Are you ready for the change that is coming to fashion shopping in Australia?
If not, prepare yourself.
As we’ve mentioned many a time, Australia’s fast fashion and fashion retail spaces are both undeveloped and very different to the rest of the world. In large part it’s a country where shoppers head to centres modelled on the shopping malls prevalent in the United States. The country’s high street, however, shares little resemblance with its foreign counterparts; largely made up of boutiques, until recently there were no multinational monoliths operating along it. It has only been in the past months that Zara has opened in the country, H&M have flat out refused to open in the country, and other giants are nowhere to be seen.
All that is about to change.
And while Australia’s national retailers are still trying to assess the affect that Zara will have on their businesses, Fashionising.com can today exclusively reveal that they’ll soon be facing yet another foreign challenge.
Topshop is coming to Australia.
Despite operating in over 20 countries, including right on the country’s doorstep in Indonesia, there are currently no standalone Topshop stores in Australia. 2011 is the year that will change that.
Fashionising.com has learned through sources involved in the development project that Topshop is looking to take advantage of a perfect storm of opportunities to enter the Australian marketplace.
Aiming to open this year, Topshop is currently negotiating for retail locations in both Sydney and Melbourne in a move that would see the fashion retailer both establish a foot hold in the Australian market and prevent the outright dominance of chief competitor Zara.
Fashionising.com has been reliably told that Topshop has two desires of their initial Sydney and Melbourne stores:
- that each competes indirectly with Zara’s own stores, and thus are located in different parts of Melbourne, Victoria and Sydney, New South Wales. This will allow them to capitalise on Zara’s slow expansion throughout the country and to minimise direct shopper competition in an underdeveloped market.
- that each allows them street access in order for the stores to offer trading hours that would see the stores open later than their competitors.
These two requirements mean that Topshop’s plans to open stores in Australia in 2011 are currently weighted to retail locations outside both Melbourne’s and Sydney’s city centres.
Topshop’s first Melbourne store location
While it is believed that the short list of Sydney locations include the outer-suburb Chatswood shopping centre, Fashionising.com has learned that the most likely location for the first Topshop store in Melbourne is on the Chapel Street high street. Requiring a large retail space for their flagship store, Topshop are currently negotiating a rental contract for store space within Chapel Street’s Jam Factory complex. Should the deal reach fruition it would see Topshop have access to the close-on 2,800 square metres of retail space recently made available by the bankruptcy and closure of book retailer Borders.
While it would be impossible for the whole property to be dedicated to floor and shelf space, at 2,800 square metres the single storey Topshop store would be larger than Zara’s Melbourne store, which totals to 1,700 square metres spread across three levels.
With Australians already the third largest consumers of Topshop’s goods via their online store, Topshop’s opening in the country is a move certain to cement their position in the market.
Topshop is currently aiming to open in time for Christmas 2011. As such their first season of stock would sit inline with their spring / summer 2011 / 2012 collection, the European equivalent of which you can see by clicking on the thumbnails below.
If you’d like to keep up to date with news on Topshop opening in Australia, you can subscribe to Fashionising.com’s newsletter.
WWD (subscription required) has reported that an Australian Topshop may not open until 2012, citing that the fashion chain is currently busying itself with opening stores in Las Vegas and Brazil. There is, however, now an indication that Topman will open along with Topshop.