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Retreat by FRENCH CONNECTION

BA Fashion Marketing The Fashion Market ARTD 2041 Market Report Emily C M Baker 4 24397229


Retreat by FRENCH CONNECTION

‘Retreat’ by French Connection is a range that is reflective of rural retreats by taking influence from countryside living by using high quality natural and sustainable fabrics, targeting a fashion conscious consumer who wants clothing with longevity.

Core Idea and Concept

Retreat’ by French

Connection offers high quality clothing with longevity and is supportive of slow fashion, rather than fast, disposable fashion. The garments within the range are heavily influenced by the trend of ‘escaping’ to the countryside and countryside living as a lifestyle, with a strong influence from the heritage fashion trend in the asthetics to the garments. Because of this the materials used within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range would be sourced from natural resources using fabrics such as wool, bamboo and organic cotton, thus making the garements sustainable and heightening the sub-brands conept. Creating garments from natural and sustainable fabrics would create a lifestyle aspiration to the sub-brand, as it would be seen as being ‘environmentally friendly or forgiving’. Although based around the trend and lifestyle idea of

countryside living ‘Retreat’ by French Connection has a youthful, contemporary edge to their garments, appealing to a young consumer group. This is created through the attributes of the garments within the range. An important element to the range is that of longevity to the garments, created through the high quality fabrics and materials used. ‘Retreat’ by French Connection aims to create garments that are supportive of slow fashion; they aren’t fast fashion items that quickly become disposable. Research into current and future consumer buying trends has revealed that, despite the economic climate affecting consumer’s amount of disposable income, they are prepared to ‘buy less but spend more’. Consumers want garments of a higher quality that will last longer than lower quality, disposable fashion. According to the global trend website WGSN (http://www. wgsn.com/, accessed 10 January 2011): “In womens-

wear there has been a big rise in the number of shoppers investing in higher quality clothes, with almost a quarter (23%) buying less, but better quality garments compared with 1 in 8 in 2010.” This is quantitative evidence that consumers are prepared to spend more money on slow fashion, rather than the previous trend of fast, disposable fashion: “Shoppers are beginning to lose their appetite for cheap, throwaway clothing and more are turning towards high quality, investment pieces that will last.” (http:// www.wgsn.com/, accessed 10 January 2011). The core idea that influenced the ‘Retreat’ by French Connetion sub-brand is that of escaping busy city living by retreating to the rural countryside and the lifestyle that this entails. The garments within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range would be considered to have an opposing lifestlye in comparison to a sharp, tailored city-based living range. The ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range contains garments that have a relaxed, unstructured silhouette, using materials that posess natural benefits such as wool, cotton and sheepskin. The garments within the range are echoing the concept of rural retreats and countryside living. The range would sit alongside a tailored, city-living based brand to allow the consumer to visualise these opposing concepts. Because of this, the ‘Retreat’ By French Connection sub-brand range will be positioned alongside the main line brand of French Connection. French Connection is a fashion brand that would be considered smart and contemporay, with garments primarily designed for city-living. Using oppulent colours, and clean fabrics that create structure and tailoring French Connection could be considered a brand with an opposing concept to that of ‘Retreat’ by French Connection. One of French Connection’s main brand strategies (see. Appendix, p. 5) expresses the company’s incline towards new ideas :“Driven by innovation and change, the brands strength lies in balancing new and exciting”. (www. frenchconnection.com, accessed 01.12.2011). Using high quality fabrics within the “Retreat’ by French Connection range would be one of the sub-brand main brand strategies, as is one of French Connections: “Our core strat-

egy remains to focus on excellent quality and creative new products.” (www.frenchconnection.com, accessed 01.12.2011). Analysis into French Connection as a brand has revealed that it shares almost identical brand values and strategies as the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand, with “excellent quality” being of major importance to both brands. The juxtaposition of the country-inspired clothing against the tailored, urban clothing of French Connection will allow the concept to be visualised to it’s full potential by it’s consumers. It will be visually apparent to consumers that the range allows a form of ‘escapism’ from the structure of urban living and urban clothing, due to the relaxed silhouettes and natural materials used within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range. “Product Development, Existing Markets” Ansoff’s Matrix Theory (H. Posner, 2011) is a model that depicts the four main areas a company can take in order to improve and expand a business (see. Appendix p. 20). One of French Connection’s core brand strategies


is their focus for “creative new products” and as a company they are “driven by innovation and change/”. (www.frenchconnection.com, accessed 01.12.2011). ‘Retreat’ By French Connection would be considered as “product development” in regards to Ansoff’s Matrix model, within the French Connection main-line brand. The sub-brand will bring new products with an opposing concept and narrative to the main-line brand. Creating new products with an opposing concept allows the ‘Retreat’ By French Connection range to sit alongside the main-line without competing against French Connections current range. Although ‘Retreat’ by French Connection would be bringing a fresh dynamic to the main-line brand, it will still target French Connection’s “existing market” (Ansoff’s Matrix Model, H. Posner, 2011). ‘Retreat’ by French Connection will target the “existing market” who currently buy into French Connection, however due to it’s opposing brand concept it will offer a contrasting product to this market. ‘Retreat’ by French Connection will offer the “exisiting market” an opposing lifstyle of escapism from their current city-based lifestyle. “Diversification” is another term used in Ansoff’s Matrix model that depicts “new products” that are positioned within a “new market”. Despite ‘Retreat’ by French Connection aiming to target the main-lines “exisitng market” it may also appeal to a “new market”. This “new market” would consist of consumers who want to buy into the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection brand and it’s lifestyle concept but don’t buy into the main-line French Connection range. “Diversification” is considered the most risky option for a business to take as it requires both the product and the market to be developed. Although ‘Retreat’ by French Connection will use “diversification” the sub-brand is “within an industry that is familiar”, thus reducing the risk by using “related diversification.” (http://marketingteacher.com, accessed 14.01.2012). Because ‘Retreat’ by French Connection targets both the existing main-line consumer of French Connection, as well as a “new market” it has potential for a high success as it targets a wide consumer group of both “exisiting” and “new” markets.

sumer value the ‘Retreat’ by French Conenction ranges uses materials such as wool, sheepskin, bamboo and organic cottons. These materials support the target consumer’s value for high quality, as well as their need for natural influences within their lifestyle. Target consumer attitudes represent a consumer’s likes and dislikes that are often lasting, personal feelings. ‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s target consumer has a positive attitude towards the idea of sustainablility and being “eco friendly” throughout their lifestyle; the target consumer is conscientious of how fast fashion is damagaing the environment. Because of this negative attitude towards fast, disposable fashion the ‘Reatreat’ by French Connection target consumer is supportive of slow fashion brands and products, in particular those that contribute towards sustainability of the enviroment.

