J Crew boss Mickey Drexler has revealed he has found the location for its UK debut store.
Drexler told the World Retail Congress: “We found a fantastic store yesterday that I want to open.”
Drexler said he was yet to sign the contract for the location. Regent Street is understood to be top of the US retailer’s shopping list and it is understood to be in discussions to take on the property formerly occupied by Burberry.
J Crew will launch in the UK in the next 12 months, according to Drexler. The retailer has hired property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs to acquire stores for it.
Drexler said: “We’re opening in the next year and we’ll have a few stores in the next couple years.”
Both Drexler and Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green warned about the level of promotions in the fashion market.
Drexler said: “There is a lot more discounting than ever before. Amazon alone has increased earnings from $30bn to $60bn [since 2008]. They’ve taken $30bn out of a flat market. There’s a lot more discounting, a lot more competition and less creativity.”
Green said he has erred away from discounting in his Topshop and Topman fascias. He said: “If you’ve got great product, guess what, people want to buy it. We’re very protective of our brand, that’s how you build loyalty.”
The Arcadia tycoon said that the UK market has stabilised. He said: “The consumer knows where they are now, they know what they’ve got to spend. The market is ok and [retailers] are running their businesses accordingly, but the consumer is managing their purse accordingly.”
He said that fresh product is becoming increasingly important to bring shoppers to store and said that fashion retailers needed to bring in new items every four weeks.
Green, who has previously said he is looking to close 250 stores across Arcadia, said that retailers across the UK have too many shops.
He believes that the UK’s secondary and tertiary high streets are likely to suffer as retailers look to cut their portfolio.
He said: “There will be more residential. Some of those shopping parades will become houses”
However, Drexler reiterated the importance of stores in the fashion world. He said: “In the fashion business, people have to see and feel products. Online will never do it justice.”