Topman is forging ahead with international growth via wholesale after a dramatic increase in stockists in the past 12 months.
The Arcadia-owned menswear retailer started wholesaling some of its collection overseas in 2007, but has expanded that to include footwear, its Topman Design and LTD ranges and any designer collaborations. The number of international stockists has grown from six to 33 in the past 12 months.
Wholesale territories include the US, France, Belgium, Finland, China and New Zealand, where Topman is focusing on retailers such as Hong Kong department store Lane Crawford and New York cult indie Opening Ceremony.
Topman sales manager Miles Wilson said: “My distribution strategy is very clear. It is solely about working with the best store in the best city.”
The wholesale operation sits alongside Topman’s international retail set-up, which is also a focus for sister chain Topshop. Both retailers opened stores in Canada, Australia and Chicago last year. The third major Topshop/Topman US store will open this year in Las Vegas, in a 20,000 sq ft space. A New York flagship opened in 2009.
Numis analyst Andy Wade said UK businesses including Burberry, Superdry and Ted Baker use wholesale as a lower-risk way of growing globally. He said it would not be a surprise if increasing numbers investigated this option over the next few years.
Topman will continue to expand its wholesale network this year. Last week it exhibited at Berlin trade show Capsule, which Wilson said was a “resounding” success.
However, he said he was taking a cautious approach as the retailer did not want to saturate the market, and that no targets had been set for the wholesale strategy.