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Rinku to revamp brands under new design chief

Womenswear brand house Rinku Group is to overhaul its product offer and expansion strategy after hiring former Alexon Group brand controller Janet Drath.

The womenswear house sells mainstream brand Tigi-Wear and contemporary brand iZ via 360 department store concessions in retailers including John Lewis and House of Fraser.

The business also sells mainstream brand Vis-à-Vis through 350 accounts in the UK and operates young fashion chain Bay through 100 concessions in the likes of M&Co and Beales and via 10 standalone stores.

Drath, who joined the company last week as head of design, will be working on the Tigi-Wear and iZ brands. She has been charged with updating the product offer, expanding the brands’ concession base and raising their profiles.

Drath, who worked at Alexon’s Dash brand for 13 years, plans to inject more woven pieces and co-ordinating separates, which will be seen in late summer transitional ranges.

She will also help drive the group’s planned retail expansion. The business aims to grow its concessions to at least 500 by the end of 2010 by targeting indie department stores with a new multi-brand concession concept, which will also feature Bay.

Rinku bought Bay out of administration in April, but stock shortages and poor consumer perception of the name has hampered trade
since. However, Rinku managing director Rinku Loomba said sales had improved over recent weeks. “We are budgeting for [Bay sales] to be flat on a year-on-year basis by February,” he said.

Rinku hopes to boost Bay’s brand perception with a redesign of the logo and fascia, which will be rolled out from January.

Like-for-like sales in iZ concessions are up 9% for the year to date, while Tigi-Wear’s sales are flat. Vis-à-Vis is the strongest performer, with autumn 10 order books up 20% on autumn 09.

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