Supermarket chic: Sainsbury's to launch new premium fashion brand

Caitlin Morrison
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Alternative Views - Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015
Sainsbury's is looking to the catwalk for inspiration (Source: Getty)

Hobbs, LK Bennett and Whistles could be feeling nervous this weekend - as Sainsbury's prepares to launch its new range of women's clothing early next week.

The supermarket group named those three high-end brands in particular as it threw down the gauntlet in the battle to win more customers with its new collection.

"The quality and styling of the collection will rival Hobbs, L.K. Bennett and Whistles but with a key difference – significantly lower prices that start at £12 rising to £50 for a wool blend wrap coat," the retailer said.

The new range will include a wool wrap coat, priced at £50

According to Sainsbury's, citing research by Kantar, it was the UK's sixth largest clothing retailer by volume last year - beating John Lewis, Debenhams, New Look and even H&M. (Keen City A.M. readers, however, might remember that the supermarket claimed to be the UK’s biggest high street retailer for vinyl records, before this was shot down by HMV.)

Sainsbury's said its clothing turnover is approaching £1bn and is one of the group's biggest areas of growth.

“Shopping for clothing in supermarkets has become firmly established, and our strategy of offering customers high street style at supermarket prices in an attractive, department store-style setting has helped us to increase our market share," said James Brown, Sainsbury's director of non-food trading.

"Our customers recognise quality and great value and they want to buy clothes with classic styling and upgraded fabrics from us.”

Tu Premium will be available in 160 UK stores and online from Tuesday 6 September. The range includes daywear, outerwear and footwear.

News of Sainsbury's challenge to some of the UK's most admired clothing brands comes as the group pursues its deal with Argos owner Home Retail Group - which could help it take on the retailing giant that is Amazon.

The supermarket's expansion of its clothing empire is impressive given that it only started selling apparel online two years ago - and even more so given the struggles of some of its rivals. Marks & Spencer has been trying to patch up its shrinking clothing arm for over a year now, but can't seem to get on trend.

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