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Olsen sets sights on younger shoppers

Mainstream womenswear brand Olsen is in talks with department store John Lewis to open a raft of concessions as part of a wider retail push for the brand.

Olsen already has 31 concessions in department stores, 23 of which are in House of Fraser stores and the remainder in independent department stores including Beales and Elys of Wimbledon.

The brand said it would start to open 20 more concessions at the end of 2011 targeting retailers including John Lewis. The strategy is part of plans to target a younger demographic. Olsen has introduced slimmer silhouettes and more trend-led product for autumn 10.

Olsen managing director Louise Sutton said: “In House of Fraser we are next to classic brands like CC. As the brand develops I can see [the adjacencies] changing.”

Sutton said that concessions in John Lewis, which stocks contemporary labels including French Connection and White Stuff, would be “a good fit for the brand”.

The brand’s transactional site will go live in the UK at the end of 2010, which Sutton said will help it target younger consumers. She added that its indie stockists generally served the over-45s, so would be unaffected.

She said: “The average Olsen customer is 55-plus but there is scope to reach the 45-plus consumer in the UK.” Sutton also said Olsen had the scope for 10 UK standalone stores by 2014.

Sutton is recruiting a trading director to drive the retail side of the business. She added that UK wholesale sales were up 13% for autumn 10 against the year before. Olsen has 450 stockists in the UK.

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