Designer indie The Convenience Store is to axe all its current portfolio of brands to focus exclusively on lower-priced emerging labels for autumn 10.
The retailer, which was highly commended in the Drapers Awards last year, said the radical overhaul would appeal to cash-strapped customers and help it carve a market niche.
Owner Andrew Ibi said: “This is a gamble but it’s still a tough market and independents need to make brave moves to survive. I can’t compete with the likes of Selfridges or Net-a-Porter on the better-known labels because I’ve nothing like the volumes or customer base they do.”
Ibi has slashed buying budgets by 50% since autumn 08 in reaction to a combination of consumer cutbacks during the recession and the shift to lower-priced, emerging brands.
The Convenience Store opened in 2008 at the base of a block of flats near Westbourne Park in northwest London with labels including Gareth Pugh and Rick Owens.
It has replaced these with labels including Todd Lynn, Ann-Sofie Back and Heikki Salonen for autumn 10.
The retailer has dropped eveningwear and spent less on dresses, focusing on versatile pieces such as jackets that customers can buy as an investment and wear every day. Average prices have fallen by about 40% on last year, with the top price now £1,400.
Ibi is also in talks with designer brands including Pam Hogg and Noki about setting up a transactional T-shirt website. “We sometimes alienate people with price. I want to offer a selection with high design integrity but accessible prices,” he said.
Last month the Convenience Store launched a series of pop-up shop parties called Blink. The three-hour events are planned to take place once every three months in different sites around London. The second will be held at the Light Bar in Shoreditch, east London, during London Fashion Week from September 17-22.