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UK fast fashion chain Miss Selfridge Australia-bound, report suggests

Wednesday, 6 March 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Small retailers have no choice but to emulate the fast turnaround times of the major chains, says an industry expert, amid rumours UK fast fashion chain Miss Selfridge is coming to Australia.


Hilton Seskin, who owns the Australian Topshop franchise, is about to announce a new franchise agreement with an overseas fashion brand similar to Topshop, according to BRW.


That brand is believed to be Miss Selfridge, owned by the Arcadia Group, which was originally unveiled as the young fashion department within Selfridge’s on London’s Oxford Street.


The brand quickly became renowned for capturing the latest trends and epitomising colourful, fun and fast-moving fashion.


Miss Selfridge items are currently stocked by multi-brand streetwear store Glue, which is owned by Seskin’s holding company Next Athleisure.


Next Athleisure is financially backed by private equity firm Next Capital Partners through a joint venture partnership.


A licensing agreement with Miss Selfridge could involve the opening of new stores this year, although Seskin has declined to comment on licensing agreements at this point.


In February, property group Colliers International said in a report Miss Selfridge has earmarked five store openings in Australia, with an average store size of 800 square metres.


Brian Walker, managing director of the Retail Doctor Group, told StartupSmart he wouldn’t be surprised if Seskin brought Miss Selfridge to Australia.


“It would clearly be based on the success of Topshop… [These fast fashion chains are] going to make a serious impact into the mix of young fashion carried by the likes of David Jones and Myer,” he says.


“[However,] my view is that age and demographics are increasingly becoming less relevant… I walked into a Topshop myself and saw people older than myself buying items.


“If Arcadia sends their brand out here through Hilton, they’re going to end up catering for 15 to 60 [year olds] quite easily.”


Walker says the fast fashion chains are also being fuelled by major changes in markets such as China, India and South America.


“They are huge, huge markets growing big, big middle classes. We’re seeing this global shift there and that of course is fuelling demand at an unprecedented rate,” he says.


“[The other factor is] logistics. Speed to market, which is the cornerstone of businesses like Zara, is becoming commonplace.


“This idea that we buy something, and have it for quite a few seasons, is replaced by lower priced products and turning it over quickly.”


Walker believes there is an expectation among consumers for smaller retailers to emulate this.


“Unless they’ve created such a niche that people will hang out for it [it is necessary to do this],” he says.


“I’d say a business holding a large amount of stock is bypassed. It’s now about offering short, sharp ranges. Sell in and sell out.”