Can poor store location of your brand be its undoing?

Clothing retailer BritishIndia has sued mall Suria KLCC for the former’s forced relocation by the mall’s management, a spokesperson from BritishIndia’s holding company BTC Clothier confirmed to A+M.

The Malaysian Insider reported that BTC Clothier’s CEO Rhoda Yap Jin Lyn told the High Court the mall’s management offered the store a bad spot on level 2 or 3 which she said is "detrimental to our brand positioning."

Its previous location was level 1, where it had remained for 16 years, the article said.

Just how badly does a move in location affect brand positioning and revenue opportunity? We asked marketing experts on their take.

Peter Miller, shopper and retail business director, Y&R Labstore Singapore, commented that the forced relocation might convey the wrong message to its customers: “They would also be concerned that it might look bad from a brand perspective, as if they could not afford the location anymore.”

He added, “In BTC Clothier’s case, their greatest concern—apart from moving away from a higher traffic floor—would be moving from a location that’s established and familiar to their shoppers after 16 years.”

Mahesh Neelakantan, COO of Advocacy Malaysia, also believed that location is a key factor that can fast-track growth and business of a fashion retailer. He acknowledged that a disruption or mislocation of a longstanding store can undo all the past equity and effort invested by the brand.

He added,“If the brand indeed has to re-locate, then a strong transition and migration strategy is key to ensuring that there is minimal impact on business. Perhaps a store may have to over-invest to protect its current business and market share.”

Neelakantan cited various factors to consider when deciding on the best location for a store: “A brand needs to look at things like catchment-area opportunity – What’s the population density, opportunity surrounding the store, type of traffic?”

He said, “Within a mall, however, some of the questions to ask: Is it in the centre? Or at an intersection? Is it adjacent to a traffic-driver (grocery store in most cases)? How does the traffic flow? Is your shop window in the line of vision of the arterial flow of the store traffic ? Proximity to points of entry and exit surrounding your store?”

Neelakantan noted that a store also needs to verify if their competition compete or complement its brand.

In July last year, BritishIndia was given four days to accept unconditionally the mall’s relocation offer. Since then, the store had been negotiating to stay in its current location, The Malaysian Insider reported.

A+M has reached out to BritishIndia for further comments.