Young fashion chain Republic is wooing higher-priced menswear brands as part of a move to reposition at a more premium end of the market.
When Paul Sweetenham joined as chief executive in March, he made it clear he hoped to introduce a “healthier brand mix” to the retailer.
Plans to expand its womenswear and footwear categories have since been unveiled but the latest plank in Sweetenham’s strategy now appears to be to focus on its menswear offer.
Republic declined to give further details but Drapers understands the chain is courting menswear brands including Boxfresh, Original Penguin, Humör, Farah and Fly53.
One agent told Drapers Republic was “completely refreshing the brand mix” in around 25 stores.
The retailer is understood to have approached about 15 new labels so far as it looks to instigate a raft of changes.
“It’s a massive change of direction for Republic,” the agent added.
A sales manager at one menswear brand told Drapers the retailer had put forward a pitch for the team to consider. Although the source described the shake-up as “pretty interesting”, he intimated that Republic’s demographic still fell below the brand’s own and that a deal was unlikely. Another brand said it had been approached but discussions were still at an early stage.
However, Drapers understands the retailer is aiming to start introducing the new brands later this year.
Although full details of the locations earmarked for the new strategy are unclear, Republic’s new-format “retail venue”, which will launch in Leeds in September, is understood to be among them.