Shoe brand Skechers has plans to open fifteen Benelux stores. It already has stores in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Wijnegem and an outlet store in Roermond, but it intends to expand in the next few years.
“The consumer decides”
According to Skechers Benelux’ general manager, Maurice van Berkel, the company really values its own store network. “Skechers has nearly 2,000 stores worldwide, which are the locations where a lot of products are trialed before they are rolled out globally if the trial is successful. We increasingly focus on the consumer – well, we’ve already done that for several years actually. We have been saying for a long time that the consumer decides”, Van Berkel told RetailTrends. “Many retailer fear single brand stores, but they are the future. A mixture of single brand and multi brand store is how things will be.
Skechers really focuses on its own store network, because it has such a broad product range. It creates about 3,000 models annually, for men, women and children, a range that can be displayed better in its own store network. Skechers aims to position itself as a brand with a broad range, not as some particular type of brand, like a sports or casual brand. “You can find everything at Skechers. We cannot be labeled in a particular way.”
The company also notices that buyers have more trouble forecasting which items will sell well. “We see that buyers may ignore certain items that actually sell really well in our own stores. Buyers have a difficult time, because the consumer has become faster and extremely critical”, he added.
Communicate in transparent fashion
Van Berkel does not expect his wholesale customers to resist the expansion of its own store network. “If you communicate transparantly, clearly and openly, you will not face many issues. That is exactly why we clearly say that we want to open fifteen store in the Benelux”, he said. “Our stores also help the wholesale business. We have our own store across one of our customers in Wijnegem and we have seen that he performed even better thanks to the Skecher store.”
Skechers currently has no online store in the Benelux, but that may change soon. It also has an online presence in countries like Germany and England, possibly arriving in the Benelux next year.