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Tesco is scheduled to in May launch a new clothing line – Florence & Fred Trend – to tap into a younger audience as part of its efforts to grow its apparel business, according to the Financial Times.

The biggest retail chain in the UK, which will announce annual pre-tax profits of more than £3bn (NZ$6.5 bln) and sales nudging £60bn next week, is hoping that its new line can take on high street and supermarket rivals such as Primark, George at Asda and New Look.

The F&F Trend has been developed in response to the increased desire for fashion-forward clothes that don’t break the bank, the report says, quoting Jan Marchant, Tesco buying director.

The launch in May will follow Tesco’s creation of an F&F couture range which sells high-end items, such as a tailored denim jacket for £75.  F&F Trend, meanwhile, will offer younger shoppers a leopard print “harem” jumpsuit.

Clothing is currently a relatively small part of Tesco’s £10bn-a-year non-food business, with sales now hitting £1bn per year, the report adds.

But the retailer has big ambitions to rival competitor Asda who holds the top spot as the biggest seller of clothes by volume in the UK. It is currently the fourth-biggest, behind Asda, Primark and M&S.

In October last year, Tesco put its full 3,500-item clothing offer online in an effort to close the gap with Asda, which was already selling its George collection over the internet.

Tesco has about 70% of its profits from its UK business, despite its diversification into overseas markets.

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