British brands still struggling to crack crucial US retail market

Kasmira Jefford
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NEARLY half of British retailers view the US as the toughest market to break into despite being the top destination for growth, according to research published yesterday by Barclays.

The bank, which questioned retailers on their attitudes towards international expansion and how they plan to expand, said 46 per cent consider the US to be the most challenging market to achieve commercial success.

China came in second with around a third of retailers (33 per cent) saying they had experienced difficulties when trying to set up shop. Asia more widely ranked third with 19 per cent of the vote.

However, the survey found that the US remained the top target for expansion, and comes after reports that Sir Philip Green aims to turn Topshop into a $1bn US business in the next five years.

British fashion retailer Hobbs has also set its sights on the US market, where it plans to launch its website later this year.

“The economic realities across the western world mean that retailers now have international expansion firmly on their radar,” Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said.

Between 2012 and 2016 total UK retail spend is expect to grow by around 11.5 per cent to £345.6bn.

This contrasts with a 17.5 per cent jump to £2.3 trillion forecast for the US and an 85 per cent leap to £3.6 trillion in China.