Au Naturale buyer will overhaul product offer

The buyer of 46 outlets in the Au Naturale homewares chain is promising to revamp both the product offer and the stores.
The new owner was recently revealed to be Elaine Gray, a respected operator in retail’s value sector.

The former chief executive of value retailer MK One, who is also said to be close to BHS boss Sir Philip Green, bought the stores after the chain went into administration last month. Thirty outlets had already been taken by Opus Estates.

Gray has also bought value fashion retailer Ethel Austin.

She says she intends to maintain the two chains as separate businesses but will introduce an Au Naturale collection into selected Ethel Austin stores. There will also be an overhaul of both retailers’ products and stores.

Gray grew MK One sales to £139m in 2004 before selling the company to Baugur, but the retailer went into administration itself last month.

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