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Marks & Spencer’s Australian Invasion is Probably Imminent

Rumours of Marks & Spencer’s Australian entry have been circling for over 18 months now, but fresh hints have emerged and the grapevine’s getting chatty again.

Word about town is that the UK retailer is seeking out a local ad agency, with a senior agency executive telling AdNews, “As far as I can tell, M&S hasn’t decided on which agency to appoint and in terms of opening, well, no-one knows the exact date but it will definitely happen soon,” it read.

AdNews also reported a note by Asia’s leading equity brokers and investment group, CLSA, revealing that M&S, if and when it lands down under, is looking at opening up to 30 stores in the next three years. “H&M is targeting 55, Zara 20 and Marks & Spencer (yet to enter the market) 30.” Not a great deal compared to its 700-plus stores in the UK, but it’s still a big figure for a brand which is yet to confirm any move to Australia at this point.

In a statement to AdNews, Mark’s & Spencer said, “There has been no announcement made regarding M&S store presence in Australia and we would never speculate on future business plans. We already offer a popular international online delivery of our clothing and selected homeware to Australia, and have done for a number of years.”

While that doesn’t sound overly promising, Deloitte’s 2015 Global Power of Retailing report revealed that 37 of the world’s top 250 retailers are now operating in Australia, up from 30 last year, which will probably only increase due to our attractive dollar down under.

Deloitte Australia partner David White said in the report, “With a weakening Australian dollar and ever increasing competitive pressures, we expect to see further interest by overseas retailers in the Australian retail market.”

Don’t believe us? The proof is right outside your door, or probably in your closet by now. Australia had seven international retailers enter our market in 2014, including H&M, Uniqlo, Sephora, and Forever 21, compared to just two in 2013. We know trends, and we’re definitely seeing one right here.

[Via AdNews, Deloittes]