Crowd gathers awaiting Topshop opening on George Street, Sydney

MORE than 20 people gathered at the new UK chain Topshop overnight in Sydney to be the first inside the store when it opens to the public this morning.

Minji Park, who is first in line at the store with her friend Rachel Gammel, said she sat down outside the shop on George Street at 4.30pm yesterday.

“I just wanted to be the first in line because it’s such a big event,” she told The Daily Telegraph this morning.

“I need some new singlets since summer is coming up soon.”

The 15-year-old described Topshop as an ASOS-like store.

Thousands expected at Topshop

International retail brands opening stores in Australia should help local operators as well as give shoppers the best the fashion world has to offer immediately, experts said yesterday.

With better designs, high levels of customer service, strong consumer engagement and lower prices, big-name retailers would challenge local brands to lift their game.

Highly popular UK chain Topshop opened its first Sydney store yesterday and expects to attract 30,000 people on the first day of trade. Sydney is now home to fast fashion retailers Zara and Gap. Uniqlo and River Island are confirmed to open next year and H&M is rumoured to be scouting for locations.

Executive director of the Australian Retail Association Russell Zimmerman believes Topshop’s arrival will have a positive impact on the local market.

“It’s an exciting new retailer in the old Gowings building, it puts people into the precinct and it means a lot more people shopping,” he said.

Although retail is struggling, Topshop chairman Hilton Seskin isn’t worried about attracting customers.

“The appetite to shop is there,” he said.

“I think the whole of Australia has to readjust themselves in the way we address retail and deliver product.”

Retail strategy consultants Retail Oasis’ spokesperson Nerida Jenkins said retailers needed to be open to change.

“For a long time retailers were able to have a closed marketplace in which to operate and the opening of competitive landscape from online and now retail upped the ante on companies to up their offer and engagement with their consumers,” she said.

“Local fashion has reached a flat period in terms of design, product, in-store experience and branding.”

Mr Seskin believes local labels need to rethink their strategy in order to survive.

“People want everything now, they look online and there’s a visibility to what’s happening in fashion,” he said.

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