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Principles team reunites for Peter Davies venture

Ex-Principles chief executive Peter Davies has reunited his former management team at the womenswear chain to lead the launch of his latest retail venture, called Mint Velvet.

New Look head of merchandising Stuart Grant will join the Mint Velvet business as commercial director at the end of September. Lisa Agar-Rea will join as buying director, while Jane Rawlings will come on board as design director. Both were at Principles when it fell into administration earlier this year.

All three worked under Davies - who is non-executive chairman of Mint Velvet - when he ran the Principles chain as part of Rubicon Retail, which he sold in 2005.

The team will report to Mint Velvet brand director Liz Houghton.

The retailer will target the 30-plus woman and will be positioned just below Jigsaw and Karen Millen, but above Marks & Spencer and Monsoon. It will launch 13 House of Fraser concessions in mid-October and there are plans to open up to 30 standalones in affluent market towns in the next two to three years.

Houghton said Mint Velvet would feature “relaxed but glamorous clothes” but that the collection would be “sexier” than Principles. Its first 120-piece collection will include knitwear, tunics and denim. Cashmere-mix yarns and velvet are key fabrics. Richard Sims and Chris Inman, who were directors of Rubicon Retail, will be non-executive directors of Mint Velvet.

Meanwhile, serial fashion entrepreneur George Davies is understood to have signed the Samsonite store on London’s Regent Street as a flagship site for his GIVe womenswear brand, which is also due to debut in October. The shop will feature innovative touchscreen technology, which will enable shoppers to browse GIVe’s website, scan barcodes to view catwalk videos of each item and check the stock position in the shop.
Davies is also expected to launch an alteration and tailor-made service both in store and online.

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