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Gieves & Hawkes gets slicker as it builds bespoke services

Gieves & Hawkes has overhauled its stock management and supply chain system as it focuses on bespoke services and quicker product turnaround.

Since October, the Savile Row tailor has reduced the level of stock it holds from £5m to £4m, to facilitate a faster buying cycle and flow of fresh product.

Chief operating officer Andrew Merriman explained this was necessary following the arrival of design director Barry Tulip last April, whose remit has been to diversify product and increase fashionability.

Merriman added: “We had a lot of old stock sitting in the business, cluttering up space, decreasing in value and racking up warehouse and insurance costs. It costs 50p to pick a gar-ment and 50p to put it back, so even just moving stock around cost money.”

The brand has also introduced a new system for storing data on its customers to help it build its bespoke services offer – the brand is due to launch a made-to-measure shirt service in April to sit alongside its made-to-measure suit business.

Merriman said: “Individualism is becoming a big driver in menswear and made-to-measure.”

Gieves & Hawkes, which has 11 UK stores and four concessions, can now identify what customers are buying, in store or online. It is using customer details including transaction history to build a profile of each so that it can cross- and up-sell.

“If we notice a customer is buying our ready-to-wear shoes at £400 and our bespoke suits at £4,000, we can see if there is an opportunity to tell them about our bespoke shoes,” Merriman said. Being able to identify where sales have been lost to a competitor, via the K3 Retail system, has led to the reintroduction of a size 36 jacket as well as new footwear, belt and leather goods ranges.

Meanwhile, Gieves & Hawkes is in talks to expand its international business in Japan and the US, building on its 100 shops in China.

According to accounts filed at Companies House, the business made a £2.4m loss in the year to December, 2010, with turnover down to £15.6m, from £16.6m the previous year. However, chief executive John Durnin told Drapers in June that 2011 sales to date were up 5% on the previous year and up 30% at the Asia-Pacific business.

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