As regular readers will have figured out by now, I’m not overly optimistic for the multi-brand retailers out there. Or at least, not for the ones unwilling to adapt to the new market dynamics. I’ve stated that 2019 will be a very tumultuous year for the retailers. Just a few weeks into the new year and it already turns out quite clearly, I can predict the future better than your local clairvoyant.
While SIHH was keeping everyone busy this past week, one of my favorite industry underdogs – Czapek & Cie – opened its first boutique in Geneva. What’s the big deal you may ask?
We learn that one of the drivers for opening its own boutique, was that retailers were not paying enough attention. “We cannot simply wait for the retail industry to discover the independents,” stated CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel. “Our headquarters are much more in line with our spirit located inside an open boutique, than inside a private office”.
So far I had gotten used to the big groups setting up their own mono brand boutiques and (not so) slowly moving out of multi-brand stores (see also our previous article covering AP’s recent announcement). My thoughts were therefore, that said retailers should pay extra attention to whatever happens in the ‘Carré des Horlogers’, the independents & beating heart of the industry. It seems however, that they’re not paying enough attention if we read this.
Now, you may think that Czapek making this move is nothing overly alarming. But you’d be wrong in thinking that, for Czapek is not alone. In a fresh-of-the-press analysis from Reuters (read it here), it seems they are also now waking up to the fact that it’s going to get rough for the retailers in 2019. Concluding with the not surprising yet alarming words by MB&F: “Not all of the retailers will survive”.
Time for the retailers to wake up to reality, roll up those sleeves, and act before it is too late.