Branding key for clothes retail

Clothing retailers face a tough 1999, with those which employ effective identity and brand design most likely to survive a high street cull, according to retail consultant Verdict’s latest report.

For mass market retailers an important element of future success is predicted to be the relative performance of Marks & Spencer, in its programme of repositioning prices and products.

Chains which increased sales in 1998 were those with more individual images, according to Verdict on Clothing Retailers 1999. The report cites retailers including French Connection, Jigsaw and Karen Millen as demonstrating “the popularity of retailers which have differentiated themselves in the market, with a strong identity and brand proposition which stands out from so much which is bland on the high street”.

Verdict chairman Richard Hyman says: “Design alone is not going to help anyone… but it is vitally important to support the merchandise”. He adds that retailers which do not employ effective store and identity design could find themselves in a “terminal” situation within the next five years.

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