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Retail Design Expo 2015: UK design skills coveted around the world

The demand for British brands across the globe has soared, according to Christine Losecaat, sector specialist for deign and creative industries for UK Trade and Investment - a government body that works to help British companies succeed in international markets.

Speaking at Retail Design Expo about global business opportunities for the UK, told delegates that designers working across all sectors are in demand both in developed and developing markets.

“There is phenomenal demand for British brands from luxury to high street, to the bespoke environment as well as shopping malls. If you are a buyer and you’re looking to commission a shopping centre or department store you will at least put UK businesses on your pitch list,” she says.

The UK’s capital city is also considered to be the global centre of shopping, and an increasing number of international shoppers are coming to shop around the country, she adds. “London has more global brands listed than anywhere else in the world. And 50% of all international spend in Manchester is from China. You cannot ignore this opportunity.”

But taking a British brand overseas or encouraging international shoppers to the UK does involve challenges adds Lara Barron, head of in-store for Prestige UK, P&G’s fragrance and beauty division.

Speaking at the panel debate on Cultural Translations, Barron told the audience: “Taking a brand to global reach is very complicated. You can avoid some of the pitfalls by doing two things – first of all understanding the customer and shopper, and second of all, understanding the role of the brand and how it plays within that region.”

Many businesses fail by taking a one-size-fits-all approach to a retail format, she adds; designers need to understand their local shopper to have a chance of succeeding in a new territory.

Also speaking at the debate Tim Greenhalgh, chairman and chief creative officer at agency Fitch, adds that the key to success is to ask: “What are people dreaming about? What do people want to explore? How do people want to locate things? And, how do people to experience the product once they’ve bought it?”