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Wholesale arm axed at Howies

Ethical lifestyle brand Howies has axed its wholesale business and will open five stores and launch a concession operation in the next two years.

Howies, which was bought by Timberland in 2006, will open a store in Bristol in November and is looking for sites in Glasgow, Brighton, Cambridge, Cardiff and Dublin. The business currently has one shop in London’s Carnaby Street.

The company is also in talks with independent retailers and department stores about launching concessions in their stores for spring 09.

Co-founder David Hieatt told Drapers that Howies’ wholesale division was underperforming and that he wanted to capitalise on the success of its retail arm.

He said: “With a concession, we can control the brand better.”

Howies’ mail-order, online and retail businesses account for 90% of total sales, but Hieatt plans to grow the new concession arm so it makes up 20% of revenue. Howies has about 35 stockists in the UK.

For spring 09, Howies will launch a jacket range called Hand Me Down, which has a 10-year guarantee. The jackets are made from centile – a durable densely woven cotton – and will retail at £350.

The business will also unveil a hemp and cotton mix jeans collection.

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