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Hugo Boss sales beat pre-pandemic levels, with social and digital now central to its strategy

Image courtesy of Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss showed sales running high both online and in-store as it released third quarter figures with revenue ahead of pre-pandemic levels for the first time. The retailer saw strong results from social-first launches and has set up a Hugo Boss digital campus in Germany and Portugal as it aims to become “the premium tech-driven fashion platform worldwide”, from where it plans to relaunch its website early next year.

The update came as the retailer reported group sales of €755m (£656m) in the third quarter of its financial year. That’s 42% up on the same time last year, and 7% up on the same time in 2019, showing a recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Europe (+39% to €512m/£438m) is Hugo Boss’ largest market, followed by the Americas (+96% to €144m/£123m) and Asia Pacific (+2% to €77m/£65.9m). Licensing grew by 48% to reach €21m (£17.97m) in sales. In Europe and the Americas, sales grew with the brand’s own stores now mostly open. But temporary store closures in the Asia Pacific reason affected sales there. Sales of casual wear continued to grow strongly at both its Boss and Hugo brands, while the business says it has seen renewed demand for formalwear in its latest quarter.

Overall, in-store sales grew by 40% on last year, while online sales grew by 37% on last time, and by 127% over the last two years, on Hugo Boss’ own website and on partner websites, such as marketplaces, where it manages its own sales. The fashion brand now expects full-year sales to be 40% ahead of last year’s €1.9bn, and pre-tax earnings to come in at between €175m and €200m.

Social-first commerce

The menswear business, ranked Top250 in RXUK Top500 research, says a ‘phygital’ launch for its second collection in collaboration with Russell Athletic gave the company its biggest social-first event yet, almost 4bn impressions and 25m engagements in four days. The physical launch of the collection featured social influencers from channels including TikTok

“We look back on a very strong quarter with both sales and earnings exceeding pre-pandemic levels,” says Daniel Grieder, chief executive of Hugo Boss. “We also made first great strides in successfully executing our CLAIM 5 strategy, particularly when it comes to boosting our brands among younger consumers. The spectacular launch of our second BOSS x Russell Athletic collection is a blueprint of how we will fully unlock our brands’ great potential together as a team in the future.” 

Multichannel strategy

Hugo Boss is taking a mobile-first approach to selling in its upcoming new website, now expected early next year. It promises a best-in-class ecommerce experience, with a new look and feel, that is designed to boost both traffic and conversion. 

Work on the site is well underway at the new Hugo Boss digital campus, now up and running in Metzingen, Germany and Porto, Portugal.

Commenting, Louise Deglise-Favre, associate retail analyst at GlobalData, says: “The brand’s performance was boosted by its direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels, with sales up 13% on Q3 FY2019, with online revenue in particular growing by 127% on a two-year basis. However, within DTC, online penetration remained at only 14.1%, despite the increasing prevalence of online shopping in light of Covid-19. Upcoming investments are crucial to boost online even further, with its Digital Campus dedicated to e-commerce innovation prioritising is the global launch of a revamped website in early 2022, fitted with technology aimed at enhancing the customer’s journey.”

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