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East points towards wealthier shoppers with new sub-brands

East aims to lure back a more affluent shopper with the launch of two higher-priced sub-brands after the mainstream womenswear chain said it had become unadventurous with its product design.

Chief operating officer Suzi Spink said East Boutique and East Artisan would help the retailer “rediscover its distinctive edge” when they launch for autumn 11.
“We had started to play it a little bit safe,” said Spink. “We got a little bit stuck in our ways and wanted to get back to celebrating the heritage of the brand and also getting a certain type of customer. That customer is a very adventurous lady who’s a little bit more affluent.”

East Boutique is a limited edition 600-piece range priced 100% higher than the core East collection. Dresses start at £195 with jackets up to £295. It will be available in 32 of East’s 57 stores, including its larger stores and those in wealthier areas such as Amersham in Buckinghamshire and Chichester. It will also be
available in a concession in John Lewis’s Oxford Street store and online at East.co.uk.

Heritage range East Artisan reflects the retailer’s Indian-inspired roots, with prices up to 40% higher than the core collection. Trousers start from £39 and jackets go up to £199. East Artisan will be available in 42 stores and online, as well as at John Lewis on Oxford Street and Peter Jones in London’s Sloane Square.

East has reduced its mainline range by 15% to accommodate the changes. A refreshed logo will launch along with the new sub-brands. Pre-tax profits at East were £2.1m for the full year to January 31, 2010, up 223.6% on the previous year. Spink said EBITDA was set to come in ahead of forecasts in the year just ended.

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