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Viyella owners decide not to sell

Womenswear brand Viyella has been taken off the market as owner Harris Watson focuses on the brand's growth.

Harris Watson opted to retain the company after a three-month review by adviser SP Mergers, which looked at a potential sale.

Viyella chairman Robert Kimpton said: "The review was an opportunity to test the value of the business and see what sort of investors are out there. But with further development we could get out of the business over the next few years, we decided to stay."

The brand has developed a three-year growth plan to expand both domestically and abroad. The strategy includes opening up to 10 standalones in the UK in the next 12 to 18 months, as well as launching concessions in House of Fraser in Plymouth, Manchester and on London's Oxford Street this year.

There are also plans to grow the business online and internationally, in China and the US. Kimpton said breaking into the US market was a priority.

"We will explore franchising options around the world and look at extending our licensing," said Kimpton.

Viyella has annual sales of about £30 million. It operates more than 40 standalone stores, 64 concessions and four clearance outlets.

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