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Drapers Operations Forum: Brexit could derail us, says Jigsaw operations chief

Jigsaw’s chief operating officer, Richard Gilmore, told the forum that the uncertainty of the European Union referendum was his current biggest challenge, and admitted: “Brexit could derail us.”

Gilmore’s comments come just a week before the EU referendum vote on June 23. Drapers reported yesterday that 80% of the UK’s 50 leading retail chairmen said leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the UK economy, the Korn Ferry Institute’s annual chairmen’s report showed.

Brian McBride, chairman of Asos, said he was particularly concerned about “the potential impacts on the supply chain”.

“With any form of border tariff friction, parcels get stopped and searched more often, so there is greater potential for impact/delay in the product journey. It may not happen, but the uncertainty for it to happen is certainly there,” McBride explained.

Gilmore told 150 delegates that Jigsaw had to become “more fleet of foot” as it grew overseas.

He said product needed to be available simultaneously across the globe, and the critical path needed to be “re-engineered”. “We don’t want to launch product online if it’s not going to be instore in our Middle East franchises,” he said.

Convenient delivery and reducing returns

Gilmore predicted that one-hour delivery would become the norm in fashion retail. “We need to build our choice of delivery windows. The customer is looking for convenience more than speed,” he said.

Jigsaw has also improved the fit of its clothing to reduce return rates. Gilmore said that 90% of customers were unhappy with the fit, and that Jigsaw, which had return rates of just 25%, had focused on grading rather than virtual fitting room tools to lower this rate.



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