Scandinavian brand COS opened its flagship store on Friday to long lines in Melbourne; proving Aussie consumers are still hungry to be served up fast fashion from the big overseas players.
On Friday afternoon at the flagship store in Melbourne’s newly refurbished The Strand arcade, a line of eager shoppers waited patiently as staff served customers inside at full capacity.
The brand, short for Collection of Style, sits under the H&M Group umbrella, which launched in Australia in April to incredible demand. COS is at a higher price point to sister brand H&M and appeals largely to a work-wear market with its simplistic Scandinavian design aesthetic.
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Retail Doctor Group director Brian Walker told SmartCompany COS is a “very on trend” brand in the fast fashion category.
“There’s definitely an appetite here for it,” says Walker.
Walker says the strong launch of the brand illustrates the “social buzz” created by a big retail opening, pushed along by a strong social media campaign.
“There’s no doubt we always love something new in the retail mix,” says Walker, who believes the hype will “die down” as the brand settles into the retail landscape.
“It will find its place, like Zara and Topshop, as they all do,” says Walker.
Walker says brands such Witchery and Country Road will not be too threatened by the arrival of an international brand in the higher price point category.
“It is a broad category, so competition can actually be very healthy,” says Walker.
Walker is tipping another big year for Australian fashion retail: “At the end of the day, 2015 will be at least as big as 2014.”
He says the flood of international retailers to Aussie shores will not be slowing down, with brands like River Island and Sephora set to open next year.
“The other side of it though is that it is a finite market, we will definitely see some closures domestically,” he says.