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Jane Norman chases younger women with trend-led revamp

Jane Norman has kicked off a radical overhaul of its product and image to target a younger, trend-savvy shopper.

Jane Norman, which suffered a collapse in profits in 2009 and early 2010 following a lacklustre reaction to its collections, has launched a catwalk-inspired, high-summer range and debuted the first in a string of revamped stores.

Ian Findlay, who was promoted to managing director in February after chief executive of 16 years Saj Shah took early retirement, said the business had become “stale”.

He said: “We needed to bring in newness, as the younger customer expects more fashion, more often. We are watching the catwalks more closely. We want to be the first on the high street with trends.”

In the year to March 27, 2010, profit stabilised at Jane Norman with EBITDA at £15.3m. It followed a halving of EBITDA to £15.8m the previous year.

The retailer, which is known for its clubwear and body-con styles, debuted its high-summer product last week, featuring clashing colour-blocked stripes on prom and maxi dresses, and a take on festival wear with slouchy knits, peasant tops and shorts.

The strategy includes increasing the product designed in-house from 10% to 30% within two to three years. Findlay said this would benefit margins and speed to market. The chain will recruit an in-house design team to drive the changes, led by buying director Ayshea Arif.

Findlay said product prices had increased in line with the rest of the high street and added that the business was working with its suppliers to “offer value for money” but declined to comment on the specific changes to the supply base.

Jane Norman has also opened its first revamped UK store in Cheapside in the City of London.

It is to refurbish parts of its 90 standalone stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Findlay said: “We will align the stores to the brand, and bring in some glamour and fun.”

Findlay did not rule out the

possibility of refreshing the chain’s logo at a later date.

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