The owner of mainstream womenswear indie Grapevine has bought premium independent Raggs to give her business a foothold in a high street location.
Grapevine, which sells brands including Ischiko and Marc Cain, trades from two stores in secondary locations in Rotherham, Yorkshire, and Caerleon in Wales. Raggs, which sells premium and designer brands including MaxMara and Armani, trades from a prime retail location in Cowbridge, Wales. When its previous owner Sue Phillips decided to retire after 20 years in the trade, Grapevine owner Angela Evans seized the opportunity to expand her business.
She said: “One of the things that attracted me to Raggs was its location. Cowbridge is one of the most expensive areas in Wales and Raggs is on a busy shopping street, unlike Grapevine in Caerleon, which is more of a destination store. Strategically, it feels good to have both ends of the M4 covered.”
Raggs trades from a 600 sq ft unit and Evans said she would revamp the look of the store but retain the Raggs name.
She added: “Raggs has built a strong reputation in the area so I’m keeping the name for now. It made its name through designer brands such as Armani and MaxMara so I’ve kept those labels but will be introducing some fresh labels for spring 10.”
Grapevines’s 600 sq ft site in Caerleon is 35 miles from Raggs. Despite the distance, Evans said Grapevine had enjoyed a “healthy competition” with Raggs since the Grapevine shop had opened in 2003.
Evans now intends to market Raggs more widely to broaden its target audience by implementing some of the formulas that have fuelled Grapevine’s success, including fashion shows, targeted promotions and charity events.
She said: “At Grapevine I always buy with my top 50 customers in mind. We market promotions to them according to lifestyle, not just brands they’ve bought, and we offer those important little extras, such as an alterations service.”