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Posts Tagged ‘New Look’

One of the best parts of a trip back to London is a chance to go on a shopping spree to the famous British high street and pick up some bargains in Topshop, New Look or Primark.

So I should be really excited that Topshop opened its doors to the Australian public in Melbourne last month. And I should be even more happy that later this year, a second store will open here in Sydney.

Right? Wrong.

I think the decision to allow Topshop to open up shop in Australia was a big mistake.

Here’s why:

1)    It will undermine the Topshop brand

Australians love Topshop. They are crazy for it. You’ve only got to read about how hundreds camped out overnight for the Melbourne opening to realise this. And tell any female Australian between the age of 13 – 35 years old that you’re from England and I guarantee that shortly afterwards she’ll ask you about Topshop.

But the point is, Australians love Topshop because they can’t shop there. It’s seen as this magical shopping haven, a dreamy place that is so amazing, precisely because so few of them have ever been or ever owned anything from there.

Compare this to the UK, where you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t own something from Topshop. It’s just doesn’t stay exciting after that.

Topshop is the epitome of the British High Street, by making it more accessible to the worldwide market it will lose its desirability as a brand and the exclusivity that comes with having to go all the way to England to buy from it. It may sound an exaggeration, but Topshop also plays its part in Brand Britain, a ‘must-do’ on the list of every female from Oz who has ever managed to make the trip overseas. So it won’t just be Topshop that suffers.

2)    It won’t be as good as Topshop

Australia faces huge challenges in shipping and distribution due to its size and distance between major cities (and the rest of the world). Prices are high here because it costs so much to get anything sent here.

One of the signature appeals of Topshop is that the stock changes weekly, daily sometimes, to keep fashion forward and relevant. Topshop Australia just won’t be able to compete with the low prices, turnover of stock and varied selection that is available in Europe. With just two outlets in Oz, and several continents away from the remainder of the chain, I really doubt we will be able to buy much of the range that is advertised on the UK website.

3)    It will ruin Australian retailers

Even if Topshop can keep its prices cheap, why is that a good thing? It will undercut much of the Australian high street (where prices are notoriously high) and be a stab in the back to Australian homegrown retailers. Sydney high streets should be occupied by Australian designers, a signal of support to Australian brands and a chance for further growth. Why bring in Topshop to lure the dollars from the purse of teenagers and young women. We’ve already had Zara opening in Sydney and Melbourne late last year and now Topshop, where will it end?  It’s well publicised that whilst the Australian economy is thriving, Aussie high street retailers are not. Sales are down, stores are closing and we need to give them all the support we can to help them to survive. Not plunge in amongst them unfair competition of cheap clothing to replace them.

4)    We need to protect Australia from disposable fashion

Australia should be proud of the fact it hasn’t succumbed to the world of disposable fashion like Britain has. There is nothing comparable to the likes of Primark here, and long may that last. Women here still choose style and quality over a cheap piece of fabric that they will wear once then throw away.

5)    Our High Streets will all look the same

This is the one I’m most sad about. Topshop Sydney will be located in the old Gowings building (old Supre store) on George Street. It’s a landmark location and one of the busiest intersections in the city. Deadset in the centre of the city on probably the most famous street in Sydney. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s because it’s nearly identical in spec to that of Topshop on Oxford Street. But imitating the original will only encourage comparisons. The British tourist arriving in Sydney later this year will just see a high street that is disappointingly similar to that which they’ve just left at home. And what’s the appeal then?

What do you think? Is Topshop a good addition to the British High Street?

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