Here is what’s driving Danish retail giant Bestseller’s success Down Under
Following its launch in Australia in 2016, Danish retail group Bestseller has firmly entrenched its presence in the retail market, with the company making strides in its sustainability and circularity initiatives. The group’s portfolio includes brands such as Jack & Jones, Only, Vero Moda and Name it, which are featured in over 3,000 branded Bestseller retail stores across 32 countries globally. It works with more than 500 supply partners, with its products manufactured across over 800 fac
Bestseller’s Australia country director Rikke Dahl-Thorup told Inside Retail that the brand entered the Australian market due to the strong consumer demand for Scandinavian design, and a willingness from Aussie customers to embrace new trends.
Following the group’s entry, Dahl-Thorup said that it had experienced rapid growth across the Australia and New Zealand region due to its strong partnership with key wholesale partners.
“One example of this is the recent expansion of Vero Moda. Since launching the brand in 2018 in Australia and New Zealand, we’ve seen over 200 per cent increase in sales. [It] is regarded as one of the consistently top performing brands amongst our wholesale accounts,” Dahl-Thorup said.
“This reflects the growing demand for good quality fashion at competitive prices.”
She believes that Bestseller’s partnerships with Myer and David Jones had been particularly significant in Australia, due to the department stores’ size and strong reputation. Dahl-Thorup noted that the group leveraged these partnerships to introduce its brand to a wider audience, and increase its visibility: something it has also achieved through its partnership with The Iconic.
“Our wholesale channel is an essential part of our business and remains a key focus and strength for Bestseller in Australia,” Dahl-Thorup said.
Meanwhile, amid rising cost of living pressures, Dahl-Thorup explained that Bestseller’s pricing strategy aims to provide consumers with high quality fashion at affordable prices. She contended that this strategy would ensure the financial stability of Bestseller, as well as the group’s partners.
“One key aspect of this is our focus on efficiency. [We] work closely with our suppliers and partners to ensure this, while maintaining high quality standards,” she said.
“This helps to minimise the impact of rising costs on the final price of the product.”
Progress with a way to go
Throughout its global expansion, Dahl-Thorup believes that the group has maintained a Danish sensibility in its design aesthetic and corporate culture. This is reflected in the company’s commitment to sustainability and ethical product practices, which she said are deeply ingrained in Danish culture.
She explained that the group has upheld these practices by working to counter climate change, using resources efficiently and promoting human rights. According to Dahl-Thorup, Bestseller has reduced emissions by over 80 per cent, with all energy consumption in Bestseller owned and operated buildings in Europe being driven by solar power from 2021.
Other Bestseller sustainability initiatives include teaming up with shipping company Maersk, which transports its products with ships powered by low-emission biofuel.
“With this, we avoid more than 36,000 tonnes CO2 of potential emissions, compared to using traditional fossil-fuel based transport. Without this, our total logistics emissions in 2021-2022 would have been 20 percent higher,” Dahl-Thorup said.
The group claimed to have intensified its focus on indirect emissions via the extended value chain. It has committed to establishing solar power plants at textile factories in Bangladesh, which would integrate renewable energy into the production of its goods.
Bestseller’s has also invested more that 100 million DKK (about AUD$21.5 million) into Invest Fwd – the group’s investment arm dedicated to paving a more sustainable fashion.
“Materials and productions constitute the biggest emissions and biggest challenge for the fashion industry,” she said.
“So, with Invest Fwd, we believe that one of the solutions to lasting changes is innovation. We focus on new low-impact materials, regenerative production, new circular business models and smarter ways of manufacturing.
“We are seeing great progress, but we still have a long way to go.”
Moving as an industry
Bestseller subscribes to the philosophies of being ‘climate positive,’ ‘fair for all,’ and ‘circular by design.’
According to Dahl-Thorup, Bestseller is seeking to meet these ambitions by tracking and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and establishing and making progress toward goals that have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
Dahl-Thorup added that Bestsellers is also working with stakeholders, partners and the industry to increase its transparency and traceability across its supply chain.
“Since 2018, we’ve been a strategic partner in Fashion for Good – a global community of brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, NGOs, innovators and investors united around shared ambitions of positively transforming the fashion industry,” she said.
“Our Fashion FWD strategy continues its course and focus is very much on data, legislation and standards, so that we ensure that we move as an industry and not just individual companies.”