Boden is looking at a “serious” retail test and is preparing to launch a new tablet app, the catalogue and online retailer’s founder has revealed.
Speaking at the Drapers Digital Forum in London today Johnnie Boden said: “We are looking now quite seriously at a retail test.”
He pointed to the firm’s only store located in London on Hangar Lane, which opened in 2004, and added: “We are now looking at something more serious”.
“We have to go to where our customers want to be. Women still love the shopping experience. The problem with retail for a company like us is the substantial capital intensity and the different operational structure.”
He added: “We are quite nervous about it but we have some interesting concepts we are working on, so watch this space.”
But Boden said it “will be at least a year” before any stores are opened.
He added people still love the catalogue but admitted “if we could kill the catalogue we would do it lovingly” due to the costs of producing one a fortnight.
Around 95% of the retailer’s orders are now made online and to better capitalise on this Boden will be launching an “impressive tablet app” which is now being tested and will be launched “quite soon”.
“If we can get the same emotional engagement on the website as we have with the catalogues then we have done our job and that’s what we are focused on,” he said.
On discounting he said it was a “necessary evil particularly if your range isn’t strong enough. Unfortunately everyone is at it now.” He admitted the retailer had had to discount on its spring 15 collection.
“We are in a business where there is far too much capacity and banks are lending too much, and there needs to be some blood shed for this to stabilise.
“It would be nice not to have to do it, but it’s a difficult world now.”
In terms of international expansion, Boden said he believed the US was the “big prize” rather than Asia as it has a bigger middle class, fewer problems with corruption and fewer issues around sizing.