Mainstream womenswear chain East is plotting a return to wholesale, the launch of standalone accessories stores and two higher-priced sub-brands, following a return to profit last year.
The expansion will be funded in part by investment from Indian retailer and manufacturer and East franchisee Fabindia, which bought a 25% stake in the business last year.
East will drop 30% of its mainline for autumn 11 to make way for a premium sub-brand with a 30% higher price point and a heritage sub-brand which will have 15% higher prices than the core offer.
At the same time, 50 stores will be refitted and it will roll out a further 20 stores and 20 concessions in the next three years.
Chief operating officer Suzi Spink said East was also planning a return to wholesale in late 2011 or early 2012. “The premium collection will open up opportunities for new wholesale partners,” she added.
Standalone jewellery and accessories stores are also planned to open next year. “Younger customers buy into our accessories so standalones would target them more directly,” said Spink.
East posted pre-tax profits of £2.1m for the year to January 31, up from a loss of £1.7m the year before. Sales rose 12% to £37m. Spink said a return to East’s ethnic handwriting boosted sales.