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Studio sets off in a trend-led new direction

Findel-owned and recently rebranded – formerly known as Express Gifts – hopes to establish itself as a trend-led fashion etailer.

First launched in 1922 as a gift and wrapping company, Studio has gone on to become a multi-category retailer, generating £393.4m turnover in 2017/18 – fashion is its “fastest-growing category”.

But Studio’s marketing director, Chris Chalmers, and head of buying, Carla Sanderson, say this is just the beginning as it seeks to transform itself from a catalogue brand to a trend-led retailer. 

Studio made several changes to its fashion buying team last year to identify three clear categories – children and footwear, women’s and men’s – and assigned senior buyers to each.

Building on this clothing focus, Studio now sponsors the fashion segment on ITV’s This Morning and introduces new fashion ranges every month.

Studio revealed its refreshed identity last week with a new name, and increased advertising and online marketing spend. An updated website will land in due course.

Sanderson told Drapers: “(Studio) has very much been about traditional catalogue heritage and we’re moving away from that to focus on being a trend-led, but value, fashion retailer.

“We’re listening closely to what customers want and what they want is up-to-date trend collections with great quality and fashionability, at amazing prices.”

While its target customer remains a 35-to-55-year-old women, Sanderson said Studio’s new trend-led philosophy has led it to “stretch slightly younger than in the past” without losing sight of its traditional customer. It stocks labels such as Diesel, Nike, Quiz and Timberland, alongside Joe Browns and outerwear brand Regatta.

Turnover increased by 8% year on year in 2017/18, and Studio hopes to achieve at least the same growth in the current financial year. 

Sanderson hopes new advertising will “really get [our] presence and the Studio brand out there”: “We’re already seeing double-digit growth, which is absolutely fantastic as we’ve just started this journey. It’s a great starting point for where we’re going, with the new strategy and collections, and it can only get better. Studio really wants to be established as a fashion brand.”


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