Target Consumer Profile One of ‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s main brand values is that of high quality and the support of the slow fashion cycle. The sub-brand values longevity within it’s ‘investment products’ that are not a part of the disposable, fast fashion cycle. This would also be a main value of the target consumer, who would be prepared to spend extra on higher quality goods with longevity. As previously discussed this is also reflective of current and future consumer buying behaviour, thus has qualitative and quantitative evidence that there is a market for products with this consumer value. Another consumer value that is reflected within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand is the value for natural fabrics within products, that offer natural benefits without synthetic material intervention. The ‘Retreat’ by French Connection target consumer has an admiration for nature and a need to be ‘in touch’ with the natural world within their lifestyle. Because of this con-

‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s target consumer would also have a positive attitude towards fashion trends; they would consider themselves to be a fashion concious consumer. Reading magazines such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Grazia would enable the consumer’s attitude towards fashion to be kept updated and informed

of the lastest fashion, social and cultural trends. This target consumer would be prepared to shop around and invest money in high quality pieces that are on trend and posess longevity. Although taking an interest in fashion would be an attitude the target consumer would uphold, they wouldn’t be considered an ‘innovator’ of fashion trends but perhaps a part of ‘early adopters’. (EVERET, R. M. 2003). This consumer group have disposable income and time to invest in fashion, thus allowing them to capture a trend early as well as investing their money in a pieces that are of a high quality and will ‘stand the test of time’. The lifestyle of the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s target consumer is a significant element as it is a part of the sub-brands concept. The target consumer’s lifestyle would be primarily based around their city living due to their occupation as a young professional. As an industrious young professional living and working in a city the occupation of the sub-brand’s target consumer would be office-based, with their week-day social life revolving around visiting city bars and restaurants with friends. Spending their income on socialising and good quality food and drink would be of importance to the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection target consumer. The target consumer would buy food from upper-market supermarkets and local delis, favouring fresh, organic produce that promote healthy living and ‘well-being’ within ones self. Due to thier lifestyle, the target consumer would have a need for smart, tailored clothing that a main-line brand such as French Connection offers. Being a young professional and targeting the “exisiting market” of the current French Connection main-line would put the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s target consumer in the 21-35 year old age group, as French Connection would consider their current target consumer “1835 year olds”. (see. Appendix. p. 4). Becasue of the target consumer ‘s lifestyle they would be considered of middle to uppermiddle class within society, with an annual


income of around £40,000 plus. Due to a hectic, city-based lifestyle the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection target consumer would find oppertunities at the weekends or during holidays to ‘retreat’ away to the countryside with friends or partner in order to ‘escape’ city-living and find relaxation amongst rural surroundings. However if the target consumer is unable to find time in their busy lifestyle to ‘retreat’ to the countryside they would ‘experience’ these characteristics through buying into brands that take influence from nature. The garments within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range would be worn by the target consumer either during their time away in the countryside, or at weekends when they are in the city and need a from of ‘escapism’ from their industrious, hectic city-living.

Positioning of ‘Retreat’ by French Connection amongst it’s Competitors ‘Retreat’ by French Connection is a sub-brand that will sit alongside the main-line brand of French Connection thus immediatly placing the sub-brand in the middle market. As a brand, French Connection consider themsevles to be positioned “in the upper end of the mass market so that pricing reflects the good quality and fashion”. (www.frenchconnection.com, accessed 01.12.2011). The pricing of a brand is a key positioning indicator that suggests where it would ‘sit’ in comaprison to it’s competitors. An analysis of ‘entry price point’ and ‘highest price point’ of competitors allows the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand to be positioned appropriatly within it’s marketplace. (see. Appendix. p. 18 & 19). John Smedley is a knitwear based brand that use natural materials such as Merino Wool, cotton and cashmere blends in their high quality products. Their products would be considered as quality investment pieces, with versatility and longevity, similarly to the products within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range. John Smedley’s price point architecture would be considered almost parallel to ‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s price architecture, as

would their level of quality within their products. In terms of brand positioning for quality and price point (see. appendix. p. 9) John Smedley would be considered a direct competitor for the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand. A competitive advantage that the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand would have over John Smedley is that of fashionability; ‘Retreat’ by French Connection would be considered to have higher fashionability due to it’s fashion forward attributes that John Smedley as a brand do not posess. Toast is a fashion brand that has similar brand values to those of the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand. (see. Appendix. p. 5). Because of these brand values Toast use natural and organic materials within their products, therefore their products are considered to be reflective of countryside living and using nature as an influence. Although Toast have a similar brand concept to ‘Retreat’ by French Connection, Toast’s target consumer is of an older age range. In a ‘Like For Like’ comparison table (see. Appendix. p. 8) comparing it’s products with the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection products, the brands would be conidered direct competitors, however when positioned on a brand positioning map that compares both brand’s ‘Price’ with ‘Average Age of Buyer’ (see. Appendix. p 13) it is evident that Toast are targeting an older consumer in the age group of 35-55 year olds. Because of this Toast wouldn’t be considered a direct competitor as the majority of the younger ‘Retreat’ by French Connection target consumers wouldn’t buy into the Toast brand due to it’s

ity and fashion”, a brand characteristic that French Connection currently value. (www. frenchconnection.com, accessed 01.12.2011).

