Amongst the endless stories of fashion chains going into administration and high street shops repeatedly becoming vacant over 2011, hit by the recession and hard financial times, there have also been some success stories which resonate for their savvy and succinct business propositions, during hard times.
Inditex, the company, which owns Spanish fast fashion chain Zara as well as other smaller European brands including Bershka, is the largest global retailer with 5,221 stores in 78 countries. This year they launched a long awaited UK e-commerce site, and won International Retailer of the Year at the World Retail Congress. Another high street chain making big moves over the past year is Topshop, with a new UK flagship in time for the Olympics and new outlets being opened in cities from Miami to Toronto and across Australia. Whilst, future plans include a large outlet opening in Las Vegas, next year, which will give the young fashion brand a more luxury effect.
Luxury wise, UK heritage brand, Burberry is leading the way with endless new digital ideas, social media competitions and live streaming techniques being implemented to drive the label into the modern day and top ad campaigns looking to attract a younger audience.
2011 has also seen a flux of foreign labels making inroads on the UK market. Eponymous, American casualwear brand, J Crew, which this year made its first fashion week catwalk show debut in New York, also launched its e-commerce site in the UK, with creative director, Jenna Lyons, stating her intentions to the press to fully launch here in the UK in the foreseeable future.
And of course beyond the huge online success story, Net-a-porter, which has been much documented recently and its discount site, TheOutnet, other online start ups making great waves include contemporary fashion site, Mywardrobe.com and now Amazon, which has made a bid to up its fashion offering.
Aiming to attract a more fashion chic consumer, Amazon launched a designer flash sale site called MYHABIT and added contemporary designers such as BCBG Max Azria and French Connection to the mix. And significantly, they launched Kindle Fire to up the ecommerce shopping experience and which saw a same store sale increase by 50%.
And 2012 looks set to be a positive retail year, with Mary Portas’ review now out and retailers focusing on how to best capitalise on Olympic fever.