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Guess ramps up UK wholesale ambitions

US denim brand Guess is to halt UK retail expansion to focus on wholesale growth for its autumn 12 collection, coinciding with the UK wholesale debut of its premium line Guess by Marciano.

Guess plans to increase womenswear stockists of its jeans line from 28 to 45, and men’s from 16 also to 45. It also has a target of 10 stockists, including John Lewis, Selfridges and Harrods, plus designer mini-chains Cruise and Flannels, for its Guess by Marciano launch.

Firas Kamourieh, chief executive of agency Motiv, which represents the Guess mainline, Guess by Marciano and the Guess accessories collection, said Guess Europe has been focusing on wholesale growth in different territories, taking one country at a time.

“[In the UK] Guess was previously focusing on retail and almost forgot about wholesale,” said Kamourieh.

He added that it has cut plans to open more stores and will instead focus on its UK portfolio of 22 stores and its wholesale operations.

Guess by Marciano, aimed at an older consumer than the mainline, includes men’s shirting and knitwear plus women’s dresses and is intended to sit alongside designer diffusion lines such as Just Cavalli. Wholesale prices range from £20 to £110.

“We want to grow the brand very carefully,” said Kamourieh.

Meanwhile, the brand will add bags to its Guess Collection range for autumn 12. “There has been a gap the [Guess] customer has been asking for internationally,” said Kamourieh. Guess already sells bags elsewhere in its offer.

Guess is working with a PR agency for the first time in the UK and will up its advertising spend to support its UK plans.

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