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DFF: Q&A international expansion, flash sales and future opportunities for retailers

At the Drapers Fashion Forum in London, three speakers tackled expansion and opportunity

Chalhoub group dff16

Chalhoub group dff16

Francois Schweitzer, general manager for business development at Chalhoub Group Retail, Giuseppe Miroglio, chairman of Miroglio Group, and Kevin Cliffe, co-founder of MySale Group, spoke to the Drapers Fashion Forum about the future opportunities for retailers.

Guiseppe, can you tell us a little about your strategy for international expansion?

GM: We have been focusing on investing in selected partners to ensure that we become relevant in that market. We have the mantra that we want to become Chinese in China and Turkish in Turkey – and we’re continuing to do that, focusing on fashion hubs of the future.


Francois, what is the next step for department stores?

FS: As category stores, we need to edit the offer depending on the region – everything has to be customer- centric. In our store in Abu Dhabi, we also encourage local designers to be part of concept stores within that. In these markets, people travel a lot and are very exposed to different cultures, so we make local the new global.


How has the customer changed?

FS: Customers are much more demanding now. In emerging markets to start with there is a sense that any high street brand or luxury brand can go there, but now people are starting to be a lot more discerning.


Kevin, what are the current challenges in the flash Sale market?

KC: Working out how we grow and innovate and stay ahead. Growth online is so explosive that we have to figure out how to stay ahead. Not even a year in advance, but looking three or six months in advance at what the latest innovations are and how we can harness them.


How can brands further develop their relationships with retailers?

GM: It’s extremely relevant to adapt the offer to the consumers and face the necessity of a consumer-focused offer. It presents huge opportunities for brands, but it is also very complex – in terms of retaining merchandising plans and other practicalities.


How can brands and retailers maximise the relationship?

FM: We are starting to promote pop-ups and capsule collections. The customer is very fast moving now, and we need something that can expose the product quickly to the consumer for a couple of months, and then move on according to the customers’ needs.


What markets are you positive about at the moment, and which are less positive?

KC: We’re very excited about the UK market at the moment. There are flash Sale sites established, but none have done a very good job of it or managed to take on the giant of TK Maxx. There’s a big opportunity in a market where so many brands are not good online and we can dominate there. In terms of less-positive markets, we began operations in South Korea, but we put them on hold – a lot of countries in Asia have huge potential, but can really drain resources. There are bigger and quicker wins out there and that’s what our shareholders want.

FS: The Middle East is our primary market. We have expanded our perfumery to Morocco a little and are developing things in Egypt, which has a lot of potential.

GM: The Turkish market and the Middle East and central Asia in general are a big opportunity for us. We also have a big operation in Russia, which is having a tough time. It’s an incredibly promising market in Russia, but just not for now.

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