Timeline: Colette's closure, the end of an epoch

London - Iconic Parisian store Colette is set to close its doors for good this December, after a twenty-year run. The one-of-a-kind concept store first opened its doors on 213 rue Saint-Honoré in March 1997. As Paris first leading fashion concept store, Colette rapidly becomes a leading force in the world of retail and is praised by many for its unique offering and shopping experience. A few months after Colette celebrates its 20th anniversary comes a sudden announcement: Colette will be closing down on December 20th.

"Until our last day, nothing will change," said the store in a statement. "Colette will continue to renew itself each week with exclusive collaborations and offerings, also available on our website colette.fr. We thank you for your support and see you soon at Colette--until December 20th!" FashionUnited has gathered together some of Colette's milestones throughout its twenty-year run in the interactive timeline before. Click on the arrows to read each highlight.

Photos: Courtesy of Colette.

The Coletter timeline was originally published in March 2017, on FashionUnited.fr in honour of the concept store's 20th anniversary. Author: Aurore Hennion. The timeline has been translated and edited for FashionUnited UK by Vivian Hendriksz.

Store Twenty One admits defeat with the closure of remaining stores

Multiple efforts to save the financially unstable, Store Twenty One were halted this morning after the company entered into compulsory liquidation.

The budget fashion chain’s remaining 122 stores were closed on Friday, resulting in the loss of 900 retail jobs.

News of Store Twenty One’s compulsory liquidation comes as no surprise, as the company has come close to administration over the past few years. An attempted restructure last year which saw a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) placed, resulted in the closure of 93 loss-making stores.

The retailer has struggled to withstand competition from growing budget retailers like Primark as well as online fast fashion competitors. The company’s turnover has declined from 95 million to 57 million pounds along with sustained losses in the past few years.

In April 2017, HM Revenue & Customs issued a winding up notice due to unpaid tax - placing the company in their final days, despite their attempt at raising the owed funds.

“We are now in the process of conducting an orderly wind-down and would welcome contact from any interested parties who may wish to purchase assets of the company,” Bonney continued.

Store Twenty One, owned by Indian textiles company Alok Group, first started out in the 1930s manufacturing goods for retailers such as Marks & Spencer, subsequently opening their own stores, rebranding to QS. In 1990, QS floated on the London Stock Exchange, acquiring sister chain Bewise.

Store Twenty One’s fall into compulsory liquidation is a warning sign of tougher times ahead. Many years of success are hard to retain in the current economy - along with significant changes to the traditional retail industry, which sees pressure from online brands and retailers. Store Twenty One is not the first retailer to perish and is certainly not the last, in this ever changing industry.

Photo courtesy of Store Twenty One website

BREAKING: Colette to shut its doors for good this year

London - It's the end of an era in fashion retail, as leading Parisian department store Colette, is set to close down its doors for good this year after twenty years of trading.

"As all good things must come to an end, after twenty wonderful years, Colette should be closing its doors on December 20th of this year," read a statement on Colette's website. Founded in 1997 by Colette Roussaux, the Parisian boutique, located at 213 rue Saint-Honoré, has been under the charge of her daughter Sarah Andelman over the past few years.

Colette to close its doors forever after twenty years this December

Part of the concept store's closure has been linked to the impending retirement of Roussaux, "and Colette cannot exist without Colette," added the statement. French fashion house Saint Laurent is already in negotiations with Colette to take over the three-storey 8,000 square foot building.

"We would be proud to have a brand with such a history, with whom we have frequently collaborated, taking over our address," continued the statement from Colette. "We are happy of the serious interest expressed by Saint Laurent in this project, and it could also represent a very good opportunity for our employees."

At the moment it remains unclear as to whether or not the store will continue to operate its e-commerce platform, which accounts for 20 percent of the store's revenue. But the company is adamant that it will continue business as usual until it's last day. "Colette will continue to renew itself each week with exclusive collaborations and offerings, also available on our website colette.fr."

