Tesco is currently the U.K.’s largest nonfood retailer, notching up nonfood sales of 13.1 billion pounds, or $20.5 billion at current exchange, in the year to Feb. 27. Of that, 1 billion pounds, or $1.6 billion, was made up of clothing, and the category grew by 7.3 percent over the year, helped by a growth in children’s wear and the launch of Tesco’s online clothing store.
Tesco’s best-known clothing brand is its F&F line, which aims to offer fashion-led looks at low prices. Current key pieces include a floral printed heart cut-out F&F dress priced at 22 pounds, or $35 at current exchange; sequin scarves at 3.75 pounds, or $6, and a jersey bandeau dress at 8 pounds, or $12.50.
However, the retailer isn’t shy about introducing pricier items to its customers. In March, Tesco launched F&F Couture, a 16-piece collection with items such as a puffball polyester dress priced up to 140 pounds, or $219. “F&F Couture signifies a new era for supermarket fashion,” said Jan Marchant, buying director of Tesco Clothing, when the line launched. “It’s a high fashion-led range which will enable us to meet the increased desire for affordable yet high-quality clothing.”
In addition to F&F, the retailer carries brands including Mischa Barton’s line of handbags and accessories, lingerie designed by the model Caprice and Ruby Rocks, an occasionwear label.
Tesco has lately been expanding its clothing outside the U.K. In 2010, the company introduced the range to four Asian markets, including South Korea and Thailand. And last month Tesco said it would open its first F&F store in the Palladium Centre in Prague in October. The store will be branded as F&F and will not have any Tesco branding. “In central Europe, F&F is seen as a fashion brand in its own right,” said Jason Tarry, F&F clothing’s international ceo. “If [the store] is successful we may roll the concept out worldwide.”
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