Fast fashion invasion continues

British high street brand, River Island, has become the latest international fast fashion retailer to target Australia, with it set to launch a local online site tomorrow.

The retailer, which rivals Topshop, H&M, and Zara, was already set to open stores by 2014 in Australia under a local deal struck with Retail and Apparel Group (RAG).

But the bricks and mortar deal was severed earlier this year, with RAG boss Stephen Leibowitz telling Inside Retail the two parties couldn’t agree on financial terms.

“At the end of the day, we couldn’t come to terms over the agreement. We wish them luck,” he said in May.

“I think they’re 100 per cent sure to come to Australia without a partner,” said Leibowitz, whose group operates menswear chains Yd, Tarocash, and Connor.

It appears Leibowitz’s assessment was correct, with River Island now targeting the sector on its own terms, starting with a soft launch online, assumedly to test the market.

The fast fashion operator will deliver to Australian consumers from the site as of tomorrow, with it offering free local shipping on for the first week of trade.

Australians will have access to the entire River Island range, including its much-hyped collaboration with pop star Rihanna.

Local consumers will be given access to product at the same time as the Northern Hemisphere, with new products added weekly along with localized content.

River Island is best-known for its price-conscious fashion items, but it also offers menswear and kidswear collections as well as a beachwear range.

It follows fellow fast fashion operators Topshop, Asos, and Zara into the Australian market, with rival H&M set to launch in Australia this year.

River Island’s website already ships to more than 100 countries nationally.

A large chunk of its range is already available to local shoppers online via British pureplay, Asos, which launched shipping to Australia almost two years ago.

ShopStyle, another large pureplay that delivers to Australia, also stocks River Island.

River Island’s tailored website news follows the announcement last week by US rival Urban Outfitters that its European site will now deliver to Australia.

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