BREAKING: Colette to shut its doors for good this year

The announcement came as a blow to the industry early Wednesday morning, following news that the iconic concept store had teamed up with H&M Studio to create an exclusive collection for H&M Studio AW17. Employees were informed of the decision early Wednesday morning. The iconic concept store, famous for its blue dot logo, celebrated its 20th anniversary in March at Les Arts Décoratifs. At the time the boutique did not appear to be facing any hardships outside of a drop in tourists numbers, reporting revenues of 28 million euros in 2016.

Colette is best known for its unique collection of curated fashion and lifestyle products. Featuring an eclectic blend of high-end fashion brands and fierce street labels, Colette is celebrated for its beautiful window display, in-store installations, and regular events. Andelman has been praised her willingness to feature up and coming designers, as Colette was one of the first stores to stock collections from Rodarte, Mary Katrantzou and Proenza Schouler.

Colette announces impending store closure

The store will continue to host its series of month-long takeover, starting with Balenciaga from June 16 to August 5 and ending with Saint Laurent from November 27 to December 20. The irony that the French brand is in the lead to take over the store premises has not been lost on some.

In 2013, Colette featured a line of parody t-shirts which read "Ain't Laurent Without Yves", following the passing of the maison's late founder. Saint Laurent reportedly threatened to sue Colette over the t-shirts, with Saint Laurent chief executive Francesca Bellettini accusing Andelman of "selling counterfeit products that 'seriously damaged' the YSL brand and confirming the end of their business relationship."

Andelman responded by pulling the t-shirts from Colette's online store and selling the remainder of them in store, a move which underlines the store's carefree spirit.

Photos: Colette, website

Bargain Spot launches in the UK

London - British Bargain shopper rejoice - Australian online shopping site Bargain Spot has expanded its services overseas and launched a dedicated platform to serve its growing UK audience.

The website searches for and gathers the biggest and the best bargains from the UK's leading retailers, including Asos, Boohoo, Littlewoods and more in one single location for shoppers to browse. The platform alerts consumers to the best discounts currently available by searching through more than a million products in a range of categories, including fashion, footwear, and beauty. Bargain Spot also features a price alert which lets users set to warn them when the desired product has reached a certain price level.

Bargain Spot launches in the UK

"We’ve seen Australian online shoppers take to Bargain Spot in large numbers since it began and it fast became a leading destination for Australian bargain hunters," said co-founder Justin Gray. "We have just launched Bargain Spot into the United Kingdom to give online shoppers there an opportunity to save money in the same way." Founded by father and son team Chris and Justin Gray in late November 2015, the online bargain spotting service has reached over one million Aussie shoppers.

Similar to the Australian version, the UK site offers products from a range of the country’s top retailers as well as the UK's favourite international stores. "Since its opening in November 2015 in Australia, we’ve seen Bargain Spot offer a ‘new way’ for bargain hunters to shop," added Justin. "We created the site with the aim of giving bargain hunters the chance to uncover — and take advantage of — hugely discounted items offered by stores," he explained.

"Because of the success of the Australian site, we have just launched the service in the United Kingdom, giving shoppers there the chance to save serious money."

Photos: Courtesy of Bargain Spot

Missguided deploys Doddle into flagship stores

Missguided, the popular womenswear fast fashion retailer is working with Doddle’s proprietary click & collect technology solution ‘Powered by Doddle’ for use in their two flagship stores at Westfield Stratford and Bluewater Kent.

Powered by Doddle is a customisable app, which lets brands control the look and feel of the interface. Installed on an android device, store teams are able to serve customers anytime and anywhere, therefore removing the need for a dedicated click & collect area as well as helping to reduce queues at peak times.

“We chose Powered by Doddle to run the click & collect service in our Westfield and Bluewater stores. The Doddle technology is super flexible, can be set up and changed quickly depending on demand, and it has been proven to work in 80 of Doddle’s own stores,” said John Allen, Chief Technology Officer, Missguided in a press statement.

Missguided deploys Doddle into flagship stores

Missguided were able to place their distinctive branding and tone of voice within the app, with functions including receipt of goods, allocation of goods to storage, customer communication and handling of expired parcels. The customisable interface enables Missguided to send branded emails and text messages to customers as opposed to those from a third party courier.

“For our own click & collect service we wanted to make sure we offered our customers a fantastic experience the first time, every time and Powered by Doddle has enabled us to do that in a way that looks and feels ‘Missguided’,” Allen continued.

