Firetrap stockists have been told they will have to retain and pay for all autumn 12 stock despite Sports Direct’s plans to sell the brand for less than the wholesale price.
In a letter, seen by Drapers, the young fashion brand drew stockists’ attention to the company’s terms and conditions, which state that cancellations can only be made within seven days of the order being placed.
The letter said: “It has never been a condition of our trading relationship that Firetrap products are not sold in any particular distribution channel and as such recent events do not give you the right to cancel.”
It added that no returns would be accepted, but however said that stockists’ would be allowed to cancel spring 13 orders.
Sports Direct, the fashion and sportswear giant, which owns Firetrap, has launched a dedicated Firetrap page on Sportsdirect.com, where product, including T-shirts, tops, outerwear and knitwear, is available for pre-order.
Sports Direct is selling product at prices lower than those stockists have to pay for the brand at wholesale price. For example, the wholesale price of a women’s Dionne Snap T-shirt is £12 and it is sold in stockists for around £35, but from November it will be available at Sports Direct for £7.99.
This has led to many stockists turning their backs on the brand. The owner of one young fashion indie said: “When I placed my order I placed it in good faith that Sports Direct weren’t going to sell it. They gave me an undertaking and that undertaking has been breached.”
As previously reported, stockists had been told to continue selling at full price until October 18, after which Firetrap would offer “help” with affected lines, although it was not clear what the nature of this help would be.
One stockist said he understood that no help would be forthcoming and no discounts will be given to stockists for the autumn 12 products.
He added that he did not want to pay for the stock he has received. “I just want to send the stock back, which is a shame really as it was selling quite well.”
At the time of publishing Sports Direct had yet to respond to Drapers.
Drapers understands that the sports retailer is preparing to tell Firetrap staff – thought to number about 170 – that the company will cease wholesale operations next year. It is thought that Firetrap staff are to be told of their fate at the brand today (October 22).