Superdry strategy bored brand Julian DunkertonSuperdry has been a British retail phenomenon. In under a decade, the brand went from its first store in Covent Garden to a huge multi-storey flagship on London’s Regent Street.

Established by James Holder and Julian Dunkerton, the Superdry name first appeared in 2003. It has been an unstoppable juggernaut since then, racking up yearly sales of over £750 million (2017) and operates in 55 countries.

Left - Superdry went from a single store to a huge Regent Street flagship in under 10 years

At the beginning of this year, the remaining founder, Julian Dunkerton, announced he was stepping down from the company. In a statement, Mr Dunkerton said he had “other demands” on his time, and stepping down was “the right point for me to transition my focus and responsibilities”. Handing the reins to new Superdry chief executive Euan Sutherland, Dunkerton bowed out quietly until this October when Superdry issued a shock profit warning blaming warm weather and bad foreign exchange hedging. Shares in the group crashed 20%. 

Dunkerton has been vocal in his disagreement with the direction the company is heading in, saying, “I cannot sit back and watch my shareholding — and those off all the pensions invested in the company — be dissipated”. He’s trying to gather other shareholder support to return to and steer the company in his direction, but, have they got their strategy wrong or has the Superdry brand simply peaked and run out of steam? 

Mat Heinl, CEO at global creative business Moving Brands, an independent, global creative company, says: “It has become unclear who Superdry is for and it feels like its brand and purpose has been entirely lost. 

“There, now, seems to be a clear disconnect between what made the brand successful and its core base of customers. With the mid-market being hit hard by competitors, brands like Superdry fall into a sea of sameness,” says Heinl.

The strategy in question has been Superdry’s move into fast-fashion. In September, Superdry hired Brigitte Danielmeyer as its new chief product officer to launch a new fast-fashion range called "Superdry Preview”. Formerly Tommy Hilfiger’s global head of womenswear, Danielmeyer, leads the new Superdry Preview label aimed to attract a “younger, more fashion-driven” customer through limited-edition capsule collections. The range will go from design to delivery in just six weeks and be supported by a social media campaign targeted directly at 16 to 24-year-olds.

Yet to be tested, with no results yet for these ranges, Dunkerton thinks it’s a mistake for Superdry to move into the competitive fast fashion arena. He thinks Superdry should stick with fewer, core ranges in store and massively increase the designs and varieties (known as SKUs) being sold online.

“Last Christmas we were at a point where we could hit fast fashion online. We were such a strong brand that we could really increase our SKU count. But they [the new management] did the reverse.

“If you put that product online you would expand brand awareness and create excitement online while combining it with the classic store base.” he said.

Not everybody disagrees with the fast-fashion approach. Natalya Johnson, Marketing Manager, Shopest, who create location- based shopping experiences helping “independent stores to stay vibrant, profitable and nearby”, says “Early on the brand appealed to their target demographic which at the time was young men and women aged around 16-30. 

“Over time, their consumer has changed, developed new interests and shop in a new way. Although brand identity is strong, the brand has failed with adapting into the fast fashion cycles, meaning their products seem to be outdated,” she says.

“Superdry are beaten by big brands such as ASOS and Zara, who not only offer consumers constant variety, but also a difference of style. 

Superdry strategy bored brand Julian Dunkerton

“Superdry do have great potential to revive the brand, tapping into current trends in the fashion industry that would attract their ideal consumer. It seems that they keep missing the mark in trends that would complement the brand e.g. streetwear and also brand collaborations. 

“Once the product becomes more relevant, the brand can offer new innovations in store and develop stronger marketing strategies. In conclusion, Superdry appear to be very stagnant at the moment, but definitely have the potential to make things right,” she says. 

The shares now sit at roughly 780p. They began the year above 2000p. The October profit warning said it expected to make £83 million in profit this year, well shy of the near-£110 million expected. 

Superdry is heavily reliant on sales of heavy winter items such as jumpers and jackets, making 45% of annual sales. It said “unseasonably hot weather” in the UK, Europe and the east coast of the US was hitting sales.

