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Deputy Diary: Lack of support for Coggles is appalling

I don’t know which is more disappointing: Coggles falling into administration or the complete lack of support and cruel comments left by “anonymous” supposed peers on the Drapers website.

The news last night that the York indie went into administration is a sad one for our industry.

Coggles was an innovator and its leader Mark Bage a supporter of the fashion business, backing new brands and designers, embracing ecommerce before many indies and always on hand to give advice to fellow retailers.

Of course, something went wrong. The statement from Coggles blames difficult trading conditions in the last two consecutive quarters, but there will be more to it than that.

Some people I’ve spoken to suggested recent service levels were poor and the product became too expensive. As an indie, service can never be compromised and perhaps Mark and the team could have adapted their buying strategy to the tough economic environment and squeezed consumers. Investment into a London office, improved ecommerce platform and marketing will also have taken its toll on cash flow.

But do we really need comments like “good riddance to bad rubbish”? What can we possibly learn from such pointless, vacuous words? At least have the courage to name yourselves.

The matter now turns to the administrators and whether Coggles can be saved. Mike Ashley’s name has come up - of course - but on paper it doesn’t look like his gig. Coggles doesn’t offer the volume Ashley craves. Granted, he bought Flannels, but whilst that may be a more premium indie business like Coggles, Flannels’ brands were largely well-known, heavy hitters, whereas Coggles mixes it up a bit more.

Having said that, I’m no longer surprised by Ashley’s acquisitions. The recent past suggests it could be another Sports Direct vs JD battle. If I were a betting woman and had to pick between the two, my money would be on JD. For now.

Readers' comments (23)

  • Lack of support from suppliers? Coggles have been unable to get credit insurance for the last 5 years meaning every piece of merchandise in their store or on their website was supplied at our own risk!
    Too busy self promoting & not enough attention to the fundamentals I'm afraid.

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  • Agree with previous comment. A London buying office for a York indie? Really? It all went to the heads of a management team who have been letting down suppliers for years. Rarely honouring appointments, agreements or payment terms.

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  • This article is absolutely amazing.
    How much more support can a Customer receive?
    Unlimited credit from suppliers whilst having a zero credit rating is more than enough support.

    The Coggles business model does not give out credit, it gets paid instantly by the end consumer. Therefore suppliers should get paid, especially when they have sold out of stocks.

    Whilst we appreciate that Coggles supported "New Brands and Designers"
    It is these New Brands and Designers that are at the receiving end of what was most probably perceived to be a Great Opportunity when they first gave Credit to the Coggles business.

    Another lesson learnt!!


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  • As the author of the "good riddance" comment, I find it highly amusing that the deputy editor of this magazine has written an entire column about those who would dare do anything other than sing the praises of this defunct business.

    As far as I knew the comments section of a website is just that - a comment section. If I want to express mine in a less eloquent way I am perfectly free to do so along with anyone else.

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  • Flannels,Cruise,Limeys,My Wardrobe menswear,now Coggles,all lauded and promoted by the London fashion press,unfortunately all that glitters.....
    Watch out for some of the other self promoters as this quaters vat bills land,and Drapers how about giving some coverage to solid indies sometimes, that make money and have done for sometime rather than Commes de Garcon and Dries van Noten stockists and the uber cool

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  • The jist of the comments seemed to be that Coggles carried on buying stock (on credit) and this stock is now not going to be paid for.
    How would the author feel if they worked all January, were expecting their wages at the end of the month to be told, oh we'll pay you in Feb....nothing....and then March...£0, nothing. All that labour given for no wages in return. How would the author pay their bills?
    Of course we all have sympathy when someone goes under as the 'There but for the grace of God go I' feeling flags up but it would also appear Drapers were 'used' to PR-up the business to raise confidence when, perhaps, things were just sliding down unstoppably?

    I remember their Bluwater shop (it was lovely) but their website was just 'another website' and now falling into the 'Just Another' category is not enough.

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  • A common theme appears then...., too busy pruning themselves for the next Drapers leg up instead of concentrating on the core business. 105% increase and 3 million investment, yes 3 MILLION invested and they still blew it ! London office for a York retailer ??????? Would be nice to see Drapers now supporting some of the lesser known indies and brands, some of which have been going for over 20 years without any investment whatsoever instead of spending all their time giving column inches to the golden boys

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  • I completely agree with earlier comment 'how would Ana Santi feel if her pay cheque didn't arrive'

    As a supplier, luckily not to Coggles, but to others some of whom are regularly seen smiling on the glossy pages of Drapers. It would be great to see Ana Santi do some research from the other side & uncover how common it is for certain retailers to treat brands/agencies as interest free money lenders, taking months/years to pay, whilst brazenly finding new sources of supply only to repeat the practice.

    There are some fantastic indies out there, some appear in Drapers some don't. This should be a lesson to Drapers to dig deeper before committing page after page to certain indies who are in the habit of behaving unscrupulously.

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  • Absolutely spot on - there has been far too many column inches & glossy pics devoted to certain shiny publicity seeking retailers who, in too many cases, are known by suppliers to be poor payers & a huge risk - this sticks in the throat.

    They may give good press but are not good for our industry - I fully support the call for more research by journalists to get a fuller picture before 'bigging up' the next culprit.

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  • Stunningly naive article. Coggles have only themselves to blame and why Drapers still can't see the wood for the trees I don't know.

    Concentrate on honest independents in future instead of wasting time on dreadfully run, over hyped businesses like Coggles.

    Nobody likes to see a business fold, but all too often the business is totally to blame. Why can't Drapers see that and report that, instead of this gut wrenching article about a business that dare I say has too much influence over this particular magazine. Write about facts, not sentiment.

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