In recent weeks, the fashion press has been abuzz with stories of Fraser group’s buyout of fourteen of JD’s fashion fascia’s, subsequent store closures from both groups and much speculation about how this will impact the UK fashion sector. Will Fraser group close further fascia’s and funnel all the business into their existing stores? Or is a rebrand of Tessuti to USC a likelier outcome? Ultimately, whatever happens, how does this impact the consumer? Well as long as they can still get the brands they want locally or online, the majority of consumers won’t care, at least for the time being and there will be plenty of sale stock knocking about for customers looking for a bargain. Our view is that it affects brands much more. We know currently, brands have not been paid for AW22 deliveries and in negotiations for discounts to deliver SS23 stock, for some brands this must be worrying to say the least. For many who have paid for stock up front the pressure on cash flow will be horrendous and the cause of many sleepless nights. Some brands will know they are part of the strategy going forward, many will be in no man's land, eagerly waiting for an email to say “we want you to be a part of our future plans moving forward”.

 As an independent retail business some years back, we got pushed out the chase for new brands or existing brands wanting to supply the two big options on the high street, and frustrating as it was at the same time we understood, they went for the money. But if this hadn’t had happened we would never have started MARAI so for that we are grateful. So, for many suppliers the good times of big orders to the two buying groups is over, it’s time to rethink their strategy and move forward, and at MARAI we see this as a golden opportunity for independents to shine, ourselves included. This is an opportunity to curate a brand mix that you care about, presenting it in a way unique to each store, offering a level of service and experience you don’t get in multiple stores, and as a business our customers matter to us, providing them with sought after product, quality brands and an environment that’s fun to shop in is paramount to the success of any retailer.

 We embrace this opportunity and have started connecting with brands we want to work with, as our minds switch and we stay open and positive for the future of fashion we believe other retailers up and down the country must be having similar thought processes and with that in mind, we have taken on an agent to work with us to take MARAI into wholesale. So, whether you’re a brand that feels that you will compliment MARAI or a retail store that feels MARAI will work within your business, let's start a conversation and find some common ground and together, put independents back on the map.

July 06, 2023 — Martin Webster

Leave a comment