By Gaurav Doshi
Flashback! Nearly four decades back – lifestyle fashion stores were all the frenzy in the sixties where clothing retailers like Biba and Habitat offered great collection for the young consumers. They displayed model lifestyles lines and made buyers think “which one is better for me?” Most clothing retailers joined the league for the up and coming era of seventies like Marks & Spencer and Mothercare followed by the major player â€˜Nextâ€™ in the eighties, which were largely preferred.
Meanwhile, the major Italian player â€˜Benettonâ€™ marched on high street with, offering colorful designer clothing for the whole family. Their strategy resulted affirmative with noticeably contemporary window showcase in all stores with independent units. The company was successful in Britain, however, having a long standing in the market, they witnessed failure to keep up pace with the accelerated high fashion pressure by the other European competitors, which are now the known as Mango, H&M and Zara.
The rise of these competitors on high street has been witness successful because of a higher demand for fast fashion. Styles showed in magazines and other advertorials are what people wish to wear. Top designers have created collection extensions, which cater people who can afford to spend their hard earned cash on triple figure. This resulted success to the affordable collection of European fashion brands.
A Swedish player, H&M offered readymade clothing stores â€“ stocked with fashionable collection at reasonable costs. Its successful strategy was its own slogan â€˜fashion & quality at the best priceâ€™ innovative design, reasonably priced and competent logistics. Based in Stockholm, a team of 100 fashion designers assures that nothing has been imitated from the runway platforms. They are mostly inspired from street-trends, movies, magazines and exhibitions. Impressively, the designs reach retail shelves within 2-3 weeks. H&Mâ€™s high profile designer tie-ups with Karl Lagerfield and Stella McCartney have resulted entire collections available to the mass people at lower prices. This strategy is supported by huge advertising campaigns, which easily compete with the major brands.
In a world of advertisements and promotions, there is one store that has made strategy to not to spend penny on advertising, â€œZaraâ€, a wing of Europe’s biggest, rapidly evolving and most triumphant fashion clothing retailers, Grupo Inditex. Other well popular stores in similar chain are Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull and Bear. Inditex operates business via more than two thousand stores in 56 countries. The first Zara shop was launched in 1975 at La Coruna, Galicia and at present it operates more than four hundred owned stores globally. In the previous five years they have witnessed sales up by 25 percent year on year.
Zara runs its own design and production unit in La Coruna, Spain, which leads cancellation of the large out-sourcing operations, like H&M does in over nine hundred firms. It is modern, offering up-to-date lifestyle yet standard clothing lines for men, women and children. Zara offers reasonably priced, radical clothing, however, not of the top quality, which will last only for some seasons.
As same as Zara, H&M can also put designs on retail shelves within three weeks. Its product assortment is cheap and small yet frequent, offering consumers huge selection that results repeated visits to their stores to find â€œWhatâ€™s Newâ€. Hitherto, Zara has launched over ten thousand new designs and most of these will just be attainable for few weeks.
Another Spanish player, Mango is a reputed multinational brand devoted to designing, producing and selling fast fashion and accessories only for women. Its clothing line includes Suit, Casual Sport, and Mng Jeans. It might not be as huge as H&M or Grupo Inditex, but has played excellent particularly in the UK.
No shopping malls resemble absolute with exclusive of these three brands. The pace of these companies in responding to changing consumer demands is an ideal proof to the retailing, producing and logistics skills needed in latest fashion industry. These new strategies are set up to develop aptitude to take advantage of the challenges of a competitive world market.
Besides the diversification in product assortments there is one thing common in all these brands that is â€œintelligent logisticsâ€. Well-organized communication between sales staff directly to the headquarters and producers lead them to match steps with high speed turnover.
The fact is that buyers are becoming preference savvy and smarter in order to what they shop. Even though they always have their preferred designer, they are also acquainted that a throwaway piece of fast fashion from a retail chain store will complete their outfit choices. At so reasonably priced all of these retail perceptions play on Friday nights when people feels they have nothing to wear.
Retailers are sent in a scuffle to make-out the major catwalk trends from the drawing sheets to the sales shelves as fast as possible.
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