By Tristan Rogers, CEO of ConcretePlatform.
"We have recently seen an influx of luxury retailers Paul Smith, J Crew, Mulberry, Burberry, ASOS, amongst others - announcing plans to conquer the international market.
With the Western economy still in stasis, it is perhaps no surprise that these retailers are pursuing this kind of strategy. This focus on international expansion may also be seen as a firm indictment that the Western markets offer no shareholder value at present.
In the current market, international expansion should be mandatory for any brand with a degree of maturity in its domestic market: this is fast becoming the new norm for brand strategy, and we are seeing it being employed by more and more successful luxury brands.
Franchising is proving an increasingly popular commercial model for these luxury retailers. However, even though this is a viable strategy, retailers will still need to protect the very essence of what they have created, their 'brand promise', and this must be consistent in everything they do, including everything their customer sees and touches, and their entire go to market strategy.
Asia and Eastern Europe are two key markets that luxury brands are choosing to enter. This strategy can often create a lot of distance, both geographically and culturally, between head office and the store, which means that monitoring day to day brand performance can't be achieved by popping down the shop to see how it's doing. As such, before committing to entering any new markets, retailers should ensure they have the processes, checks and balances in place to make sure that these great brands will also be great international businesses.
This isn't a trend that shows any signs of slowing, and we should expect to see more luxury retailers and designers announcing similar ambitions in the coming months."