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Hugo Boss on target for record-breaking year in UK

Premium brand Hugo Boss is on track to report a record year in the UK after higher numbers of tourists sent sales of its collections soaring.

Bernd Hake, Hugo Boss UK managing director, told Drapers that 2010 would be the UK’s “most successful year”, and that the strong performance, which was down to overseas visitors to the UK, had prompted the company to invest in opening up to 14 stores in the next 18 months.

Four stores - in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin Airport - will open in November and a further five to 10 shops will open next year. The brand already has seven UK shops and 25 franchise stores, of which 17 are run by menswear retailer Moss Bros.

However, Hake denied the German firm was looking to switch its wholesale-led strategy to a retail-led model. UK sales are split 70:30 wholesale to retail.

He said Hugo Boss, which has 200 UK stockists, was “definitely not scaling back on wholesale” and that he planned to increase wholesale sales by between 5% and 8% every year up to 2014.

He also hit back at suggestions from stockists that recent collections had been “over-distributed”.

“Our wholesale figures for spring 11 show an increase of 10%. You would have thought it would have decreased if they [the independents] thought we had over-distributed,” he said.

He added that the number of doors carrying Hugo Boss collections had actually fallen, because a number of stockists had gone out of business in the recession.

Hake confirmed he was in talks with department store group John Lewis about stocking some of its clothing. The department store only stocks Hugo Boss socks and underwear at present.

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