LONDON--Miss Selfridge has been the U.K.'s hottest junior retailer since it was founded during the "Swinging Sixties." Now it's fine-tuning its operations to make sure it stays that way. The 139-unit chain, a subsidiary of department and specialty store retailer Sears PLC, recognizes that demographics are working against it. With the number of 15-to-25-year-olds expected to decline in the U.K. over the next decade, Miss Selfridge will have to work harder to continue its sales growth, which analysts estimate at about $160.7 million (105 million pounds) a year. Profits average about $7.7 million to $10.7 million (5 million to 7 million pounds) annually. "Many companies have moved out of the junior market because of the demographic shift," said managing director Derek Lovelock from the company's headquarters in north London. "We are firmly entrenched in it and aim to take a bigger slice of a smaller pie." To do that, Miss Selfridge instituted many changes over the last year. It began to remodel its stores--changing from a look of the Seventies to a funkier Nineties style based on a Barcelona nightclub. It brought in consultants to help formalize the structure of its product ranges--including the launch of the "Miss Selfridge Range Diamond," which is hung throughout its headquarters to remind merchandisers of which niche they are targeting with specific product lines. It added more basic, less fashion-forward merchandise such as jeans and T-shirts. It introduced a lower-priced collection called Low Down Wicked, to maintain its price-competitiveness. "The 15-to-25-year-old age group is diminishing in numbers, but someone has to cater to them," said Hillary Monk, an analyst at the retail consulting firm Verdict Research. "Miss Selfridge has managed to maintain its niche, but what has always been a mystery is why it has never expanded more. It probably could trade off twice as many stores." In the U.K., it has 106 freestanding stores and 24 Miss Selfridge in-store shops. Lovelock said he doesn't expect to dramatically increase that number. It also operates nine in-store shops in Germany, but Lovelock remains cautious about expanding the chain overseas. Miss Selfridge already carries footwear, cosmetics and accessories and plans to add more lifestyle products such as stationery, note pads and other novelty items. All of Miss Selfridge's products are sourced either in the U.K. or from low-cost suppliers in Continental Europe or the Far East. Key price points for fall range from about $46 (26 pounds) for pants, dresses and skirts to $77 (50 pounds) for jackets to $107 to $154 (70 to 100 pounds) for coats. The U.S. has no chains comparable to Miss Selfridge in terms of its leading-edge fashions and price points, said Lovelock, who travels to America several times a year to study the junior market. "The closest thing to us in terms of approach is the Wet Seal chain," he said. One of the main differences is cultural, said Lovelock. "Since most British teenagers are still required to wear uniforms to school, they want to change into the latest fashions when school is out to assert their individuality, helping to fuel the junior market," he explained. In addition, Britain still has a strong club culture. "But catering to the latest fad can be dangerous for any retailer if it guesses wrong," said Lovelock. Part of the reason for introducing the "Range Diamond" at Miss Selfridge was to iron out the dramatic swings in profitability the chain experienced in the past, Lovelock admitted. So the diamond covers everything from basics, which are in the stores for 26 weeks, to a core collection catering to about 80 percent of customers, to leading-edge styles exclusive to Miss Selfridge that are in-store for only four to six weeks. "Miss Selfridge has always been known for affordable, leading-edge fashions," said Lovelock. "By introducing a core collection, we can now take those leading-edge looks and knock ourselves off rather than letting our competitors do it. Now we can balance those looks with our core and basic ranges. Of the fashion chains in the U.K., our name has the greatest street credibility. The key is keeping that balance between leading edge fashion and affordability." --Fairchild News Service
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia