HUGO BOSS franchised store in Constanta opened in a mass market area, neighbouring second hand shops

CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently featured a review of BOSS’s dramatic drop in sales in Eastern Europe. Romania, the second largest market in Eastern Europe after Poland and with a large customer base of luxury consumers, should have been an obvious priority for a brand such as HUGO BOSS. Instead more than 6 years ago the German brand signed a franchising agreement with company that has been distributing exclusively Gillette and British American Tobacco nationwide, which opened a 200 sqm shop on main highstreet Calea Victoriei. From the beginning, traditional customers of BOSS were one by one disappointed by the Bucharest location, especially due to the poor customer service and selection of merchandise. The shop was run for many year by an ex model, herself in her mid 20′s, with no experience in retail whatsoever. With the time passing, one could notice the deteriorating state of the shop, chipped tiles, dirty windows, run down carpets etc. Many expected that the owners of the franchise would at least notice the euphoria of the economic boom of 2007 and take advantage to open additional stores or at least to renovate the existing one. Instead, the shop closed down early 2008, with owners being probably bored.

Spring 2009 we have learned of BOSS re-opening in Romania, this time in the city of Constanta, also Romania’s gateway to the BlackSea and third largest prosperous cities after the capital. The opening was marked by a rather discreet event with few celebrities or customers, mostly footballers of the National Team, who happened to be in town. We at CPP, could not help but wonder, first, what made BOSS decide to approve opening a location outside the capital city and secondly how BOSS management could approve of a monobrand store to be located in a mass market, narrow streets area, neighbouring second hand stands, as they cannot be called shops. Detailes of who the new franchisee were kept secret, yet in this case it is totally irrelevant. It is outrageous how a top international brand has become so desperate or so reckless to approve of such locations and encourage such retailing. Probably they are preparing to become a mass market brand or are well aware of their worsening financial situation and such decisions do not count any more.
To make things even worse, the Romanian franchisee announced the re-opening of the BOSS store in Bucharest at the end of this year on the same Calea Victoriei, yet on a section that has no pedestrian traffic, no retail and no parking…