Fashion group Aurora Fashions is conducting a property review across its brands as it reassesses its bricks-and-mortar needs in the multichannel age.
Mike Shearwood, chief executive of Aurora, which operates the Oasis, Warehouse and Coast brands, said that any retailer will need only 50 to 60 stores for national coverage alongside a multichannel operation, but insisted Aurora was not about to implement this policy to its brands just yet.
“10 years ago, to have UK coverage you needed about 150 stores,” said Shearwood. “To have good UK coverage now, 50 to 60 stores are all that’s required.” He said Aurora was “looking at it from a strategic perspective” but added it was “too early to say” how Aurora would restructure its property portfolio.
Oasis operates 80 stores and 173 concessions, Coast has 41 stores and 166 concessions and Warehouse has 306 stores and concessions. “We’re currently looking at our portfolio very carefully to ensure we have the right coverage to sit alongside multichannel,” said Shearwood.
He said he could see scope for fewer, but bigger and “more experiential”, stores in the future.
The review follows other retailers, such as New Look, carrying out property reviews in light of the changes multichannel is prompting in the sector.
Aurora has invested in its multichannel offering this year, launching a 90-minute delivery option in March, dispatching the product reserved online from its stores.
Shearwood said: “There will be many fewer stores on the high street concentrated into big centres, offering a different experience. We’re not in that place yet. We haven’t decided yet.”
Karen Millen was spun off from Aurora earlier this year. Property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs acts for the retailer.