Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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RETAIL REVIEW 78 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 A ffordable, fast-paced concepts — from fast casual restaurants, to fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Zara — continue to reign supreme with the younger generation of consum- ers. In keeping with the success of this sector, on-trend basics retailer Cotton On has seen escalating growth worldwide in recent years. From the land down under to the Sun Belt of the U.S., the brand is making a name for itself as a major player in the fast fashion category. "The Cotton On Group was born 25 years ago when our founder, Nigel Austin, started selling denim jackets out the back of his SUV at a local market in Geelong — a city located one hour outside of Mel- bourne, Australia," says Mark Pan, USA country manager at Cotton On Group. "After identifying a gap in the market for on-trend and affordable fashion, Nigel's entrepreneurial spirit saw him open the doors to the frst Cotton On store in Gee- long in 1991." From this initial store in Geelong, the business has grown to include eight brands and more than 1,400 stores across 17 global markets. The brand set its sights on the U.S. in 2009, with California as its initial target "We opened the doors to the frst Cot- ton On store in Los Angeles — a city we felt would embrace the brand's casual and relaxed Aussie aesthetic — in 2009," says Pan. "Since entering the U.S. market, we have seen our brands and products res- onate extremely well with the American customer. To date we've opened 121 stores across 13 states, predominantly in the Sun Belt." As far as offerings are concerned, Cot- ton On's primary focus is on providing the younger generation with the trends they want as soon as they want them. "While we welcome customers of all ages, our portfolio of seven brands typically caters to newborns through to young adults," says Pan. Pan attributes the companies' success with its ability to quickly provide consum- ers with on-trend, affordable fashions. "Our ability to achieve 20 percent growth annually over the last six years lies heavi- ly in the innovation of our supply chain, which allows us to respond with agility to customer demand with new product drops weekly and stock replenishment daily," says Pan. "Our in-house team of 65 trend forecasters, product developers and designers play a critical role in our ability to meet customer expectations, creating tens of thousands of new products each year, with an average timeline of two to eight weeks from the design development through to hitting our shelves." The company's brick and mortar lo- cations range from approximately 1,500 square feet to 8,000 square feet, with each store featuring Cotton On's signature laid back style. "Raw, natural materials such as exposed brick walls, concrete foors and solid timber are used throughout all of our designs to ensure our stores refect Aussie Brand Sees Success in U.S. Cotton On brings on-trend, fast fashion basics from the land down under. Katie Sloan Cotton On brick and mortar locations range anywhere between 1,500 and 8,000 square feet.

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