While most clothing retailers continue to focus on fast-moving trends, ARKET represents where the high-street should be moving.

1. It addresses a gap in the market for quality, timeless fashion

Encompassing mens, womens, childrens and homewares, H&M’s strategy for its latest brand ARKET is to democratise quality through accessible, well-made, durable products – designed to be used and loved for a long time. The retailer stocks the label’s own range of minimalist Scandi-inspired clothing alongside a selection of shoes, accessories and homewares from third-party brands, from established labels such as Adidas, Converse and Nike to more niche labels like Brio, Goki and Hario.

ARKET taps into an underlying demand for anti-fast-fashion clothing. Mintel’s Clothing Retailing 2017 Report shows that three quarters of consumers think the quality of clothes is more important than the latest trends. Furthermore, the research also found that 59% of the older Millennials (25-35s) think it can be difficult to find quality clothing that lasts a long time.

Targeting the fashion consumer looking for quality staple products places ARKET in a unique and interesting position in the market. While the brand is clearly targeting a fashion-conscious Millennial consumer, its range and offer differs significantly from what else is available on the high-street at present. The closest offer on the market is sister brand Cos, although ARKET brings the Cos ethos to a wider audience, steering away from the brand’s signature boxy styles, making it more wearable and thus more accessible.

2. It makes it easy for consumers to repurchase their favourite items

Another element to the ARKET concept is the idea of creating an archive by developing a unique ID coding system. Each product is given a 9-digit code, with a number that denotes the item’s department, category, product style and material. The system has been designed to enable customers to easily find and re-find products both in-store and online. Therefore, if you buy a piece, wear it to death and want to replace it later down the line, the unique code will help you find current versions of the garment.

3. It gives shoppers’ reasons to visit the store

ARKET’s minimal store designs allow the brand’s products and concept to do the talking. Based on an outdoor market, the stores aim to give consumers a more enjoyable, relaxed retail experience, something which is likely to resonate given that half of womenswear consumers see shopping for clothes as a leisure activity according to Mintel research. Meanwhile, in-store installations give more insight into clothing production – a concept which is further built upon online through additional product information and stories of the brand’s manufacturing teams and processes, helping to capture young consumers looking for more provenance from their fashion purchases.

Finally, ARKET stores include a café based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto, helping to reinforce the brand’s lifestyle credentials, not only by boosting the in-store experience but by rolling this theme out digitally through online recipe content.

Samantha joined Mintel in 2016, analysing and writing reports on the retail sector. Prior to joining Mintel, Samantha worked as a Fashion Analyst for EDITED, a retail technology company specialising in data software. Here she worked on the company’s retail data analytics, trend forecasting and runway coverage. She has a BA (Hons) in Fashion Marketing from Northumbria University.

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