Drapers reports that Hugo Boss’ plans to start Christmas sales early have left independant stockists of the brand furious. The luxury German retailer began a private retail event yesterday, slashing prices ahead of the official sale date of 20th December. The move leaves independant stockists vulnerable in what is traditionally the busiest shopping week of the year. If they don’t match the prices offered by Hugo Boss, they will lose customers to the brand’s Hugo Boss stores. Matt Horstead, the owner of premium menswear clothing store 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, people will still go shopping”
2012 has been a tough year for retailers. Consumers have been watching their pennies amidst concerns relating to job security and inflation. In the first six months alone over 1000 indies shut their doors in the UK. In addition to poor consumer sentiment, unfair business rates and a credit insurance crisis have contribute to their downfall. When suppliers heavily discount clothing lines, indies often cannot compete. In October we reported that Firetrap clothing was been sold by parent company Sports Direct on their website for less than the wholesale price, and refusing to allow retailers to cancel their orders. Unless indies have a contractual undertaking from Hugo Boss not to discount early, it is unlikely they will have any legal recourse.