Pep&Co, the new budget fashion chain founded by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond and former Sainsbury’s Tu boss Adrian Mountford, has announced plans to create 500 new jobs across England, Wales and Scotland by the end of August.
The news comes as the fashion retailer confirms that it plans to open an initial 50 stores over an eight-week period starting in July, with the first to open in Kettering.
Other confirmed locations include Bristol, Burton-on Trent, Birkenhead and Ellesmere Port in Liverpool; Boscombe and Eastleigh in Hampshire; Corby and Kettering in Northamptonshire; Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire; Maidstone in Kent; Redditch, West Bromwich & Yardley in the West Midlands, Hull in Yorkshire and Warminster in Wiltshire.
There will also be around 40 new positions at its head office in Watford, Hertfordshire, as well as 40 roles created by its distribution partner Clipper Logistics in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire.
Bond said: “Over the past few years, we Brits have been falling back in love with our high streets by shopping in smaller locations at stores offering real value. My ambition is that Pep&Co will be the first true town centre fashion value store, able to build on the example of new value food and general merchandise retailers.”
Pep&Co unveils first store locations
Pep&Co’s managing director Adrian Mountford added: “I’m excited to be bringing Pep&Co to some of Britain’s much-loved towns. By offering amazing value fashion and home on those high streets, we can also play a role in bringing life back to our town centres.”
Pep&Co is backed by 20 million initial investment and will sell fashion and home ranges aimed at mums and children, an offer it states has “become hard to find” on the high street. The chain has also already attracted a number of senior retail people including Mark Jackson from Heal’s taking the role of chief financial officer and Cathy Haydon, former Marks and Spencer head of merchandising in womenswear, who was named trading director.
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Designer outlet Bicester Village is set to add 28 more shops and 519 extra parking spaces, after plans to demolish a nearby Tesco were given the green light.
The outlet in Oxfordshire, which attracts 6 million of visitors each year, will increase in size by 24 percent, bring its total store count to 158, once the building work is completed, according to the plans approved by Cherwell District Council.
The expansion will add an additional 5,191 square metres of retail space and accommodate 28 new units, in addition there will be new parking spaces, highway improvements to reduce congestion, as well as a new park-and-ride facility and a footpath to the train station.
Andy Preston, Cherwell’s head of development management, said: “Bicester Village attracts millions of visitors from across the world each year so it’s important that provisions are in place to meet the demand.
“This increase in spaces, plus the associated transport improvements, should help to achieve that goal. It will also improve access from Bicester Village to the town centre which will hopefully boost footfall for all of the local traders.”
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Premium womenswear retailer Phase Eight has received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, one of the UK’s most prestigious business accolades, in recognition of its “exceptional international growth”.
Phase Eight known for its occasional wear has been recognised for building upon its customer base in the UK and Ireland with more than 100 stores and concessions across 12 international markets in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia, both standalone, and in combination with strong local partners, at the point of nomination.
Since being nominated, the womenswear retailer has continued to expand and has opened a further 30 points of sale in international markets including Hong Kong, Mexico and the USA, where a partnership has been established with Bloomingdales.
Phase Eight chief executive officer, Ben Barnett, said: “It is an honour to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which represents a further step on our journey to becoming a leading global brand. I am immensely proud of all that the Phase Eight team and our partners have achieved and very much look forward to building further partnerships in new and existing markets in the years ahead.”
The Queen’s Awards are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary as the most coveted commercial prize in business, and this year it honoured 105 businesses with awards for international trade, 24 for innovation and 12 for sustainable development. All winners, including Phase Eight will be able to use the Queen’s Award Emblem as a symbol of quality and success for a period of five years.