Top childrenswear retailer has designs on Sunderland city centre

A high-end childrenswear retailer has invested £500,000 in a Sunderland city centre store.

Monday, 18th February 2019, 5:00 am
Designer Childrenswear owner Brenda Coade with Coun Michael Mordey

Designer Childrenswear – founded 30 years ago by husband and wife duo Brenda and Kevin Coade – has grown rapidly in recent years and is now the UK’s third largest independent retailer of name brand children’s clothing.

The company started from humble beginnings on Newcastle quayside - where Brenda and Kevin would spend their weekends selling children’s dresses from a small market stall - before going on to open their first bricks and mortar store on Olive Street, Sunderland, in 1984.

However, it wasn’t until they spotted a gap in the market for designer children’s clothing and accessories that the couple branched out to establish the firm’s credentials in the fashion world.

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Originally known as “Avenue”, the businesses rebranded to Designer Childrenswear in 2013, reflecting the evolution of the business into a dedicated retailer of luxury childrenswear and helping helped the company establish an enviable online presence.

“We noticed companies in other industries really accelerating ahead of competitors by embracing e-commerce and social media at an early stage and decided to rebrand and invest heavily in our online presence in order to move with the times,” said Brenda.

“Since then, we’ve seen sales soar year-on-year and have established a global customer base. Most of our annual sales now come from overseas with customers from as far as China and the UAE to the USA and Canada. The impact it has had on our business has been phenomenal.”

The continued success of the company’s online business resulted in it reaching full capacity at its two Sunderland bases last year and the pair knew they would have to continue investing in order to sustain this growth.

This led to the investment of £500,000 in a new, larger store on Derwent Street. The store provides larger retail space, increased warehousing capacity and an improved photography studio.

Councillor Michael Mordey, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Designer Childrenswer is a brilliant example of how businesses, especially retailers, can benefit from adopting new technologies.

“It’s no secret that UK’s high streets have suffered over recent years however Brenda and Kevin have really bucked this trend.”