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Channel your efforts to stay in business

David J Smith

There has been a lot of bad news coming from the high street this year, with some high-profile retailers announcing the closure of stores and others falling into administration, Jane Norman being the most recent fashion casualty.

There has been a lot of bad news coming from the high street this year, with some high-profile retailers announcing the closure of stores and others falling into administration, Jane Norman being the most recent fashion casualty.

There are a number of reasons that may have contributed to this loss, but really it is testament to the fact that the clothing sector is extremely competitive, particularly within the 16 to 25 age bracket. Even multichannel retailers with a strong brand name and presence are under threat in the current climate.

It would be interesting to make an assessment of Jane Norman’s ecommerce figures, in terms of both sales and traffic. One of the main competitors would have been online-only Asos. Its expansion in both the domestic and international markets has been remarkable.

Could it be that Jane Norman’s multichannel strategy was not as successful as it might have been, meaning the channels were not complementing each other appropriately, leading to the target market not being fully engaged?

The 16 to 25 age bracket is particularly web-savvy, having grown up with online shopping. It is likely that the ecommerce channel of a multichannel retailer would be their first port of call, so retailers should look to privilege the right channel to suit their demographic.

It is sad to have seen so many retailers falling foul of the recession so far this year, and with the high street continuing to struggle it is certain that more will follow.

A report by Deloitte found UK retailers have added an additional 56 million sq ft of trading space in the past 10 years; it would seem there are just too many competing for the same space.

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