UK apparel brands including Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Miss Selfridge have become the latest members of a supply chain standards group that aims to standardise sourcing processes and drive efficiencies. 

GS1 UK says membership has increased by around 89% in the apparel, accessories and footwear market. It currently has around 30,000 members across the retail, foodservice, and healthcare sectors, amongst others. 

Other new apparel sector members including BooHoo, Ivy Park, Pretty Little Thing, and Taylor Blake. 

"This dramatic growth in our apparel membership demonstrates that apparel retailers and brands now consider GS1 standards to be an essential requirement to their operations," says Jacky Broomhead, market development manager for apparel at GS1 UK. "As the number of channels and fulfilment options increase, how retailers move a product through the supply chain is becoming as vital to their success as the product range itself."

Through the adoption of GS1 standards, Broomhead says apparel retailers are able to efficiently trade with external partners and reduce the time and cost of getting a product to market.

Around, 1,896 members have joined GS1 in the last year, taking the total number of members in the apparel sector to 4,025. 

"This increase in apparel members demonstrates that the industry recognises the power of GS1 standards in the complete end-to-end supply chain, and how they drive efficiencies and remove operating costs," the company says. 

The key driver for this growth is the requirement for apparel companies to expand their distribution, either overseas or by partnering with the major UK retailers. 

Tracey Taylor, director at Taylor Blake, says the company has joined GS1 UK at a time when it is taking its next steps into retail – online and offline – and wanted to be prepared. 

"We felt confident to join GS1 UK because of their heritage and legitimacy. We've allocated our first set of GS1 numbers to our products and we're now live with them through Amazon too."

GS1 standards also provide the foundation for newer technologies that are being adopting, often to meet the challenges of omni-channel retailing. These include RFID, to provide real-time stock information and automated stock management processes, and EDI, to improve speed to market by creating a paperless supply chain.