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Wholesale axed ahead of FrostFrench's store debut

Contemporary womenswear brand FrostFrench is to open its first standalone store after scrapping its wholesale operation.

The label will open a 1,500 sq ft store in Islington, north London, in September, which will coincide with the launch of a transactional website.

FrostFrench, which posted pre-tax losses of £386,433 for the year to March 31 2006 - a drop of 40% compared with the same period the previous year - has decided to close its wholesale operation.

Creative director Sadie Frost told Drapers that the new strategy would enable her and co-founder Jemima French to have more control over the brand.

"We want to keep the collection close to us, so it makes sense to move away from wholesale and into retail," she said.

She added that plans to open a further three stores within the next year were also in the pipeline, with the second FrostFrench shop set to open next spring.

The brand's debut store, designed in collaboration with agency Brinkworth, will be in Camden Passage. The locations of the other planned stores are yet to be revealed.

The new store will house the brand's autumn 07 collection, which at 166 pieces is FrostFrench's biggest to date, and is double the size of last season's collection.

Frost said the offer would sit "just above Whistles", with an average price of £120. The collection comprises dresses, crop trousers and swing jackets in a palette of muted aubergine, black and navy tones.

French added that if the business moved back to wholesale, it would target international markets before re-entering the UK.

However, the label will continue to supply department store chain Debenhams with its lingerie line, Floozie for Designers at Debenhams. Lingerie accounts for 2% of the brand's business.

FrostFrench has also rejigged its infrastructure, with the original team of two expanded to 20. Managing director Sharon O'Connor and head of design Jim Coughlan were appointed last year.

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