Retail legend George Davies this week has said the high street has failed to react quickly enough to the rise of the internet and its impact on consumer behaviour, as he unveiled details of his new multichannel womenswear chain GIVe.
Davies, who will open the first GIVe store on London’s Regent Street next Thursday, told Retail Week the high street had left itself exposed to consumers’ passion for using the internet and the explosion of social networking media. He said: “I’ve had to understand a lot of new things like Twitter, Facebook and blogging because that’s the route consumers have gone. I feel the high street has left itself open to the rise of that sort of medium.”
Davies – who founded Next, George at Asda and Per Una – said he had identified a gap in the market for a womenswear chain which combined good service with “fun” in-store.
The shops will feature in-store internet kiosks giving customers real-time stock information and video content of the garments on a catwalk, as well as enabling shoppers to order for home delivery.
Davies said that the high street had chased retailers such as Primark and Matalan on price and that that had opened up space for a womenswear chain offering exceptional quality within a highly serviced environment.
He said: “I thought the level of service women were getting on the high street wasn’t particularly good. I do think the way the industry uses the term ‘value’ is funny. Value is not just about simply a £5 T-shirt. Personally, I think you can buy a Ferrari that’s good value too.”
Give will also offer tailors to do in-store alterations. Prices are £279 for a quilted dip-dye puffa jacket through to £65 for a cashmere blend V-neck.
Davies also hit out at developers for adding to the problems of the homogenised high street and said the UK should follow the US’s lead in mixing small, innovative retailers with the bigger multiples within shopping malls to encourage shopper spending. He said: “Shopping centres need newness and smaller businesses to interest shoppers.”