Topshop Australia boss urges retailers to find “point of difference”

Fashion retailer Hilton Seskin has clarified threats to drop brands that engage in constant discounting, saying his store Glue wants to focus instead on brands that build “long-term equity”.


Head of fashion retailer Glue and chair of Topshop Australia, Seskin was reported yesterday saying that “once a brand gets into the spiral of discounting and just looking for sales, the value of the brand depreciates and we don’t want to be involved with brands that will be entering that spiral.”


However, he told SmartCompany the company isn’t about to get rid of brands that discount, but instead he has taken aim at those not building brand equity and instead focusing on short-term sales.


“This is not about pricing, because everyone goes on sale. It’s more about brand equity.


“It’s about building relationships for brands that are there in the long-term: Building the brand equity as opposed to becoming a clearance and discount brand.


“In this tough environment, there are businesses that are only thinking about the next dollar, and businesses that only want to operate through this discount websites. They don’t have any sort of brand strategy.”


Seskin also says Glue and Topshop value the multi-channel model, but that successful retailers also need to focus on the interactive experience of being in a store.


“It’s the whole experience of being able to shop online and then taking them back to the store, rather than them having to ship something back to a company somewhere else. It’s the whole interactive experience, and we think that’s where retail is going.


“The message is clear that to survive you need some point of difference.”


To get that point of difference, Seskin says businesses must try to perfect the retail experience, including getting products to customers as quickly as they can.


“I think the world has changed now. One of the most successful things with Topshop is that we are quick to market. You need to have quick turnaround, and it’s rare that brands are able to react that quickly.”


“Customers want products now, not yesterday, and that’s how we combat this shift. That’s where I think businesses like Glue can flourish and do more than just survive. We can deliver that experience to the consumer every time.”


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