Retail successes and failures in the US

Kasmira Jefford
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Primark is making its first foray into the US, which has in the past proved to be a tough market to crack and one often described as the graveyard of UK retailers. However alongside a number of failures there have been several success stories.

Burberry has proved to be one of the biggest British retail success stories in recent years, with the US now one of its largest markets, generating £380m of sales in the first six months of the year (including the wider Amercias market). It opened a flagship store in New York in 1970, and it now operates more than 30 stores in the country.

Ted Baker
Now one of the more established players in the US, Ted Baker opened its first store in New York in 1998. It launched its US website in 2010 and now has 63 stores and concessions in the country.

Sir Philip Green’s high street chain is a recent entrant to the US, having opened its first store in New York in 2009. It has flagships in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles and has around 60 Topshop and Topman concessions within Nordstrom department stores. In 2012, Green sold a stake to US private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, further helping to fund its expansion in the country.

Tesco booked a £1bn bill last year after deciding to call its quits and sell its loss-making Fresh & Easy venture in the US after five years of trying to crack the market.

Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer made a disastrous attempt to enter the US market by buying the Brooks Brothers, the clothing retailer and King’s, the supermarket chain, in 1988. It subsequently sold both for a fraction of their pruchase prices in 2001 and 2006.

Dixons Retail
Electricals chain Dixons Retail bought its US peer Silo in 1987. However after a recession and years of overexpansion, it was unable to compete with bigger rivals. Dixons sold the chain and took write-offs of more than £200m.

Laura Ashley
Laura Ashley’s quintessential British style failed to win over American shoppers, forcing the retailer to sell off its US business for a dollar in 1999.

Sainsbury’s took a stake in US supermarket chain Shaw’s in 1983 before taking full control of the company in 1987. However despite a reasonably good performance from the business, Sainsbury’s was forced to sell its off in 2004 to focus on problems in its home market.