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Topshop gets new lease of life in US



Asos has struck a joint-venture with Nordstrom, the US department store chain, that will see Topshop clothes sold in physical stores — but only in North America, for now.

The British online fast-fashion retailer bought the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands out of administration for £295 million in February after Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group collapsed. Prior to its failure, Topshop had 11 stores in the US and concessions in some Nordstrom stores.

Nick Beighton, Asos chief executive, said the new joint venture went “far beyond a wholesale or trading partnership” and Nordstrom’s investment would mean that they would share data on twenty-something customers, introduce click-and-collect services across Nordstrom’s 350 department stores and use Asos’s logistics to fulfil Nordstrom customer orders when items were not available in shops. Nordstrom has a minority stake in the venture but the financial terms have not been disclosed.

The deal will also mean Asos will begin selling its own-label ranges, Asos Design and Collusion, in bricks and mortar stores for the first time. “This is about accelerating awareness in North America and the opportunity there. Think of the $10 billion eyeballs this will mean,” Beighton said, referring to Nordstrom’s recent annual revenues.

Asos has 3.3 million active customers in the US and sales in the region rose by 11 per cent in the six months to February 28. It is due to give a trading update on Thursday, with analysts expecting US growth to have surged.

Pete Nordstrom, chief brand officer of the department store business, said the deal reimagined the wholesale-retail partnership. “We’re excited about offering the Asos brands to our customers and we know we can help further amplify the recognition of the already popular Topshop and Topman brands.”

Beighton said it was “conceivable that if we develop and hone this model then we might want to roll this out to other territories” but downplayed launching Topshop in UK stores. There is still speculation about whether Asos will take on Topshop’s Oxford Street store but he said they had chosen to focus on North America as a priority.