Women’s young fashion brand Little Mistress is poised to sign for its first store in the UK, Drapers has learned.
The location of the first year is yet to be confirmed, but Drapers understands the brand plans to open stores in Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City and Intu Lakeside in Essex before the end of the year.
Mark Ashton, chief executive of parent company Little Mistress Group, said it is looking at a “number of areas”.
“We won’t sign any long leases, those days are gone,” he added. ”With the deals we plan to make we can be certain not to carry an anchor, we need to be nimble, low risk, this is vital for our growth and value.
“We are interested in two- to five-year opportunities where we can expose our website in a tangible way, I’m confident we can capture a huge amount of customers who haven’t yet met the brand.”
Little Mistress has 20 concessions in Debenhams and plans to have 25 by the end of 2018. It has reduced its number of wholesale accounts from 150 to 25 in the UK and it has 40 in Ireland, which do a “roaring trade”, Ashton said.
Internationally, Little Mistress Group opened its first four franchise stores with partner Al Hokair for another of its brands, Girls on Film, in August.
Ashton said the group plans to roll out between 40 and 50 franchise stores – a mixture of Girls on Film and Little Mistress – over the next two years in Iran, Dubai, Kuwait and Oman.
“There’s huge demand for our brands abroad, especially occasionwear with hand-finished embellishment,” Ashton explained.