Monthly Retail Round-Up - May 2019

Some of the best articles from the world of retail and its supporting industries.

Monthly Retail Round-Up - May 2019

With lots of retail news to keep up with, Dressipi brings you the best stories this May.

1) Stitch Fix’s UK Debut

Reported in the Evening Standard, US fashion tech company, Stitch Fix has launched in the UK. The online personal styling service “combines data with human stylists to make it easier to find clothes you’ll love”.

Fashion United outlined that the platform works by getting “users to sign up online to create a style profile and add information such as their age, height, weight, preferences for fit, budget and lifestyle. This data is then used by personal stylists to curate a selection of garments, accessories and shoes, which is delivered to the user’s home for a £10 fee.”

The 5 items are chosen through Stitch Fix’s algorithms which gather up all the different data points, along with human stylists who can give it that extra personal touch. Reported in the Evening Standard, “As a shopper, you can make specific notes and requests for items, such as looking for an item to wear at a friend’s wedding.”

Reported in Fashion United, “3 million customers are actively using the platform in the US” and some think it is to be as successful in the UK, their first international market.

2) Fashion’s Rental Hype

The clothing rental business is a fast growing market with research published by Allied Market Research (reported in Inc) outlining that “the global online clothing rental market collected $1.01 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $1.85 billion by 2023”. McKinsey & Company’s The State of Fashion 2019 reported that young buyers who want to be able to update their wardrobes frequently but also say they care about environmental sustainability are largely driving the trend.

One retailer planning to jump on the bandwagon is URBN, the parent company of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Reported in The Retail Bulletin, URBN is “launching a women’s apparel subscription rental service in the US called Nuuly.”

For a monthly subscription costing $88, Nuuly users can borrow 6 pieces from URBN’s own brands (Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People) along with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Reported in The Retail Bulletin, “Nuuly subscribers will select their styles each month, wear them as often as they like, and then swap into new styles the next month. They will also be given the option of purchasing any items they are renting. Nuuly will stock over 1,000 styles at launch and there are plans to add over 100 new styles a week and triple style count by the end of the year.”

3) Farfetch Launches Resale Platform

As part of its sustainability strategy, Farfetch has launched a new initiative called Second Life. Reported in Drapers, “Farfetch Second Life will allow customers to trade “pre-loved” luxury bags in exchange for credits that can be used on future Farfetch purchases.”

Reported in Fashion United, the resale platform allows “customers to upload photos of the bag(s) they want to sell, then the company will respond within two business days to let them know how much credit they’ll earn. Customers can then arrange a free collection of the bag(s), and credit is received within two business days once the bag has been received and verified.”

With an increasing awareness of the harm that fast fashion has on the environment, Giorgio Belloli, Chief Commercial and Sustainability Officer, Farfetch, said (reported in Drapers), “Luxury fashion is increasingly aligned with sustainable fashion. Resale is an area of increasing interest for our customers. Like the online luxury market, the pre-owned luxury market is growing rapidly, and is likely to double in size to reach $51bn over the next five years. A luxury re-sale programme like Farfetch Second Life allows us to enter this market and test the demand of Farfetch customers for this kind of service.”

According to ThredUp’s recent annual Resale Report (reported in Fashion United), the secondhand market will be 1.5x bigger than fast fashion by 2028. By then, used items are forecasted to account for an average of 13% of people’s closets.

4) M&S Clothes Fitting Tech to Help Reduce Returns

M&S has invested in Texel in an attempt to solve the sizing problem for customers and the returns problem for retailers. The specialist fit technology works by enabling “consumers to create digital avatars using 3D scanning technology to find the clothing most appropriate to their shape and size” (Retail Week). The technology can be used through a single sensor in-store or by using a smartphone app.

Reported in Retail Week, the technology “is designed to be convenient for the customer and cost-effective for the retailer, and could help boost apparel sales and reduce returns.” This is all part of M&S’s ongoing strategy to become a digital-first retailer.

Sergey Klimentyev, Co-Founder, Texel said, “We are looking forward to seeing how we can help M&S with finding the perfect fit for their customers and enable them to shop online with confidence.”

We hope you enjoyed the round-up. Please feel free to get in touch with any stories you feel would be of interest.

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