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Diesel

Diesel’s new managing director is backing a scientific approach to distribution in a bid to drive the brand’s sell-through in the UK

Six months into his role as Diesel’s UK managing director and Jonny Hewlett is quenching his thirst for market analytics. “The first step in ensuring the strongest brands survive this economic downturn,” he says, “is by looking at distribution and ensuring not only that you have the right representation but also that you maximise that representation. It’s about looking at the retail map, analysing data for each city, and looking at the performance of each customer in order to drive sell-through and optimise sales.”

It may come as little surprise that Hewlett’s professional background is steeped in the scientific business of fast-moving consumer goods. It was during his 16 years of working in the fragrances division of Procter & Gamble that Hewlett first met Riccardo Bellini, his predecessor at Diesel, who after accepting a transfer to the Diesel head office in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, approached Hewlett with the job. “Riccardo explained how Diesel was looking for the kind of structure - in terms of retail distribution, how it manages its customers and how it
goes to market with a brand - which Procter & Gamble is well known for,” Hewlett explains. “Diesel has the creativity and passion, but needs to harness that in a way that realises the most potential.”

Hewlett believes a “huge amount” of this potential can be driven through existing customers and by taking a magnifying glass to each stockists’ individual sell-throughs. “We need to better understand what makes Diesel sell, and that means building tailored sales programmes that respond to each customer,” says Hewlett. “Our retailers are facing ever-changing stock management scenarios and it’s up to us to rise to those challenges.”

The brand has adjusted prices for autumn 09, introducing more design options at its entry level. It is also installing systems that will ensure weekly sales updates from its customers and monthly dialogues between the brand and each retailers’ senior management teams. “Right now it’s about having the best logistics set-up, transparency on stock availability to ensure we can replenish, and improving our never-out-of-stock product. Our field team must ensure we can pick up on what’s selling out before the retailer does.”

“What is it that drives a customer to spend with Diesel?” Hewlett asks rhetorically. “A large part is down to the strength of the brand image. Our customers have come to expect the unexpected. It is crucial that we keep reinventing and keep the
relevance of Diesel alive.”

Essentials

  • 120 Number of UK retail accounts
  • 300 Number of UK doors
  • 15 Number of standalone Diesel stores in the UK

Diesel 020 7833 2255 www.diesel.com

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