Connect with a UK company

Consumer & Retail Industry

Welcome to A World-class Consumer & Retail Industry

As the home of iconic brands such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Harrods, Net-A-Porter, Stella McCartney and Topshop, the UK is at the forefront of outstanding style, fashion and design.

From heritage brands with long traditions to fashion-tech, look to the UK for your next consumer and retail partner.

Why UK Consumer & Retail?

A DIVERSE & DISCERNING OFFER

  • A wide variety of products that take in the UK’s diverse geography, regional traditions and openness to international influence.
  • Luxury products from bespoke gifts to high-quality fabrics, global consumers recognise the heritage and uncompromising quality of the British offer.

CONSUMER PREFERENCE

  • The British-made reputation helps add market demand and value as it signifies quality, reliability and innovation.
  • Consumers in developing economies are willing to spend an extra 7% for products with the “Made in Britain” label. (Source: Barclays)

RELIABILITY

  • A long history of delivering high quality products and services on time, to specification,
    and at the agreed price.
  • Long-term value for money by maintaining product integrity and reliability.

Harris Tweed

The only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament

Leading Design & Craftsmanship

Using traditional and contemporary techniques, and materials, British craft makers are applying their skills in multiple sectors from automotive to healthcare.

Technological advancements have created opportunities that mean that digital programs and leather stitching skills drawing on our strong heritage sit alongside each other to create exceptional works of art.

Supporting this industry, we are home to world leading educational institutions specialising in art and design such as the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Innovation in design has resulted in the UK exporting 50% more design than it imports. At the forefront of the development of new products and services, design lives in iconic brands such as Diageo, Dyson and Mini. Intelligent design helps grow businesses – the UK applies for the most trademarks within Europe.

Integral to our success is the quality of our design education, such as the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. The UK has two of the top five universities in the world for arts and design.

Original with a Commercial Mindset

UK fashion ignites passion and imagination, making us one of the most influential fashion hubs in the world. Home to trailblazers Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Paul Smith, UK retailers were also the first in the world to bring designer collections onto the high street.

We offer world-class design expertise in all types of clothing and accessories, and are a centre of manufacturing excellence of high-quality fabrics.

The industry is further strengthened by the calibre of talent graduating from our internationally renowned fashion colleges such as the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. Famous graduates include Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Jonathan Saunders and Stella McCartney.

Centres of Excellence

The UK offers expertise that spans an incredibly diverse range of industries from haute-couture to leather goods, automotive and aviation interiors to luxury publishing.

Across the UK, these powerful clusters of expertise include:

  • Birmingham – The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter covers 300 acres and includes over 100 specialist jewellery retailers, workshops, designers and craftspeople. It is an important centre for the jewellery trade, accounting for approximately 40% of all made in the UK.
  • London – Luxury retailing in London is synonymous with legacy, core retail locations. From the Mulberry and Alexander McQueen flagship stores on Bond Street, to the Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson stores on Bruton Street. Old Bond Street and New Bond Street remain iconic.
  • LondonSavile Row, famed across the world for its traditional men’s bespoke tailoring, is anchored by Gieves & Hawkes, a brand internationally-recognised for its quintessentially British style and craftsmanship.
  • London – The Hatton Garden area has been the epicentre of London’s jewellery trade since medieval times. Today, it maintains its international reputation as the centre of London’s diamond trade. With almost 300 businesses and over 55 shops, Hatton Garden contains the largest and most concentrated cluster of jewellery retailers in the UK.
  • Manchester – With a growing reputation in the world of fashion, local retail success stories include Boohoo.com and Missguided.co.uk.
  • Northampton World-renowned for shoemaking and leather craftsmanship. BLC Leather Technology Centre is the leading centre for leather innovation, working with hundreds of companies spanning over 40 countries. Famous names such as Dr Martens and Church & Co continue to thrive.
  • Scotland – Characterised by the manufacture of high-quality knitwear and woollen apparel. The Harris Tweed is still woven only in the Outer Hebrides by crofters in their own homes, using century-old methods. However, Harris Tweed’s enduring appeal means its products are found in surprising contexts, with many brands – including Topman, Nike, Hugo Boss and J.Crew – all making use of the fabrics.
  • ScotlandScottish cashmere, with craftsmanship perfected over 300 years, is another thriving brand built upon a traditional guarantee of quality and luxury. Only one mill in the UK carries out the entire cashmere weaving process from raw fibre to finished garment, with the product supplied being used by many of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses including Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.
  • Scotland – The leather industry in Scotland is dominated by The Scottish Leather Group. The largest manufacturer of leather in the UK and comprises four leather manufacturing subsidiaries and a technology company. Their specialist leathers are produced for a wide range of industries including automotive, furniture, marine, aviation, shoes and leather goods.
  • South West – With two UK factories based in Somerset, Mulberry is renowned worldwide for its craftsmanship and quality.

Commercial help and support

The UK’s Department for International Trade has commercial officers in more than 100 locations across the world. They can connect you to UK capability, and UK Export Finance who can support the purchase of UK goods and services.

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