Brands will "think hard" about HoF links says Mulberry founder's son
The losses made by many brands due to House of Fraser’s failure and ongoing uncertainty around whether its new owner can turn it around could make some labels think twice about continuing to supply the retailer, a member of Mulberry’s founding family has said.
In a BBC interview, Mike Saul, son of Mulberry founder Roger Saul, said that high-end brands will “think very hard” about continuing to supply the chain after its administration filing saw them owed millions of pounds.
Although HoF was quickly bought out of administration by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, the new owner is under no obligation to pay suppliers as it would have been had it bought the chain as a going concern.
But not paying businesses that provide some of the retailer’s most desirable inventory could prove to be a spectacular own-goal if those labels refuse to supply the firm in future.
Saul, whose family was ousted from Mulberry in 2002, was commenting several days after the luxury UK leathergoods firm issued a £3 million profit warning linked to the House of Fraser situation.
He said the “reverberation [of the failure] around the designer fashion world is fairly enormous” and would mean a “fundamental change to how retailing will work”.
He said many luxury brands, including Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Diesel and others, had chosen House of Fraser as their route to reach consumers outside of the main London market where most of their stores are concentrated. It’s still unclear what their new strategies would be regarding HoF.
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