soft launch, spans 2,000 sq ft.
Speaking to Drapers at the store today JD Open managing director Stephen Galea, formerly of men’s young fashion chain Blue Inc, said: “We’re trying different locations to see how customers react to the brand. The reactions this weekend from customers were really positive.”
He added: “There is definitely an opportunity in the UK menswear market. A lot of businesses have gone to the wayside and nothing has really replaced them. When can you remember a UK own-brand menswear chain launching in recent times? Normally, menswear retailers are in addition to an existing womenswear business. So we felt there was a certain amount of choice lacking on the high street.”
Galea said the own-brand chain’s proposition is based around on-trend quality product at an affordable price point, achieved through “long-standing” relationships with suppliers. Prices range from around £5 for basic T-shirts up to £80 for a parka. Customers will find affordable pieces within the range including a twill bomber for £30, denim from £20 for core styles up to £35 for selvedge pieces, and knitwear from £18 to £25. With around 380 SKU’s Galea said that product will be refreshed with new drops every week to appeal to its core customer aged 20-30.
In terms of positioning, Galea said it will sit alongside brands such as Jack & Jones and Pull and Bear, “with elements of River Island.”
Flanked by womenswear chain Bank to the left, River Island to the right and with Arcadia owned Burton adjacent, the store has an open layout with movable fixtures, and product clearly zoned, starting with T-shirts and hoody’s at the front of the store, with a chinos and denim area in the centre displayed hanging or folded on tables, and then with outerwear, knitwear, accessories and footwear to the back of the store. “From my experience having worked for menswear businesses across the high street such as Blue Inc and Arcadia, men like stores that are easy to navigate with product in clearly defined areas. That is what we have tried to do here.”
There are currently 48 styles in the footwear collection which Galea said “it will be a growing part of our business.”
JD will roll out further Open stores in Leeds, Bury and Northampton in early September; Glasgow and Leicester in mid-September; and then Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre at the end of the month. A transactional website will also launch next month and click-and-collect will be rolled out across the entire JD Sports portfolio.
JD opened its largest shoe department in Manchester’s Trafford Centre on Saturday. The store, spread over two floors was formally a JD, a King of Trainers and an Adidas store, which have now been rolled into one unit.