fashionability targeting an older consumer. In terms of general competitor threats towards the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection high street brands need to be considered. High street based brands can offer an asthetically similar product, that may not use natural materials but produce products that are visually equivilents, at a lower price point. A consumer would be able to buy into the countryside-living inspired fashion trend at a lower level price architecture, however these fashion garments would not use many natural fabrics but synthetic equivilents (see. Appendix. p. 21). Financial Summary and Justification ‘Retreat’ by French Connection’s price architecture is suitable for the target consumer age group of 21-35 year old professional as their amount of disposable income as been taken into consideration. Because the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand will be positioned alongside the French Connection main-line brand it will posess “pricing [that]reflects the good qual-

The mark-up ratio that has been used within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range is 4:5. This mark-up ratio has been used in order to yield a suitable profit for a middle market brand, thus creating a ‘Retail Price’ that is also suitable for this target consumer market. The ‘Buying Margain’ could be raised by increasing the ‘Retail Price’ if particular garments within the range sell successfully through-out the five store trial period. Within the ‘Unit Buy’ certain garments have a higher quantity than others. These garments that have a higher ‘Unit Buy’ are predicted ‘bestsellers’. These garments are considered as basic, staple items with versatility that the majority of the ‘Retreat’ by French Connecion target consumer would buy into. (see. Appendix. p. 15 & 16). Certain garments within the range, such as the ‘double-tweed coat’ and ‘lambswool dress’ have a higher ‘Retail Price’ but a lower ‘Unit Buy’ enabling the consumer to value the garment as exclusive and limited, thus enticing the consumer into purchasing the garment that they believe may rapidly become out of stock. Garments with a higher ‘Retail Price’ yeild a higher profit, however basic, lower price-pointed garments that the majority of the target consumers would buy into, such as jeans and jeresy tops may exceed this as the amount of units sold would be greater. Merino and mohair wool, orgainc cotton, bamboo and sheepskin are all materials that feature within the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection range. Due to such high quality fabrics featuring within ‘Retreat’ by French Connection the sub-brand’s price architecture would be slightly higher than that of the main-line. This will enhance the consumer’s belief and value that they are buying a true investment piece that posesses high quality. ‘Retreat’ by French Connection is a sub-brand with a concept that is at the forefront of current and future fashion trends, as well as consumer buying trends. The sub-brand targets consumer’s who have a desire for a brand with the characteristics of high quality, and longev-


ity that use natural and sustainable materials to produce fashion forward products. A gap in the market has become evident through analysis of the “existing market”, consumer’s buying behaviour trends and competitors as there is a need for a brand that offers these desired characteristics to a young, fashion concious target consumer.

Bibliography

Books and Publications: • POSNER, H. (2011) Marketing Fashion, London: Laurence King Publishing LTD. • EVERETT, R (2003) Diffusions of Innovation, 5th Edition Paperback, New York: Free Press.

Websites: • WGSN [online] Available from: http://www.wgsn.com [Accessed 10 January 2012].

• (2000-2012) Marketing Teacher [online] Available from: http://marketingteacher.com [Accessed 14 January 2012].

• French Connection [online] Available from: www.frenchconnection.com [Accessed 01 December 2011].


Retreat

1000 £99,000

1000 £119,000

UNIT BUY

TOTAL BUY

Retreat

ATTRIBUTES LISTED

TOTAL BUY

Lambswool Two types available: thick brown knit, fine beige knit

100% Cotton and 2 different Tweed fabrics Loose fit Turned-up sleeves

£55,200

800

2000 £160,000

77.78% 77.78% BUYING MARGAIN

Poplin Cotton Beige and moss green buttons Fitted around bust

£59,000

1000

77.78%

£15.33

£17.77 COST PRICE

UNIT BUY

£13.11

£69.00 £80.00

£59.00

Thick Mohair Wool Contrasting sleeve cuffs and neck cuff

£89,000

1000

77.78%

£19.77

£89.00

RETAIL PRICE

by FRENCH CONNECTION

10

Retreat

by FRENCH CONNECTION

RANGE PLAN

Thick Mohair Wool Beige and dark brown buttons Loose fit, Deep V front

77.78%

77.78%

BUYING MARGAIN

Thick Merino Wool Tweed pockets Loose neck, Box fit

£22.00

£26.44

COST PRICE

ATTRIBUTES LISTED

£99.00

£119.00

RETAIL PRICE

by FRENCH CONNECTION

10

Retreat

by FRENCH CONNECTION

RANGE PLAN


Retreat

100% Organic Cotton Jersey 2 colours available Turned up sleeves with wooden button 96% Bamboo, 4% Elastane 2 colours available Losse fit, loose slung neckline

£180,000 £220,500

4500 4500

77.78% 77.78%

£8.88 £10.88

£49.00

£40.00

RANGE PLAN

by FRENCH CONNECTION

Retreat 10

by FRENCH CONNECTION

RETAIL PRICE

COST PRICE

ATTRIBUTES LISTED

TOTAL BUY

UNIT BUY

BUYING MARGAIN

COST PRICE

10

RETAIL PRICE

by FRENCH CONNECTION

Retreat

by FRENCH CONNECTION

RANGE PLAN

Retreat

BUYING MARGAIN UNIT BUY TOTAL BUY

ATTRIBUTES LISTED

£269.00

£195.00

£59.77

£43.33

77.78%

77.78%

800

800

£215,200

£156,000

2 different Tweed patterns Fully lined Contrast collar and sleeve cuffs Bronzed zips on sleeve

Lambswool with Elastene High, loose neck Slighty fitted around bust and bodice


Retreat

£24.44 77.78% 5500 £605,000 99% Organic Cotton, 1% Spandex Washed/faded denim with brand label on front and back pocket Available in 2 colours

£10.88

77.78%

800

£39,200

Sheepskin Silk inside lining

COST PRICE

BUYING MARGAIN

UNIT BUY

TOTAL BUY

ATTRIBUTES LISTED

£110.00

£49.00

RETAIL PRICE

by FRENCH CONNECTION

10

Retreat

by FRENCH CONNECTION

RANGE PLAN


Appendix Contents Page French Connection Annual Report

Page

French Connection Brand Strategies and Values

Page

Toast Brand Strategies and Values

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection Inital Thought Processes

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection ‘Like For Like’ Comparisons

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection Competitor Brand Map

Page

French Connection ‘Like For Like’ Comparisons

Page

French Connection Competitor Brand Map

Page

French Connection Channels of Distribution

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection Perceptual Brand Positioning Map

