Expert comment- Oasis and Warehouse fall into administration
Oasis and Warehouse have filed for administration, putting 1,800 jobs at risk, in yet another blow to the high street. Retail expert Dr Gordon Fletcher of the University of Salford Business School looks at the background to the move.
Dr Fletcher said: “As high street fashion retailers, Oasis and Warehouse have been squeezed from multiple directions in the last few years. The successful rise of the online fashion retailers, such as Boohoo, that can bring fast fashion to customers even faster is a well-documented and significant challenge. The fact that Boohoo had also previously rescued competing traditional outlets Coast and Karen Millen made that squeeze even tighter. Being controlled by the troubled Icelandic bank Kaupthing is a further underlying structural issue that has made that squeeze feel even tighter.
“The current health emergency has brought another unexpected pressure. Despite its name, fast fashion does have long lead times and supply chains that stretch around the world. This form of operation still brings containers of clothing to warehouses but now without the opportunity to put the goods in front of consumers. With no footfall on the high street the single distinguishing feature between the high street and online retailers has instantly disappeared.
“COVID-19 is not the sole cause for this most recent administration announcements. However, the health situation is accelerating negative changes in the business world with its impact being felt in terms of weeks rather than months. Unfortunately, while many businesses are pivoting to new business models, any positive improvements will take longer to be realised.”
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