Back in fashion? Austin Reed is braving a return to the high street months after collapse

Rebecca Smith
Guess who's back: the menswear retailer is returning to the capital and the wider high street
Guess who's back: the menswear retailer is returning to the capital and the wider high street (Source: Getty)

We only just heard the news that the UK high street was losing another retail name in office chain Staples, but Austin Reed wants to buck the trend with a return to bricks-and-mortar.

The menswear retailer is coming back to the high street as part of a £100m three-year revival plan, according to the owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which bought the brand from administrators earlier this year.

It didn’t buy the struggling store estate and that was later wound down and 120 stores closed in June, while 1,000 jobs were lost in the process.

Read more: Austin Reed's creditors set to shed large sums after retailer's collapse

Edinburgh Woollen Mill now plans to open 50 Austin Reed stores by early 2018, including a flagship in London. The website has had a revamp and the first new stores are expected to open before the end of this year.

Other brands, Country Casuals and Viyella, which the group bought as well as Austin Reed, will be relaunched in Edinburgh Woollen Mills stores early next year.

The menswear market is growing faster than womenswear, though Austin Reed has faced increasing competition from the likes of M&S, Reiss and Ted Baker.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill is privately owned by the Cumbria-based entrepreneur Philip Day, and reported a 2.4 per cent rise in sales to £576.3m in the year to 27 February.

Read more: Austin Reed employees found out about store closures through social media

The group also owns Peacocks and Jane Norman fashion brands.

Group commercial director Steve Simpson said: "With the addition of Austin Reed, which we acquired earlier this year, as well as Country Casuals and Viyella, we aim to continue this organic growth, while always being ready to respond to other opportunities as they arise."

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