Magazine article Marketing

Can Fosters Turn from UK Fashion Victim to Leader?

Magazine article Marketing

Can Fosters Turn from UK Fashion Victim to Leader?

Article excerpt

So it's farewell Fosters, hello d2. Will the fading menswear chain, whose customers seemed to consist of little more than adolescent boys seeking something for the youth club disco, re-emerge as a Mecca for trendy fashion sophisticates?

It's a little early to say, but the new name has unfortunate initial connotations for its target market: b2 (boring savings) or R2D2 (nerdy Star Wars).

Fosters, sensible but dated, tried hard over the past few years to shake off its dowdy image. In the end it gave up the struggle, and went into administration last spring. It was then snapped up by Tom Hunter, the energetic Sports Division founder, for a knockdown price of [pounds]5m.

A completely new name and new image is probably the best way forward for Fosters. Starting with a blank piece of paper suits Hunter, a man with money and retail enthusiasm to spare. He built up Sports Division from scratch, and walked away with [pounds]250m when he sold up.

The Fosters story illustrates the intensity of competition on the high street, and the danger of letting your brand, particularly in the clothing sector, fall behind.

Retail spend is static, while retailers are moving ever faster to each others' ideas.

Marks & Spencer has seen the writing on the wall, moving to appoint an overall marketing chief for the first time. …

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