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Mint Velvet racks up sales of £10m in its first year

Womenswear retailer Mint Velvet notched up more than £10m in sales in its first year of trading after getting the product “right first time”, according to managing director Liz Houghton.

Houghton said Mint Velvet, which celebrates its first anniversary this month, was not yet profitable but had “hit the ground running” and traded ahead of expectations.

The retailer debuted in 14 House of Fraser concessions and has grown to 64 sites, including two standalones in Windsor and Chichester and concessions in John Lewis and Fenwick and Arnotts in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. In 2011 it will focus on opening more standalones and driving online sales.

Houghton told Drapers. “The true hero has got to be the product. We got it right first time. We hit on the right concept of relaxed glamour and luxury, of affordable but still luxurious casualwear.”

Houghton added that the entire range had performed well. “Our customers are shopping the whole collection, whether its jeans, leggings, silk prints or cashmere. They’re buying into the whole idea.”

Mint Velvet, which is aimed at women over 30, was launched to fill the gap left by the closure of womenswear retailer Principles’ high street stores. It is backed by Peter Davies, who previously owned Principles as chief executive of Rubicon. He tried to buy Principles out of administration last year but was thwarted by Debenhams.

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