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Millets teams up with Zandra Rhodes

Outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure has teamed up with designer Zandra Rhodes to launch a collection of women’s outdoorwear for itsMillets chain.

The collaboration is part of a swathe of spring 10 initiatives for Millets, including the launch of a value clothing range and its first foray into kidswear as it tries to broaden its customer appeal.

Millets will launch the Zandra Rhodes range in March. It will include printed Wellington boots, a mac-style coat and T-shirts, with prices starting at £14.99 for a T-shirt.

Neil Gillis, chief executive of Blacks Leisure, said the collaboration fitted in with his aim to make Millets’ product more modern and trend-led. He said: “Zandra helps us make our range more fashionable and interesting with bright, glitzy designs.”

The value clothing range will also launch in March, with walking boots starting at £15 and outdoor jackets starting at about £20. Gillis said the range would allow Millets to compete with outdoor brands such as The North Face and Helly Hansen, as well as value retailers including Primark and Matalan.

He added that a new 50-piece kidswear range will also hit stores in March to fill the gap left by last year’s closure of Woolworths, with prices from £15.

Meanwhile, Blacks Leisure is mulling an equity fundraising of between £15m and £20m to help refresh some of its store portfolio. At the end of last year, it closed 87 of its loss-making Blacks stores through a Company Voluntary Arrangement and put its Sandcity boardsports business into administration. Excluding closed stores, like-for-like sales rose 12% in the six months to January 7.

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