Virgin Ware set to open flagship underwear store

Virgin is hoping to grab a slice of the underwear market with the opening of a flagship retail outlet for its fledgling Virgin Ware brand.

The store, which opens this week just off London's Carnaby Street, will sell fashion underwear, swimwear and loungewear. It is the first branded retail outlet for Virgin Ware, which launched last year, but has so far been sold solely through Debenhams and online retailer figleaves.com.

Virgin Ware operates as an independent company headed by former Manchester United merchandising chief Steve Richards. It has the licence to use the Virgin name worldwide.

Richards, who is chief executive, but also oversees marketing, said Virgin Ware is aimed at Virgin's core target audience of late-teen to 30-something 'brand-literate' consumers.

He added that he believes it will serve a gap in the market between younger, value-for-money retailers like Top Shop and more expensive lingerie brands.

The launch of a store is the "first major brand statement" for Virgin Ware, said Richards. Most of its marketing communications to date has been driven by consumer PR.

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