Page

French Connection Perceptual Brand Positioning Map

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection Financial Costs

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection Competitor Research: Price Architecture

Page

Ansoff’s Product-Market Theory

Page

‘Retreat’ by French Connection SWOT Analysis

Page

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ,

&

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13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 & &

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FRENCH CONNECTION [taken from http://www.frenchconnection.com/stormsites/fcuk/media/pdf/IR/Half_Year_Statement_ July_2011.pdf] ANNUAL REPORT [taken from http://www.frenchconnection.com/stormsites/fcuk/media/pdf/IR/Half_Year_Statement_July_2011.pdf] Realesed 19 September 2011

‘French Connection Group PLC ("French Connection", "the Group") today announces a growth in revenue and profit for the first six months of the financial year.’ Half-Year Results for the six month period ended 31 July 2011 French Connection Group PLC (“French Connection”, “the Group”) today announces a growth in revenue and profit for the first six months of the financial year. Highlights • Revenue up 7% to £102.8 million (2010: £96.5 million*) • Profit before tax of £0.7 million (2010: £0.2 million*) • Closing net cash of £30.9 million (2010: £30.2 million) • Interim dividend increased 20% to 0.6 pence per share (2010: 0.5 pence per share)

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FRENCH CONNECTION [taken from http://www.frenchconnection.com/stormsites/fcuk/media/pdf/IR/Half_Year_Statement_ July_2011.pdf]

United Kingdom and Europe - Retail In the UK/Europe retail business, which accounts for 53% of Group revenue, we generated growth in like-for-like gross sales of 4.6% despite the general weakness in the market. Our total net revenue increased by 5% from £51.7 million to £54.3 million, including a small increase in average space traded. Over the period we saw an inconsistent rate of sales growth, with good growth during the good weather and bank holidays in April and very strong demand once the end-ofseason sale started but rather lacklustre demand in the intervening periods. We believe this is a result of the caution exercised by the UK consumer in the expectation of difficult times ahead. However, while shoppers are acting more frugally, they are prepared to spend under the right circumstances and on quality products, especially when enticed by discounts. Our approach in this environment is to continue to focus on the quality and design of our products to encourage our customers to buy. We will resist any temptation to chase the short-term gains that could come from increasing our discounting which means we will continue to focus only on end-of-season mark-downs. We believe that this strategy will ensure that we will maintain our position in the market for the long term. With a difficult retail market, the increase in VAT, pressure from input costs and increasing rent, the operating result from this division deteriorated to £(3.7) million (2010: (£1.9) million) in the period. As we explained in our most recent annual report there is significant opportunity for improvement in the performance of this division and we are focused on enhancing sales levels and developing the store portfolio in order to improve the contribution, albeit that it is likely that this will take some time.

Principal risks Our success depends on our ability to produce ranges of garments which attract customers. Whilst we seek to achieve this and be as operationally flexible as possible, the nature of fashion means that it is not always possible to predict customers' reactions to each season's new ranges. Our customers' propensity to spend on clothing is impacted by their personal financial situation and other macro economic factors which impact the total size of the retail markets in which we operate. We have been able to mitigate this somewhat by developing our wholesale and licensing businesses which provide a more stable and predictable income stream. We consider that as a small operator at the upper end of the middle market the impact on our business of macro-economic elements is considerably smaller than the impact of the success of our designers in producing attractive products.

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BRAND STRATEGIES AND VALUES [taken from http://www.frenchconnection.com and http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/inquiries/completed/2006/storecard/pdf/initial_subs_ retailers_french_connection.pdf]

Our core strategy remains to focus on excellent quality and creative new products. Based on this we aim to grow sales in all of our channels and to develop our international and licensing businesses. There is an opportunity to improve the profitability of the retail businesses and we are currently examining all areas which could provide benefit including the store environment, customer service, product ranges and store portfolio. In relation to this we have recently agreed the profitable disposal of one of our loss-making stores. We will continue to seek out similar opportunities to improve the portfolio in a cost-effective manner.

Driven by innovation and change, the brands strength lies in balancing new and exciting ideas with the basic promise of quality and affordability, established when the company was founded. Throughout this expansion and diversification the principles have remained the same; design-led products presented in a unique and innovative way. French Connection targets a fashion-oriented customer typically aged 18 – 35 and produces fashion-forward, well made, on trend, accessible clothing. Positioning is in the upper end of the mass market so that pricing reflects the good quality and fashion element of the offer. French Connection and its highly recognised branding “fcuk” holds a leading position in terms of brand positioning and benefits from the associated image.

The whole business is born of a desire to be original, distinctive and accessible. Whether fcuk has shocked or amused, it certainly made you think. Bold, witty and intelligent, it demonstrates how French Connection has given personality to its brand, a rare achievement on today's crowded high street. Since then fcuk has become interchangeable with French Connection as the brand name and identity.

We have developed a brand identity, which is sexy, stylish and has attitude.

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5 6

natural colours: woody browns moss greens berry reds ice blues

animal prints: cowskin snake/reptile leopard zebra

minimalanti busy city life

escaping busy city living

luxury

sports luxe

country sports

Ralph Lauren Tommy Hilfiger Burberry Lacoste

golf polo horse riding hunting

organic products and garments

the need for healthy living and a sense of wellbeing

hand knit hand woven hand embroidery

support for slow fashion

the end of fast, disposable fashion?

consumer’s “need for nature”

tranquility serenity

wool leather tweed sheepskin

ESCAPSIM Concept Ideas

country retreats/ eco retreats

“citysumers”- more people living in urban areas for practicality

thus needing “time out”

sharp tailoring black, grey smart, fitted garments office workwear

animal textures voluminous/rustic knit

health spas rural hotels cottages

Lake District The New Forest Dorset/Somerset

rural surroundings/ nature/woodlands

countryside living/intouch with nature

raw/sustainable materials

BRAND STRATEGIES AND VALUES as a company with a similar brand concept to ‘Retreat’ by French Conenction

comfortable reflective of nature loose fitting

Over the years we have always preferred to seek out the unusual over the readily available; the hand-made over the mass produced; the considered over the rushed. These products will have often a story behind them – whether it is of an individual creative artisan maker, a traditional mill or a women’s co-operative in Africa.