“Superdry is a British phenomenon who’s growth has been nothing short of miraculous,” says Anthony McGrathpastedGraphic.png, Lecturer and Editor-in-Chief of Clothes-Make-the-Man.com. 

“In their heyday, celebs galore were spotted in their trademark casual wear and they set up home in a huge flagship emporium dedicated to all things Superdry on the retail Mecca of Regent Street. BUT! They have rested on their laurels and the whole nature of the beast, that is fashion, is that it changes at a break neck speed. Tastes, styles, trends change and unfortunately Superdry haven’t. So, yes, I do think Dunkerton is right,” he says.

Right - Is Superdry too reliant on coats and jackets?

Dunkerton, who retains an 18.5% stake, said “The management team remains hell-bent on their strategy, publicly supported by the chairman; but the numbers and the market warnings speak volumes. It is very clear that the company needs to change strategic direction; I have a clear and simple plan to correct the problems, and I have been explaining my plan to shareholders over the last couple of weeks.

“This company and brand has such a great opportunity - we must grasp it now,” he said.

This added pressure onto the Superdry management comes at a time when the retail landscape is looking schizophrenic. Long one of the darlings of the British retail scene, could this just be a case of the brand losing momentum and consumers growing tired of the Superdry brand regardless of the strategy? Has the ubiquitous Superdry branding reached its zenith, and, regardless of what the brand does, exponential growth can’t go on forever?

“Another challenge for brands like Superdry is the rise in people turning away from highly disposable and consumerist brands as they become aware of the massive pollution and poor working conditions associated with those brands which emphasise profits over ethical business practices,” says Heinl.

“To claw back momentum, Superdry, and other struggling brands, could do a number of things to help them stand out in a crowded marketplace. They could become a champion of sustainable fashion, improve and showcase high quality products, define a distinct design direction or take a leadership position in improving supply chain transparency and quality,” he says.

Dunkerton said, “My model means less wastage. It is far easier to manage and you have lower stock risk.

“There are too many products in the stores with short shelf life. You shouldn’t try and change it all the time. Get the product right and be confident in it. There’s no reason a jacket in October shouldn’t stay until March. Now, you see jackets on sale already. Can that be right?” he says.

Shareholder Aberdeen Asset Management is supporting current management, saying Dunkerton left after multiple profit warnings. Superdry chief executive Euan Sutherland has said “it will take up to 18 months for the benefits to come through” and Superdry chairman Peter Bamford said: “The Board of Superdry has huge respect for Julian Dunkerton as an entrepreneur and founder of the business. Julian has raised a number of issues with the board regarding strategy since he left the business. We have reviewed and discussed these issues and, while we have sympathy with some of his points, we have a different view on the best strategy or approach to addressing them. 

“Superdry is an ambitious, global, multi-channel brand and the Board believes that Julian’s view of strategy has not evolved with the needs of the business. We remain fully committed to our successful global digital brand strategy and the board is confident that Superdry has in place the right leadership to ensure the continued development of our highly relevant brand.”

The management will have to start seeing the fruits from this new strategy and fast, otherwise shareholders will push for change. The next set of results will either quieten Dunkerton or add fuel to the fire for a reversing of the company direction. Superdry is too reliant on coats and jackets, but this has also helped them grow to the size they are. Regardless of strategy, what if consumers are simply bored with Superdry? That’s going to be an even harder job to fix. 

Mary Poppins Menswear Pearly King Jacket ASOSIt must be the excitement surrounding the return of Mary Poppins, but nothing says ‘London’ like a pearly king. This ASOS Design jacket updates the look from buttons to sequins. The western jean jacket style keeps it more casual, and it looks much more expensive than it is.

This is somewhere between Saint Laurent meets Roberto Cavalli meets Balmain and I promise you won't feel like a Dick Van Dyke!

Let’s Chim Chim Part-ee!

Left & Below - ASOS DESIGN western jacket with gold sequins in black velour - £60

More Mary Poppins Inspiration - Trend Carpet Bags

Mary Poppins Menswear Pearly King Jacket ASOS

Monday, 12 November 2018 11:15

Best Dressed ChicGeek Jeff Goldblum

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal printsSometimes in danger of believing his own hype, Jeff Goldblum, is a cool customer. On a recent Graham Norton Show, Goldblum totally nailed this year’s evening look. A snakeskin jacket was teamed with a lurex shirt and tie combo and striking zebra socks and matching shoes. 

