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Drapers Debate: Should multiple retailers be getting into the concessions game?

Multiple retailers such as Jigsaw and Jaeger are starting to host branded concessions – but is it the right move? Drapers Debates….  

YES - Jill Geoghegan

Jill Geoghegan

In this challenging retail economy offering a point of difference is essential in attracting customers.

Shoppers are increasingly looking for that extra special something in order to part with their hard earned cash and for more and more retailers, concessions offer a solution to this conundrum.

By introducing carefully selected niche brands into stores, multiples can set themselves apart from their rivals and entice customers through the doors.

Retailers can also extend their current product offering with the addition of complimentary labels specially targeted at their core customer base and in doing so they can provide more choice for shoppers.

Of course it’s good news for the brands too. In a sector where competition is increasingly fierce, the exposure of being placed in a multiple is priceless to a small label. Concessions provide a phenomenal platform for grass-roots brands to grow, flourish and display their collections nationwide- a fact which many may not achieve if stocked in independent retailer alone.

Multiples can also harness their relationship with concession brands in order to gain style brownie points with fashion conscious customers. In the case of Topshop for example, adding less well known, edgy labels such as Escapology, Goldie, Stussy, and tee and cake has helped bolster the chain’s fashion kudos.

By championing cool, design-focused labels multiples of all shapes and sizes have the opportunity to cement their stance as market leaders.

NO - Victoria Gallagher

Victoria Gallagher

For years both department stores and independent retailers have successfully selected brands to sell in their stores, editing the ranges to suit their customers’ needs and ensuring they stand apart from others on the high street. Now more and more multiples are trying to get in on the act, a move which I am not sure is such a smart one.

By introducing branded concessions in stores it can dilute the retailer’s offering.  Having to get other brands in to store suggests their own product range is not strong enough and needs to be supplemented by external labels.

Multiples should be covering all bases their customers need with their own private label and if they feel their collection is missing something then they should instead expand their range with new lines. This way the clothes they sell will always carry the retailer’s own handprint and not be diluted by other labels.

Furthermore, what if consumers think the brands stocked are more interesting than the retailer they are in? It could cause shoppers to look elsewhere to buy the brand rather than coming back to the retailer.

Brands should be left to the indies and department stores, which have built them up over the years. If multiple mono-branded retailers hop on the concessions bandwagon then high street stores could end up looking like clones.

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