The British young fashion brand has decided to stop developing its own footwear after the fall/winter 2009-10 collection, and to license it out. According to Drapers magazine, one of the possible candidates is Focus Group, a company partly owned by the British JD Sports Fashion chain, which is controlled by Pentland Group.
The move is described by company officials as a cost-cutting measure that will involve up to 10 employees in Ben Sherman’s product development department. It follows the publication of the results of its parent company, Oxford Industries, which show a loss of $0.2 million for Ben Sherman in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, following a drop in sales of 30 percent to $6.2 million.
Coincidentally with this and other measures, Ricardo Meyer, a former top executive of Puma and Elefanten, decided abruptly to leave the company and to seek other challenges. He joined Ben Sherman in 2005 to take care of its German subsidiary and has gradually risen up the ranks, acting most recently as head of Europe, excluding the U.K., for all the company’s products. He has not been replaced in this position, but the European sales manager, Michael Stuehrenberg, is being given additional responsibilities.
The company is still committed to make its mark in the European Continent. After a long delay, Ben Sherman is finally going ahead with the opening of its first store in Germany. Located in Berlin, the 180-square-meter store will feature men’s and women’s wear as well as shoes.
Known mainly for its men’s shirts, Ben Sherman has been diversifying strongly in the last year, also in the women’s wear sector. It launched its own footwear line well before it was acquired by Oxford Industries in 2004.
For a while, until 2003, Ben Sherman was also the footwear licensee of Acupuncture, the trendy British young fashion label, and other brands. It held the juicy footwear license for Evisu until the end of 2007. It was subsequently going to run a footwear license for another trendy British brand, Addict, but the agreement was terminated. Addict said it was going to come out with a footwear line developed in-house for the spring of 2010.