5 European Fashion Brands that the USA Loves
Americans are growing increasingly fond of fashion retail brands that originate in Europe, with many becoming household names on high streets and online.
With the high street side of a great number of retailers suffering as e-commerce and m-commerce continue to drive custom away from the physical shop, perhaps other markets can help to boost in-store sales.
Here are five European retail brands in the fashion and beauty arena which are embedding (or have already embedded) themselves into American society and becoming established US businesses:
H&M – Sweden
Named Europe’s best retail brand, H&M was founded by Erling Persson in Vasteras, Sweden in 1947, then known as 'Hennes' (which means 'for her') as a women's clothing retailer.
Its first US store was opened in 2000, and since then hundreds more have filled high streets across the country. As a whole the company generates around €16 billion a year.
Zara – Spain
Owned by fashion giant Inditex, Zara has been in the US since 1989. Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera opened the first Zara shop in La Coruna, Galicia, Spain in 1975. Originally, they wanted to name the store 'Zorba', after the movie Zorba The Greek, but there was already a bar in town with the same name.
Inditex reported 230 net new openings over the nine-month period to December, bringing Inditex’s total stores to 6,570 in 88 countries, with online available in 27 markets across Europe, the Americas and Asia having recently added South Korea and Mexico.
Sephora – France
Owned by luxury brand behemoth LVMH, Sephora has more than 300 standalone stores in the USA and nearly 500 more inside J C Penny department stores. Sephora USA takes a self-service approach to buying makeup, fragrances, and skin care products, and offers more than 200 brands of prestige products. Its first US store was opened in 1997, and total company revenues stand at around €2 billion.
Mango – Spain
Opening its first American store in 2006, Spanish retailer Mango recorded 2012 revenues of €1.7 billion, during which time the Catalonia-based company opened 197 shops and retail corners worldwide, 180 of which were outside Spain.
A further one hundred-plus stores were added in 2013, with the business now operating in more than 105 countries.
French Connection – UK
French Connection has been in America for thirty years. The North America operating profit was £0.9m for the first half of 2014 (2013: £1.1m) and whilst trading conditions remain tough, the trends are stabilising. The British company has a new USA CEO who is focused on driving an improvement in the performance of the Division.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”