Amongst the many stories over the past year of retail insolvencies and job losses, there have also been promising signs as Olympic fever sees Middle Eastern tourists flocking to the UK and boosting luxury good sales. As we hit 2012, FashionUnited looks back at some of last year’s most prominent retail activity and what we can expect in the new year.
Luxury brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton defied economic gloom thanks to Chinese tourists, whilst West End department store, Selfridges, Chinese tourists were behind an 80% increase in VAT-free international sales last year as the capital cemented its reputation as a magnet for well-heeled fashion tourists.
Whilst niche luxury brands such as Oswald Boateng on Savile Row plans a £150m expansion to the company. Each store launch will cost £1.5m on average and will be planned and funded under a joint-venture or franchise model. The move will be a major boost for the UK's luxury brand sector. Mr Boateng runs his successful retail business from his menswear shop on Savile Row, London, and played a significant role in revolutionising men's fashion when he first launched in the 1990s.
Whilst on the high street, gloom set in as multiple companies went to administration including notably La Senza, which has closed 80 shops and could see job losses of around 40,000. Other retailers to have gone into administration include D2 jeans, Barratts shoes, and Hawkins Bazaar.
However high street hope comes from department store, John Lewis, which reported according to managing director, Andy Street, ‘cracking trade.’
2012 looks set to be an interesting and unpredictable year from a retail perspective.