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.