Ex-Asda boss Andy Bond launches discount fashion chain
Pepkor UK, the investment firm set up by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond and South African billionaire Christo Wiese, has announced it will launch a new discount fashion chain in the UK called Pep&Co.
An initial 50 Pep&Co stores will open this summer, with more in the pipeline.
The chain will be led by managing director Adrian Mountford, previously of Matalan and Sainsbury’s clothing arm Tu.
Described as a “challenger brand” family fashion chain, the retail venture will target mothers and children, and sell a range of affordable fashion products similar to what is on offer in Britain’s supermarkets.
“Over the past five years discounters have changed the face of UK shopping in food and general merchandise,” said Mr Bond. “My ambition for Adrian and his Pep&Co team is that they will do the same in fashion.”
The senior team also includes finance director Mark Jackson, who previously held the same role at department store Heal’s. Cathy Haydon, who used to be head of merchandising at Marks & Spencer, will be Pep&Co’s trading director.
Pep&Co’s head office is in Watford, and will employ 35 people when the stores open.
“We intend to give busy mums the chance to buy great fashion and home ranges at amazing prices, conveniently located in their local town,” said Mr Mountford.
The plan to launch a new retail chain could be a boost to beleaguered high streets across the UK, and Pepkor will look to take advantage of a fall in rents in secondary towns.
Pepkor UK was set up in December, as a subsidiary to Mr Wiese’s Cape Town-based Pepkor.
The South African entrepreneur is thought to be worth more than £2bn and was recently linked with a takeover of BHS, the department store chain controlled by Sir Philip Green.