British clothing label Superdry is set to quit the Mainland China market after five years of mounting losses.
Several Chinese-language fashion industry news channels on the mainland are reporting clearance sales in Superdry stores – a rare event in itself – with merchandise discounted by 25 or 30 per cent.
A staff member of a Superdry Xiamen store told Interface Fashion that sold stock was not being replenished. “We have received a notice from the Shanghai company that we will withdraw from the Chinese market in July,” she said, in a comment translated from traditional Chinese.
News of Superdry’s withdrawal from Mainland China was confirmed by Azoya, which monitors multiple Chinese-language sources, in a LinkedIn post overnight. Azoya said steep discounts of the brand’s merchandise were also being offered on e-commerce platforms such as Tmall, JD and Vipshop.
Superdry launched in China in September 2015 with a catwalk show at the British embassy in Beijing. In partnership with Trendy International Group which has around 3000 stores on the mainland, Superdry originally planned to open two to five stores in the first year. Each of the two companies pledged to invest £9 million each over 10 years to develop the brand.
A spokesperson for Superdry’s Chinese partner neither confirmed or denied a decision for the brand to quit China in a note sent to Interface Fashion.
“At present, due to the impact of the epidemic, Superdry and Trendy Group are currently reviewing the joint venture business and Superdry China operations.”
Meanwhile, other sources have reported via Weibo that since April 1, about 90 per cent of Superdry China employees, from store roles to head office, have been under pressure to take unpaid leave, while management and directors have accepted a 25-per-cent salary reduction.
Ker Zheng, marketing & partnerships executive with Azoya, told Inside Retail Asia that Superdry failed to stand out as a brand in China.
“Streetwear is trending upscale these days – while the prices at Superdry are high, I don’t think the brand has invested enough in marketing to really differentiate itself from other competitors. It’s not a popular brand,” he said.
“Apparel is a tough and competitive industry and not many other foreign players besides Uniqlo and Zara have succeeded [in China]0. In the past Chinese males have been less likely to splurge on shopping and prefer to buy simpler clothes, but this is starting to change, so there is hope.”
- Feature image source: Superdry.