The U.K.'s Rough Trade Retail Group - operator of Rough Trade East and Rough Trade West in London - has joined with young menswear brand Topman to offer customers an in-store taste of the independent music retailer's product range.

The venture is part of an overall refit of Topman's flagship store on London's Oxford Street, due for completion in Sept. 2009. While it will offer physical product, recommendations and listening posts, the group stresses that the concession will not be a record store within a clothing store.

"To recreate a record store within a clothing store would be a folly," Stephen Godfroy, director at Rough Trade Retail, tells Billboard.biz. "Instead, we're being sympathetic to the environment and delivering our expertise through edited product selection, supported with our renowned product descriptions that neatly summarize who the artist is, what type of music it is and why we've selected it."

The partnership will only cover physical product, which Godfroy believes younger consumers value more because "it is more special, the value is more worthy and it's taken less for granted."

He continues: "Younger generations just need the opportunity and product desire to translate that into a purchase. We provide the opportunity, and we work with artists to fuel the desire."

"It's fantastic that Rough Trade are on board to be part of this exciting and significant expansion for Topman as a brand," said David Shepherd, managing director at Topman, in a statement. "It makes absolute sense to be able to offer our customers the best of what's out there music-wise. Rough Trade are a very credible voice within music retail, a real authority."

In March, the clothing line launched Topman CTRL, a platform through which it aims to support emerging musicians and fashion designers through events and online activity (Billboard.biz, March 4).

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