Hobbs, the fashion brand favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister, Pippa Middleton, is reported to be planning to phase out its sister brand NW3 as part of a turnaround plan led by former New Look chief Phil Wrigley,
The NW3 brand, which is designed to appeal to a younger shopper, was named after the old post district for Hampstead in north London, where the first Hobbs store opened in 1974.
“NW3 has done a good job for us, but the aesthetics of the business are becoming increasingly blurred and the brands look more and more like each other,” Mr Wrigley told The Sunday Telegraph.
“We had wanted to engage a more youthful shopper alongside, but there was a confusion about what would be considered a Hobbs design and what would be NW3, which led to our shoppers being confused.”
Mr Wrigley said that a strategic review of the business in March had shown that Hobbs customers felt some of NW3’s designs were “too quirky, forced and unnatural”.
Hobbs showcased its autumn/winter collection at the Great Yorkshire Show catwalk in July.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Ms Middleton have been photographed several times in public over the past three years wearing Hobbs designs.
The attention has brought the brand to international notice and, earlier this year, Hobbs landed on US shores when it opened in five Bloomingdale’s stores. There are Hobbs stores at Victoria Quarter and House of Fraser in Leeds; at James Street, Harrogate; Davygate and Fenwick in York; and at Meadowhall, John Lewis and House of Fraser in Sheffield.