The fast fashion retailers listing on AIM this month has valued it at GBP105m (US$145m)

The fast fashion retailer's listing on AIM this month has valued it at GBP105m (US$145m)

In The Style's influencer-led proposition clearly resonated with shoppers prior to Covid-19, and the pandemic boosted its fortunes as young shoppers flocked online, with sales increasing by 169% to GBP13.5m in the 13 weeks to 31 December 2020. The fast fashion retailer's listing on AIM this month has valued it at approximately GBP105m (US$145m), and though it currently only has a 0.3% share of the UK womenswear market it has huge potential to grow this through focusing on influencer collections and forging a unique brand identity.

The retailer's focus on collections with influencers and celebrities such as Saffron Barker and Billie Faiers has been key to its success so far and helped it to carve out a niche in the competitive young fast fashion market. These collaborations help In The Style differentiate its ranges through varied styles, from its sophisticated, trend-led Lorna Luxe collection to Jac Jossa's more relaxed, comfortable styles. This is a smart approach, as each collection has a ready-made audience and marketing strategy to attract new shoppers, and it will help In The Style to remain relevant, providing that it continues to partner with the right influencers. 

As an online pure-play, In The Style was dealt a beneficial hand in 2020, with retailers in this channel the clear winners in the Covid-stricken UK apparel market as they did not have to contend with store closures, already had robust online infrastructures in place, and were more able to quickly pivot to better-performing product categories.

As online penetration is forecast to remain high in the UK in 2021 at 49.3%, down from 51.3% in 2020, In The Style is in a prime position to capitalise on this, as young shoppers in particular will continue to favour purchasing online, especially with Topshop now absent from the high street. 

To maximise its potential, In The Style needs to retain an edge over its major rivals, namely Asos and Boohoo, which make up 4.5% and 2.1% of the UK womenswear market respectively. The retailer's own-brand (non-influencer) ranges currently only make up around 13% of its sales, and it has identified this as an opportunity for growth, but its influencer collaborations should continue to be the priority as these are what provides its unique point of difference.

Its maternity range with Dani Dyer is a key example of this, as though other fast fashion retailers do offer maternity clothing, few combine this with influencer marketing to maximise sales. Other niche categories could be fruitful areas of expansion, such as petite and tall influencer collaborations, as well as family ranges being a natural progression of its existing maternity collection. 

The retailer will use the net proceeds of the share placing to invest in developing its influencer network, brand marketing, entry into international markets and assist with its movement into a larger warehouse this year. All these investments will be key to ensure a continued strong growth trajectory by boosting brand awareness and engagement; and ensuring it can compete with its rivals in terms of delivery timeframes.

Because of the impacts of Brexit, the retailer would also be smart to invest in warehousing capacities in Europe, if this is a key expansion market. Additionally, as ESG credentials become increasingly important to investors, In The Style needs to ensure that it does not fall into the same trap as the Boohoo Group, ensuring transparency and regulation of its supply chain to protect its share price and reputation.

The most important factor that will contribute to In The Style's future performance will be retaining its unique brand identity, otherwise it risks getting lost in the sea of online fast fashion brands.