American Retailers Go Bananas For Uk Despite The Gloom
Banana Republic is leading a brand new fashion invasion in the States, in defiance of economic forecasts
A brand new crop of US retail chains is vying to convert the special relationship involving British customers and American brands into cash by launching themselves in to the UK market place. The style press is within a frenzy, but retail authorities are dubious that this most current American invasion will end happily, offered the gloomy outlook for retail spending.
Just 13 days in to the new year and already the City has noticed calamitously poor Christmas trading updates from Marks and Spencer, Next and Dixons. Shoe retailers such as Dolcis and Stead and Simpson are battling administration and Sir Stuart Rose, M and S's chief executive, has warned that trading will remain difficult until properly into 2009.
Nonetheless, Banana Republic, Gap's younger, chic-er sister, is one of a clutch of retailers to have earmarked London because the first outpost of their expansion into Europe.
Intermix, a new York-based boutique chain, Theory, a designer clothes brand, and Anthropologie, an older version of Urban Outfitters, are all scouring London for prospective sites. They comply with around the heels of Abercrombie and Fitch, the brand beloved by US college students, which opened last Easter. A and F can also be looking for web pages for its younger-focused Hollister Clothing chain.
Steve Sunnucks, the president of Gap Europe, stated clients had been clamouring for the group to launch Banana Republic in Britain for many years. "The timing of the opening was led by the considerable interest and awareness from the brand in the UK, combined having a remarkable location on London's Regent Street becoming readily available."
The chain, promoting preppy, upmarket workplace wear, and brand watches,luxury watches,style apparel,brand shoes etc, will open a three-storey outlet in late March in part of the old Dickins and Jones building, also occupied by Armani Exchange.
Regardless of the hype developing up ahead of Banana Republic's arrival - fashion magazines have tipped its opening because the occasion from the spring - some retail authorities are sceptical about its prospects. Although the chain could be the best-performing of Gap's steady of brands, which involves Old Navy, it had a poor Christmas, missing its targets with a 1 per cent drop in underlying retailer sales in December compared together with the earlier year.
Additionally, it had a rollercoaster 2007. Its underlying sales, a essential measure that strips out the boost from any new space opened, either failed to grow or fell for five months in the 12. In addition, while Banana Republic is well-liked with Britons flexing their credit cards in America - giving it unusually sturdy brand recognition in the UK for a business with no European outlets - that could adjust when shoppers find out just how much the provider intends to charge for its garments this side in the Atlantic.
A spokeswoman said its ranges will be priced "higher" than within the US, reflecting its wish to become regarded as a premium brand alongside competitors for example Reiss and Jigsaw. It'll also have to claw back the greater expense of undertaking company inside the UK. Dresses are probably to cost upwards of one hundred, at least double their Gap equivalents.
Richard Hyman, who runs Verdict Consulting, a retail consultancy, mentioned: "It will undoubtedly struggle to persuade persons of its worth credentials. I feel it will be incredibly problematic for them."
Even analysts backing Banana Republic to succeed, such as Bryan Roberts, of Planet Retail, think it could get this year difficult going