Kudos to Forsyth of Canada for summing up the dilemma for independent specialty retailers who’ve spent years if not decades nurturing upscale brands only to find these brands going direct to consumer or selling to off-price stores. To make his clients aware of the situation, Joseph Visconti, president of the company’s U.S. division, sent the following memo to his retail accounts – and got a huge response.
“We felt compelled to write it after hearing so many retailers complain about the current situation,” he says. “Of course, we’re hoping new retail customers might try our brand (upscale non-iron dress and sport shirts, all $37 cost for retails from $79.50-$125), but the more important reason we sent it is to let specialty merchants know we empathize with them.”
According to MR research, while some specialty retailers are resigned to the extant situation, saying they can’t give up the volume these key brands generate regardless of the uneven playing field, others are playing offense: doing more business with vendors who don’t sell consumers directly or else cultivating private label.
Let us know your game plan for a future MR feature on specialty store survival. Send your thoughts to Karen.Grossman@ubm.com and advise if we can quote you in our write-up or if you prefer we use your thoughts without attribution. In either case, we appreciate your input and hope that by working together, we can come up with a few good tactics.