Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

London is becoming the holy grail for retailers

Mary Anderson-Ford is managing director of recruitment consultancy AquaRetail.

Inditex is bringing its Stradivarius concept to London, while rumours abound that US teenwear brand Aéropostale and South Korean label 8ight Seconds are on the hunt for locations in the capital. Along with J Crew’s successful foray, these moves are placing London firmly at the epicentre of global fashion retail.

For a long time, the UK’s reputation relied on the export of quintessentially British brands like Mulberry, Ted Baker and Karen Millen, which have flourished worldwide.

The UK is increasingly seen as cool by foreign brands, particularly following the success of the 2012 Olympics, helped along by a group of stylish young royals raising the country’s profile.

The influx of new names on our high streets will force British retailers to up their game. So many businesses are already vying for space and competition will be fiercer than ever, with price points challenged and promotions maximised.

Visual merchandising will need to be even more eye-catching and marketing more inspired to keep the tills ringing. Customer service and loyalty events will be required to ensure the theatrical experience of shopping lures in the punters.

Collections will need continual newness, with more mid-season drops. The merchandising role will be critical to retailers’ success as they keep a closer eye on sales patterns to maximise opportunities.

But some advice to any business before it signs on the dotted line: London rents and rates are expensive, so test the market. Pop-up shops are the ideal vehicle.

Quality will be under heavy scrutiny - if it’s wrong at opening, you may never get that customer through the doors again - and sizing can and does vary hugely between countries, so ensure your sizes are in line with the UK market.

With a bigger retail mix than ever before, London really is the holy grail for fashion brands - and these new names will have an interesting effect on how we do things.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.