Italian denim heavyweight Diesel will extend its distribution to branded young fashion chain Republic from autumn 09.
The deal will initially cover 15 Republic stores which will sell Diesel menswear, womenswear, accessories and underwear.
According to Diesel managing director Jonny Hewlett, the agreement will plug geographical gaps left by last December’s collapse of the USC chain, which despite owner Sir Tom Hunter’s pre-pack buy-back deal, led to the closure of about 15 of its stores. “Out of 93 Republic stores we’re only selling to 15, so we can focus on making those a success,” said Hewlett.
According to Republic brand manager Nick Preston: “The collection is now right for our consumer. There’s been an evolution in product to re-engage with a younger audience, which is Republic’s territory.”
When quizzed on Diesel’s premium price architecture and its relevance to Republic’s customers, Preston said: “Diesel has worked very hard to ensure prices are competitive within the target group it wants to work in. It’s a premium price but it’s not prohibitive.”
Hewlett stressed the agreement with Republic did not signal an intention to expand Diesel’s distribution, which currently consists of 120 accounts and 300 doors in the UK. But Republic’s Preston said: “Brands we work with have to work across our entire estate and there is every intention to roll out Diesel across all stores. But that will be based on the performance of the brand in the 15 flagships in which we trial it.”
Hewlett, who joined Diesel last October from consumer goods firm Procter & Gamble, is introducing new sales programmes in a bid to drive sell-through in the brand’s existing accounts.