Independent retailers and brands have given a mixed response to plans by etailer Asos to launch an online marketplace that will be open to the industry, brands and consumers.
The fixed-price site, which will compete with eBay’s outlet site and is due to launch later this year, will offer a global online platform to promote indies and allow larger retailers and brands to sell end-of-season excess stock and help consumers to sell second-hand clothes.
Details of how the site will work with indies have yet to be revealed, but Asos chief executive Nick Robertson said that indies would be vetted and their stock authenticated before being allowed to create a shop-in-shop on the site.
Deryane Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room in St Albans, said: “It is another platform to raise the profile of independents. Everyone knows Asos, but it could end up like a bit of a bargain basement, with retailers and brands clearing bulk. It could end up weakening your offer if you are alongside brands clearing stock.”
Steve Slack, owner of contemporary menswear indie Petrus Design in Cambridge, warned that indies could get lost in the “melee” of brands. “If a brand we stocked looked to go down that route [selling excess stock through Asos’s marketplace], we would have to review how we work them.”
Meanwhile, brands welcomed the opportunity to use the Asos platform and leverage off its marketing clout. Daniel Morris, managing director of young fashion brand Boxfresh, which already sells stock via Asos, said: “It won’t change the way we work with it but for an independent retailer it’s a cost-effective way to get online.”
However, Roger Wade, consultant at Brands Incorporated, said the move could be a mistake.
He said: “Asos should focus on its core strength of selling branded clothing.”