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Pilot fights recession by switching location

Men’s young fashion independent Pilot has relocated to  a prime high street site in Leicester in a bid to better compete with multiple retailers and ride out the recession.

Pilot, which stocks brands including Paul Smith, G-Star and Vivienne Westwood, has moved from its 1,800sq ft store in the St Martin’s Square shopping centre to a 5,000sq ft premises on High Street, near the Highcross Leicester shopping centre, which was expanded last year.

Pilot also runs a streetwear shop, stocking brands including Adidas and Artful Dodger,  next door to its main menswear business, as well as a smaller womenswear store on the same stretch of road. All three stores will close by 2010 and director Garth Coverdale will relocate everything to the new site.

He said: “You can’t rest on your laurels during these tough times. It’s much easier to manage the business from one shop and the location is more prominent now, especially as it was pedestrianised six months ago. People tend to go to the [Highcross] shopping centre because it’s a [relatively] new development and they forget about other businesses in other parts of the city.”

Pilot is trading from the ground floor of its new site and will open the first floor and basement over the next few months. Once the refurbishment is complete, womenswear will trade from 1,000sq ft on the first floor. The basement will stock men’s denim and streetwear labels, with the rest of the menswear offer on the ground floor. More premium menswear brands will be introduced.

Coverdale added that the shop had been trading well since it moved to High Street in December. “We’ve had a good response from customers and trade has been good. This year will be tough, but our decision to move was a long-term, not short-term, one.”

Pilot, which stocks about 50 labels, introduced new brands for autumn 08 including Fred Perry, J Lindeberg and Blue Blood.

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