Nordstrom and Asos say joint venture is a game-changer
Nordstrom announced yesterday that it has acquired a minority stake in Asos’ Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.
The joint venture will provide Nordstrom greater access to fashions that are popular with younger consumers and offer Asos a physical presence in the U.S. market. The deal builds on a relationship that goes back to 2012 when Nordstrom became the “exclusive distributor” of Topshop and Topman brands in the U.S.
The companies have said that the partnership they are creating “will involve unprecedented collaboration and alignment, redefining the traditional retail/wholesale model.” Asos will retain creative and operational control of its brands and Nordstrom will have its exclusive multi-channel rights to distribute Topshop and Topman in all of North America. Nordstrom will become the only brick and mortar presence for the brands worldwide.
“Partnering with Nordstrom will support our U.S. strategy, allowing us to offer that to even more 20-somethings in North America,” Nick Beighton, Asos CEO, said in a statement. “We’re excited about the opportunities ahead, collaborating to deliver the best product through engaging, friction-free multi-touch experiences and we can’t wait to see the growth in our brands in Nordstrom stores.”
Both Nordstrom and Asos see the joint venture as the beginning of bigger things with “a wider strategic alliance” to come. The companies said they are currently discussing the creation of a multi-channel showcase for “a handful of Asos brands.” Customers placing Asos orders will also be able to pick them up at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores beginning in the fall.
Nordstrom has had success working with direct-to-consumer brands before but the Asos deal takes it a step further than its previous efforts. The retailer’s Investor Event in February included a panel of DTC brands that have found success via the department store retailer.
Richard Hayne, CEO at Urban Outfitters, said his company’s Free People unit began as a wholesale business, landing Nordstrom as an early customer. Nordstrom continues to carry Free People, which operates over 130 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
“The Free People customer is in her mid-to-late 20s through mid-40s, is relatively affluent and loves fashion,” he said. “That’s a direct overlap with the Nordstrom customer, and there are many customers that we would find either difficult or impossible to reach with our own stores and our own digital business.”
- Nordstrom and ASOS Announce Game-changing Joint Venture – Nordstrom
- Why should DTC brands sell to Nordstrom? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think will come out of Nordstrom and Asos’s joint venture? Do you expect to see more deals similar to this going forward between chain retailers and direct-to-consumer brands?