Cortefiel’s decision to come to the UK is positive news for the high street. While there is a need for a clearout of brands that have had their day, our shopping streets and malls need to be continually refreshed with new names that will draw the shoppers.
If Zara and H&M can make it big in the UK, why can’t Cortefiel? That’s no doubt what the Spanish fashion giant is thinking with its deal to open stores for three of its brands in the UK in conjunction with property company Land Securities.
Like Best Buy and Victoria’s Secret, Cortefiel’s decision to come to the UK is positive news for the high street. While there is a need for a clearout of brands that have had their day, our shopping streets and malls need to be continually refreshed with new names that will draw the shoppers.
While they will inevitably present new competition to established players, those retailers that are on top of their game have nothing to fear. Indeed, as DSGi has been showing ahead of Best Buy’s UK debut, the impending arrival of a new competitor can have a galvanising effect.
Brand Empire - the Land Securities venture for which Cortefiel is a first partner - is a bold enterprise and a very constructive response to the quest for newness that is going to be vital if the UK’s shopping locations are to remain attractive in the multichannel age.
But it will only be as good as the brands it partners with. For every Zara there’s a Mango, and for every Abercrombie there’s a Whole Foods. Cortefiel operates in more than 60 countries but apart from a short-lived stay in Debenhams hasn’t tackled the UK, which is one of the toughest markets to crack anywhere in the world.
So while the tie-up with Land Securities is a great way for Cortefiel to manage the practical side of entering the UK, the retailer itself will need to put in the hard work to develop an understanding of the British customer and build a presence for not just one but three brands -something even the mighty Inditex has struggled to do.
Ashely walks a fine line
At the time of writing it was unclear whether Mike Ashley would succeed in his attempts to derail Blacks’ restructuring plans. But what is clear is that his appetite for what might kindly be called mischief making remains greater than ever.
You can debate the rights and wrongs of Ashley’s approach until the cows come home, but questioning his moral compass is irrelevant because he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. But with both the Serious Fraud Office and the Office of Fair Trading still looking into his affairs, he is walking a dangerous line.