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Industry seeks help to expand globally

The UK fashion industry has called for regular trade missions to help raise the profile of the British fashion business overseas as companies highlight the importance of international expansion.

A survey by logistics provider DHL Express of 100 UK fashion businesses, all of which trade internationally, found that 72% believe British influence on global fashion is growing. In order to capitalise on this, 22% of those surveyed said trade missions would be of help, with 17% suggesting financial incentives such as tax breaks for exporters, according to the research.
Fashion commentator Colin McDowell said there was a demand for British fashion overseas, but that businesses need support to “navigate the choppy waters of international trade”. He added that companies must consider overseas customs and payment negotiations, but said “the rewards are there for those willing to take the leap”.

Despite the obstacles, more than half (56%) expected revenues from international sales to grow by up to 50% in the next two years.

Andy Rogers, brand director at premium high street retailer Reiss, said international interest in British fashion could be set to grow further over the coming years, with the Olympics casting a light on the UK.

He said the markets in Korea, Tokyo, Hong Kong, China and Russia were vital. “Everyone at our level, above and below is trying to enter these markets. We need to collectively support each other.”

The US is the market with the greatest demand for British products, with 42% of respondents highlighting it as the nation they trade with most frequently, followed by Germany (41%), France (39%) and Italy (22%). Nearly a quarter (23%) identified China as the region with the greatest opportunity for growth over the next two years.

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