Systematically identifying and utilizing value-enhancing business opportunities is a key element of efforts to ensure that the Company grows profitably. In the HUGO BOSS Group, opportunities are defined as possible positive deviations from planned targets or corporate planning assumptions.
Decentralized organization of opportunity management
Due to its direct link to the targets and strategy of the respective business divisions, responsibility for the identification, assessment and entrepreneurial utilization of opportunities lies with the operational management in the regions, individual markets and central functions. In this context, opportunities are always considered in conjunction with any associated risks. They are only pursued when they outweigh the associated risk and when the risk is assessed to be manageable and its potential consequences limited.
Ongoing monitoring and close links to Group planning
Short-term opportunities – in the sense of potential, positive deviations from the planned operating result (EBIT) – in the current fiscal year are discussed with regional management at regular intervals. Appropriate actions to exploit such opportunities are initiated as required. The long-term management of opportunities is directly linked to corporate planning. Opportunities identified and evaluated in terms of their contribution to the enterprise value are analyzed in detail in the context of strategic planning and the annual budget rounds. On this basis, the Managing Board allocates the necessary resources to the operational units to enable them to benefit from their realization.
HUGO BOSS has identified the following key opportunities that stem from the Company’s environment, its corporate strategy and operational implementation itself.
General economic development
Economic conditions in its sales markets influence the Group’s growth prospects. As a company operating in the consumer goods industry, HUGO BOSS can benefit directly from favorable macroeconomic developments and their effect on consumer confidence and customers’ buying behavior. Thus, the current low energy costs and moderate inflation and interest rates in many markets could contribute to a further improvement in consumer confidence and have a positive influence on the purchase of fashionable clothing and accessories.
Changes in the market environment
Regulatory and legal changes can potentially have a positive impact on sales and the Company’s profitability. A reduction of import duties or tax cuts, for instance, can improve the Company’s competitive position compared to local competition.
Favorable exchange rate and interest fluctuations
Favorable exchange rate and interest developments can potentially have a positive impact on the development of the Group’s earnings. The HUGO BOSS Group’s central treasury department analyzes the market environment continuously and is responsible for identifying and tapping relevant opportunities within the framework financial management principles provide. The department works closely with the Group’s global subsidiaries for this purpose.
Strategic and operational opportunities
Growth in relevant customer segment
Industry experts anticipate continued robust growth in the market segment relevant for the global premium and luxury goods industry. Indeed, some analysts project that by 2025 about 600 million more people will have the purchasing power to buy premium and luxury goods compared to today. Substantial growth is expected in emerging countries in particular, driven by rising income levels and the high share of total disposable income dedicated to consumption compared to other parts of the world. Given the positioning of its brands in the premium and luxury segment, the Group sees itself in an ideal position to profit from these developments in both menswear and womenswear. The rise of the middle class in China and many other emerging economies offers HUGO BOSS particular growth opportunities because the share of working, fashion-conscious women is relatively high here. The Group is working systematically on capturing the identified growth potential with market entry and market penetration strategies tailored to specific countries, through collaboration with business partners and independent subsidiaries. It is also systematically reinforcing its distribution activities in metropolitan areas, particularly in Europe, to create an attractive offering for the tourist segment, an area of growing commercial importance.
Growing interest in fashion among men
In recent years, interest in fashionable clothing has grown considerably, particularly among younger men. More and more men are paying increasing attention to fashionable appearance as a means of expressing their personality or standing out from the crowd. Clothing is also increasingly considered an important determinant of how an individual’s competence in the workplace is perceived by others. HUGO BOSS’ brand commitment to offer fashionable clothing of impeccable taste and outstanding quality addresses these needs very effectively, so that the Group sees excellent opportunities to benefit from the growing fashion sense of men worldwide.
Changing shopping habits and lifestyles
The rapid technological progress seen in last 15 years, and specifically the quantum leap in the importance of the Internet, has radically changed the shopping habits and lifestyles of consumers. HUGO BOSS sees this change as an opportunity. With the expansion and continuous improvement of its online stores, the Group addresses the expectations of consumers with respect to product presentation, selection and service. It is also driving towards even closer integration of its online offering with bricks-and-mortar retail stores. Processes harmonized across all channels will offer customers a high-quality, uncomplicated information, purchasing and service experience. HUGO BOSS thereby meets the needs of the company’s core target group, men and women who are successful in their professional and personal lives and have little spare time. At the same time, the Group uses digital media to strengthen perception of its brands and charge them emotionally.
