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Ugg boots up lifestyle collections to propel UK growth

Ugg Australia plans to drive UK growth by expanding its lifestyle categories including loungewear and accessories, while also bolstering its retail presence in Europe and the Middle East.

Gianni Georgiades, managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for parent company Deckers, told Drapers Ugg was “well on the way to becoming a fully-fledged lifestyle brand”, which he said would help it grow the number of products sold in the UK each season without needing more stores.

In 2012 the brand axed many key accounts, including etailers Asos and Cloggs, young fashion retailers Bank and USC and footwear retailer Footasylum, which Georgiades said was the right move. “We looked at the distribution and made a contentious, but ultimately right, decision for the label,” he explained. “We are still growing in the UK but we don’t want to expand doors; [we would] rather go deeper with our existing partners.”

Ugg has 800 doors in the UK, compared with 900 in 2012.

“We want to expand through product extension with our loungewear, accessories and Ugg home ranges,” Georgiades added.

To do this the brand will launch the full Ugg autumn 14 loungewear and accessories collections, at 186 and 188 pieces respectively, in September.

Accessories include bags, wallets and coin purses, while loungewear features dressing gowns, pyjamas and hoodies. Wholesale prices for the full loungewear collection range from £15.38 to £46.15 and for accessories from £7.69 to £101.92.

A small capsule collection of loungewear was previously launched in Ugg’s standalone stores in the UK for autumn 13 and the current 25-piece accessories collection featuring bags, hats and gloves is being extended.

Ugg also hopes to achieve deeper penetration for its 600-piece footwear range for autumn 14. Wholesale prices range from £25 to £110.42.

“This range is our most diverse and fashion forward,” Georgiades said. “We have more ankle boots and Chelsea boot styles. It’s not just about the sheepskin boot anymore.”

Ugg is plotting further international expansion, with local-language websites in Germany and Italy launching “imminently” and plans for franchise stores in the Middle East.

In 2013, the brand opened 14 stores in the US and 26 across the rest of the world. At the end of 2013, it had 80 stores and 33 outlets worldwide, including seven stores and one outlet in the UK.

“We’re embracing our own retail internationally,” said Georgiades. “We want to open distribution in countries where we don’t have a big presence. In the Middle East we have a wholesale presence but we are in the process of signing off with a franchise partner to open our own stores.”

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