Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

UK store promises cheaper fashion

Topshop and Topman brands expected to offer mid-range prices at new Auckland store.

Models wear designs created by Topshop Unique during London Fashion Week. Photo / AP
Models wear designs created by Topshop Unique during London Fashion Week. Photo / AP

Kiwi shoppers looking to kit themselves out in UK brands Topshop and Topman due to hit Auckland later this year can expect to pay "approximately" the same as those buying online - and the store's arrival may up the ante for existing retailers.

Hailed for its designer looks at affordable prices, the UK retail giants will be a much anticipated addition to the country's retail offerings when they land later this year.

A Herald comparison of clothing items from the websites of Topshop, Topman, Glassons, Hallensteins, Asos and Country Road found Topshop sat middle of the road for price.

Items from New Zealand chains Glassons and Hallensteins were consistently cheaper, but garments appeared more basic in design and with a smaller variety of styles than the UK alternative.

The Herald's comparison found a pair of jeans from Topshop and Topman was $74.96, New Zealand women's retailer Glassons offered a similar product for $49.99 and men's store Hallensteins for $69.99.

A tartan shirt from Country Road's men's range cost $109, while a similar style on Topman's website is just $59.17.

Time will tell if the bricks and mortar stores will lure shoppers from another UK shopping giant Asos, one of the largest online-only fashion and beauty stores.

Fashion designer Karen Walker has partnered with local clothing seller Barkers and Christchurch rich-lister Philip Carter to form a new company, Top Retail, which has secured the rights to own, develop and operate the Topshop and Topman brands across this country.

Though already available online and at The Department Store on the North Shore and Walker's Newmarket boutique, the labels will be housed in a flagship Queen St store.

Barker's managing director Jamie Whiting will serve as chief executive of Top Retail. He said the stores will carry the full ranges and prices will be "approximately" the same as shopping online.

New Zealand Fashion Week managing director Pieter Stewart said the new store would introduce competition among existing retailers - which would be a win for consumers.

"It sharpens everybody doesn't it? It keeps you on your toes."

- NZ Herald

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