If there is one thing every retailer must focus on, it’s product. It is the thing that makes a brand stand apart and keeps its customers coming back for more.
New Look must pay close attention to product if it is to reposition itself as a leader in its market following the latest set of disappointing results. It is not the only retailer facing challenges – including fierece competition from online players such as Boohoo and Missguided.
To stand out from the fast fashion crowd, New Look must have a clear product proposition. The appointment of Inditex veteran Paula Dumont Lopez as chief creative officer – she is due to start in September – shows the retailer is aware this is a top priority.
This week we interview New Look CEO Anders Kristiansen, and UK and Ireland managing director Danny Barrasso, who outline their strategy for improving sales. Detailed plans include improving back-end operations to allow New Look to increase speed to market, and expanding the business internationally through its online proposition. It will reduce discounting, and define a clearer target audience.
It could also learn from its own footwear offer. New Look has performed consistently well in this area – it won Best Footwear Offer in a Fashion Multiple or Department Store at this year’s Drapers Footwear Awards. Covering fashion options, wide-fit, teen, comfort and leather, New Look’s footwear is good quality and comes at a keen price that is suited to its customer. If it gets clothing right in the same way, its fortunes will reverse.
This week, we also report on new research that highlights the contrast between the bestselling footwear products on Amazon in the UK and the US. It is interesting to see that, while in the US customers are using the etail giant to shop for brands (the biggest driver of growth is women’s trainers from Adidas), in the UK two of the nine top-selling products were shoe protector sprays.
This highlights that for a UK audience, Amazon is still thought of as a place to buy functional products rather than necessarily a destination for fashion and footwear. Perhaps it will be reassuring for New Look to learn that even this ecommerce giant has work to do to get its offer right.