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Boden goes premium to lure web shoppers

Boden, the catalogue and internet retailer, is to launch a limited-edition premium womenswear sub-brand for spring 11, one of a string of online-only ventures designed to reduce dependence on catalogues.

It will also introduce maternitywear for the first time, as well as full denim, occasionwear and workwear ranges exclusively available via the Boden website. It already offers a limited range of party dresses and jeans through its catalogue.

Marketing director Mark Binnington said the new ranges would allow Boden to react faster to new trends. “It allows us to work closer to the season as we are not restricted by the longer production times involved in producing catalogues. This means we will be able to introduce new items on a more regular basis,” he said.

The retailer is planning a microsite for the new womenswear sub-brand, which will be more trend-led than the mainline and target younger customers. Boden said it would also be more expensive than its mainline offer, with luxurious fabrics and statement detailing.

“Unlike the catalogue, the pieces will be in limited editions so, once they’re gone, they’re gone,” a spokeswoman added.

The brand does not yet have a name and Boden has written to shoppers asking for suggestions.

Boden was unable to say exactly how many pieces would comprise each range or what price points would be.

However, it confirmed the maternitywear range would be “limited to a few key shapes” and that the denim range would offer jeans, skirts, shirts and jackets in “more authentic washes”. The ranges and the new sub-brand will be marketed to consumers in November and will be available from next February.

Earlier this year Boden launched a teen collection called Johnnie B, which includes boys’ and girls’ clothing and footwear and which is available at a dedicated website, Johnnieb.co.uk.

Boden reported a 9.4% rise in sales to £168.1m in the year to December 31, 2008, the last full-year results available.

Pre-tax profits for the period were down 9.5% to £24.8m.

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