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Ronen Chen launches plus-size collection

Contemporary womenswear brand Ronen Chen is launching a plus-size collection for autumn 16.

Ronen Chen already supplies plus-size brands Evans and Chesca with larger options. It has now selected 42 styles from its main lines – Ronen Chen and Limited – and made them available as a separate collection available in sizes 14 to 26.

“The sector is growing rapidly and having already been producing plus sizes for specialist plus-size retailers, we are quite aware of the styling and [pattern]-grading needs of this market, so we see this as a win-win opportunity,” said Howard Ross, chief executive of Ronen Chen’s UK and Ireland distributor Retail Brand Connection.

Wholesale prices range from £32 for a top to £100 for a jacket, averaging at £50.

The collection is available to Ronen Chen’s existing stockists, such as Beales, Fenwick and several independents, and will be targeted at specialist plus-size retailers, allowing the business to grow.


Ross returns with retail consultancy

Howard Ross, the former UK and Republic of Ireland country manager for German womenswear brand Gerry Weber, has set up a consultancy called Retail Brand Connection.

Ross, who was made redundant from Gerry Weber as part of a restructure in October 2010, has launched Retail Brand Connection to help brands and retailers improve their bottom line.

According to Ross, Retail Brand Connection will work with both UK brands looking to gain a foothold in overseas markets and foreign brands looking to break into the UK. UK retailers that need help improving their brand mix or improving sales performance will also be targeted.

Ross said Retail Brand Connection was in discussions with several overseas brands and some department stores in the UK, but would not be drawn on names. He is in the process of securing premises in London’s West End. For more information visit


Separates join offer as Montique eyes growth

Occasionwear brand Montique is adding separates to its spring 14 collection as it plots further expansion.

The Australian brand, which has focused on dresses until now, will add blouses, trousers and knitwear to its offer.

Howard Ross, director of Retail Brand Connection, which runs and manages the brand in the UK, said there was a huge opportunity for expansion into separates.

He added: “As a brand you need to have a wide range of product. We are looking at retail opportunities and you can’t stock a department store or a shop with just dresses. Plus it’s a trend our customers are asking for as well.”

Despite diversifying the range, the collection will get smaller as Montique focuses on quality over quantity. The spring 14 range will comprise between 100 and 120 pieces compared with 160 for spring 13.

Retail prices are to drop by at least 10% for the season, with stockists benefitting from price reductions in the factories used by Montique.

“Everyone is watching the pennies. We want to give customers an even better perceived value,” said Ross.

The final wholesale price structure is yet to be decided but for spring 13 prices ranged from £40 to £80.

Montique is also plotting retail expansion and Ross said he was in discussions with several department stores about launching corners

or concessions in their stores, ahead of plans to open standalone stores. Montique’s UK business moved into showrooms on Newman Street in central London last week, “a sign of the brand’s investment in the UK market”, said Ross. “We recognise it is tough, which is why we are putting everything into making sure we’ve got the right product.”


Exclusive: Montique secures 63 doors for spring 13 debut

Australian occasionwear brand Montique has secured 63 doors for spring 13, its debut season in the UK.
The brand, which launched at the last edition of Pure, has secured stockists such as womenswear boutique Muse on London’s Kings Road and indie department store group Browns.
According to Howard Ross, director of Retail Brand Connection which runs and manages the brand in the UK, Montique also plans to launch a transactional ecommerce site in the UK next summer.

“We will buy stock from Australia specifically for the UK market but we will not compete with our wholesale stockists,” he said.

Ross said he aimed to secure 120 doors for the brand by autumn 13 and is in discussions with several multiples.

Clothes from the brand are to be featured in a short film called The Ideal Wife, which is due to be shown at the Sundance Film Festival at the end of January.

Wholesale prices for Montique range from £40 to £80