Blog: The merits of going global

Joe Ayling | 10 April 2008

I'm getting ready for the second day of the World Retail Congress today (10 April).

Yesterday was capped off with a superbly interactive panel talk between Arcadia Group owner Sir Philip Green and J Crew and former Gap Inc CEO Millard Drexler. It was more of a chat then anything though, with the two being good friends and having flown in together.

Although their business values were similar - touch, feel and not shrinking costs - their ideas about being an international business differed greatly. Sir Philip has slated a Topshop opening in New York for October, but on the flip side Drexler does not think US-based J Crew is ready for the headaches associated with being a global chain and is looking to expand to a global audience through better e-commerce.

Arcadia Group already has close contacts with suppliers round the world who have to keep up with demands for 150 styles every 12 days, and Drexler assured the audience that US consumers already loved Topshop.

Sir Philip also conceded weather is not for wimps and has taken its toll on the UK high street, and agreed to a photoshoot with just-style's news editor - the results of which will be blogged next week.

Barcelona, of course, is not the capital of Spain but feels large and thriving enough to be - only without the usual pollution and overcrowding by-products.

My novelty commute involves taking the metro across the city via the University and Ramblas to the CCIB venue. Even the metro has a relatively calm feel to it, although my esteemed colleague did have a run-in yesterday when finding to out to his cost that the Spaniards not only drive to the right - promptly walking into the wrong turnstile on entry to the platform much to my cruel amusement.

A popular alternative to the metro here is Barcelona's bike sharing system, the kind of CO2 saving measure I'll expect to hear about at a sustainability conference slated for this afternoon.

Also today, there is a scheduled address from Dr William Fung, group managing director of Li & Fung, and it will be interesting to see how his firm's target of a US$1bn annual profit by 2010 can be achieved amid rising operating costs in China, coupled with higher pay demands.

It will also be interesting to hear panellist Wu Jianzhong, chairman of Wumart Stores, speaking about the other side of the coin that is retailing in the world's fasting growing market.

Joe Ayling, news editor.


HOT ISSUE

World Retail Congress 2008

The Warnaco Group's chief has hailed the global awareness of its Calvin Klein businesses - billed as the company's driving force for growth....

BLOG

Why digital supply chains are top of mind

Confirmation that digital supply chains are top of mind for apparel industry executives came last week with the latest plans from global sourcing specialist Li & Fung....

BLOG

Navigating global political frictions and economic uncertainty

As a barometer of the issues top of mind for apparel sourcing executives, it is hard to beat the annual Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong. ...

BLOG

Trump and Brexit generate more confusion

Over the past month, Donald Trump and his team failed to offer any clear plan to ensure Americans would "Buy American, Hire American" - while the British government's attempts to clarify the specifics...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?