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Womenswear axed as TDF grows men’s offer

Young branded fashion mini-chain TDF is to drop womenswear and launch a menswear-only format.

The retailer, which has five stores in the north of England including shops in Stockport and Wakefield, has decided to return to its menswear roots for autumn 08 after it saw stronger sales in the category last year.

TDF launched in Bradford in 1999 as a menswear-only concept selling brands such as French Connection, Sonneti and Diesel, but added womens-wear soon afterwards.

Managing director Simon Reynolds said: “We have seen massive growth in our menswear business this year, in what has no doubt been a difficult trading period for most retailers. The market is wide open for a quality, fashion-focused menswear format to shine in the menswear sector and we believe TDF can be the one. We will increase our retail square footage to allow us to roll out this concept throughout the business.”

As well as increasing its selling space, TDF also plans to open new stores in the menswear-only format.

One branded fashion supplier said TDF’s decision reflected what was happening elsewhere in the market, adding that women’s indies were struggling to compete with fast-fashion multiples. He said: “In a few years these retailers may regret their decision to move away from womenswear, because a gap will open in the market for branded women’s fashion.”

Two-store independent Cruze in Camberley and Farnham in Surrey, pulled its womenswear offer out of the Camberley store two years ago as trading became more difficult.

Cruze manager Graham Brown said he could understand why other independents were also dropping or cutting back on their women’s offer. “We reduced womenswear because it went quiet, and we cut back at the right time. Today, with the likes of Primark, women wonder why they should spend £30 on a T-shirt when they can get a complete outfit for the same price.”

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