UK expats down under lure traditional British stores

Published:  27 Apr at 9 AM
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Tagged: Australia, UK, Money, England
Expat nostalgia, at least for certain retail aspects of the home country, is alive and kicking in Australia, resulting in several traditional British favourites launching online stores.

British expats, wherever in the world they settle, seem to be unable to dislodge their fond memories of traditional British retail outlets and foods. It’s not just fish ‘n chips, pints of bitter and Marks and Spencers’ underwear they’re missing, it’s the huge department stores beloved by generations of English shoppers.

Since the world went online, orders from far-flung ex-colonial outposts have featured strongly at online UK sites such as Debenhams and House of Fraser. For example, Debenhams’ online orders originating in Oz increased by 12 per cent last year, making up to a small extent the decline in the popular department store’s UK-based takings.

According to Ross Clemmow, Debanhams e-commerce director, Australia is the store’s largest international online market, racking up 47 per cent of all international orders and a third of the sterling total of international sales in spite of the Australian dollar’s recent decline. As a result, an ambitious push to triple sales during the rest of 2016 and into 2017 is underway, involving a locally-focused website and a strong marketing campaign under the headline ‘A Match Made at Debenhams’.

High street competitor House of Fraser is also attempting to cash in on its popularity in Oz, both with expats and with new Australian customers. Its website will feature local content priced in Australian dollars and, as with Debenhams’ site, will attempt to boost revenue from its biggest international online market.

Rivals Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis and M&S all ship online orders to Australia, aiming at not only the 1.2 million Brit expats who can’t imagine buying clothes and accessories anywhere else but also Oz nationals who can’t resist the designs and quality. Jaeger, Preen, Jasper Conran, Barbour and even Dorothy Perkins designs already have a strong following down under for their lasting appeal and style.

The stores’ online sites will satisfy demand for now, but quintessential British designer fashions and all that goes with them will soon be available in bricks and mortar stores via major franchise deals. Debenhams is planning several stores across OZ over the next three years, and other favourites are sure to follow the money.
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