Ethel Austin to launch own-label brands to boost ‘street cred’

Value retailer Ethel Austin is launching a raft of own-label clothing brands in a bid to give its products more street credibility.

The in-house brands, which are being rolled out this autumn, will appear on clothing labels, in-store displays and, in some cases, on the products themselves.

The company has registered the following brand names: Tiny Ted for babywear; Pink Tiger for young girls; Lip Gloss for slightly older girls; Energy for boys; Intimates for women’s underwear; and TNX for menswear.

It also plans to launch a womenswear brand next spring.

Trading director Sue Tennant says the brands give the products more credibility in the eyes of consumers. She adds: “While customers may be comfortable shopping in the store, they don’t necessarily want to advertise the fact that they may be wearing a value-based product.”

Ethel Austin is also introducing a Home Style range, including bed linen and towels, in an attempt to reduce its dependency on clothing sales.

Although the chain’s mainstay is the sale of value-based clothing, it has also recently introduced discounted branded merchandise from companies such as Adidas, Gossard and Playtex.

The 238-strong chain, which is known for is childrenswear and lingerie, was the subject of an institutional buy-out in June, with Lloyds TSB Development Capital taking a majority stake.

The deal helped raise &£55m in funding that will be used to expand the chain, which has reached saturation in the North-west, at the rate of 20 new stores a year over the next five years.

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