Following on the heels of the announcement that several Australian retailers may open shop in London and the wider UK, we hear that J Crew, one of the big USA brands is opening a 17,000 square foot store in London's Regent Street - one of the nations high profile shopping streets - as well as stores in Brompton Cross and Lamb's Conduit.
Apparently Michelle Obama is a fan of their 'upmarket affordable niche' style.
Unfortunately it won't be quite as affordable in the UK as it is in the USA. As many American retailers do, they have simply swapped the Dollar sign for a Pound sign, which means that the prices for the British shopper will be considerably more than for those over the pond. $118 becomes £118, for instance, which is actually the equivalent of $189.
But, why is this the case? A spokesperson for J Crew said:
"J.Crew is committed to bringing its customers the best possible quality and design of product at the best possible price. We have to take into consideration various taxes, duties, and operational charges that vary from country to country. It is an inescapable fact that these costs in the UK are significantly higher than in the US. There are not many products that don't vary in price from country to country… cars, cosmetics, electronics and so on. It is simply a fact of life."
Is this true? Well, it is difficult to say exactly. Obviously Sales Tax is higher in the UK; 20% as opposed to the 8.5% New Yorkers' will pay. It is difficult to know what they will be paying for rent, importing and all those sort of things.
It is entirely probable that costs are more for a foreign retailer. After all, Top Shop in NY is considerably more expensive than its UK counterparts, and I'm sure that they also see it as an opportunity to try and maximise their profits.
Either way it increases the opportunities for British shoppers to buy their fashion products. Of course, you can still always use their website where the prices are the same and they, J Crew free shipping and returns. At least for a limited time any way.