UK AP­PAREL RE­TAIL EN­VI­RON­MENT CHAL­LENG­ING

Perfect Sourcing - - Cover Story -

In the UK, the top re­tail­ers list in­cluded com­pa­nies like Aldi, Ama­zon, US, TK Maxx, H&M, In­di­tex, Uniqlo, Gap, Ur­ban Out­fit­ters/an­thro­polo­gie, De­cathlon and Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret.

While Aldi has come out on the top as one of the largest in­ter­na­tional re­tail­ers in the UK, Ama­zon is still trail­ing by a con­sid­er­able dis­tance. Re­tail­ers like H&M, Ikea and Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret have very dis­tinc­tive brands. How­ever, the UK re­tail scene is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive. Gap is a prime ex­am­ple of a re­tailer that has ar­rived with a strong brand, but has since lost much of its lus­tre. With its UK busi­ness in ter­mi­nal de­cline, and now ac­count­ing for less than 2.5% of its global sales, it re­mains to be seen how much longer Gap will re­main com­mit­ted to the coun­try.

UK re­mains a chal­leng­ing mar­ket for over­seas re­tail­ers also be­cause of higher rents and busi­ness rates than in their home coun­tries. They also need to win over savvy con­sumers with lots of op­tions. It there­fore takes time and ef­fort to truly con­quer the UK mar­ket and many in­ter­na­tional re­tail­ers find that they don’t have the per­sis­tence or re­sources to pull this off. There is also a sense that over­seas re­tail­ers might be over­es­ti­mat­ing the will­ing­ness of UK con­sumers to pay top dol­lar for their brands. Straight con­ver­sions of prices from dol­lars to the pound have been the or­der of the day for many US fash­ion re­tail­ers, but in a mar­ket­place where dis­count­ing is al­ready so wide­spread, this tac­tic does not im­pact de­mand.

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