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UK womenswear clothing market analysis and predictions

Retailers in the Fashion industry do face so many challenges. Challenges keep on increasing as the years move by. Challenges faced in 2010 are not the same as the ones of prior years. Some of the challenges they face do come from the customers or from the market itself through competition. The challenges facing the retailers of the fashion industry in general do impact negatively on this sector as the profits; the main aim of being in business does decline.

The cost of many products in the markets has really gone up, the consumer spending levels and habits have also gone down as a result of the prices shooting up, currency fluctuations also does impact negatively in the retail sector because in many cases the impact of the depreciation of the currency is always passed to the consumer and in turn the consumer does keep off purchasing goods (the spending habits of the consumer change) and once the consumer spending habits go down, then the retail industry is bound to suffer as the sales do go down.

Price deflation is also having a negative impact on the retail sector. The fall in prices which is being driven by oversees sourcing (cheap imports) has seen to a drop of prices in the fashion industry. Cheap clothes especially from china and other Asian countries do force the prices down. The retailers who specialise in selling the internally manufactured clothes face a go-slow on their products as they are expensive clothes and are rarely bought by the consumers who do prefer the cheap imports due to the hard economic times.

Traditional or classic retailers (retailers who run retail shops) also do face some challenges in the market like giving the right kind of response to opportunities presented by e-commerce-online purchasing of goods (Margaret, Christopher & Grete 2004). Many consumers are now shopping from home through the internet as most of them do not have time to go round the retail shops to purchase their outfits. They prefer to do it from the comfort of their homes by just logging into the internet and purchasing there required goods. The internet is fast replacing the traditional retailers and the retailers themselves are doing less to counter it.

The consumers use the internet to buy the outfits that they need. The retailer shops are running dry of customers as a result of this and the retailers have not come up with a way of countering this new trend in consumer behaviour. The retails have to improve on service delivery if they are to counter this vice. They have to improve their customer service and ensure that they offer other services in a better way as compared to the internet service providers for example they can offer better discount rates as compared to the internet markets who even charge delivery fees.

They can also take advantage of the delays that usually face the internet service providers during delivery especially in the pick seasons. The internet also poses a potential threat to the retailers as they are now offering cheaper prices for branded goods as compared to the retailers who have to pay rent and other expenses and therefore have to sell at a higher price (Hines 2007). The other consumers who don’t purchase through the internet are also not loyal to specific retail outlets as they have to shop around comparing prices of the different retail stores.

They go round looking for the best deal in terms of price and the quality of the fashion product (Hines 2007). The supermarkets are also a big challenge to the traditional or classic retailers. They offer fashion products at cheaper prices as compared to other smaller retail shops. Winners and losers in women’s wear retail industry. In the Mintel reports, we find that there are some big retailers for example the supermarkets who keep on becoming bigger while other smaller retail players are either forced to exit the market or refinance their business due to the hard economic times.

However to be a real winner in the women’s fashion sector one has to maintain a strong brand identity with a very clear differentiation against all competitors in the same industry. Mintel’s research does show that Levi is the leading jeans brand in the United Kingdom and holds a market share of 15%. It is the strongest brand in the women’s clothing market. Levi reaps more from the women’s cloth market more than any other brand.

It is therefore obvious that most of the big chain supermarkets and other big time retailers like Primark and Peacocks who retail in products from Levis do reap more than other retails as it is the favorite of most women. In the same Mintel’s research, Marks & Spencer follows in the second place with a 9% share in the women’s clothing retail market. 9% of women shoppers opt for products from Marks and Spencer. Retailers’ who stock products from this brand also have some dominance in the market for women’s wear.

The two brands, Levis and Marks & Spencer are the biggest rivals and biggest winners and gainers in the women’s retail sector in the line of jeans. After these two big brands, there comes other two rivals in the same market, Lee and Wrangler, they are both owned by U. S. A clothing giant VF Corporation. The two brands do also boast of some share in the women’s clothing market share, even though they are not the biggest movers. The retail market is all about brand names. The retailers who stock products from the above manufacturers are bound to make more profits as these products are easily acceptable to wider and bigger market.

However there are losers in this market, the retailers who have smaller shops or outlets are the most affected. They cannot be able to have and move more volumes that are necessary to compete on entry level prices and in most times they are forced out of this market as their businesses do suffer losses and they are not able to refinance them. (verdict reports 2009) the smaller retailers also do not have enough space to stock more products. According to the 2009 verdict report, the bigger retailers like Primark have enough space for more outfits.

The big volumes that they hold enable them to reduce prices by some margin which they can shoulder comfortably. The price of their outfits ends up being moderate and friendly to the consumer’s pocket which in turn pulls them to these retail stores. The fair prices enables them to move larger volumes and this keeps them in business as compared to other small retailers who hold smaller shops and stock lesser volumes of clothes that do not fetch a lot of profits. In conclusion, it is obvious that the bigger retail shops like supermarkets, peacock and Primark retail shops are among the winners in the women’s clothe retail industry.

The reason is that they have larger space for more stock with acceptable brands like Levis jeans and during the bad economic times like the current climate whereby consumers are cutting back in expenditure, they are able to stay in business as they offer moderate prices but move more volumes.

References

Margaret, B. Christopher, M. & Grete, B (2004), International retail marketing: a case study approach. Butterworth Heinemann. Hines, T (2007) Fashion Marketing: contemporary issues, Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann Jones, R. (2006) The Apparel Industry, London: Blackwell www. mintelreports. com www. verdictreports. com

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