Andy Bond, the former Asda CEO, and South African billionaire Christo Wiese have announced the launch of a new 50 store discount fashion chain in the UK.
Pep & Co will open at least 50 shops in a six-week timeframe beginning in mid-July. The stores, inspired by discount retailers like Aldi, Lidl and B&M, and online site discountrue, are aimed at taking market share from High Street retailers.
“I think the High Street has changed rather than died. Vacancy rates are stabilizing and reducing in places. People are shopping around a lot more and the High Street offers door to door choice,” Bond told the Standard. “It is always important to follow the customer. They’re going to Poundland for the store cupboard goods, Iceland for frozen food, but where are they going for discount fashion?”
Stores like Primark and the supermarkets dominate the discount clothing market, but Bond believes that there are many locations where Pep & Co can do well.
“The customer type and the location type are different, we’re looking at value conscious mums who are shopping primarily for their kids but also themselves,” he added.
The senior team for Pep & Co also include finance director Mark Jackson, formerly of Heal’s department store, Cathy Haydon, the former head of merchandising at Marks & Spencer, and the new chain will be led by managing director Adrian Mountford, formerly of Sainsbury’s Tu.
“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 Mountford to the Telegraph.
Information about the new clothing store was first revealed at the beginning of December when Bond was linked to Project 50. Pep & Co is owned by Pepkor UK, a subsidiary of Wiese’s South African Pepkor Company.
“Pepkor UK can confirm today’s media speculation that it intends to launch a new chain of UK challenger fashion stores that will give shoppers on a budget remarkable value. The stores will start at scale and adapt at pace, with the launch expected in the summer of 2015, focused on autumn and winter ranges,” read the press release, at the time.