Burberry and Balmain are now living happily in Blanchardstown and Balenciaga is reportedly on the road next week.
If anyone was in any doubt about the demand for international designer fashion labels here, watching shoppers in action during the opening weekend of the first Flannels store to open in the Republic of Ireland provided many interesting insights, such as interest in a Burberry trench coat for a six-month-old baby costs €900.
The array of glitzy three and four figure designer clothing at the Dublin suburban mall drew a mix of festive shoppers and brand heads curious about what Flannels, the luxury arm of Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group shopping empire, had to offer.
Shopping was brisk among the labels specializing in premium, luxury and super luxury, with many of the black and white logo bags being carried around the mall.
Shoppers realized that many had done their research online and were in store on day one to spend. Gift shopping has been brisk and Flannels branded gift boxes are available for €6 to €12.
The most expensive item in the women’s department was a MaxMara tedgirl coat in powder blue, which hung under the semi-mirrored ceiling with a price tag of €2,220.
Versace lingerie and Burberry swimwear also drew a lot of attention, and a miniature genuine black Jacquemus leather bag, just big enough to hold a lipstick and bank card, cost €415.
Perhaps the biggest hoots unfolded before Uggs ankle boots, because the furry winter staples are back in fashion, proving to be as rare as hen’s teeth in certain sizes.
The mini-me luxe vibe emerged in kidswear, which stocks brands parents love to wear, like jackets from Canada Goose (€475 for 12-year-olds), Kenzo and Burberry.
While central Blanchardstown is in full swing with a new enlarged 52,000 sqft Zara store, retailers’ eyes are glued to the opening of Flannels’ second store early next year on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.
The 30,000 sqft flagship store sits on the former Clerys floor plan and will firmly position this new player in the Irish retail landscape in the cockpit of city center retail, complementing the established international designer offering of Brown Thomas on Grafton Street, Arnotts on the Henry Street and Independent has shops dealing in high quality luxury goods.
The appetite for designer labels has had major online appeal during the pandemic. Consumer patterns have changed and expanded with digital offerings, and now a new 30,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar offering with a focus on luxury is set to spice things up by 2023.
The Flannels name may not be familiar to Irish buyers. Established in Northern England in 1976 and now part of Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, it has over 50 stores across the UK and houses a curated range of ready-to-wear, accessories, footwear and the newly launched junior and beauty collections.
Flannels have been reading the market here since 2019 when they opened in 2019 on the top floor of the Frasers store in Belfast’s Victoria Square. Visiting southern buyers and selling online gave them insight into the market and tastes here. Last January they unveiled plans to further their investment in the Irish market with three new stores, two in Dublin and one in Cork.
Frasers are no strangers to the Irish market and their Sports Direct brand had a grand opening in the former Boyers store on North Earl Street.
Last year, the Frasers Group, which includes House of Fraser, Frasers, Flannels, Sports Direct and Jack Wills, acquired online business Missguided, , Amara and Savile Row tailoring Gieves & Hawkes. It also increased its stakes in suit maker Hugo Boss AG and fast fashion hub Asos Plc.
The company’s CEO, Michael Murray, has made no secret of his plans to take flannels to the next level, stocking big names in luxury fashion and beauty and an evolving roster of new and emerging labels.
The suits at headquarters are rejoicing this week. They opened their first Flannels shop in Ireland today and yesterday Drapers reported that Frasers Group announced that in the 26 weeks to 23 October pre-tax profit was up 53 per cent year on year to £284.6m is reflecting the growth of Flannels through the launch of both stores and online.
https://www.independent.ie/business/luxury-retailer-flannels-hits-ireland-with-premium-brands-in-blanchardstown-42208256.html Luxury retailer Flannels meets Ireland with premium brands in Blanchardstown