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Editor's Comment: the curious case of Lipsy's website closure

Keely Stocker

This week another fast fashion retailer announced a strong set of results: Primark expects UK sales to be up in the year to 16 September despite a reduction in markdowns. 

The fast fashion market is flying at the moment: Boohoo Group’s latest impressive set of results showed a doubling of sales, and Quiz Clothing’s flotation on Aim in July demonstrated confidence in the sector.

Fast fashion operators are turning around trend-led product at an increasingly rapid rate, and meeting the demands of a young audience hungry for the latest designs at a low price.

The increase of competition with the value, fast fashion market could be one of the reasons that Lipsy has announced it is to shut its website and focus on sales via the Next website, as well as Asos and its own stores (news, p6).

The closure appears to be a strange decision for a brand that is doing well: cutting off a revenue channel in this way will not only lose sales for the womenswear brand, but also reduce its visibility, as the site acts as a marketing tool. Although one third-party brand stocked by Lipsy tells us the “vast majority” of sales come via the Lipsy & Co section on Next’s website, and not Lipsy.co.uk, I would imagine the latter has a different audience to Next, and therefore adds some value, if only in terms of brand awareness. 

Has Lipsy been undercut by its rivals too many times, eroding sales from younger shoppers once and for all? Has it weighed this up against the cost of operating through this channel, and deemed it unviable? Can it retain the same presence online without its own site?

Such an unconventional move will, I’m sure, stir up some debate in the industry. Email us your views at drapers@emap.com.

Finally, I am delighted to announce the launch of the annual Drapers 30 Under 30 competition this week. Now in its ninth year, this initiative serves to remind us of the amazing young talent emerging in this industry. The project highlights the achievements of young people across the spectrum of the fashion industry. See this year’s cohort here.

To nominate yourself or someone you know, email 200 words on why the nominee should win, along with their name, age, job title and a CV or LinkedIn profile to emily.sutherland@emap.com by 20 October.

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