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Phase Eight on expansion trail

Womenswear retailer Phase Eight plans to open larger stores in prime locations as it embarks on a brand overhaul.

The chain will open at least 12 stores and concessions this year, and will more than double the size of its new units to between 1,500 sq ft and 2,500 sq ft. At present, stores average 750 sq ft.

Chief executive Simon Rider told Drapers he would look for prime locations, including central London, and shopping centres. He said: "Our core sites are still market towns, where we'll relocate to bigger sites, but we will also open in five or six shopping centres."

Phase Eight is rolling out a new shopfit, including a new logo on in-store graphics and bags, which was trialled last month in Winchester, Hampshire. Stores in Wimbledon in south London, Sevenoaks in Kent, and Harpenden and Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire will get the look this month.

Rider added: "We thought it was time to refresh the brand, without alienating our customers. The new logo is much more contemporary. Our growth will definitely come from new stores."

The retailer will launch an online store in spring 08, which will carry Phase Eight's full offer of 400 lines. The retailer has 61 stores and 93 concessions in the UK.

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