Guest blog from Guardian, Telegraph & Huffington Post writer Chris Smith who argues the case for multi-brand fascias.
With the announcement of the first Sports Direct multi-brand store in Glasgow, it’s interesting to note the growing trend of multi-fascia retail spaces on the UK high street and the implications it has on the retail industry.
As the battle between physical retail and e-commerce continues, it’s refreshing to see companies combine their brands in a ‘bricks and mortar’ space. Offering the consumer a convenient shopping experience, beneficial from both a business and customer perspective.
Arcadia adopted the multi-fascia retail format with their Outfit stores years ago, combining their leading brands Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge in one location. The outlets were usually found in out of town shopping centres, but the Outfit format can now be seen in many of Arcadia’s standalone stores.
The UK’s flagship Topshop on Oxford Street now houses a Miss Selfridge and The Lexicon is home to a Topshop, Topman, Burton and Miss Selfridge development. Both, without the ‘Outfit’ title.
"The umbrella structure is a great way to spread risk, increase market share and potentially safe guard the future"
In 2017, Philip Day launched his new multi-brand store ‘Days’ in Wales, with a nationwide roll out of up to 50 stores planned. Instead of fearing the precarious high street, Day identified the opportunity in the market for multi-fascia stores and has been purchasing struggling brands to house under the one roof since the early 2000s.
Days currently offers a total of 18 brands, with former high street staples Austin Reed, Peacocks, Jane Norman available, as well as luxury British heritage brand Jaeger - which Days purchased in 2017.
The umbrella structure of Arcadia and Days might seem new, but some of the biggest brand names have sat within larger companies for decades. This is particularly evident in the luxury sector, with LVMH and Kering owning the majority of names in the fashion and drinks industry. Including brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Moet and Gucci.
So, what does this mean for the future of retail and the UK high street? From a business point of view, the umbrella structure is a great way to spread risk, increase market share and potentially safe guard the future.
The phrase ‘safety in numbers’ was never truer. By offering the consumer a multi-brand experience, it keeps them engaged and in store for longer, driving revenue.
From a customer point of view, it makes shopping easier and less stressful. Can’t find what you’re looking for in Topshop? Just go next door to Miss Selfridge or Dorothy Perkins. The whole buying process is streamlined, it’s a ‘one stop shop’.
With the simplicity of online shopping and millennials being used to the ‘immediateness’ of everything, perhaps the multi-fascia retail format is the way forward. With the larger selection and higher chance of finding what you’re looking for, it means consumers avoid having to walk around shopping malls. It provides the convenience of online shopping, with the purchase security of having seen the item in its physical form.
The ever-changing high street presents both uncertainty and opportunity. When being interviewed about his new venture, Philip Day said the retail industry was the “hardest it's ever been”. While this is true, it also provides the chance to be creative and break the mould, to do something different in retail, make an impact and leave a legacy.
Chris Smith is the head writer for Spend It Like Beckham. He has also been published on the Guardian, the Huffington Post and the Telegraph.