British made products/materials

OUR RANGES ALWAYS INCLUDE PRODUCTS WITH A STORY. consumers spending extra for better quality fabrics/materials/garments

[taken from http://www.toast.co.uk/]

heritage

All this makes for a product which is well designed and durable and will last much longer than cheap high street versions.

lifestyle brands

WE DO NOT MAKE THROW-AWAY FASHION.

Barbour Pringle Burberry Brit Joules

environmentally friendly

Our design and technical teams work together closely and tirelessly, and without compromise, to ensure that our products are constructed from high quality raw materials (often from UK sources) and using construction details which will ensure longevity. The design phase is followed by thorough auditing of the production process to ensure production compliance with our high standards and corrective action when occasionally problems arise.

‘Retreat’ by French Connection INITIAL THOUGHT PROCESSES

TOAST


fresh air

idyllic

harmony

escape

organic

wildlife

sanctuary

wealth

luxury

serentity

privacy and security

chic

rural

natural surroundings

exclusivity

tranqulity

countryside

rustic coastal

period of seclusion

ESCAPSIM Retreats

escape with nature

time alone or with loved ones

indulgence

relaxation

time out

withdraw from busy life

‘Retreat’ by French Connection INITIAL THOUGHT PROCESSES

sense of health and well-being

peacefullness

revive ones self

detox

recuperation

rest

holistic healing

at one with the earth

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‘Retreat’ by FRENCH CONENCTION

‘Retreat’ by FRENCH CONNECTION

COMPETITOR LFL COMPARISONS

COMPETITOR BRAND MAP Quality VS. Price

Cheapest Knited Scarf BRAND

PRICE

FABRIC QUALITY

HIGH QUALITY ADDED FEATURES

Toast

£39.00

100% Lambswool

John Smedley

£50.00

100% New Zealand Merino Wool

Jigsaw

£49.00

30% Wool 70% Acrylic

3 colours available

Zara

£19.99

100% Acrylic

‘Mohair Feel’ 2 colour available

Mango

£27.90

100% Acrylic

Retreat

Fair Isle print 2 colours available

by French Connection

LOW PRICE

HIGH PRICE

2 colours available

John Smedley, a niche knitwear brand, offers the most expensive product at £50.00, with it’s quality being of a high standard, using 100% Merino Wool, a natural material. Toast a middle market brand, offers the same product at £39.00, making there an £11 price difference between the brand’s products. Toast also use a high quality material of 100% Lambswool. Jigsaw another middle market brand however offer the second highest product at £49.00 yet only use 30% Wool, with the other 7% being of a cheap, man-made Acrylic material. Despite having the second highest price point, Jigsaw do not use 100% natural, sustainable material within their product. High street brands Zara and Mango however use no natural materials within their products, with their products being both 100% Acrylic. Despite this, they do have the lowest price points with Mango’s product at £27.90, and Zara’s product at £19.99. As displayed within this table, Toast offer the cheapest product that use a natural, sustainable material [lambswool], with only a £11.10 between Toast’s natural product and Mango’s synthetic Acrylic product.

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LOW QUALITY

9


FRENCH CONNECTION

FRENCH CONNECTION COMPETITOR BRAND MAP

COMPETITOR LFL COMPARISONS

Quality VS. Price

Basic Skinny Denim Jean BRAND

PRICE

FABRIC QUALITY

ADDED FEATURES

French Connection

£60.00

99% Cotton 1% Spandex

Low Rise 2 colours available

Karen Millen

£90.00

38% Polyester, 55% Cotton, 7% Elastane

Karen Millen branded rivets Ankle press studs

Mango

£22.90

98% Cotton, 2% Elastane

2 colours available

Zara

£25.99

98% Cotton, 2% Elastane

Patch on back of belt loop

Oasis

£38.00

1% Elastane, 18% Polyester, 29% Viscose, 52% Cotton

2 washes available

HIGH QUALITY

LOW PRICE

HIGH PRICE

Karen Millen’s demin skinny jeans come out with the highest price, at £90.00, with French Connection’s comparitive product comming up £30 cheaper at £60.00. Oasis, a high street brand, are the third most expensive in this table, with their skinny denim jeans coming up at £38.00, £22 cheaper than French Connections product. Mango and Zara, popular high street brands, are the cheapest, with a £3.09 difference between their comparitive product. Mango, Zara and French Conenction all use 98% or 99% of cotton within their product, with the other 1% or 2% being an elastic-based fabric (a fabric that helps the product hold it’s shape and style). Karen Millen, who possess the highest price point for their product, use 38% Polyester within their comparitive product- Polyester being a synthetic, man made product that is cheap to produce and use. Oasis, who have the thrid highest price point in the table, also use the cheap Polyester fabric [at 18%], as well as Viscose, a shiny semisynthetic fabric, with 29% of this fabric used within their product. As this table shows, the brand Karen Millen with the higest price point use a large amount of cheap, synthetic material in their product, as do Oasis, where as Zara, Mango and French Connection uses mainly cotton, a natural, low cost material within their product.

10

11

LOW QUALITY


‘Retreat’ by FRENCH CONENCTION

FRENCH CONNECTION

PERCEPTUAL BRAND POSITIONING MAP Age of Buyer VS. Price Points

PRODUCTS FRENCH CONNECTION SELL clothing (womenswear and menswear) bags purses scarfs accessories footwear swimwear eyewear toilettries perfume

The brand positioning map displayed below uses an estimate of where the new sub-brand ‘Retreat’ by French Connection would sit amongst it’s competitors in the market place. It is evident there is a gap within this marekt sector, particularly in terms of ‘price’ and ‘age of buyer’. The Retreat by French Connection sub-brand would have a higher price point in comparison to it’s bainline brand, French Connection.

