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Rowland’s Clothing to boost own label after takeover

Womenswear mini-chain Rowland’s Clothing is to overhaul its product to focus on own brand, after being acquired by New World Private Equity earlier this month.

The seven-store southwest independent was bought out of pre-pack administration by Rosemex Trading – a consortium led by New World Private Equity.

According to Stewart Cantley, chairman and chief executive of Rowland’s, the retailer has shed its debts and had an injection of about £2m, which will be invested in developing its own-brand offer for the 55-plus market.

To date, the retailer has stocked 50% own brand alongside mainstream brands including Eastex and Dash, as well as plus-size label Ann Harvey and trouser brand Gardeur.

Rowland’s plans to launch a more trend-led, 90-piece range for spring 13, up from 75 pieces at present. It will work with existing suppliers to increase own label to at least 95%. Product will focus more on natural fabrics, such as cashmere and wool.

Cantley said: “If you’re buying a whole bunch of labels you bastardise your own collection. I want to give that customer something unique. She can buy all her lifestyles – be it something for church, walking the dogs or going to lunch – from me.”

The product overhaul, which will be followed by a refresh of the stores, is expected to boost turnover from a predicted £8m in its financial year ending in July to £20m in its 2014 financial year, Cantley said.

Rowland’s, which has stores in locations such as Bath, Chichester,  Bradford on Avon and Salisbury, and also sells via its website and catalogue, would in future do well in towns where there is no John Lewis or Marks & Spencer, he added.

The Rowland’s deal secured the jobs of its 72 staff.

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