West End flagship planned for Jaeger as EWM takes on new heritage brands HQ
The turnaround at Jaeger and Austin Reed is continuing with owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill planning to open a new Jaeger flagship store that would also sell Austin Reed, as well as the other heritage brand the company owns, Viyella.
The new store covers 30,000 sq ft and is in London’s West End, although the company hasn’t specified its exact location. As well as containing a retail store, the property will also be the HQ for the for the overall heritage brands business.
The turnaround strategy for the labels under EWM has included a move away from a discount-led approach that the company believes was what damaged them under their previous owners.
It has also seen the company opening UK stores and focusing on a return to classic pieces, but with modern updates, such as the camel coat, cashmere sweater and tailoring at Jaeger. At Austin Reed, the label has launched its new high-end direct-to-consumer suit offering, with 22 operators selling made-to-measure suits.
Liza Canneford, product director at both brands, said: “Jaeger has made a fantastic return to the British high street and the customer response has been incredible. There's a real affection for the Jaeger brand throughout the UK.
“Since the brands were acquired by EWM we have repositioned them by combining the quality, heritage and timeless British style that they were renowned for with a modernity that had been missing. The brands struggled in the past because they weren't given the strategic direction or investment they desperately needed. There was no consistent strategy and Jaeger had got into the habit of selling stock through discounting rather than really drawing people to its powerful brand. This has now completely changed. The new owners understand the marketplace and luxury brands exceptionally well.
But she added that “rebuilding brands with the heritage of Jaeger and Austin Reed takes time. Restoring them to their former glory needs to be dealt with delicately and sensitively; you need to make sure that you stay loyal to the brands' origins. This is not a race to the finish line but a marathon”.
That said, the company is expanding the Jaeger brand relatively quickly. The label, which managed to shrink its losses in its latest year, now has 14 standalone stores with 11 having opened since March 2019. It also has a large number of concessions.
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