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Asos ups the ante to stay one click ahead

While the rest of the high street and most of the independent sector is still finding its sea legs trading online, young fashion etailer Asos is looking to pull away from its clicks-and-bricks competitors by further differentiating its offer.

This week the etailer told Drapers it had lured former Topshop buying director Caren Downie to become its new womenswear buying director to spearhead strategy on the own-label business.

It’s a big hire and follows last month’s announcement that Asos was looking for 50 buyers and merch-andisers across menswear, womenswear and accessories to capitalise on an 88% sales rise year on year.

With much of the high street now moving online, canny Asos boss Nick Robertson must up the ante to ensure his brand has something extra to lure fickle punters. He has already laid firm foundations with an impressive branded offer. Now own label needs to develop its handwriting, a job that Downie is well qualified to deliver.

Differentiation is key to Asos staying ahead of the game, and differentiation is what the next generation of shopping centres must deliver to entice customers from behind their laptops and back into malls. In this week’s shopping centre special in the centre pages, Drapers looks at the retail space set to come on stream in the next five years and asks which characteristics will mark out the winners from the losers.

Much like their own customers, retailers are committing later than ever to new space and being much more picky about where they choose to spend their money. The 38 centres we feature will have to stand out from the crowd to entice new tenants.

Lorna Hall is Drapers’ executive editor

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