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Seen to expand after Queen of Shops refit

Doncaster boutique Seen is to open a new menswear shop, after sales soared following its appearance on TV show Mary Queen of Shops.
Seen was revamped and rebranded in June as part of the show, in which retail guru Mary Portas advises independents on how to improve their businesses. Owner Katherine Taylor said Portas’s changes had “feminised” the store, leading to a 50% increase in womenswear sales.

However, the move caused menswear sales to drop, so Taylor opted to open a new menswear store to separate the two businesses.
The 1,500sq ft menswear shop, on High Street in Doncaster, is also called Seen. “We don’t want to go down the boutique route because everyone is doing that, so we are going to give the menswear store an urban feel,” said Taylor.

The store, scheduled to open in February, will add menswear brands including J Lindeberg, Fred Perry and streetwear label Money to the existing brand line-up of K-Swiss, Sergio Tacchini and Superdry.

Taylor said: “I’m determined to stay away from mainstream brands such as G-Star, Diesel and Firetrap. We’re an independent – we want to stay like that and not do what everyone else is doing.”

The original Seen store, formerly called Homeboy, had been trading for 17 years, but enlisted Portas’s help to tackle competition from the new Frenchgate shopping centre in Doncaster. Portas rebranded the store as Seen and encouraged Taylor to tap into celebrity fashion trends by selling designer- style clothing at affordable prices.

Seen also has an online store, although it is unlikely to expand in the near future. “A lot of dresses that are bought online are later returned,” says Taylor. “It depresses me that people do so much clothes shopping online rather than coming in store, but I have to have a website otherwise I risk being left behind.”

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