The domestic outlook is bleak: the government's widespread spending cuts are all over the papers, we are all feeling the cold (literally) and retail sales are down for the second consecutive month in a row. But is the current frosty spell an indicator that it is set to be a long, cold winter?
Leaders within the retail industry gathered yesterday in Berlin for the World Retail Congress. Reuters reports that while most were downbeat about the outlook within the US and continental Europe, many were looking east for growth opportunities and in particular in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. Sir Stuart Rose suggested that businesses could use the Internet to test these new markets at relatively low cost. Drapers confirmed that online is Marks & Spencer’s largest store and that Rose indicated that M&S will use its existing online platform as the launchpad into new international markets. “For international markets the advance guard will go first but we will still open stores,” he told the World Retail Congress.
M&S isn't the only British retailer following this strategy. Drapers reported yesterday on River Island's recent deal with ASOS which will make its trend-led collections available across 170 countries. So, while the UK outlook may be bleak, there are opportunities for growth overseas. Fashionista is looking forward to seeing British fashion businesses make the most of their headstart online to gain entry to new international markets.