The key to apparel retail profitability, even for premium brands, are stores* like these.
200 square feet, 200 shirts on display.
In my view, the fallacies in premium apparel retailing are:
the customer needs to see a display of 2,000 to select 2.
if the merchandise is premium, the store needs to be large.
premium merchandise needs premium interiors. Is the retailer seeking to influence the customer with the product offering or the store interiors?
that stores needs to be located in premium retails areas where the store rent could be upto upto 25% of sales
a small army of people is required to pander to the customers whims.
200 square feet stores, located in all key neighborhoods are the key. If a brand can retail from 200 square feet from an airport location, it can do the same from other locations too. Carefully selected merchandise, in 5 well selected stores in the city, of 200 - 300 square feet each, will fetch more than one 2,000 square feet store. Hand-held barcode scanning and invoice printing devices can even dispense with the need for a cash wrap. For the consumer, it is easy access to the brand. For the brand, it getting closer to the customer without mounting a white elephant.
A combination of a large number of very small stores and a small number of very large stores, combined with the power of the internet, is the key to profitable apparel retailing.