“Moving from an online environment into physical stores is a huge operational and logistical undertaking. We’ve been able to add value as a partner by supplying a tried and tested click & collect service that their customers will love and will help them convert their strong online traffic into collection footfall,” added Tim Robinson, Doddle CEO.

Making the transition even easier, Doddle offers comprehensive training for Powered by Doddle, providing brands with a dedicated e-learning module, train-the-trainer sessions and centrally held staff training days.

Doddle have already partnered with more than 100 retailers, including ASOS and Net-a-Porter to offer collection and returns services. Powered by Doddle is the next generation of click & collect service and aims to simply ‘save [their] customers time’.

Photos courtesy of Doddle: Missguided Bluewater store, Screenshots from the Missguided Powered by Doddle app

Kate Spade launches pop-up at Heathrow

Kate Spade New York, the upmarket lifestyle brand has launched a pop-up store at the UK’s biggest airport, Heathrow.

The store, planned to ‘pop-up’ for just eight months, is situated in the airports biggest and busiest terminal, T5. Designed by Richard Rogers to welcome 35 million passengers a year, the store is guaranteed to be popular among international travelers. Offering the brand’s trademark bags and accessories, as well as a range of apparel, jewellery, technology and stationery, the store will feature Kate Spade’s signature interior of green walls, wooden flooring and distinctive lighting.

“We are really pleased to welcome Kate Spade New York to Heathrow, and we are delighted they have chosen Terminal five as their first travel retail home. Their arrival brings our passengers even closer to the best in international shopping and houses some great products for them to choose from,” said Heathrow’s retail and service proposition director Chris Annetts in an interview with The Industry.

The launch seems to be a logical next step for Kate Spade’s European expansion plan, which includes the recent opening of a flagship store in Paris as well as the opening of a store in Oslo, Norway to follow.

Kate Spade is currently in the process of being acquired by luxury accessories brand Coach for 2.4 billion dollars.

Photo courtesy of Kate Spade

Victoria Gate may be 'too high end' for some tenants

Even though it recently earned the title of 'The Best Shopping Centre' in the world at this year's MIPIM Awards in Cannes, France, concerns surrounding the future success of premium shopping destination Victoria Gate are being raised.

The 165 million pound retail destination, located in Leeds, previously opened its doors last October and features stores from Cos, Joules, and Anthropologie. The high-end shopping centre, adjacent to the Victoria Quarter is also home to the largest John Lewis store outside of London, which is said to be trading well according to the Colliers International Midsummer Retail Report 20178, which was released last week in Leeds.

Victoria Gate may be 'too high end' for some tenants

Concerns emerge over the premium appeal of Victoria Gate

In the report, the property experts note that the retail market in the region has remained strong for the most part, with shopping centre Trinity Leeds well-let. However, the upscale Victoria Gate is said to have a number of tenants seeking to move out of the shopping centre. "We understand there are some units that are vacant and three are being actively marketed by tenants at this time," said Tom Cullen, Director, and Retail Agency for the North at Colliers International to the Yorkshire Post.

"For what it’s worth, in my opinion, the scheme is almost too high-end and encourages a shopping treat as opposed to day-to-day sales," he added. "Phase two is to be leisure-led, we understand, but we feel demand is limited given other deals in the city and the peripheral nature of the second phase of the scheme."

FashionUnited reached out to Hammerson, the property owner and developer of Victoria Gate for their response to the report and news concerning tenants concerns. A spokesperson for Victoria Gate said: "Victoria Gate has had a fantastic reception since launching in Leeds last year. The scheme has created a premium retail destination, with over three quarters of the brands new to Leeds, providing an experience which is complementary to the existing retail provision in the city. In the first quarter of this year, footfall in the adjacent Victoria Quarter was up 22 percent and in the city itself 3 percent, which demonstrates that a more premium retail offer is attracting a new audience to the city."

"At launch, the John Lewis anchored scheme was 90 percent let to global brands. Part of our strategy is to use Victoria Gate as an incubator for emerging brands looking to build a presence in Leeds for the first time, which allows us to refresh and evolve the offer, ensuring that customers enjoy the best retail and leisure experience possible."