£90

FRENCH CONNECTION

Retreat

£80

by French Connection

CHANNELS OF DISTRIBUTION

RETAIL

ONLINE

own store

frenchconnection.com

LICENSING Boots Specsavers

ASOS.com Very.co.uk WHOLESALE

figleaves.com amazon.co.uk

FRANCHISE

Debenhams

Paris

House of Fraser

Ireland USA

Selfridges

Canada China

12

Asia Austrilia India

Level of Price Points

£70 £60 £40

£30

£20

£0.00 10

20

30

40

Average Age of Buyer (years old)

13

50

60


£70

£60

£40

£30

£20

£0.00 10 20 30

14 40

Average Age of Buyer (years old) 50 60 £119,000.00

Total Buy

Total Budget £1,997,100.00 (must not exceed £2mi)

1000

Unit Buy

77.78%

Buying Margain

1000

77.78%

£19.78

£99,000.00 £89,000.00

1000

77.78%

£22.00

£160,000.00

2000

77.78%

£17.78

1000

77.78%

£13.11

15

£55,200.00 £59,000.00

800

77.78%

£15.33

4500

77.78%

£10.89

£49.00

Tee

4500

77.78%

£8.89

£40.00

£220,500.00 £180,000.00

Jumper Cardigan Jumper Body Patch Top Blouse Top £119.00 £99.00 £89.00 £80.00 £69.00 £59.00

800

77.78%

£59.78

£269.00

800

77.78%

£43.33

5500

77.78%

£24.44

£39,200.00 £605,000.00

800

77.78%

£10.89

Dress Scarf Jeans £195.00 £49.00 £110.00

£215,200.00 £156,000.00

Coat

The figures used within this barnd positioning map have been taken form the’ LFL comparitive product’ table for the Level of Price Point axis. It is evident that French Connetion is a ‘middle market’ brand due to it’s price archiecture in comparison to it’s competitors, with it’s ‘Average Age of Buyer’ of 21-35 years old.

£26.44

£80

Financial Costs

Age of Buyer VS. Price Points

Cost Price

£90

‘Retreat’ by French Connection

PERCEPTUAL BRAND POSITIONING MAP

Retail Price

Level of Price Points

FRENCH CONNECTION


Entry Price Point: £12 [knee high socks- cotton, elastan, nylon] Highest Price Point: £248 [brogue dress- 100% leather]

5500 800 ###### 4500

100 150 200 200 150 100 150 200 200 150 800 900 1000 1000 800

FRENCH CONENCTION - ‘Mother’ brand

800

1000 1100 1200 1200 1000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

5500 800 800 800 4500

PRICE ARCHITECTURE

Entry Price Point: £57 [ribs jumper- 35% Cotton 28% Viscose 25% Nylon 7% Wool 5% Angora] Highest Price Point: £120 [winter warmer cardi- 50% Wool 50% Acrylic]

16

1000 800

4500

100 200 300 300 100 100 150 200 200 150

800 900 1000 1000 800

1000 800

4500

Knitwear:

2000

200 400 600 600 200

2000

‘Retreat’ by French Connection- new sub-brand Entry Price Point: £40 [t-shirt- 100% Organic Cotton Jersey]

1000 1000 Must = Unit Buy

1000

100 200 300 300 100 100 200 300 300 100 100 200 300 300 100 Size 6 Size 8 Size 10 Size 12 Size14

1000 1000

1000

Highest Price Point: £295 [fully lined double-tweed coat- tweed]

Unit Buy

Retail Price

Jumper Cardigan Jumper Body Patch Top Blouse Top Tee Coat Dress Scarf Jean £119.00 £99.00 £89.00 £80.00 £69.00 £59.00 £49.00 £40.00 £269.00 £195.00 £49.00 £110.00

Distribution of Stock in Available Sizes

‘Retreat’ by French Connection

‘Retreat’ by French Connection COMPETITOR RESEARCH

JOHN SMEDLEY- a ‘Knitwear only’ brand who uses raw, quality materials Entry Price Point: £17 [flare short socks- New Zealand Merino Wool] Highest Price Point: £300 [seamless trench coat- extra-fine New Zealand Merino Wool]

17


ANSOFF’S PRODUCT-MARKET THEORY TOAST - Similar concept brand, older target consumer Entry Price Point: £14.50 [socks- 56% viscose, 24% angora, 18% nylon, 2% elastane] Highest Price Point: £795 [sheepskin wrap coat- 100% leather] Knitwear: Entry Price Point: £85 [cardigan- 96% bamboo, 4% elastane] Highest Price Point: £375 [roll neck jumper- 100% cashmere]

JIGSAW - Middle Market brand, similar price points Entry Price Point: £18 [cable knit hand warmers- 70% Acrylic and 30% Alpaca] Highest Price Point: £545 [washed leather coat- 100% leather]

Knitwear: Entry Price Point: £64 [gathered drape cardigan- 100% Lyocell] Highest Price Point: 398 [sheepskin colalr cardigan- 62% Wool and 38% Poliamide]

The sub-brand ‘Retreat by French Conenction’ has been created to sit alongside the current French Connection main line brand, however offers a different product with a different concept. ‘Retreat by French-Connection’ will offer heritage/countryside living inspired garments that use natural and sustainabl materials, such as wool and organic cottons. This will create a new product under the French Connection brand that will not compete with the current French Connectio products. Ansoff’s theory would depict the new sub-brand, ‘Retreat by French-Connection’, as ‘Exisiting Markets’ with ‘New Product’. The sub-brand will be pitched at the young, fashion concious current French Connection consumer, however will offer a new concept and narrative to the new products within the sub-brand. This has focused upon ‘Product Development’ within the French Connection brand, as a new product range has been developed to ‘update’ the brand and bring somethng new to it, which will entail in boosting brand profits and customer retail footfall.

18

As the perceptual maps have displayed, there is a gap in the market for this trend concept of natural, countryside-inspired clothing to a young target consumer, in the 21-35 year old age group.

