Ultimo to open Debenhams concession stores

Ultimo will open a series of concession stores in Debenhams this year, Lingerie Insight has learned.

The news comes after the brand successfully launched two shop-in-shops in House of Fraser’s Glasgow and Manchester stores in 2014.

The brand said it will open a total of 12 concession stores in Debenhams and House of Fraser this year, including a flagship on Oxford Street, marking the next stage of retail growth for the lingerie firm.

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Speaking to Lingerie Insight on set of her AW15 photoshoot earlier today, Ultimo founder Michelle Mone said the concession store allows the brand to offer consumers the complete Ultimo experience.

“I think the whole shopping experience that the customer has is really important and for us to train how we want our consultants to fit and how we want them to look after our customers, whereas before they used to go into the stores and be served by whichever consultant worked for that store,” she explained.

“They couldn’t say to them ‘do you know that Ultimo does a backless body, a low-back body, a frontless bra’ and all the rest of it.”

Mone also noted that the launch of retail concessions has enabled Ultimo to have full control over the selection of products that are presented in store.

“My new partners are MAS Sri Lanka – an incredible company – and it was just our decision to take the brand and be in charge of our own destiny and the whole shopping experience, in order to have what we wanted on display instead of a buyer deciding how our brand should be presented,” she said.

“Debenhams and House of Fraser knew that it had always been my dream to launch concession stores and they were so excited about it. We launched concessions with them online too and they have been a real success story already – we have already noticed that sales are going up. All parties are winning.”

Mone said that she wouldn’t rule out opening concession stores in other retailers, but added that wholesale is still a big focus for the brand.

“We’ve still got customers that we still supply wholesale too. Next is a very good wholesale customer and we will continue to grow that,” she said.

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