• Retail Dive

In quest for Gen Z attention, Nordstrom takes minority stake in Topshop

Dive Brief:

  • Nordstrom has acquired a minority interest in the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands, "setting the stage" for a wider strategic partnership with the brands' new owner, U.K. apparel e-retailer Asos, the companies said Monday.

  • Nordstrom has been the exclusive U.S. distributor of Topshop and Topman since 2012, per an emailed press release. With the brands' stand-alone stores closed, many after a 2019 restructuring, Nordstrom will be their only brick-and-mortar presence worldwide and will "have the exclusive multi-channel retail rights for Topshop and Topman in all of North America."

  • The companies are also in discussions about how to showcase "a handful of Asos brands for Nordstrom customers." Starting this fall, Asos customers will be able to pick up their orders at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores.

Dive Insight:

In tying up with Asos, Nordstrom is turning to an online pure-player that has Gen Z's attention.

"We could not have found a better partner in Asos, the world leader in fashion for the 20-something customer, and are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them to reimagine the wholesale/retail partnership," the department store's President and Chief Brand Officer, Pete Nordstrom, said in a statement. "Bringing the Asos brands, including Topshop and Topman, to our customers allows us to create newness and excitement for this important dynamic customer segment."

For Asos, it's a way to leverage the brands' previous success in the U.S. and provides distribution through Nordstrom's 350-plus physical locations, which include full-line department stores and off-price Rack stores. The online pure-player in January acquired Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, HIIT from Arcadia following the British conglomerate's bankruptcy filing last November, and "will retain operational and creative control of the Topshop brands." The companies didn't immediately respond to requests for specifics regarding their aim of "redefining the traditional retail/wholesale model."

In April, GlobalData analysts were already anticipating that the planned Nordstrom-Asos tie-up would benefit the brands.

"With the US currently boasting the highest growth rates for these brands, the acquisition has already shown that Asos can succeed in elevating international awareness in a way that Arcadia could not," GlobalData Senior Retail Analyst Chloe Collins said in a client note. "With more products still to launch as Asos aims to reach 10,000 options across all four brands, alongside plans to add more inclusive sizing such as a Curve range for Topshop and Tall for Miss Selfridge in the future, as well as the launch of a Nordstrom partnership, Asos is ensuring that the brands have a strong chance of revival."

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