19


‘Retreat’ by French Connection SWOT ANALYSIS A SWOT analysis is used to analyse a company or brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, particularly within it’s current market and against it’s main competitors. Strengths A strength of the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand would be tha natural materials and fabrics used throughout the range. These materials are sustainable, therefore sourced from the natural enviroment, with fabrics such as organic poplin cotton and various types of wool featuring heavily in the range. This charactertistic to the sub-brand promotes a sense of well being and healthy living to the target consumer, as it allows them to be ‘in-touch’ with nature, a highlighted consumer trend for 2011 and 2012. Additionally, by using natural, organic and sustainable matierals it makes the range environmentally friendly, thus appealing to those consumers who are conscientious of environmental issues. By creating a new sub-brand for French Connection, with a different concept to the main-line brand, it will bring a new, contemporary aspect to the company. This new aspect to French Connection will result in boosting company profits and customer retail footfall. Although ‘Retreat’ By French Connection will target French Connection’s exisiting consumers, it may also result in new consumers who will take an intertest in the sub-brand’s country-inspired concept and it’s brand values, thus broader customer lloyalty.

Oppertunities The main oppertunity for the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand is to fill an evident gap in the market. As discovered there is a gap in the market for a brand with a natural, country-inspired concept for a younger, fashion-concious target consumer, within the 21-35 years old age range. Within this age range there has also recently become a growing trend in countryside-style living and escaping to the country, thus producing an oppertunity for a countryside living, heritage inspired lifestyle brand to be created for this younger target consumer group. The successful E4 televsion show ‘Made In Chelsea’ has also had some influence on the younger consumers, as it underlines the recent trend of countryside living and heritage clothing that is inspired by this lifestyle. This adds added justification to the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand and it’s target consumer group. Threats One of the greatest threats for middle market products are the high street strores and their cheaper, more accessible equivelents they offer to consumers. These high street products may also come in wider variations, such as colours or patterns, than the middle market comapritive products. The ‘Retreat, by French Connection sub-brand will be trialed within the French Connection own stores across the United Kingdom, not online or through any wholesalers. By only selling through French Connection’s own stores, competitive online and wholesale retailers will have an advantage over the sub-brand as they are selling through multi-channels, not just one.

Weaknesses A weaknesses that needs to be considered is the French Connection brand itself and it’s brand lifecycle. French Connection, as a brand, has had many peaks and troughs throughout it’s lifecycle. At it’s current time French Connection could be considered as ‘past it’s peak’ and perhaps on a downturn. Although the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand will bring something positive to the company, it may be the wrong time in the company’s lifecycle. Another weakness to consider would be the level of price points and the price architecture of the ‘Retreat’ by French Connection sub-brand. The sub-brand will remain in the Middle Market sector, however the materials that are used within the sub-brand are sourced from natural sources, thus making them costly materials. Because of this the price architecure would be higher than the French Connection brand itself. This however may be unaccessible for some of the target consumers due to the young target consumer age range of 21-35 years old.

20

21


Retreat escapism serenity tranquility indulgent

by FRENCH CONNECTION


SHARP INDUSTRIOUS URBAN INDULGENT


Pen Portrait aged 21-35 cultured industrious conscientious


'ECO HEDONISM'

Sustainable and Recycled Fashion BA Fashion Marketing The Fashion Market Group Market Report

Actual Word Count: 1643

Emily Baker Nikola Papadopoulou Emma Corrie-Hill Toula Plestis


Recently, consumers are buying ‘eco-friendly’ products from brands that are providing these commodities. An example of this is the ‘bag for life’ from the supermarket retailer Tescos, with the idea that a consumer pays for a bag that has the durance to last a lifetime. Socially we all admire small changes such as this, therefore a pattern emerges; the bag for life is an example of how a simple necessity conforms to our fast paced lifestyles yet buys into the ‘eco’ trend.

This marketing report is a detailed examination of the compiled research into a future macro trend. Research, which includes qualitative, quantitative and visuals has enabled a fashion trend for 2012/2013 to have substantiation. Throughout this report the trend of ‘Eco Hedonism’ will be substantiated through analysis into current social and cultural changes, consumer buying trends as well as a trend direction that was recognised and it’s perceived target consumer. Cultural and Social changes Society has changed with the acceptance and adaptation of varied lifestyles due to cultural changes resulting in a series of definable events. These changes have a predominant affect on the way that people chose to behave within society. Because our current culture is so diverse individuals can liberally chose how to conform. Despite the recession sales from “September 2011 compared to September 2010 went up from £30.3billion to £31.9 billion, with downward pressure coming from non- food stores, which decreased by 0.7%”. (bundes-

bank.de/download/ 15/01.12). Despite our society suffering a recent economic recession consumers are still willing to shop and spend, particularly within the retail market. Consumers changing their style on a seasonal basis has grown with the newest trends in high demand. High street brands now have up to 13 ‘seasons’ a year, creating garments inspired from catwalk equivalents at an accelerated pace. This resulted in the previous trend of fast fashion, as high street brands provide consumers with these trends from the catwalk in a matter of weeks. The amount of disposable income that society possesses has fed this growing trend, allowing consumers to have the latest fashion at their fingertips. The natural result of this trend is to buy more. ‘We now buy 40% of all our clothes at value retailers, with just 17% of our clothing budget.’ TNS Worldpanel (2006) Fashion Focus issue 29 (ethicalfashionforum.com, accessed 12.01.2012). This trend however is on the decline as ‘eco’ as a macro trend is on the incline.

As rapid as the fashion industry has expanded the way in which we access it has recently become even more convenient for consumers. E-commerce, m-commerce and mail order fashion is inclining every year, as the consumer becomes increasingly ‘technology savvy’. “Online sales have grown by 18%. UK shoppers spent an average of £81 online, Online travel sales rose by 1/3/” (brightlemon.com/blog, accessed 12.01.2012). Despite fast fashion being easily accessible, the rise of economical responsibility is becoming more apparent in high fashion and has trickled down into the high street. The diverse roles in retail have made a clear difference and a change within the trends consumers buy into, thus enabling individuals to define oneself through the many channels of distribution that the fashion industry now offer.


ers Cotton Report’ 2011 in association with Cotton USA stated that: “customers are interested in clothing that looks good, feels good, and will last.” (http:// mediazone.brighttalk.). This is qualitative evidence that fast fashion may not be the most prominent consume buying trend. The current rise of slow fashion is due to consumers decline in disposable income, thus resulting in their need for high quality, investment pieces.

