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Republic vows to focus on product

Branded young fashion chain Republic said improved product value, customer service and burgeoning online sales would help it gain market share, after like-for-like sales stalled.

For the year to January 27, like-for-like sales at the 93-store chain rose 6.1% and EBITDA was up 303.3% to £17.2 million. Total sales rose 11.6% to £120.7m.

However, chief executive Tim Whitworth said like-for-likes were likely to be flat by the end of the current year, with profits likely to be in line with last year.

“Like-for-like sales rose 6.1% last year, and that gained pace in the first half of this year. But from mid-August we’ve been flat,” said Whitworth.

“We’re expecting to finish the year with flat like-for-likes which is good considering the market. We think profit will be broadly in line with last year.”

The chain sells brands including G-Star, Bench and Fenchurch, along with own labels Miso and Soul Cal, which make up about 50% of the retailer’s turnover.

Whitworth said that the business’s target market and model would be resilient, and it would work to increase its market share. “Next year will be incredibly tough on the high street. Customer service will be vital and we will focus on making our product offer even better value for money and will also give more product interest,” he said.

Republic said its website, launched in May last year, has seen significant growth, which would be reflected in this year’s figures.

The chain opened its first London store at Westfield London in White City in October. Whitworth said it was trading in line with expectations.

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