United Kingdom

Upmarket clothing brand Reiss looks to kidswear - and Andy Murray

Reiss has unveiled plans to launch a range of childrenswear as the upmarket clothing brand sees sales rebound following a difficult 2020.

Chief executive Christos Angelides said the range – the first time Reiss has sold children’s clothes in its 50-year history – will go on sale in October.

He also announced a collaboration with Castore, a men’s sportswear brand backed by Andy Murray and has partnerships with football teams including Newcastle United and Rangers.

Doubles: Upmarket clothing brand Reiss has done a deal with Castore, which is backed by Andy Murray (pictured)

The plans were published alongside annual results that showed sales rose 24.6 per cent to £170.7million in the year to the end of January.

This was still down on sales of £226.5million in the year before Covid struck. However, sales since the start of February are up 52 per cent on last year and 8pc higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The company – whose clothes are a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge – said it expected to return to profit this year having made losses of £13.6million last year.

Reiss clothes are a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge pictured, in a Reiss blazer) 

Angelides added that the firm is working to integrate its online shopping operation into Next’s Total Platform, which provides warehousing, distribution and call centres for brands sold through the retailer’s website. Reiss is set to go live on the platform early next year.

High Street retailer Next bought a 25 per cent stake in Reiss for £33million in March and has an option to snap up another 26 per cent before July next year, giving it majority control of the business.

Most of Reiss is owned by US private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which bought a controlling stake in the firm for £230million in 2016 and had put it up for sale before the onset of the pandemic.

Reiss also appointed Next boss Simon Wolfson as its chairman in May, replacing the founder David Reiss, who set up the firm as a seller of men’s suits in 1971. 

Clothing firms across the High Street have seen sales tick up in recent months as the easing of lockdown restrictions sent fashion-conscious shoppers flooding back into stores.

However, the recovery was dented by disruption in the summer months as the ‘pingdemic’ triggered by the NHS Covid app kept consumers at home. 

Angelides, former president of Abercrombie & Fitch, said: ‘Reiss has recovered strongly from a challenging 2020, and the creation of our new casual collections has proved successful with our customers. 

As the impact of the pandemic recedes and the economy recovers, we are also seeing a strong return in sales of occasion and formal wear – our speciality since 1971.’

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