Scandinavian brand COS, short for Collection of Style, is the next big international fashion business set to make a home in Australia.
The men’s and women’s apparel retailer which launched in 2007 as part of the H&M Group, will open its Australian flagship in The Strand Melbourne arcade later this year.
ISPT Super Property general manager retail services Sam Curry told SmartCompany an exact opening date is still to be confirmed. Curry says it will be a 450 square metre space. He understands that it will contain predominantly female apparel along with some menswear.
Curry says COS is in the process of facilitating its launch, arranging shipment of initial stock to the store. It is the brand’s first foray into the southern hemisphere.
The move coincides with the launch of the first Australian H&M store, due to open in Melbourne’s GPO Building this year.
Retail Doctor Group director Brian Walker told SmartCompany the brand reflected a “push to posh” movement in the fashion industry, with chic, minimalist, fashion-forward looks key to its offer.
“It is a little more expensive than H&M but still not too expensive,” he says.
“It is a lifestyle brand with a European look.”
Walker says COS is a fast turnaround brand, with a short supply run and a focus on exclusive ranges.
He says COS will add another challenge to the Australian department store sector and to brands that are not on trend with their product range.
“It will also bring competition to our international brands, like Topshop and Zara and Uniqlo (which is set to open in Melbourne this year). It is not just about competing here with Australian brands any more, it is about competing with international brands.”
Walker says womenswear brands such as Country Road and Cue will be keeping a close eye on COS as they could tap into a similar market.
He thinks this first store could be one of many for COS in Australia.
“It is all about bringing the brand to the country with a physical store, but it will be about building a community around it on social media.”
COS operates across Europe, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore and a number of other nations.
ISPT Super Retail Property operates The Strand Melbourne, of which it is undertaking a $20 million redevelopment.