Fashion retailer Asos is working with consultants Javelin Group to asses the potential of opening stores on the high street.
The online-only business has for years been considering opening up stores to compliment its online business. There were also rumours that it would enter a partnership with a high street retailer to enable it to offer a Click & Collect-type service.
Asos has been a runaway success and trailblazed its way through online fashion retailing with a number of pioineering moves. But the canny Nick Robertson, who co-founded the business, undoubtedly knows better than anybody that the future is multi-channel.
If you just have a virtual presence then there is the potential that business can be lost to rivals that can leverage a store estate to offer Click & Collect, provide a repository for returns, and act as a marketing tool for the brand.
As Asos becomes increasingly dependent on its own-label goods (for differentiation, increased margin and also reducing the level of returns because sizing will likely be consistent across its own products) the need to have flagship-type stores will only increase.
Javelin has provided its services to Asos in the past and is currently understood to be working with the company to determine the feasibility of stores, what types of store they should be, and the potential locations for such units.
With opening stores, Asos will join a growing band of online specialists boosting their multi-channel credentials by adding physical outlets. They include N. Brown and it now looks like online cyle retailer Wiggle is to join the party as it this week announced it plan to open stores following its acquisition by private equity firm Bridgepoint.