There was one particularly interesting bit about New Look’s results announcement yesterday (ok two, given that it’s expanding even further with menswear-only stores and had some stuff to say about Brexit). The thing that really made me sit up was what it said about global trends and social media.
As its profits surged 17%, the value fashion retailer’s CEO Anders Kristiansen said that “fashion is becoming more and more the same around the world.”
Now that may seem like a no-brainer but until now, it hasn’t been. Having worked in fashion for more decades than I care to remember, I’ve often been surprised about how slowly or how little trends do play out around the world. And I’ve seen more than one ‘global’ retailer exit certain markets because the product designed in country X just doesn’t resonate in country Y.
And the arrival of the internet itself didn’t necessarily change this, it just made it more noticeable.
But now it’s social media that’s calling the shots and that has made a huge difference. Trends are travelling fast and exposure to those trends rubbing away at the difference sin taste between countries.
“We used to see a big difference in different countries, but because of social media, trends are the same,” Anders added. “A massive trend in the UK — like bomber jackets at the moment — is the same in Beijing and Bordeaux.”
Which must be good news for New Look as it’s earmarked £100m worth of investment to expand into Germany and grow its existing stores in China. It’s targeting 75 German stores within five years (from the current single concession store there) and plans to open 50 more Chinese stores for a total of 142.
One thing he did say though is that the UK is facing tough times, partly due to the weather (tell me something new) and partly due to the madness that is Brexit. He wants to get past the June 23 referendum date as soon as possible.
He told Associated Press that New Look is prepared for the possible Brexit doomsday scenario but that it will be a challenge.