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Nickelson to launch denim and footwear

UK young fashion brand Nickelson will launch a denim and footwear range under new owner Ben Sherman Group.

Nickelson, which has about 130 stockists in the UK and Republic of Ireland for its men's, women's and kids' casualwear, will also expand its distribution after Ben Sherman acquired its parent company Rodeo International in December.

Rodeo International was founded by Wayne Russell in 1982 as a leatherwear company and expanded into young fashion with Nickelson. Its annual sales are estimated at £5 million.

Nickelson's existing management and design team will stay in place, but overall responsibility for the brand will fall to Ben Sherman UK managing director David Boyne.

"We're hoping to introduce denim and footwear for autumn 07," said Boyne. "We can also put marketing support behind the brand, which has not been happening so far. But it will stay separate from Ben Sherman and have its own personality.We have got expertise in shirting and woven products and a good distribution geographically, and we can bring that to Nickelson as well as adding new product categories."

Boyne said an initial target was to expand Nickelson's distribution in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Ben Sherman is owned by US-based manufacturer Oxford Industries, which announced the surprise resignation of president Michael Setola just before Christmas.

Ben Sherman chief executive Miles Gray, as well as the bosses of sister companies Lanier Clothes and Oxford Apparel Groups, will now report directly to Oxford Industries chairman and chief executive Hicks Lanier.

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