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Matthew Smith has been a business and financial journalist for more than a decade. He previously worked with the Financial Times Group, reporting from New York on company buyouts and refinancing in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. He started his career reporting on the funds management industry in Sydney.

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Topman Hilton Seskin to announce Miss Selfridge Australian franchise agreement

Published 05 March 2013 11:34, Updated 06 March 2013 06:33

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Topman Hilton Seskin to announce Miss Selfridge Australian franchise agreement

Hilton Seskin says he is selective in terms of the overseas brands he decides to partner with in Australia Photo: Michel O’Sullivan

Hilton Seskin, the owner of Australia’s Topshop/Topman franchise, is believed to be close to announcing the Australian franchise rights to UK fast fashion chain Miss Selfridge.

Seskin says he is weeks away from announcing a new franchise agreement with an overseas fashion brand similar to the one that led to him opening Topshop/Topman stores, first on Chapel Street in Melbourne, and then in Sydney’s CBD late in 2012.

Miss Selfridge currently has a pop-up presence in Glue, the multi-brand streetwear store owned by Next Athleisure, the holding company owned by Seskin.

A licensing agreement with Miss Selfridge is likely to involve a commitment to open new stores this year around the Miss Selfridge brand. Seskin declined to comment on the nature of any new licensing agreements before an official announcement.

According to a report published in February by property group Colliers International, Miss Selfridge has earmarked five store openings in Australia with an average store size of 800 square metres.

In a further commitment to deepening his footprint in the fast fashion retail market, Seskin says he will open a new 1000 square-metre Glue store in Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne’s west on March 14. Named “Super Glue”, the store will be Seskin’s attempt to entice customers to re-engage with the retail experience, featuring an in-house barista and a tailor who makes custom jeans on demand.

Seskin says he is selective in terms of which overseas brands he decides to partner with in Australia.

“Doing something similar to what’s already been done doesn’t make sense,” he says.

Doing something similar to what’s already been done doesn’t make sense.

While there is a heavy focus on international fast fashion brands entering the Australian market, Seskin says the competition lines are not drawn between local versus international retailers.

“If you don’t have something that has an appeal or a connectivity to consumers it won’t work, it doesn’t matter where it’s from,” he says.

International retailers have begun to plan new store openings in Australia on the back of demand for their brands based on online sales in recent years, with Zara, Topshop and Gap, as well as Banana Republic, H&M, Uniqlo, J. Crew and Forever 21 all negotiating leases for multiple location.

Seskin’s Next Athleisure has the financial backing of private equity firm, Next Capital Partners, through a joint venture partnership.

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