Hugo Boss CEO – China will see a rebound next year

In an interview to FT, Claus Dietrich Lahrs, CEO of Hugo Boss explained how a tighter control on retail sales and a better understanding of the consumer needs have led to the rebound of the German brand, which topped 2 billion euros in sales last year, aiming to reach 3 billion euros in 2015 (or even earlier). He succeeded in reducing the development time for collections, moved from 2 to 4 collections per year and built a 100 million euro warehouse to bring merchandise faster to stores. Since Lahrs took over as CEO in 2008, retail sales have grown from less than 20% to 45%, with the aim to reach 75% in the near future.

In mature markets which have been affected by the crisis, such as Spain, Hugo Boss has adopted a shop in shop retail strategy within department stores such as El Corte Ingles, a strategy which has proven successfull. While wholesale partners remain important in markets such as the US and Germany, Hugo Boss will strive for a better control of retail, whether through directly operated stores or franchised mono-brand stores. Speaking about cooling demand in China, Mr Lahrs said he ”would not be surprised if China sees a pretty significant rebound, by the beginning of next year” following the change in the country’s political leadership. In China, Hugo Boss will pursue expansion through directly operated stores, larger and ”better equipped”.

Hugo Boss shop in shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York