Gifts Today magazine

Debenhams expands globally

British multi-channel department retailer Debenhams adds Australia and Vietnam to its international portfolio

Debenhams, the multichannel department retailer, is to drive its international presence further by launching in the Australian and Vietnamese markets in 2016. The move comes on the back of agreements with local market partners, Pepkor in Australia (part of the global retail giant, Steinhoff Group) and VinDS, part of Vingroup, one of Vietnam’s largest private companies.

A phased approach to expansion into Australia will see Debenhams enter the Southern hemisphere for the first time. A dedicated Debenhams-led Australian ecommerce site will launch prior to Christmas 2015. The site will offer product tailored to the market, local currency payment and will be the retailer’s first region- specific site.

Debenhams’ own brand womenswear, womens’ accessories and menswear product will be distributed and retailed within selected, Pepkor-owned, Harris Scarfe stores from October 2016. Future plans include the launch of Debenhams branded franchise stores offering the full product range including fashion, cosmetics and home.

In Vietnam, Vingroup will distribute products in their Fashion Megastore department store chain from early 2016 with selected womenswear and menswear brands sold in 15 stores across the country by the end of the year.

Debenhams Chief Executive Michael Sharp says, “International expansion is a key strategic priority for us and we are delighted to be working with Pepkor in Australia with a new multi-channel business model, selling our brands online, in Harris Scarfe stores and opening Debenhams stores longer term.

“Selling our own brands outside of Debenhams offers a new leg of growth for the business. Our distribution agreement with Vingroup in Vietnam will introduce our brands to this exciting market for the first time", continues Sharp.

“International expansion is one of our key strategic priorities and we believe that the Australian market holds a lot of potential. Our product range translates well and many consumers are aware of our brands and Designers . We are excited to deliver a business model which includes distribution, franchise and e- commerce channels.

“The opportunity for Debenhams to expand internationally includes distributing our products to new customers and working with Vingroup in Vietnam enables us to complement the existing Fashion Megastore offering with a clear point of difference”, continues Sharp.

John Scott, Director of International Business Development for Debenhams said, “Both deals are hugely exciting and significant for Debenhams.
“Australia is a market that we have been reviewing for a number of years and we are delighted to be working with Pepkor, and the wider Steinhoff Group. They are a true global player with the necessary resource and local market expertise to drive our business forward in the region.

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