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H&M And Friends Play Follow The Leader To Australia

H&M are helping international retailers break into Australian markets. Find out the details here.

Source: Isabel Marant For H&M

Source: Isabel Marant For H&M

Swedish retailer H&M had recently announced its plans for expansion, opening new stores and entering new markets. With this came the opening of its first store in Melbourne, Australia – which may come as a surprise, has little international fast-fashion stores. H&M began formalities on Thursday, by throwing an exclusive party, which included performances by Haim and also unveiled a new line exclusive to the Australian market.

It seems that the retailer has also been involved in a game of ‘follow the leader’, with first following Spanish retailer Zara into India, and now into Australia. In 2011, when Zara had opened its first store in Australia, Topshop had opened later that year and now has three stores in the region. Another new edition is Uniqlo, the brand opened up a pop-up store in January, and foresees a proper store opening soon. H&M has also stated its plans to bring Cos to the Australian market during some time this year.

Clearly Australia is in demand, well it comes as no surprise given its healthy domestic economy and proximity to Asian tourists. So all this is good news, but for local retailers and designers the international competition is a serious threat to them.

What this actually means, is that the local retailers are not able to compete with the other fast-fashion retailers on price or value terms. As real estate and manufacturing is expensive in australia, the fast-fashion stores like Topshop and ASOS have thrived, especially online said Samantha Aldenton, assistant editor of womenswear at WGSN.

Aldenton added to her statement; “Over the last few years Australian brands like Kirrily Johnston, Colette Dinnigan, Lisa Ho, Marnie Skillings, George Gross and Harry Who have each had to shutter the brands that the public and the industry have known as institutions of Australian design.”  

Ksubi another popular brand, has recently been liquidated and this is only the start for local brands. Myer and David Jones, “the country’s largest retail chain” also currently under a lot of pressure and feel the competition, and have in recent months been in talks over a potential merger.

“Not only is the consumer’s dollar moving increasingly online but also into the pockets of multinational fast-fashion chains like Zara and Topshop. [They offer] cheaper runway carbon copies too irresistible for fashion-conscious Australians to resist.”

With H&M entering the Australian market, it has only added additional pressure and competition onto the local retailers.

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