German mainstream womenswear brand Gerry Weber is to select stock for retailers as part of a major overhaul of its wholesale strategy.
The brand is to introduce “trust order limit” arrangements at its franchisees and larger stockists, whereby retailers hand their allocated budget for the brand to Gerry Weber, which will then use daily sales data drawn direct from retailers’ EPoS systems to select stock for some forward orders and all repeat orders.
“We need to react more quickly to individual market needs,” said Monique Fischer, Gerry Weber vice-president of international sales. “We can only do that if we know what retailers are selling by being in daily communication.”
Gerry Weber said it would not impose the scheme on stockists but that it aimed to have it in place with two thirds of its customers within the “next few years”. It will incentivise retailers by offering an average mark-up two percentage points higher than otherwise.
The strategy is designed to bring the brand closer to its individual markets but it is likely to ruffle feathers among stockists, who claimed it would do the opposite.
John Galvin, owner of womenswear indie Galvin For Ladies in Tullamore, Republic of Ireland, which houses a Gerry Weber shop-in-shop, said: “We need an input [for all forward-ordered stock] as Irish buyers buy differently to German buyers and, also, to British buyers.”
He added that the improved margin was not enough to compensate for the changes.
Separately, Gerry Weber, which is based in Halle, Germany, is in the early stages of a restructure that will see it centralise its global distribution business and scrap country manager roles.
The shake-up has already led to the departure of Howard Ross, former country manager for the UK and RoI, as revealed by Drapers last week. The UK office and showroom will continue to operate as normal.