Consumer Buying Trends Initial research was conducted regarding current and future consumer buying trends and consumer’s buying behaviour. A prominent buying trend that became apparent was that consumers are currently willing to pay more for higher quality items that they consider investment pieces that will ‘last’. This goes against the trend of fast, disposable fashion that many high street retailers are in favour of. ‘Drap-

Another developing consumer buying trend is that of the consumers need for nature. This has come about due to many people living or working in busy cities, thus needing ‘time out’ from this hectic part of their lifestyle. The term “Citysumers” (www.trendwatching.com, accessed 15.11.2011) has been used to describe current and future consumers as the future “consumer arena is urban”. Urbanization is a macro trend due to more people living in the city for practicality. Because of this more consumers are leading strenuous, city-based lifestyles. A Mintel Report revealing consumer trends for 2011, Release: Oct 2011 (www.mintel.com, accessed 17.11.2011) found that: “Garden State Modern city dwellers have a growing love of gardening and a need for nature/”. This need for nature is a means in which consumers feel that they are ‘escaping’ their hectic city lifestyle through nature, whether it be food, rural retreats or even fashion garments. The need for ‘escapism’ is echoed in the rise of the trend for

‘country retreats’; consumers retreating to rural areas for a short holiday break or a weekend ‘getaway’. This need for nature has been reflected in the organic Textile Market with “organic textile retail sales up 7.8%” in 2011 (www.soilassociation. org), also stating that the company are “looking forward to further growth” (www.soilassociation. org). ‘Eco Hedonism’ is an asthetic fashion trend for Autumn/Winter 2012/2013 that these identified consumer buying trends add validation to, amplifying it’s possible future success.

Trend Direction Through gathering predicted colour trends for this season the colour palettes appeared to be representative of the ‘Eco Hedonism’ trend. Although a variety of colours are predicted, they are natural, earthy colours, such as berry reds, golden yellows, forest greens and cool blues. These colours are clearly representative of the Eco Hedonism trend due to their resemblance to the natural world. Analysis into predicted materials revealed a strong

trend for natural, raw materials such as cotton, wool and leather, with wild, rustic textures and distressed knits. These materials indulge in scratched and worn finishes reflecting unfinished simplicity thus cohering with the idea of as nature intended. There is also a focus upon fabrics that takes inspiration from British Heritage clothing, such as tweeds and grades of wool. These materials cohere with the eco trend theme of luxury and that consumers are willing to pay more for authentic, quality products. It is believed that this future trend will be successful and thoroughly indulged as the words ‘green’ and ‘eco’ are reaching us far more regularly than ever before. As the growing numbers of people are becoming aware of the effects population is having on the planet and it’s environment, a lot more are actively contributing towards the preserv¬¬ation of the planet. Research has shown that consumers appreciate a company that are considered ‘eco’ thus a trend involving sustainability has qualitative evidence to predict success. Although there are a variety of aspects to Eco Hedonism the focus will be on sustainable materials that possess natural luxury. As well as using sustainable materials, many fashion companies are choosing to incorporate recycled fabrics into their collections, either through fabric composed of recycled


and be considered an eco-conscious consumer.When the target consumer purchases an ‘eco’ garment it is not necessarily the fashionability of the item that would immediately appeal, but rather the lifestyle aspiration. Spirituality would also be a lifestyle choice for the target consumer, as the belief comes with the connotations of personal composure and relaxation, as well as being at one with the natural world. The target consumer would chose organic produce over mass-marketed, thus shop in farm shops and local delis rather than chain supermarkets. This would support their admiration for the natural world thus giving the target consumer a sense of personal health and well being.

fibres or textile fabric such as unwanted factory surpluses. One such company is Urban Outfitters with their urban renewal line making use of recycled fabrics and Annie Greenabelle using organically grown and recycled fabrics. Being ‘Eco’ has reared its head in the last few years as a consumer buying trend as well as a fashion trend, with many companies beginning to endorse the trend.

Target Consumer One of the top five consumer trends as stated by WGSN is “Rurbanism”: “Urban consumers are shifting spending interests towards rural neighbours, seeking more sustainable products in search of effective ways to care for the environment”. Due to the natural materials used within the trend, the target consumer would be have an admiration for natural world and rural surroundings. The target consumer group would include both male and female, steaming from a middle to upper-middle class background, as they would be well educated and cultured due to their knowledge of the environment and sustainability. Because of this within their lifestyle the consumer would make choices that are reflective of sustainability

WGSN has stated that the target consumer for 2012: “ have a sense of responsibility and a need for escapism”. This is evidence that modern consumers are leading hectic, busy lives in terms of existence and routine. Because of this, consumer’s desire a form of ‘escapism’ from their hectic lifestyles. Due to this lifestyle the interests of the target consumer would include rural retreats and natural luxury as allowing time to enjoy nature and rural surroundings would be of great importance to the target consumer. Because of this consumer value, a trend that uses sustainable and recycled materials would support the consumer’s lifestyle aspirations and personal beliefs. Extensive research and analysis of the ‘Eco Hedonism’ trend has revealed a great deal of substantiation. The trend has been detected not just as a fashion trend but also within consumer buying trends, the marketplace and social

and cultural changes. Research and analysis into natural and sustainable materials has also been explored as a micro trend direction for the macro trend of ‘Eco Hedonism’. There is significant qualitative and quantitative evidence to suggest the future success for this slow fashion trend.


Bibliography

Websites: [n.d.] WGSN [online] Available from: www.wgsn.com [accessed: 13.11.2011, 28.12.2011]

[n.d.] bundesbank.de [online] Available from: www.bundesbank.de/download [accessed: 15.01.2012]

TNS WORLDPANEL, [n.d.] Ethical Fashion Forum [online], Available from: www.ethicalfashionforum.com [accessed 12.01.2012].

CORPORATE NEWS, (release date 10.2011) Mintel [online], Available from: www.mintel.com [accessed 17.11.2011]. DAVIES. E. [2004-2012] BrightLemon [online] Available from: brightlemon.com/blog [accessed 12.01.2012]

(02.2011) TrendWatching [online] Available from: www.trendwatching.com, [accessed 15.11.2011]

(2011) Soil Association [online] Bristol: UK. Available from: www.soilassociation.org [accessed 20.11.2011]


French Connection sub-brand Strategy