Topshop, the famed British high street store which opened its New York flagship less than two years ago, is expanding to Chicago, according to WWD. Retailer Sir Philip Green is said to be putting down an estimated $10 to $15 million to the launch a Michigan Avenue outpost.
Stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco aren't too far down the line, says Green. And each will be tailored to the city's consumer. So in Chicago, the selection will be determined by the cold winters, hot summers, and a more conservative clientele.
But will Topshop succeed anywhere in the US other than tourist-ridden New York? We're not so sure. Here's why:
Clothes from Topshop are expensive, considering the quality. In the UK, Topshop is fairly cheap. But instead of fixing the US price to the current exchange rate, Topshop tends to simply double it. Which means that a 50 pound dress in the UK is usually more like $95 or $100 in the US.
- In New York, Topshop relies on tourists. While Chicago's got plenty of those, nothing compares to lower Broadway in Manhattan.
- Forever 21 and H&M are tough competition, particularly outside of Manhattan. Why would someone who typically buys their party dresses for $30 at Forever 21 begin to spend triple that at Topshop for not much greater quality?
Now please, please don't take this as a "Chicagoans aren't chic enough for Topshop" argument. We just think that they're too smart for Topshop. (As are New Yorkers--it's the tourists who are keeping that store alive.) Until Topshop lowers its prices, Green's going to find the US market a major struggle.