Left - Jeff on Graham's sofa showing the zebra shoes and matching socks

What, on paper, shouldn’t work, totally does and shows it’s all about the sparkle and animal prints, this party season. This is confident evening wear and shows everybody at the office party what a lounge lizard you are. 

Get the look below:

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal prints

Right - Smart evening wear with character 

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal prints River Island

 

 

 

Left - River Island - Black Snakeskin Print Skinny Fit Blazer - £85

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal prints Saint LaurentLeft - Saint Laurent - Damier Lurex Shirt - £685

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal prints Moss BrossLeft - Moss London - Black & Silver Knitted Tie - £20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal printsLeft - Dr Martens Core Fusion Zebra Creepers In Black - £112 from ASOS

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal prints Saint LaurentLeft - Saint Laurent - Men’s Deck 20 Loafers In Black Suede And Black And White Zebra-look Calfskin - £795

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Jeff Goldblum best dressed evening wear zebra animal printsSplash or Cash? The Snakeskin Shirt 

ASOS men's lurex socks ChristmasFinishing touches - See more Menswear Trend Eveningwear Lurex Socks

 

 

 

 

 

Turkish lira crisis for fashion manufacturingOver the past few decades Turkey has become a powerhouse in fashion manufacturing. Thanks to cheap and plentiful labour, quality producers and its geographical location, at the heart of the world, Turkey is, now, the 6th largest fashion supplier in the world and the 3rd largest supplier to the EU, according to World Trade Organization (WTO) data 2016.

The Turkish lira has been failing this year due, in part, to its high levels of government debt and, in August, thanks to Donald Trump’s clumsy rhetoric over the detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson - he has since been released - and his disagreements over defence policy, the Turkish lira plunged even further.

Trump announced his plans to hike tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum to 50 percent and 20 percent, respectively. 

The Turkish president, Erdogan, at the time, repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the national currency. “Together with our people, we will stand decisively against the dollar, forex prices, inflation and interest rates. We will protect our economic independence by being tight-knit together,” he said.

“We will impose a boycott on U.S. electronic products. If they have iPhones, there is Samsung on the other side, and we have our own Vestel here,” he naively said.

After vehicles, clothing is Turkeys’ most successful export product, earning 9.4% of the country’s total exports. Of them, knitwear amounted to US$ 8.8bn (5.6% of total export), while exports of woven clothing reached US$6.0bn (3.8% of the total) in 2017. The Turkish lira (TL) is the world’s worst-performing major currency, losing more than 40 percent for the year to date. Five years ago a dollar bought TL2. It is now around TL7.

This clearly makes manufacturing much cheaper for foreign companies if paying in the local currency and an opportunity for Turkey to boost exports. Dollars, euros and pounds are all going further. A source, who didn’t want to be named, said, “I just returned from a trip to Turkey. It's been sad for the Turkish economy, but great for UK companies.

“I've seen the devastating results for some of our own teams working in Turkey, but purchasing and manufacturing becomes even more cost effective and we have seen factories willing to reduce their minimums,” they said.

Data from September 2018 showed inflation surged to 17.9 percent year-on-year in August, its highest level since late 2003. The central bank reacted by sharply increasing its benchmark lending rate from 17.75 percent to 24 percent last month. Turkish companies buying and selling in foreign currencies are less affected. The boon is when they pay their workers in the local currency.

Mukesh Desai, works with companies such as Hackett and French Connection, connecting foreign brands with fabric and manufacturing in Turkey, says, “Local factories buy in pounds and euros so there’s not much difference. It just matters when paying wages in lira and is better by around 5-10%”.

Imports become more expensive, but with Turkey being such a huge domestic fabric producer this will limit its impact on buying the raw material and fabrics.

“Some manufacturers are passing it on, some are not.” says Desai. “Everybody from the British high-street is increasing production and the fabric side is all increasing in Turkey.” he says.

