Diesel is to part ways with its long-standing stockist USC and will re-evaluate its account base as part of a wider company strategy to position itself as a more premium brand.
From autumn 15, Diesel will no longer be stocked in USC stores or on its website, with spring 15 the brand’s final season with the high street chain.
The decision to pull out of USC marks an end to a 15-year relationship between the two parties and is the latest blow to USC after Adidas pulled its Originals range of footwear in July. Drapers understands other undisclosed brands have since pulled out of USC.
In May some brands expressed anger at the retailer, which is owned by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, for reportedly stockpiling clothing after buying large quantities at discounts of up to 50%.They also accused USC of moving towards a mass-market offering akin to a “fashion Sports Direct”.
Jonny Hewlett, managing director of Northern Europe at Diesel, told Drapers the brand was exiting USC as it reassesses its stockist base to help shift it more upmarket.
“At the moment our brand is going through a very significant repositioning to go to a more premium place. We have to carry this out across all consumer touchpoints, such as the collection, advertising and our distribution. It needs to be consistent.”
Hewlett insisted this did not necessarily mean reducing its 130 stockists in the UK, which include House of Fraser, Very, Asos.com and Scottish mini-chain Xile, but rather re-evaluating its entire stockist base - and potentially adding new premium accounts. Hewlett declined to reveal the names of other retailers Diesel is looking to exit.
“For me it’s not about quantity… what we are trying to do is make our brand distribution more premium. We will assess all our partners on brand adjacencies and the look and feel of their proposition. This is not just about USC; it’s about looking at our entire distribution.”
Sports Direct declined to comment.