“You Reap what you Sew!” – Do Boohoo’s woes signal the end of lazy fashion?
Extraordinary revelations from the house of Boohoo, the extreme, low-priced, pureplay, fast-fashion retailer. Amidst falling revenues, it has decreed to its suppliers that they should accept a 10% reduction in their fees for orders that are still in production.
As one angry supplier confirmed. ”This is major self-harm. They are struggling to find suppliers and now they are screwing the ones they have!”
Should we really be surprised, coming from a brand that has habitually and systematically disregarded every ethical and sustainable principle in its relationships not only with suppliers, but also its employees and its customers. This is after-all the business under investigation for using UK suppliers who pay below minimum wage, whilst at the same time being taken to task for its rogue and misleading sustainability claims.
The significance is not that Boohoo is behaving in this way, it is that Boohoo is being forced to act in this way, to survive.
The significance is for all retailers who run businesses where profit is made solely through the buying process and who are blinded to the value of products and people by the bright lights of initial margins and supplier exploitation.
It is a final wake-up call to lazy retailers sleepwalking into their own oblivion.
Most starkly, it is an admission that extreme fast fashion brands can only make profit in the buying process and not in the selling process. The only reaction to falling sales is to increase initial margins by whatever means possible.
Such brands are hardly retailers at all because they add no value to their shopping experiences. Their isolated and increasingly futile weapons in a saturated market are low prices and giveaway promotions.
These are torrid times for lazy retailers.
Lazy retailers who do not research and design unique and desirable products, do not add-value to them through details and enhancements. Who do not value creativity and originality, but glory in the inadequacies of artificial intelligence that scrapes the commercial success stories of others from the bottom of the festering fast-fashion barrel.
Lazy retailers who do not pour over sales figures or scrutinize sell-through rates. Who do not apply sophisticated strategies to maximise their margins or reduce their waste. Who do not care about the fate of individual garments whose collective irrelevance and worthlessness has been shrouded and masked by the comfort of large numbers.
Lazy retailers who do not frown at their inability to sell. Excused and admonished by their ability to bully and barter.
But now, lazy retailers and fashion brands are ‘reaping what they sew!’ And the likes of Boohoo, will increasingly suffocate under the weight of their stock, and choke on their inabilities to create and sell, to buy and merchandise meaningful and commercially sustainable assortments.
Is it bye-bye to Boohoo?
Will anyone care? Will anyone cry?
Will anyone even notice? Least of all their ‘valued customers!’
In the meantime…
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