Concerns over the future of Victoria Gate comes as mass-market retailers such as New Look, H&M and Zara seek out larger stores (40,000 square feet or more) in key locations in Leeds and Newcastle over smaller units (5 to 7,000 square feet.) Zara is said to be moving into H&M's former store on Briggate in Leeds in order to capitalize on the space offered in the larger location.

Photo: Victoria Gate, Hammerson, website

UPDATE London - Five out of nine stand-alone Topshop stores in Australia are set to close their doors for good, in last-minute rescue bid to try and save the overseas franchise of the famed UK high street retailer.

Topshop Australia stores in Chatwoods and Miranda shopping centres in New South Wales, Highpoint in Melbourn and Perth have all closed down over the past two weeks according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald. Another store set to close is Topshop Australia store on Chapel Street, in Melbourne's South Yarra - the first Topshop store to open down under in 2011.

The Chapel Street store is said to have featured signs reading "closing soon" and "final reductions" in its windows on Saturday and is predicted to close over the next few weeks.

The store closures come weeks after the Australian franchise of Topshop entered into voluntary administration. Topshop Australia had debts of close to 35 million AUD when it went into administrations on May 25. The fashion retailer shut down its dedicated e-commerce platform in Australia the same month, although customers can still shop via Topshop UK site, which offers free shipping over a certain spend.

Rescue talks between Topshop Australia's owners and Topshop owner Sir Philip Green are said to still be underway, although the situation remains dire. Department store group Myer holds a 20 percent stake in the Australian arm, as Topshop currently counts 17 concessions in its stores across the country.

FashionUnited has reached out to administrators Ferrier Hodgson for additional commentary.

Impact of Brexit on the rebound as footfall increases 31 percent year-on-year

The impact of the EU Referendum vote on consumer footfall and shopping centre spend is said to be on the rebound according to the latest figures from CRM platform and mobile loyalty provider Coniq. However, there are a number of areas across the UK which are still struggling with the uncertainty of what effect the Brexit will have.

Overall consumer traffic to shopping centres increased 31 percent year-on-year since the Brexit vote, according to data from Coniq. This boost highlights a boost in consumer confidence when it comes to their disposable income and spend. However, even though overall footfall is up from last year, the results differed dramatically depending on whether shopping centres were in areas which voted to leave or remain in the EU.

Interestingly, areas which voted to leave the UK were found to have significantly pulled back on their shopping visits, with footfall decreasing 65 percent in total. However footfall in areas where the majority voted to remain increased 33 percent year on year.

The same principle applied to consumer spending habits, as leave areas reported a 55 percent decrease in transactions, with revenue declining 68 percent as the average transaction value fell by 27 percent year on year. But remain areas saw transactions increase by 40 percent, revenue go up by 50 percent and average transactional value increase by 12 percent.

"It is tough on retailers in today’s climate, where not only do they have to tackle living wages, rising business rates and steep competition, but also political decisions that affect the economy have a huge sway on customer trends and spend," commented Ben Chesser, founder and CEO at Coniq.

"As the UK finds itself in a period of uncertainty it is unsurprising that spend dips in some areas, but following the latest election results and strong response from remain areas, perhaps some of the feeling of instability has passed and shoppers are now looking to return to their usual purchasing trends."

Photo: Pexels

Converse to open first retail store at London Designer Outlet

Converse’s new store will open at London’s only outlet centre; London Designer Outlet at Wembley Park. The iconic US based brand turned 100 earlier this year, and is going through a resurgence due to it’s iconic ‘‘All Star Chuck Taylor’.

Home to a Nike store, which is ranked as one of the brands top three outlet stores, as well as retail stores such as Adidas, Dr Martens and Superdry, the centre attracts 5.8 million consumers per year. With 10.4 million people within a 60 minute drive, the outlet a promising location for Converse’s first UK stand-alone store.

Converse joins skatewear inspired brand Vans in launching at LDO. “Converse and Vans are great additions to the range of top brands LDO offers and we’re proud to be the centre of choice for Converse’s first-ever store in the UK,” said Christine Grace, Realm’s leasing director for LDO, in a press statement.

Set to launch later this year, the store’s opening date it yet to be confirmed.