EMBARGO — 4th December 2006
4th December 2006, LONDON – It was announced today at a clothing retail conference in Amsterdam that a brand new global clothes retailer is to launch early in 2007 with what is seen as a revolutionary new business model.
TatMart will not sell clothes but instead signup customers on 12 or 18 month contracts, during which time they can come in to any of the planned 200 stores worldwide and select an unlimited number of pieces of each item (tops, shirts, skirts/trousers, shoes, underwear) which will technically be rented for the duration of the contract (note that there is a fair usage policy to this which limits the total number of pieces to 23).
Customers will pay an attractive monthly fee for the service and at the end of the contract will be able to upgrade their items to the latest fashions and renew their contract for a further 12 or 18 months.
Only 3 fashion houses have been chosen to supply TatMart although it is rumoured that all of these are using the same OCM (Original Clothing Manufacturer) in China.
Initially each fashion house has produced just 10 pieces for each of the items to be offered but it is expected that throughout the first year this range will drastically increase and there will be options for customers to upgrade mid-contract to the latest styles.
At this time it is believed there will 7 different tariffs to cover everyone from small children through teenagers, young adults and even business people. There will be a seperate range of business suites and office shoes on the business package, together with a special business clothes advisor in each store who is fully trained in the art of power dressing.
Tariffs will range from £12 to £55 per month. It is not understood at this time how a pay as you go scheme will work although company officials have confirmed that they are investigating methods of making this idea work as “it is believed it will be very popular with many of the young people”.
Each of the initial 200 stores is to have a coffee shop; and curiously a strange clause at the bottom of the press release states that security staff will be told to stop people entering the shop carrying any other coffee or food items.
Cups of TatMart branded coffee will be priced at £7.50 per cup, although an “all you can drink” tariff will be available for £37 per month (with a fair usage policy we found in the smallprint that limits a person to 16 cups per month).
Other well known brands of tea and coffee will be available but a “corking fee” will be charged for these, making the total cost per cup £12.35 – and these will not be included in the all-you-can-drink tariff.
At ClothConf in Amsterdam where TatMart was launched yesterday, Tim Bryce-but-Wim, head of refreshment services said that:
Coffee and cake services are very important to us as they will help cover the huge costs of leasing the incredible centre-of-town landmark properties that we have taken on. Local councils and government, especially in the UK have levied huge taxes and retail licences on us and so it is important that we find a way to claw those setup costs back without hitting our monthly contract fees for clothing rental.
A retail industry expert listening in on the conference was heard to utter the words “hogwash” but as yet this rumour cannot be confirmed.
Whilst TatMart has leased 200 of the most incredible landmark sites around the world (one being the corner of Regent Street near Oxford Circus in London, one of the capitals most expensive retail properties), it is said by industry experts that security in the stores will be very “controlling”.
All clothes will be mere demonstration pieces, using similar looking materials but of a much cheaper fabric and sown together without the same degree of care that final items will have. They will also be tethered to the racks to ensure people cannot walk out with them. However TatMart confirmed that they will have a few pieces of the real merchandise held behind the counter for those customers who insist on trying them on.
All staff are to be on commission and it is rumoured that certain pieces carry better commission and so will be pushed harder.
Because the clothing items are technically being rented from TatMart, there will be an optional insurance policy that staff will be pushing. It will cost £78 per year and cover clothes for all risks worldwide; except countries where there is a current conflict or potential natural disaster or lots of rain. Items left in cloakrooms or lockers will also not be covered.
In addition, any items being worn by other people (for example if a customer lends a jacket to his brother) will not be insured. Customers should read the insurance smallprint because these clauses were only found on page 4 amongst half a dozen other rather revealing clauses.
Finally it can be revealed that whilst this is a new global initiative, UK customers who wish to go and shop in any of the TatMart shops abroad will have to pay an excess of £38 per item that they purchase in the overseas stores. Furthermore, we have discovered that all clothing items contain an RFID chip and the contracts clearly state that clothing is for UK use only.
TatMart intends to install RFID monitors at its Manchester, Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton airport shops as well as in all of its overseas branches. If anybody is detected wearing a TatMart item at the airport or overseas then their account will be charged an additional £4.50 per day that it is being worn outside the UK.
Customers who wish to signup for an account at TatMart will need to take full photo ID and a bill showing their address to their nearest store. The process is said to only take 30 minutes whilst TatMart check the persons credit and take all their bank details for the 12 or 18 month contract.
Once signed up they are then able to come into the store whenever they wish and take a ticket for the next free member of shop staff who can show them round the items of clothing and talk them through the seasonal fashions and which items of clothing they believe will work best for the customer.
Curious, it seems like Steve went to a similar conference to me last week…
Pure class, Steve, thanks for sending and allowing me to publish!