Tesco’s F&F Clothing Brand seeking West End shop

It’s been revealed today that Tesco has been actively looking around London’s West End for a Flagship store of  6,000+ sq ft for it’s F&F clothing brand.

The  ‘value’ clothing market is estimated to be worth £9.3 bn in the UK and Tesco lies in 5th place behind Primark, (Asda’s) George, T K Maxx and New Look with a market share of around 10.4%, not a position Tesco is generally happy with.

The F&F  (formerly Florence and Fred) brand has grown fast over the last few years with expansion into several sub-brands such as F&F Trends, F&F Couture, F&F Petite and F&F True (larger sizes) along with developing it’s internet presence. It even boasts it’s own celebrity with, the former model, Caprice as one of the designers.

It’s debatable whether Tesco can make the economics of a prime high street site square with selling similar products in it’s (much cheaper) supermarkets located in Retail Parks. You would expect Tesco to have done their sums but the equally professional Asda spent nearly 5 years trying to make their stand-alone George shops profitable before finally closing the 11 sites in 2008.

It may be an interesting year on the Retail front with a number of overseas chains, such as Victoria’s Secrets, Forever 21 and Vera Moda looking to take advantage of the cheap pound and (temporary?) availability of some prime retail sites after the shock of the last 18 months.

We may see a different High street in the next few years to what we are used to.

Tony Heywood – Gilcrest Services Ltd
Retail Troubleshooter
Business Turnaround and Recovery

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