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Littlewoods Direct introduces first trend-led kidswear own brands

Home shopping business Littlewoods Direct has created two new own-label kidswear brands in what the retailer is describing as its first trend-led kidswear collections.

The Demo brand for boys and the Freespirit label for girls, both aimed at three- to 16-year-olds, feature on the Littlewoods Direct website, where users can access a video presentation of the collection. The casualwear ranges include tunic print dresses, beachwear, cargo pants and jeans.

The labels provide an entry-level price architecture for Littlewoods Direct. An opening price of £6 sets the collection a tier below more premium kids' brands such as Ted Baker and Hooch.

New designs for the girls' Freespirit range will be introduced every eight weeks, as part of a move into fast fashion.

The retailer had previously sold a few Littlewoods-branded basic kidswear lines, but a spokeswoman said these had never been trend-led nor part of a full kidswear collection. She added that Freespirit and Demo would be expanded for the autumn 07 range, which launches in July.

Littlewoods Direct will also unveil a toddler range under sub-brands Demo Junior and Little Spirit, targeted at tots aged between three months and five years.

The retailer has a number of own-brands, including Lovelabel for women and Booker for men.

Littlewoods Direct head of buying for childrenswear Liz Pulfrey said Demo and Freespirit had already been well received by shoppers.

To support the new ranges, Littlewoods is looking at TV product placement. It is also running a £12 million multimedia ad campaign starring TV fashion experts Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine (Drapers, April 14).

Former Next Directory boss Mark Newton-Jones joined Littlewoods as chief executive in 2003. Since then, the group has focused on affordable quality in a bid to turn around its downmarket image.

Littlewoods Direct is owned by Littlewoods Shop Direct Group, which also owns home shopping businesses Marshall Ward and Additions Direct. The group has annual sales of about £2.1 billion.

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