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Trend-led womenswear pays off for Store Twenty One

Store Twenty One is investing in more trend-led product for its womenswear collections after a focus on fashionability helped the value retailer move into the black.

The 218-store chain posted EBITDA of £1.7m for the year to April 2, following a £3m loss the year before. Chief executive Anupam Jhunjhunwala said its more trend-led designs had performed well.

Toni Salters, the former George at Asda ladieswear design manager hired in August, has been charged with revitalising Store Twenty One’s womenswear collection, which targets the 35-plus age group. The retailer will launch lingerie, nightwear and swimwear ranges with celebrity Katie Price later this month, debuting in 50 stores and online at Storetwentyone.co.uk.

“We’ve focused on improving our product,” Jhunjhunwala said. “We’re following trends in colours and styles more closely, but we’re making sure it’s right for the mature lady.”

The chain is also gunning for growth in its menswear division, which accounts for 10% of its £123m revenue, through its relaunch of heritage casualwear brand Le Shark, which began a pilot launch last week. It is also expanding its portfolio: it has opened 40 stores over the past two years and hopes to open 20 next year. These new stores would be in secondary and tertiary towns; rents in major cities were too expensive, Jhunjhunwala said.

While Store Twenty One has experienced tough trading, Jhunjhunwala said it was a good time to be a discount retailer: “Customers are scared to spend money. They are reluctant to pay full price.”

The value clothing and homewares retailer began life as QS but was rebranded as Store Twenty One when it was acquired by Indian textiles group Grabal Alok in 2007.

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