FDB, Denmark's largest retailer, is to launch a line of fashion babywear under the auspices of former Carli Gry desigher, Elsie Reinholtz. The line will be targeted at the 0-3 years age group, a sector which is estimated to cover around 270,000 children.

FDB hopes that Ms Reinholtz will be able to double the group's clothes sales: "We have lost market share in babywear. People thought our products were too basic and therefore bought their clothes elsewhere," said Kenneth Wulff, FDB's clothes buyer.

Ms Reinholtz will design four new collections each year. The new range will be sold under the chain's own brand "Friends".

While FDB is seeing stagnation in food and groceries, the non-grocery market is increasing. According to FDB's non-food director, turnover on non-food grew eight per cent last year. After tests in two selected shops, FDB reckons non-food can increase turnover 15 per cent.

Co-op Denmark - FDB, The Danish Co-operative Retail and Wholesale Society - has 1,200 stores making up nine different retail chains, 20,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately DKK40bn ($5bn).

By Penny Leese