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JD’s Open to rival Topman and River Island

JD Sports Fashion will look to take on Topman and River Island with its new fascia Open, as it vies for a slice of the young fashion menswear market.

The menswear retailer will debut with a 350-piece range at its first store to open, at Intu Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent, on August 18. The fascia will roll out further stores in Stevenage on August 25; 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 full autumn 14 range, comprising 500 pieces and featuring four collections – Ultra Sport, Indigo, Photo Future and Hiking – will drop in October. The core range will include £40 parka jackets in three colours, £5 cotton T-shirts and a £35 pair of selvedge denim jeans.

There will also be a 50-piece footwear range featuring slip-on suede canvas shoes (£30), leather lace-up shoes (£40) and leather boots (£60).

Open’s head of buying Stewart Messer, who previously held the same title at Blue Inc and joined Open in October, said: “We’re not Primark - the quality is fantastic and there just isn’t anything out there like us for men on the high street. We expect to take market share from River Island, Topman, Urban Outfitters and a lot of other retailers on the high street.”

However Verdict retail analyst Kate Ormrod said Open was more likely to poach customers from value chains H&M and Uniqlo as well as US retailer Gap.

“Topman and River Island are quite fashion-led whereas Open has a very classic and simple feel to it,” she said.

“There could be a crossover with Gap, Uniqlo and H&M and there is real potential for it to steal customers from those retailers. Price is a real differentiation for Open and if its quality is better it could do really well. The challenge is to capture the interest of customers and to drive them in store from the beginning.”

After the initial launch, the retailer expects to open 12 to 15 stores before Christmas and a further 25-30 shops in 2015.

The stores, which will average 2,000 sq ft, will be designed in collaboration with retail design consultancy Checkland Kindleysides. The interior features a neutral colour scheme, with raw materials such as wood and metal highlighted by neon orange flashes.

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