Topshop Australia Went Online Too Late

In a bid to save struggling fast fashion retailer Topshop down under, its administrators are closing five of its nine standalone stores around Australia. One of the key reasons given for Topshop’s failure in Australia was the late launch of its online store.

Topshop stores at Highpoint in Melbourne, Miranda and Chatswood shopping centres in NSW and its Perth store have already closed down in the last couple weeks.

But the biggest, and the one which will cause the most shockwaves in the retail industry is its Chapel Street store based in South Yarra, which is due to close in two weeks. This was Topshop’s first store to open in Australia, back in 2011, however for years it has been challenged by competition from online rivals as well as the CBD and surrounding shopping strips.

On Saturday the South Yarra store displayed signs of “closing soon” and “final reductions” in its windows.

In May it was announced that Topshop Australia’s franchisee, Austradia, was placed into voluntary administration due to mounting debts totalling $35 million.

One of the major reasons given for Topshop’s failure in Australia was the late launch of its online store, which only sprung in March this year; it closed it’s e-local commerce operations only two months later. Australian customers can still shop via Topshop’s UK online store, which is still offering free shipping.

Poor quality stock was the other major reason contributing to the retailer’s local flop, according to retail veteran and controller of Austradia, Hilton Seskin, who last month told attendees at an event hosted by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, that Topshop Australia’s inventory model was doomed to fail.

“We had absolutely, well I’m going to say very, very little control over what inventory came into the market,” said Seskin, according to News Limited.

Founded and launched in Britain in 1964 by Sir Philip Green, Topshop sells high street fashion and makeup for a younger demographic. Launching locally 6 years ago, Topshop had been operating 9 standalone with 17 Myer concessions as well. In 2015, Myer purchased a 25 % stake in the Australian arm of the fashion chain.

Its fast fashion model means that its copies of runway styles are produced at lightening speed, landing on its racks within weeks of styles hitting the catwalks, which usually takes a standard six months for regular retailers.

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