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Exclusive: Indies furious at pre-Christmas Hugo Boss Sale

Indies have hit out at Hugo Boss’s plans to go on Sale before Christmas, branding the move “greedy” and “infuriating”.

The premium German fashion house announced to UK stockists this week that it would launch a private retail event from December 13 to 16 ahead of its official winter Sale on December 20.

It is not yet clear what discount the brand will offer, but as it is the full Sale, reductions are likely to be substantial. All summer, most autumn and some winter stock will be discounted.

Indies across the country have reacted angrily to the news, and stockists who spoke to Drapers said they would not price match.

Matt Horstead, owner of premium menswear indie Dartagnan in Chichester, West Sussex, said: “It infuriates me and makes me question why we are bothering, particularly at Christmas when the world is going shopping. If you don’t have a Sale then people will still go Christmas shopping.”

He added: “It almost makes me just want to throw the towel in. It makes my blood boil.”

Julian Blades, co-owner of Northeast designer mini-chain Jules B, said he was absolutely furious at Hugo Boss’s move as it created an “unfair” playing field for indies. “It’s going to alienate the small independent guy who is crucial to the industry,” he said, describing the move as “greedy”.

Blades added: “It will have an effect on sales. We’ve had a good season, but we could have had a fantastic season had they not been doing this.”

Another indie owner and Hugo Boss stockist, who did not want to be named, said he found the decision to discount before Christmas “bizarre” as the brand had been selling well.

“It sends out a bad message to the consumer,” he said. “It will definitely [affect sales] because there are customers who, although they like to shop with us, will not if they can get the product cheaper elsewhere.”

UK managing director Bernd Hake told Drapers: “The Sale has not changed from the past. The only difference is we now communicate it.”

Hugo Boss appears to be the only brand to announce its Sale so far, but last year premium Italian brands Stone Island and DSquared held early Sales.

However, Verdict Research analyst Honor Westnedge said Hugo Boss would not be alone in discounting before Christmas, warning that indies could lose sales if they do not price match.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Surely BOSS's long term strategy doesn't involve independents anyway. The future for BOSS lies with Department stores, BOSS stores and factory outlets, mini chains and the development of online sales through its own website. They are communicating the Sale more agressively now to take the lions share of BOSS business in the U.K on the high street and online. Bye bye independents & thank you for having us.

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  • Rather than getting angry surely the Independent should get even! They forget that it is their name above the door and they should stop being slaves to such big brands as Boss. There are alternatives out there and these independents should have the guts to seek out, stock and support new brands that will actually support them. After all isn't an independent consumer looking to them for excitement and newness - particularly now? Boss's retail strategy has ben known for ages. Those Indies who don't only have themselves to blame and the tail will continue to wag the dog!

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  • Completely agree with the previous poster. Unless you really need BOSS, It's time indies looked elsewhere as BOSS clearly don't view indies as anything other than a necessary convenience and not part of their future plans.

    BOSS is a bloated whale that needs harpooning.

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