Reiss founder David Reiss revealed the premium fashion retailer’s intention to expand into the Australian market at the Drapers Fashion Summit 2012 this week, where he also urged retailers to broaden their offer and adapt to suit the needs of local markets.
Speaking of the fashion chain’s plans internationally he said: “We’re just in final talks with a franchise partner to open in Australia. On our website 50% of our international traffic is coming from Australia, so we know immediately that is the market to go for.”
The retailer’s online store has been an essential aide to building its international profile, not least in Australia, he said. “Online you’re 24/7 seven days a week, it’s a major focus. But also last year we opened our store in Hong Kong, [which is] now our gateway to Asia online. So all the markets that we’re opening in the online presence is very important.”
Within the next 12 months, online will come to represent 25% of the retailer’s offer, he said.
However, Reiss warned that retailers must come to understand the markets they wish to operate. Reiss has run into its own problems overseas he revealed, particularly in the commercially driven US market where sales are frequent.
“I was quite tensed up before I came here because I sent a letter to the chief executive of one of the big department stores because the returns was enormously high because they had such a liberal returns policy. And I was saying it’s totally unacceptable. In our world there has got to be a return for both of us.”
Focusing on some of the market leaders in terms of international he said: “I enormously admire these high street chains like Zara, and others that have come over here, and how reactive they are in terms of trends.”