Is the High-Street Failing due to greed?




Topshop, when you are twelve, is a catalyst of becoming a teenager. It was the Mecca for the girl that you wanted to grow up and be. Flash forward ten years and you realise that Topshop has become everything you hate. Ring all the alarm bells, Topshop is making its way down the high-street ladder, we can mourn later.

There was little Christmas cheer at Topshop last year. The billionaire owner, Sir Phillip Green’s sales reportedly plunged by almost 11% during the festive period. Even before the Christmas period, in the seven weeks leading up to the big day, sales doubled in the overall 6.6% drop.

Due to figures from The Sunday Times, Topshop was one of the worst performers on the high street over the Christmas period. Which leads us to the question.

What exactly has happened to Topshop?

Let’s visualise a walk through a Topshop now. You are confronted with a bountiful number of plain t-shirts in every colour, including neon and nude. Not just that, but unless you want the words, FEMME, plastered over the front of your poorly fitted t-shirt, there isn’t much else for you.

Not just this, but the entire atmosphere of Topshop has changed. This might be due to the fact that I have grown up, but Topshop is nothing to what it used to be – it is a dull baron land of ripped jeans and graphic t-shirts. 

But does this mean that the high-street has also become the same dull baron land?

With the increased copyright infringements coming against high-street stores, it has become more apparent that the high-street are not willing to embrace student designers or collaborate with others across the globe. Hitting Zara earlier this year with myriads of motifs and embellishments on their clothes. These were similar to LA based artists Tuesday Bassen. Zara, are not the only high-street store that have come under scrutiny for their infringements. Topshop has also come against the infringements.  

London based embroiderer, Hannah Hill, known as Hanecdote [on social media] took to her Instagram and Twitter to compare one of her hand-stitched badges, to Topshop’s Halloween themed sock range. Topshop are yet to provide a response for the accusations.

Does this show that high-street retailers are not willing to add to their aesthetic, or as it seems, can not be bothered to collaborate with designers across the globe? Instead, seem to be ripping of designers for their own greed?

Recently, Topshop Australia has gone into voluntary administration. Despite Topshop being one of the first international brands to set up in Australia. Global brands such as; Zara, H&M and Uniqlo are fighting to compete to stay within the high-street. Those high-street brands have taken $600 million out of the Australian clothing retail sector. 

Many are blaming the failure of Topshop in Australia due to the greed and the globalisation of the brand. Since moving to Australia in 2011, Topshop has expanded its footprint to 9 stores and 17 concession outlets, and employing 760 people - insinuating that the brand had moved too quickly. .

Back in the UK, there is the total of 896 stores disappearing from the UK’s town centres in 2016 – this is the biggest decline since 2012. With store closures increased from 14 to 15 per day on average. This beckons the question - are high-street stores getting too greedy?

It seems that those who are inside the Topshop brand, are beginning to realise the demise of the retail company. With the likes of Mary Homer, who had been the managing director for 11 years, has now moved to The White Company. The departure comes from a string of resignations from the Arcadia empire.

Those alike Topshop’s retail director Craig McGregor and Yasmin Yusuf, Miss Selfridge’s creative director have all quit in recent months.

With the continuing competitive retail market it proves that there always has to be a failure. Online stores such as ASOS are beginning to see the benefit of not having their place on the high-street, but online. 

In the UK, ASOS retail sales reached £603.8m in 2016, that is a 27% increase on the year before. In the US, ASOS sales have increased by 50% reaching £179.2m. Total sales of ASOS across the EU had reached £1,403.7m. It seems that the general public, especially the target audience of 18-25 year olds are moving more towards shopping online, rather than going in store. 

It is not hard to see how Topshop is beginning to proceed downhill. There is continually a quick fire sale within any Topshop you go into – sales of the clothes go down to £15 from £65. From personal experience, the confusion of the sale of an orange fur coat, which went from £500, to £50 and then back up to £500.

This suggests that the high-street is confused and feeding on the greed of those who are guiding the companies. But does this necessarily mean that the high-street is destined for failure? 

What do you think? Do you think that the high-street is becoming to greedy? Do you see the demise of the high-street where you live? We would love to hear from you and hear what you think?