Young fashion chain Republic is stepping up its footwear offer with the launch of dedicated branded footwear departments in 25 of its larger stores.
Republic’s Westfield London store is expected to unveil the first department in the next two weeks, with the rest due to open in key stores, including in Manchester and Liverpool, by September.
Republic declined to give full details of its plans, including which brands will be available, but Drapers understands that Kurt Geiger’s young fashion sub-brand Miss KG will be stocked. A source close to the business told Drapers: “Now that they’ve got KG on board, they will be in a strong position to secure lots of other brands.”
At present Republic sells a small selection of branded footwear including London Rebel, Blink and Krush for women, and Jack & Jones and Deakins for men. It also sells footwear under its own label Soul Cal.
Footwear retailer Schuh also has concessions in 14 Republic stores, including Cambridge, Swindon, Wolverhampton, Luton and Chester. Schuh said its concession business would be unaffected by Republic’s plans as they will not be housed in the same stores.
Schuh buying and marketing director David Spencer said: “We are aware of Republic’s expansion plans for their footwear departments and feel their strategy is aligned to our own within their fascia. Our business relationship remains strong and where we already trade together we plan to continue as these sites are successful for both parties.”
The plans to ramp up its footwear offering come just months after Republic promoted former head of external brands, Scott Macrae, to head of footwear and accessories. He is understood to have a brief to develop its footwear and accessories offering across both mens’s and women’s departments and has already brought in Katie Smith, formerly senior ladies branded buyer for footwear at home shopping firm Shop Direct, to help him get brands on board.
In March, Republic appointed former TK Maxx boss Paul Sweetenham as chief executive to push forward its expansion plans. At the time of his appointment, Sweetenham told Drapers he was hoping to introduce a “healthier brand mix” to the retailer.
Republic declined to comment as Drapers went to press.