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Austique targeting four more stores

Premium London womenswear indie Austique is to open four stores after securing new investment and has appointed industry veteran Maurice Bennett as chairman.

The full details of the investment are unknown but Bennett, who launched womenswear chains Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Phase Eight with his brother Michael, and controls Kookaï UK and Long Tall Sally through private equity vehicle Amery Capital, has taken a small undisclosed stake in Austique.

The retailer’s owner Katie Canvin called Bennett an “encyclopaedia of retail”. She said: “His experience is in taking stores and growing them into bigger chain retailers. We’re looking for four stores in the next three years in the UK.” Canvin added that she was open to international expansion.

The first Austique store opened on King’s Road in Chelsea seven years ago. A second store opened last month on New Cavendish Street, Marylebone.

Bennett said: “Austique has a terrific customer list and it is at the stage now where it is starting to design own-brand product, so there are so many areas I can help in.”

Austique launched its eponymous own brand five years ago. For spring 12, it will be available at wholesale, targeting department stores and contemporary etailers.

Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey has been named as the retailer’s primary financial investor.

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