With the recession easing slightly and inflation finally coming under control, consumers are loosening the purse strings and beginning to spend again. However, value for money is still at the forefront of the mind of the average shopper, meaning that stores with own brand ranges are seeing profits rise and these items becoming ever more popular.
High street giants Debenhams are hoping to cash in on this fact by introducing its own brand of luxury handbags, purses and wallets. Trading under the name of Bailey & Quinn, representatives from the company have claimed that the new range is of designer quality, but at much lower prices suited to the average high street consumer.
The items went on sale on Monday of this week and Debenhams hope that the reaction of consumers is positive, especially as retailers are now gearing up for the pre-Christmas rush. As many people will be unable to afford designer gifts to put under the tree this year, the Bailey & Quinn range may be the ideal solution for cash strapped customers.
100 stores will stock the range of luxury products initially, but for consumers who cannot wait to get their hands on a new bag or are wishing for a wallet, everything in the range will be available for purchase via the Debenhams website.
It has certainly been a busy month for the retailing giants so far, especially with the opening of their first Russian store on the 1st October. The commercial property is located in Moscow, and bosses hope to open a further eight stores across Russia by 2014.
This is not the retailer’s first venture into the Russian market, as a flagship store was opened, also in Moscow, in 2006. However, this lasted only two years, with Debenhams making the decision to abandon Russia late in 2008.
Financial analyst at the RIA Moda News Agency, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, believes that the retailer may well be more successful in its Russian venture this time around.
He explains; “Russians were very price sensitive in 2006, and Debenhams was never the cheapest store around. Now the market is growing and developing, the chain’s new arrival may be well timed.
“If a war is also waged on counterfeit goods, the store’s sales will grow pretty well.”
The store is located in the Mega Belaya Dacha shopping mall, and has a retail space of approximately 35,000 square feet. Debenhams bosses were keen to establish a traditional British aura in a market dominated by German and Italian brands, and therefore erected a red telephone box close to the entrance of the store. This is a clever piece of marketing strategy, as the store will instantly stand out from competitors.
Debenhams’ international sales director, Francis McAuley, seems confident that this second attempt at Russian retailing will prove to be much more successful than in 2006.
He says; “With 70 million visitors annually, the Mega Belaya Dacha shopping mall is an excellent location.
“Debenhams will be one of the first retailers to offer a full range of fashion, cosmetics, accessories, lingerie and homeware in one store, and the product and prices will appeal to the vast majority of Russian consumers.”
In what may well prove to be a huge month for the British chain, it can only be hoped that their foray into the Russian market will be a success. And, with sales growing monthly in their 170 UK stores, the new own brand label is sure to receive a warm welcome from shoppers seeking a bargain before Christmas is upon us.
Would you buy an own label handbag, wallet or purse from Debenhams, or do you prefer to shop designer for certain items? Do you think that Debenhams’ second attempt at cracking the emerging Russian market will prove to be more successful than last time, or is the international economy too unstable for large chains to be taking these kinds of risks?
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