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Early success inspires Mint Velvet retail push

Womenswear retailer Mint Velvet is to ramp up its presence across the country after sales in its first three months of trading “exceeded expectations”.

The retailer, which was launched in October by the management team behind former womenswear company Principles, said it would open in 25 new locations for spring 10. In October, Mint Velvet opened 14 House of Fraser concessions and has since opened two standalone stores, in Windsor and Chichester, and a transactional website.

The majority of the new openings will be further concessions in House of Fraser department stores as well as three concessions in Fenwicks.

Mint Velvet brand director Liz Houghton said that since its launch, concession sales at Mint Velvet had “exceeded expectations”. She said: “We are very pleased with the reaction to Mint Velvet so far. We hit the timing right and we will try to continue to deliver great product.”

She added that Mint Velvet would work with more department stores this year and is set to open up to three new standalone stores, including its first London store. Mint Velvet will seek a site in the “villages” of London such as Clapham and Hampstead rather than a central London store.

For autumn 10, Houghton said Mint Velvet would “enhance” its ranges, expanding its accessories range and putting more focus on higher-priced pieces, such as coats.

Mint Velvet was set up to fill the gap left on the high street by the administration of Principles last March. The management team also felt there was a more general gap in the market for ‘casual glamour’ for the 30-plus womenswear market.

The Principles brand name has since been bought by Debenhams and will relaunch in the department store chain next month as part of a collaboration with designer Ben de Lisi.

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