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每日跟讀#585: Fast-Fashion Brands Outpace U.S. Stores

H&M起Gap落 快時尚重創美國品牌

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English
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每日跟讀#585: Fast-Fashion Brands Outpace U.S. Stores

At 8:50 on a Wednesday morning, more than 20 shoppers hovered in front of H&M’s new global flagship store in Manhattan, eager to get inside.

某個周三早上的八點五十分,二十多名顧客徘徊在H&M位於紐約曼哈坦的全球最新旗艦店門前,渴望進店。

Directly across the street, a Gap store was also preparing to open. A lone woman stood in front, handing out fliers for a Cuban restaurant.

街道正對面,Gap的一家門市也在準備開門。但只有一個女人站在店門前,發放一家古巴餐廳的廣告傳單。

One by one, Gap, J. Crew, American Apparel and Abercrombie & Fitch have reported slumping sales, while chic and cheap foreign fast-fashion brands like H&M, Uniqlo and Zara are opening bustling stores.

一家接一家,Gap、J. Crew、American Apparel以及Abercrombie &Fitch分別傳出銷售下滑,而H&M、優衣庫和Zara這些時髦又平價的外國快時尚品牌卻紛紛展店,而且門庭若市。

American midmarket fashion has lost its way. Gap – once so cool that the actress Sharon Stone wore one of its turtlenecks, with a Valentino skirt, to the 1996 Oscars – is closing a quarter of its 675 North American stores over the next few years. “We had our moments of glory, but they’re not followed with consistent moments of glory,” Art Peck, Gap’s chief executive, told investors.

美國中端(中等價位)時尚市場已經迷失了方向。Gap曾經很時髦,連莎朗史東都穿Gap的高領毛衣,搭配范倫鐵諾的裙子,出席1996年的奧斯卡金像獎頒獎典禮;如今卻落得未來幾年將關閉北美675家門市中的四分之一。Gap執行長亞特.佩克告訴投資人:「我們有過風光的歲月,只是無法持續下去。」

Once the master of casual clothing, the company is finding that its American customer base has splintered. Luxury is booming; at the other end of the market, discount retailers like T. J. Maxx and Burlington Stores are seeing robust gains. Gap, Abercrombie and their peers are stuck in the middle.

Gap曾是休閒服飾的霸主,如今卻發現美國客戶基本盤已經支離破碎。精品業欣欣向榮;而在市場的另一端,T.J. Maxx和Burlington stores這樣的折扣零售店獲利也很豐厚。Gap、Abercrombie及同等級的品牌反而進退兩難。

The legions of teenagers and young adults now turn to juggernauts like H&M, based in Sweden, and Zara, owned by the Spanish company Inditex, which turn out cheaper versions of runway trends in weeks. H&M’s 368 stores in the United States, set to grow by 65 this year, get a fresh shipment of styles daily. Uniqlo, owned by the Japanese giant Fast Retailing, markets basics at low price points, in tens of colors in high-tech fabrics, and offers midprice collections by designers and celebrities.

許多青少年及年輕人如今轉向H&M和Zara這些巨頭,前者總部在瑞典,而後者歸西班牙公司Inditex所有,幾個星期時間就能推出伸展台流行款式的平價版。H&M在美國有368家門市,今年計畫再增加65家,而且每天都有新款到店。日本巨頭迅銷公司(Fast Retailing)旗下的優衣庫,以低價位行銷基本款,還有幾十種顏色的高科技織物,並提供中等價位的設計師和名人系列。

“Back in the ’80s and ’90s, there wasn’t real access to higher-level fashion,” said Kate Davidson Hudson, chief executive of Editorialist, an online fashion magazine. “It was the heyday of business casual, and stores did well selling core staples. But now, everybody sees what’s on the runways on social media and on blogs, and everybody’s a critic, and shoppers want it as soon as they see it. Brands like Gap just feel very dated.”

「1980和1990年代,確實沒有管道能夠接觸到更高端的時尚,」線上時尚雜誌Editorialist執行長凱特.大衛森.哈德森說:「那時候是商務便服的黃金時代,店家主打的基本款都賣得很好。但是現在,所有人都能透過社群媒體和部落格看到伸展台上有些什麼,人人都是評論家,顧客都希望看到之後馬上就能擁有。Gap這樣的品牌感覺就是非常過時。」

Sales at Gap stores open for at least a year have fallen for 13 straight months. The Gap’s upmarket brand, Banana Republic, has also stumbled, though Gap’s cheaper Old Navy label has done well. At Abercrombie & Fitch, comparable sales have fallen for three straight years and the brand is in the midst of an overhaul

營運至少一年的Gap門市銷售額連續13個月下滑。Gap的高端品牌「香蕉共和國」同樣受挫,不過Gap廉價品牌「老海軍」表現出色。而Abercrombie & Fitch的「可比較店舖銷售額」(譯註:零售集團扣掉新增門市外的「真實」營運情況)已經連續三年下滑,品牌正進行全面整頓。

American brands are also saddled with the remnants of a shopping mall culture that is vanishing. Many of Gap’s coming store closures are expected to be at malls that have suffered from declining foot traffic. By contrast, overseas retailers, from the start, are used to operating all of their locations as high-traffic, high-grossing flagship stores.

美國品牌同時背負消失中的購物商場文化遺風。Gap將關閉的門市,許多都位於深受人潮減少之苦的購物商場。相比之下,海外零售業者一開始就習慣把所有門市當作人流量高、營業額高的旗艦店來經營。

“The mall doesn’t really exist abroad as it does here,” said William Susman, managing director at Threadstone Partners, a New York consumer and retail advisory firm.

紐約消費者及零售顧問公司Threadstone Partners董事總經理威廉.蘇斯曼說:「海外其實並沒有像美國這樣規模的購物商場」。

A shopper at a Uniqlo in Manhattan, Dhushyanthy Tharan, said she found the selection better than at the Gap. “I love their materials, the cotton and linen, and their style,” she said.

在曼哈坦優衣庫門市的德西安瑟.塔蘭說,她發現這裡的服裝系列優於Gap。她說:「我喜歡他們的純棉和亞麻材質,還有風格。」

Mr. Peck and his team seemed to suggest to investors that Gap’s brands will be trying to get new styles into stores more quickly. But it will be difficult for Gap and other American brands to catch up to the likes of Zara and other fast-fashion retailers, some of whom have been coming under scrutiny lately for their heavy reliance on low-wage factory workers working in grueling conditions, as well as for the environmental toll of throwaway fashion.

佩克和他的團隊似乎向投資人暗示,Gap及旗下品牌將加快新款上架的步調。但Gap和其他美國品牌很難趕上Zara與其他快時尚品牌,儘管某些快時尚零售商最近也遭到嚴格檢視,因為它們非常仰賴在嚴酷作業環境工作的低薪工廠工人,另一個原因是可棄式時尚對環境造成的傷害。

Most pressing for declining American brands, retail specialists say, is bringing inspiration to their clothing lines.

零售專家說,衰退中的美國品牌最緊迫的任務,是將感染力帶進服飾品牌。

“There’s no creative direction, there’s no creative identity, and the shopper can perceive that,” Ms. Davidson Hudson said.

「創意沒有方向,沒有特性,這些購物者看得出來,」大衛森.哈德森表示。

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/281681/web/

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