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Online - the new black in fashion


“We’ve had to focus on providing a better product and better service and expand our thinking to be more aligned to the digital age.” - Justin Davenport, Managing Director Lux Design Group


Kathy Grant and Justin Davenport own and run fashion import wholesaler, Lux Design Group.

Fashion is bucking the trend of consumers spending less on what they want and more on what they need as the retail industry continues to transform.


With social media continuing to establish itself as a retail shopping ‘outlet’ it is also influencing how much people spend on clothing and accessories.

ANZ Economist, Adelaide Timbrell who shared her views with ANZ News on podcast recently, says consumers are focusing on the ‘essentials’ rather than ‘extras’. With little growth in household income and the rising cost of essential purchases such as health, education and utilities, household budgets are being squeezed.


“Consumers are choosing to spend their discretionary income on food, pharmaceuticals and toiletries, ahead of ‘nice to haves’,” she says. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Consumers do still care what they look like. And that’s an opportunity for clothing retailers.

The faces behind the fashion


Clothing retailers have seen the strongest volume growth (2.9%) over the last year, higher than total retail (2.6%) – something fashion import wholesaler and ANZ small business customer, Lux Design Group can attest to.


Yet the key, according to Lux Managing Director Justin Davenport is less about what is being sold and more about how it is being sold.


ANZ’s Deputy CEO, Alexis George sat down with Justin to talk about the changing face of the industry, customer service and the doors that have opened up for Lux internationally.

A recent graduate of the ANZ Business Growth program, Justin says Lux is constantly looking at how it can do things better and innovate for the future.


ALEXIS: Retail’s certainly an industry that’s gone through a lot of change from physical to digital. I know you have an online presence, what trends are you seeing in the industry?


JUSTIN: The industry has seen a huge move to online in the past three to four years. The key to surviving this transformation was seeing the trend ahead of time and being at the forefront to deal with the change and capitalise on it.


Our overseas market is expanding really strongly, which we are really happy about. We are putting a lot of emphasis on our in house brands, but also on the wholesale side, establishing a relationship with our customers who are retailers and customising our products to suit their needs and the needs of their consumers.


ALEXIS: Customer service is so important across all industries, whether it be online or in person, customer experience should be at the forefront of all businesses. How do you ensure you’re delivering value to your customers?


JUSTIN: Customers don’t just buy your product. Your product stands to a point, but if something isn’t right and you’ve got a strong relationship with your customers they’ll come back to you. You can have a conversation with them about it and work it out.


ALEXIS: It’s about building trust, so if something goes wrong, you’ve got that history together. I’m guessing that helps when you’re working to grow your business sustainably and innovate?


JUSTIN: Yes, I was so excited to be selected for the ANZ business growth program. Being part of the program has allowed us to work on our weaknesses and build our strengths in the business, to be our best.


Three to four years ago, retailers could rely on people walking into stores. We’ve had to focus on providing a better product and better service and expand our thinking to be more aligned to the digital age.

The evolving shopfront


With consumers now shopping at the touch of a finger, online expenditure is a substantial proportion of fashion sales, with 15% of fashion spending happening online.


Adelaide says technology is reducing barriers for international competitors and facilitating price comparison through comparison websites, Amazon and other multi-seller platforms. She believes this competition, combined with cost-consciousness among consumers, is keeping prices flat and helping sustain volume growth.

“The ways we're now shopping especially for clothing is really evolving. Traditionally you go to the shops, you go to a shopping centre or shopping mall and that's where you purchase your clothing,” Adelaide says.


“We then started to shop at home on our computers. Now, a lot of the ways we're shopping is through our mobile phones and we can directly buy clothing from social media. So you can be scrolling on your Instagram feed or looking at Facebook and you're not just getting ads anymore you're actually able to click and buy those clothes,” she says.

The ANZ Business Growth Program is delivered by The Australian Centre for Business Growth, University of SA with global growth expert Dr Jana Matthews, ANZ Chair in Business Growth at Uni SA and leader of the ANZ Business Growth Program.

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