Youth fashion chain Republic is to embark on an aggressive store relocation programme and will use its new flagship store in Leeds as a template for future stores in big cities.
The Leeds-based retailer said it will focus on big, iconic, landmark buildings for its new stores rather than shopping malls.
At 13,000 sq ft, the new three-floor store in the heart of Leeds opposite Harvey Nichols will be three times Republic’s average size.
The store will be strong on brands and aims to offer a “social experience” for its 15-25 year old core customers.
Chief executive Paul Sweetenham said: “We want to broaden our perspective enormously and make the most of our Leeds heritage.
“We haven’t made enough of the fact that Leeds is our birthplace and our home.”
Leeds will be the group’s biggest store and Republic hopes to replicate the store in big conurbations throughout the country.
Republic’s retail director Simon Singleton said: We want fewer, bigger and better stores. We don’t want just 2,000 sq ft.
“We’ve got 30 stores where we’re in the right town, but we’re too small. We’re planning an aggressive relocation programme. We’ve got an unprecedented programme of new store openings.
“We will look entirely different to what we look like now. Leeds will be the template going forward,” he added.
Republic plans to use the store as a meeting venue for suppliers rather than its headquarters in Leeds.
“It will be easier for suppliers to get their heads around the concept if they can visit our flagship store,” said Mr Singleton.
The new store will feature two personal shoppers who will hand out free advice and consultations on a non-commission basis so shoppers won’t feel compelled to buy something they don’t want.
The new store in Leeds will employ 48 staff and is expected to become one of Republic’s top three performing stores - the other two being Meadowhall in Sheffield and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.