Blog: Topshop steps into Australia

Petah Marian | 8 December 2011

Topshop and Topman opened their first Australian store today in Melbourne to a very warm welcome.

Looking at the Australian press, the opening was something of an event, with as many as 250 people queuing overnight to be the first to shop the UK fast fashion brand.

Topshop's international expansion drive (US, Canada) has come at a time when, at least in its UK home market, the brand has lost some of its lustre, with the company reporting a drop in full-year pre-tax profit late last month. Indeed, hype has cooled from the glory days in the mid-noughties when Kate Moss began designing her range for the chain.

However, internationally it seems that many consumers can't get enough of the brand. Hosting friends in London (from my home town of Melbourne), many visits would mostly revolve around hitting Oxford St and buying up as much Topshop, Zara or H&M as their baggage allowances offered.

Topshop enters Australia at an interesting time. With the country largely avoiding the recession that has impacted the much of the developed world, the country's retailers are only now starting to feel the pinch, with the strong Australian dollar driving consumers online amid an environment of declining consumer confidence.

The local retailers I spoke to in my Australian Management Briefing in early November about the entry of Zara, Gap, Topshop and Uniqlo into the market were encouraged by their presence. Indeed, the CEOs of Myer and Sportsgirl see a halo effect from Zara stores being positioned near theirs. They also said that the openings were increasing footfall more generally in these shopping areas.

We can only hope that Topshop/Topman's Jam Factory Neighbour, Target, and the rest of the Chapel St shopping strip will experience the same benefits. 


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