High street behemoth Arcadia last week reported sinking sales across all of its major brands in FY2016/17 as the midmarket retailer struggled to compete. Topshop/Topman, which accounts for almost half of total sales, experienced a sales decline of 7.7% leading its combined forecast share of the clothing market to fall 1.8% in 2018, down from 2.1% in 2016.
Figure 1: Arcadia brands UK sales growth/decline FY2016/17 versus FY2015/16. Brands in descending order based on UK sales value. All figures are percentages.
While online pure plays, such as ASOS, boohoo.com and Pretty Little Thing have continued to report phenomenal sales growth, increasing their share and demonstrating that shoppers are willing to spend on trend-led items, Arcadia’s young fashion brands continue to lose out. Its extensive store portfolio and lack of investment in its brand websites need to be reviewed and the retailer must rapidly adapt its proposition considering the ongoing shift of spend to the online channel.
Being present on many UK high streets and in shopping centres is not enough to ensure consumers will visit and purchase. Arcadia needs to demonstrate its credibility online and tempt young shoppers away from the online pure plays that heavily market their brands by enhancing its online offer to create a seamless, functional and enjoyable shopping journey.
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