British Retailers Entering US

This Spring, another British Brand, The White Company announced plans to enter the U.S. market.

The White Company is one of the U.K.’s fastest growing retailers. Revenues exceed $200M USD and it has presence in over 50 markets in the UK.

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What is The White Company

The multi-channel retailer’s line encompasses: home accessories, such as candles, tableware and vases; beauty – skincare collection – fragrance, bath and body, alongside an impressive clothing range that includes the softest cashmere sweaters, luxurious loungewear and stylish dresses and accessories.

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Expansion Approach

The White Company started over 20 years ago in the late 1990s with a 12 page mail order catalog. It launched a U.S. ecommerce site in 2014, a solid 3 years prior to making the move to have a brick and mortar retail presence in the U.S.

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The first flagship store is coming to Fifth Avenue in New York City. From NY, plans currently look like they will expand from this radius into neighboring states.

More UK Retailers in US

As different brands such as TopShop, Reiss, and The White Company enter the US market – it is interesting to see the approach each one takes. Whether it is the example on one extreme from Tesco’s stumble or the more successful example of food chain Pret a Manger – there is a big appetite for British brands to expand into the U.S.

Tesco spent a lot of prep work, did a lot of research and yet was unable to make a successful entry despite all the capital it had at its disposal. Given this, smaller brands might take pause – but again, with the successful examples of many other brands – it is key to understand your audience and take a measured approach. I like The White Company’s use of ecommerce as a ‘dipping the toe in the water’ test before entering the market – though I think it is quite conservative to take three years to build up the case to make a solid presence. In the tech space, time is not always on your side – and first mover advantages can at times lock out other competitors.

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I expect to see an acceleration of brands entering, thanks to large brands making public entrances and in the case of The White Company, giving a transparency of their approach.

 

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