HUGO BOSS to bring its collections faster to the stores

Hugo Boss is cutting the time it takes to bring its collections to the shop floor, in a move to use some of the methods of lower-cost brands.The German fashion house plans to increase its number of stores from about 450 this year to 700 by 2015, accelerating a transition towards higher-margin retail sales in fast-growing areas such as China.

Lead times to develop some Hugo Boss collections for next year are being cut from 50 to 38 weeks. “Shortening the times from collection development to production and delivery to the customer is crucial for our future success,” said Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, chief executive, in an interview. The programme would be fully implemented for summer 2012 sales, Mr Lahrs said.

Acknowledging that fast-moving fashion retailers such as Zara, owned by Inditex, and H&M use shorter lead times for products, Mr Lahrs said Hugo Boss would maintain its position as a premium brand, but wanted the “speed and reactivity” of those companies for Hugo Boss’s more fashion-driven items, which make up about one-third of sales.

Hugo Boss, listed in Germany and majority owned by Permira, the private equity group, is trying to lift sales from €1.6bn ($2bn) last year to €2.5bn by 2015. It plans to increase the proportion of sales from its own retail stores from about one-third to about half.

Just under half the store openings are expected to be in China, where Hugo Boss set up a joint venture in July and which will be one of the three largest markets by 2015.

from FT