Thursday, October 4, 2012

Topshop Sydney - the lowdown

I went, I saw, I freaked.
It was a zoo.

Since it is faster for me to upload my photos on Facebook compared to the blog, I will do that. But her is a summary of my Topshop experience today.

The facts:

1. I arrived 6 pm, left 9.30 pm with a dinner breather in between.
2. There were 4 floors, top floor was mens (Topman), the rest was womens.
3. There are two entrances - the George St level had the huge queues. The lower QVB entrance had minimal queues.

Comparison to Zara:

1. Topshop is younger than Zara
2. Topshop is trendier than Zara
3. Topshop is cheaper than Zara
4. Topshop quality is not as good as Zara (it looks to me like Topshop has never met a polyester it didnt like)
5. Topshop music is much louder than Zara (deafening)
6. Topshop has a max of 6 items in the change room (Zara has a 10 item maximum)
7. Prices in Topshop are more concentrated around price points than in Zara. Zara has far more variations in price for any particular style (top, bottom, dress etc) due to differences in quality. 
8. Topshop collaborates with known designers - Zara does not.
9. Topshop is offering a permanent 10% discount to all students. Zara doesnt have this type of promo.
10. Topshop's return policy is 14 days for a full refund. Zara's is 30 days.
11. Sizing is similar to Zara - small. 

& yes, while Zara is cheaper than Topshop in the UK, here in Australia isnt the other way around.

Comparison to the Sydney high street:

For those of you who havent experienced Zara, I'll frame my Topshop experience in terms of the Sydney high street (Sportsgirl, Portmans, Forever New, Temt etc)......

1. Topshop is significantly cheaper than the Sydney high street
2. Topshop quality is marginally worse than the Sydney high street
3. Topshop music is significantly louder than the Sydney high street

Seriously though, Sydney needs a store like Topshop. The Sydney high street needs the competition. 

Topshop had a cosmetics area where they were doing free makeovers.
There is a lingerie & sleepwear area.
Plus accessories, shoes, bags, you name it, they had it.

There were also opening promotions
- a photo booth where they took your photo & you stuck it up on a board for a change to win prizes.
- if you Instagramed your fave Topshop piece, you could also go into a draw.
- there were DJs on every floor.

How knowledgeable were the staff?

The Topshop staff (like Zara) dont know much about the labels & the marketing of the brand. I had to ask a number of people about some of the different Topshop brands until someone could tell me anything that make sense.

Topshop brands?
What Topshop brands?

1. There have women's Petite.

2. They have Women's Tall.

3. They have "Topshop Unique" - this is the collection that shows at London Fashion Week - it's expensive, trendy & edgy but in a glamourous way. Sydney pieces with the Unique label were priced around $230 - $400.

4. They have "Topshop Boutique"
This seems to be better quality than the general Topshop women's range - also a tad more expensive. It also seemed a touch more classy, a touch less "street". The Boutique collection's lighter items were silk, not synthetic. Its knits were cotton & natural fibres rather than synthetic/polyester.

5. Mens - Every type of clothing was catered for - from work suiting to beach clothes and hip accesories. Tops & bottoms of suits are sold separately. 


Topshop has more consistent price points than Zara. What I mean by this is that any group of clothing is typically priced similarly & there isnt a huge variation in price. Eg: Apart from "Unique" and "Boutique", most tops are a similar price, most bottoms are a similar price. 

In comparison, Zara has a massive range of quality (& hence price variation) in tops or in bottoms or dresses. Prices for Zara Women differ to prices for Zara Basic which again differ to prices for Zara TRF. Basic & TRF constitute more than 50% of the store. 

Topshop on the other hand produces everything with the one label, except for a small selection of "Boutique" and "Unique". "Boutique" and "Unique" constitute less than 5% of the store.

Typical price points were:

Dresses: $90 
Jackets: $70 or $130 
Leather shoes: $130
Tops: $40
Skirts: $40
Leather bags (med size): $130
Vinyl bags (med size): $70
Jeans: $70 

Tees: $40
Shirts: $55
Pants: $65
Jackets: $130 (gaberdine mix)
Jackets: $210 (wool mix & Pant $95)
Jackets: $290 (100% wool & Pant $130)
Jeans: $55

Despite the lower quality of Topshop, I think it will do well in Sydney as it targets a young & trendy market - the young market loves cheap fast fashion - they arent interested in quality/longevity and so Topshop will thrive.

What more can I say?

I purchased....a men's white short sleeved shirt with pale blue swallows for $55. I generally dont buy clothes with animals on them (not sure why as I am happy to eat animals), but this one called out to me. Perfect  for bumming around in, with jeans....The women's wear was too short, too small, too tight, too see through or just plain too ordinary for me. Funnily the men's shirt was an XL (very small sizing...)

Finally, I think the Facebook pictures complete the story of my Topshop excursion....

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