The licensing of long-established footwear brands Saxone and Stylo Matchmakers will form part of the strategy for W Barratt & Co, the new business formed by footwear veterans Harvey Jacobson and Michael Ziff out of the collapse of Barratts.
W Barratt & Co will operate a mainstream multi-brand footwear website – Barratts.co.uk – that is expected to begin trading in late March, although an introduction of promotional lines may precede this. Third-party brands will predominate at first but an own-label offer will be developed as soon as is feasible.
There are likely to be about 2,000 options for the launch. Women’s footwear will account for about 70% of the offer with retail prices ranging from £30 to £50. Men’s styles will retail for between £40 and £70. Initially kids’ footwear will be concentrated on the back-to-school period.
The major shareholders are the Jacobson and Ziff families, supported by a few unnamed investors. It is not part of Jacobson’s main business, the Jacobson Group, which owns footwear brands including Lonsdale, Lotus and Gola. W Barratt & Co is seeking offices in West Yorkshire.
Jacobson is the chairman, while Ziff ’s main role will be dealing with what Jacobson terms “product providers”.
“We don’t want to call them suppliers because there will be various ways that people will be working with us,” Jacobson told Drapers. “We will certainly be dealing with brands but we also see opportunities to partner with other retailers. This will be a low credit risk proposition for our product providers.”
Rebecca Dunn, who was a buyer at Barratts for 11 years, is in charge of buying. Jacobson would not confirm how many brands have been signed up for the launch, but said the aim is to have “a balanced range of serious brands”.
Technical know-how is being provided by non-executive director Tony Lahert, who is chief executive of online service provider Step Solutions. Logistics company Orbital Response will handle warehousing, distribution and fulfillment.
“Michael and I are shoe men, so we have brought in experts from the home shopping and technical side. We acquired details of 1.5 million opted-in customers when we bought the intellectual property of Barratts, so we have a ready-made target group,” said Jacobson. “But the key to success will be in our systems, especially replenishment.”
Jacobson will also develop licensing deals for the brands acquired from Barratts’ administrators in December, including Saxone, Stylo Matchmakers and Barratts. W Barratt & Co acquired Barratts’ website and intellectual property on December 20 for £300,000.