Growing need for individuality
The Group addresses its customers’ growing need for individuality with both its brand strategy and its distribution strategy. By building up and regionally extending its Made to Measure offering, HUGO BOSS can offer a growing number of interested consumers the option of wearing individually modified and tailored products with which they can stand out from the fashion mainstream. The exclusivity of this offering is also conveyed in the shopping experience, with dedicated selling space specially designed for this purpose. Opportunities are also seen in an individual approach to customers with systematic customer relationship management. Stronger ties are forged between customers and HUGO BOSS and customers’ brand loyalty increased by targeted phone calls, personalized mailings and individual newsletters.
Brand portfolio allows targeting of differentiated customer segments
HUGO BOSS believes it has an outstanding position in the global apparel market. The Group’s brands stand for excellent quality, outstanding workmanship and modern design. With its brands, the Group reaches out to a wide public across the entire spectrum of the premium and luxury fashion market – from the young lifestyle brand BOSS Orange and the trendy HUGO brand to the modern, sophisticated BOSS brand in which the Company’s luxury competence has been successfully concentrated. The different brand worlds are also clearly distinguished from one another by increasing vertical differentiation in pricing and satisfy the demands of different target groups. The Group therefore sees itself as well positioned to make attractive offers to its customers in the premium and luxury segment and through all stages of their lives, securing even greater loyalty to its brands and tapping opportunities in the form of additional sales potential.
Greater market penetration in womenswear segment
HUGO BOSS is the market leader in the premium menswear market in many regions. However, its penetration in the womenswear segment is significantly lower in most markets. As a result, the Group sees substantial potential in this segment and is working intensively to successfully implement a strategy designed to grow its market share. The appointment of Jason Wu as Artistic Director has strengthened the Group’s competence in this area significantly. In addition, brand communication has been increased to reinforce the perception of BOSS Womenswear as a fashionable, high-quality brand. Its continuous presence at the New York Fashion Week also highlights the high aspirations set by the company for this area.
Growing retail expertise
In recent years, HUGO BOSS has increasingly realigned its distribution activities towards end consumers and significantly increased the share of sales generated with its own retail business. With the expansion of its own store network, the Company is tapping additional sales potential, both in established and emerging markets. In addition, HUGO BOSS is increasingly taking the opportunity of directly operating mono-brand shop-in-shops at business partners. Complete control over how the point of sale is designed not only allows improvements in the quality of presentation, but also makes it possible to offer first-class advice and service, enhancing the purchasing experience and the perceived quality of the brand. At the same time, the Company is gaining insights into its customers’ needs first hand. In view of the growing importance of this distribution channel, the Group is working hard to systematically increase its retail competence.
Improvements in operational processes
HUGO BOSS is addressing the growing importance of its own retail business by optimizing critical operational processes. Using IT-supported selling space, assortment and volume planning, the Group will be in a position in future to align itself even better with the needs of end consumers and respond to changes in the market even more swiftly than in the past. In addition, the coming years will focus on the systems-based integration and optimization of business-to-consumer processes to make merchandise flows to end consumers faster, more flexible and more efficient across all sales channels. The Group is also working intensively on increasing the use of virtualization technology in specific phases of the product development process to generate time and cost advantages. With these continuous process optimization efforts, HUGO BOSS is laying the foundations to enable it to tap future opportunities and achieve positive impact on sales and earnings.
Sustainable business model
The HUGO BOSS name has always stood for uncompromising quality and excellent finish. The Company therefore sets the highest standards not only for its products but for all business activities and processes. It is the Group’s endeavor to pursue sustainability from the point of view of economic, ecological and social aspects. It is convinced that it can enhance its enterprise value with this approach. All departments and functions along the entire value chain have committed to corporate social responsibility and the pursuit of clearly defined goals. This will produce opportunities not only with regard to direct increases in sales and reductions in costs, but also in terms of the Company’s and its brands’ reputation generally.