The War on Retail is taking no prisoners. Topshop is the latest casualty among online shopping’s massacre of brick and mortar stores. The brand announced the closing of all 11 US stores as its owner, the Arcadia Group, has filed for bankruptcy. Much of Topshop’s decline can also be traced to the Arcadia Group’s owner, Phillip Green, who is battling a sexual harassment/bullying case, a factor that led Beyoncé to buy her Ivy Park label back from the brand and re-launch with Adidas.
Arcadia CEO Ian Grabiner claims the decision is a reaction to “a backdrop of challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition,” as the convenience of computer clicks is vastly outcompeting the traditional shopping experience. The “retail apocalypse” has seen 6,000+ closings in the five months of 2019, more than in the entirety of last year. Payless, Dressbarn and Charlotte Russe are three of many fast fashion retail fixtures that, due to their primarily physical and minimally online presence, are quickly dying out.
When looking at the death of retail, the primary factor is so often the insanely overused yet frequently applicable buzzword: Insta-culture. The most prosperous fast fashion chains are consistently the ones with the most Instagram followers. Fashion Nova and Asos tout 15.6 and 9.3 million followers, respectively. Both are exclusively online and expertly follow the fast fashion model of providing an overabundance of content, producing frequent waste and being generally environmentally damaging.
It follows then that Topshop will bounce back. The brand has 9.7 million followers and certainly checks all the boxes of the successful fast fashion template. Their online presence certainly outperforms their physical stores anyways, so some may say good riddance. So scratch any mourning for Topshop, and outright complain about what you really want to: that conceited and mass-deluding ~social media culture~ and ~millennial laziness~ killing the shopping experience. Then head over to Amazon for the latest trending swing dress. And look, free shipping!
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