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Tesco to coax mainstream labels onto clothing website

Tesco is to make a major play to attract mainstream brands to its clothing website, as it aims to replicate the ‘one-stop shop’ model of its online grocery operation.

Tesco has invited an unknown number of mainstream brands including lingerie specialists Playtex, Panache and Wonderbra to an event at the end of June hosted by clothing chief Richard Jones and UK chief executive Richard Brasher. It will showcase changes Tesco has made to www.clothingattesco.com and share its online strategy.

Jones said: “We’ve reset the base with clothing with our work on quality and getting the broad appeal right for [own brand] F&F, and the next stage of growth will be online.”

He admitted that “grocery to some brands is a bit frightening”, but said Tesco was “asking them to come and see the changes we’ve made already, and build up credibility and trust”.

Tesco will also link with its forthcoming eBay-style global marketplace, which group chief executive Phil Clarke said would launch in late 2011 or early 2012. Brands will be able to wholesale to Tesco, become a seller, or both.

Jill Easterbrook, director, online clothing, said: “In food, it’s important we have our [own] brands such as Value and Finest, but it’s also important to have all the other brands. It’s exactly the same for clothing, and important for customers to be able to buy everything in one place.

“When we started [selling clothing] online, we were keen to establish our fashion credentials and targeted boutique brands. Now we want broad-appeal mainstream brands.”

Easterbrook said F&F remained critical to the success of the site as “the stronger F&F is, the more customers want to visit the site”.

Tesco admitted last month that its UK business was underperforming, particularly in non-food, and vowed to focus on innovation.

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