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UK luxury fashion boosted by success of younger brands

The UK’s top 30 luxury fashion brands and retailers by turnover contributed £5.25bn in revenue to the UK economy in 2017/18 – up 1.9% year on year, research by law firm Boodle Hatfield has shown.

Boodle Hatfield’s research shows “younger” brands – those founded since 1990, such as Lulu Guinness and Stella McCartney – are the luxury sector’s main driver of growth.

Turnover at younger luxury businesses has grown at an average rate of 7% over the past 12 months, compared with 0.7% at ”heritage” fashion brands (established prior to World War II).

Boodle Hatfield said younger businesses have put sustainability and ecommerce at the heart of their strategies, which has attracted “affluent millennial consumers”.

Partner Jane Ireland added: “If this growth can be sustained, [younger, faster-growing] businesses could change the perception that British luxury brands are a little old-fashioned and conservative.”

The research concluded that heritage brands should aim to be seen as “truly elite”, and develop their online retail offering to appeal to younger consumers.

Ireland said: “For most consumers, the British luxury offering is closely tied to tradition and heritage. While they have very broad brand recognition, consumers do not see them as being part of the truly elite group of luxury businesses. Being able to move those brands upmarket and grow sales of higher-margin products is the key target for British heritage brands over the next five to 10 years.  

“The aim for them must be to be seen as the equal of Chanel and Hermès, as that ultra-luxury segment is where the most profitable growth is.”

The top 30 brands are listed below (in no particular order):

  • Burberry
  • Barbour
  • Mulberry
  • Ted Baker
  • Allsaints
  • Paul Smith
  • Jack Wills
  • Karen Millen
  • Jigsaw
  • Russell & Bromley
  • Boodles
  • Ede and Ravenscoroft
  • Self-Portrait
  • Victoria Beckham
  • Stella McCartney
  • Lyle & Scott
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Aspinal of London
  • Belstaff
  • Crockett and Jones
  • Manolo Blahnik
  • Loake
  • Barker Shoes
  • John Smedley
  • Brora
  • Temperley
  • Turnbull and Asser
  • Lulu Guinness
  • Jenny Packham
  • YMC

This article first appeared in Drapers on 15 July 2019.

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