One thing to note, though. “Brands are buying less quantities and are not carrying too much inventory, but they are not going to the Far East as much with Turkey being quicker to market.”

Oguz Yucel of MPY Textile Manufacturing, who produce thousands of woven and knitted pieces daily, says, “We are a Turkish company and produce in Turkey, Bulgaria and China.

“Our customers, from Europe, Benelux, Russia, USA, Canada regions, work in euros and dollars, therefore, we do not produce in Turkish, but purchase in euros and dollars and sell in euros and dollars, therefore we have no problem with production,” he says.

“2019, we are going to be 6% bigger”. says Yucel enthusiastically.

With cheaper labour costs, Turkish apparel manufacturers operating in USD will be the main beneficiaries of the change in the exchange rate, but they will be able to become more competitive and reduce their prices to their wholesale customers. Foreign brands and operators will also be able to negotiate harder and drive better deals.

The one place the Turkish currency crisis is affecting negatively is the domestic economy and local fashion industry. Another source, who didn’t want to be named, works for an pastedGraphic.pngIstanbul based, international retailer specialising in men’s and women’s contemporary casual wear. They make everything in Turkey, except the outerwear and produce all sorts of jersey tops, knits, light weight woven tops and dresses, shirts, jeans and non denim bottoms.

“On the retail side, all international brands in Turkey raised their sale prices as a quick response,” he says. “Local brands (like us) kept prices to an affordable point. It helps to keep the customer loyalty and bring new customers in. On the other hand it sums up to a profit loss”.

“On the manufacturers' side all exporting factories had the advantage,” he says. “But, there are difficulties with their local customers pricing the new collections and receiving payments".

"All products' costs were dramatically raised up due to fabrics, yarns and accessories prices all being in USD. The payment terms between local brands and suppliers are another case that sourcing and finance teams have to deal with,” he says.

The local Turkish consumers will feel the squeeze and any ambitions that foreign brands or retailers had for growth in Turkey will have to be rejigged to recognise this.

“It will definitely make customers to buy less fashion products in the short term.” he says. “They (consumers) will target more affordable products and retailers. The volumes will slide from better brands to budget retailers. So, the better brands will grow their entry price point product groups to keep their customers.” he says.

While Turkey has become a more attractive place to manufacture and buy fabric from for international brands, in the short term, those retailers or brands may be restricted in their fabric and hardware choices if their suppliers work in Turkish lira and imports become much more expensive.

While the currency has bounced back slightly, it’s still volatile and this makes investors uneasy. While this lira boon may increase demand and production, lower investment, due to the high interest rates and overall caution within the Turkish manufacturing business and economy, may stall growth in production capacity and restrict businesses from reaping the full benefits. 

The domestic market will move further towards lower end, homemade product and will definitely dent the luxury international brands unless they can be replaced by tourists with more liras in their pockets. While you’ll probably be seeing an increase in ‘Made in Turkey’ labels in your clothes soon, it will be to the detriment of the local economy.

Monday, 05 November 2018 17:36

Splash or Cash? The Best Cord Trousers

Best Cord Trousers Incotex MenswearFinding well cut, good fitting and quality trousers is the Holy Grail of menswear. If a brand can give good trouse then they can pretty much do anything, in my geeky opinion. Trousers need to be flattering and reliable and good trousers are usually taken for granted. You soon appreciate them when you try on a bad pair.

Best Cord Trousers Spoke MenswearThis season, corduroy continues its march and here are two of the best at different price points.

Left - Incotex - Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton Corduroy Trousers - £265 from MRPORTER.COM

Right - Spoke - Corduroy Fives - £99

For the Splash, and not the sexiest and most memorable of names, is Incotex. The finest in understated Italian manufacturing, Incotex is part of the Slowear family, and as such is the best in Venetian style and make.

For the Cash, Spoke is a British brand, making in Portugal, with lots of choices of fits, and has quickly become the go-to for a quality pair of well made and great fitting trousers at an honest price.

Trousers are pretty boring but we need them to work and makes our arses look good. Hopefully this will save you time and frustration in your search.

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