Once again another brand has been bought by one of the big boys of the young fashion/sportswear sector. Victoria Gallagher investigates what this could mean for JD’s latest acquisition Gio Goi.
Over the last couple of years there has been much consolidation in the young fashion end of the market with the larger multiples such as Sports Direct and JD Sports Fashion acquiring smaller chains and brands. This week JD was the latest to snap up a brand, buying streetwear label Gio Goi.
After speaking to stockists I have the overwhelming feeling that sadly Gio Goi’s days of wholesaling could now be over. Indie retailers told me that now the brand has been acquired by JD they are unlikely to touch it with a barge pole and fear that prices could be slashed for Gio product at JD as the retailer gains full control.
Many retailers I spoke to harked back to Sports Direct’s acquisition of Firetrap, which saw the Mike Ashley-owned sportswear business sell Firetrap product for less than the wholesale price. “I’ve learned the hard way,” said one Gio Goi and former Firetrap stockist.
After having their fingers burnt once indies are reluctant to let the same happen again and retailers that Drapers spoke to said they would, or have already, dropped Gio Goi in the wake of it going into administration and then getting bought by JD.
Among the indies spoken to one did however raise the matter that JD has acquired other brands but kept them as a separate entity and not placed them as an own brand within JD’s stable of retail fascias. Peter Werth and Fly53 were both placed under JD’s design and licensing Focus Group division and have continued to serve existing stockists.
If Gio Goi were to have similar treatment then perhaps the label could continue as a wholesale brand for many seasons to come. However it is integral that JD gain the trust of the stockists if the label is to have a future with the indie crowd.