Ted Baker: Australian market lagging

Ted baker syd 2Australian retail needs to pick up its global game, according to the British high street fashion retailer, Ted Baker.

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Craig Smith, brand communication director of Ted Baker, told Inside Retail PREMIUM the country’s retail market is “lacking on all fronts”.

“When you look at major Australian cities, the breadth of the offer just isn’t up to the standard of other international cities,” he says.

Smith said Sydney or Melbourne don’t compare to the “breadth of quality and offer” in London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Berlin, or Amsterdam.

“Australia is lacking a depth of variety and the customer is now seeing what’s going on in the rest of the world.

“That’s why the Australian e-commerce market is developing so quickly.”

Ted Baker was founded in Glasgow in 1988 and has 350 stores and department store concessions globally.

It expanded to Australia in 2005 via a concesssion deal with David Jones, and opened its first standalone store in 2007.

The bricks and mortar expansion is via a joint partnership with the Melbourne-based Flair Industries, which operates men’s suiting and semi-formal brands.

Smith told Inside Retail PREMIUM that Ted Baker will open its sixth Australian store in May at Brisbane’s Indooroopilly Mall.

The 2000sqm store will be themed around “observatories” in line with the retailer’s strategy of branding each new store in a different way.

For example, it’s Sydney store is based around local British landmarks, and Melbourne is themed around steam train travel.

Ted Baker began as a men’s shirting company, but now targets both sexes with semi-formal clothing, casual attire, and accessories.

“Australians are moving away from the misconception of what an Australian dresses like,” says Smith.

“They’re mixing the best of dinner and smart casual and have a layering approach irrespective of weather.”

Australia set for e-commerce platform

Globally, Ted Baker operates in 36 markets either as a retailer or wholesale brand, and has a significant online footprint.

“Aside from Australasia, there are only a few other countries we don’t service,” said Smith of Ted Baker’s e-commerce.

The listed company has “great plans” for Australia’s lucrative online market and plans to introduce Australian shipping in 2014.

“Asos [Australia] carries the brand and we know there’s a receptive audience. The intention is 2014. It’s important.”

He said Ted Baker doesn’t think in terms of competitors, but noted that the Australian market is receptive to British retailers.

“Australia has a welcoming experience of British brands. Everybody is picking up brands when they travel from their home market.”

Craig Smith is speaking at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Marketing Breakfast this month.

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