Q&A: Simon Donoghue, head of retail at French Connection
Earlier this year, French Connection opened its first outlet store in six years at London’s Outlet Shopping at The O2. Here we catch up with Simon Donoghue, head of retail at French Connection, to find out the reasons behind that decision.
Why did French Connection decide to re-enter the outlet space?
As we grow the business in all channels, it is a natural fit to expand our outlet exposure. The overall strength of the UK outlet channel makes it a very positive move for us, and we’re confident that this will help drive our brand further and make us even more accessible on a wider scale.
Why did French Connection select London and Outlet Shopping at The O2 for the first store?
It’s a great centre with a strong catchment and offers our London and international customer a different channel to our full price stores and online. It also gives us the opportunity to expand our customer base.
Is French Connection planning to open further outlet stores in the next few years?
We have a few more openings in the pipeline, such as McArthurGlen in York in early autumn.
How has the Outlet Shopping at The O2 store been performing?
Since opening at The O2, our performance has been very strong. We are delighted with the conversion over the quieter summer period and can’t wait to experience the busier event calendar as we move into autumn.
Is there a new store format/concept that the brand is rolling out in future sites?
We have developed a new store concept for both outlet and full price stores.
What does the future hold for French Connection?
The brand is in a period of growth and excitement following the change in ownership in November 2021. We are delighted with the results of our changes to the brand thus far, and with the recent opening at Outlet Shopping at The O2 and more on the horizon, we look forward to future growth and success.
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