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Banking on better brands?

Young fashion retailer Bank is trying to boost its sales and fashion credibility by backing a more premium collection of brands, but will the offering be enough to pull punters through the doors?

As reported by Drapers this week Bank is trying to shed its bargain-basic image by moving away from its “£20 for a dress” range and towards a more upmarket brand mix in a bid to bolster sales and rejuvenate the struggling business.

Bank is looking to increase the volume of higher-end brands such as French Connection in order to emulate a “Zara-esque” fashion focus in store.  But is banking on better brands the best way to breathe life into the JD fashion arm?

It’s no secret that the fashion division of the parent group has been underperforming of late. In its latest set of results for the 18 weeks to June 8, JD said Bank had “held back overall growth”, leading to a 5% dip in group sales.

With a breadth of 93 stores across the UK, Bank is unable to rival high street giants in the non-branded market - its limited presence on the high street means the retailer doesn’t get enough customers through the door to focus on volume products like Primark and New Look.

So in order to drive footfall Bank is hoping that the addition of fashion forward favourites will tempt shoppers to part with their hard earned cash but I wonder if targeting well known, readily available labels is the wisest approach.

It’s a risky move to concentrate on selling brands that customers can easily pick up in bigger, more conveniently located department stores.

In order to compete with the likes of John Lewis, Debenhams or Asos, who stock many of the same brands but rank much higher on the customer retail radar, Bank will have to ensure that it offers something extra for shoppers, such as exclusive lines or collections.


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