Lingerie retailers should not give up on bricks and mortar, despite the recent demise of BHS and Austin Reed, according to industry professionals, who believe there is a bright future ahead for the high street.
Speaking at a roundtable event hosted by Lingerie Insight in London yesterday, experts assured that these two stories should not be read as concerns for the high street as a whole, but warned that there are lessons to be learned.
Coco de Mer managing director Lucy Litwack explained: “As long as we continue to engage with our customers, I think retailers will survive.
“It’s clear why certain retailers have disappeared from the high street and a lot of it is to do with the fact that they haven’t evolved with the times or listened to their customers.”
Lizzie Faulder, buyer for lingerie, nightwear and beachwear at Fenwick Bond Street agreed: “I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom based on these two stories, but I think there are definitely lessons to be learned.
“We make sure that each year we are investing in new floor layouts, refits and new brands coming in, so we’re moving with the times.”
Retailers must focus on offering a personalised experience to each individual customer to avoid facing extinction, according to Faulder.
“If a customer is shopping in your store, you don’t want to be offering discounts the whole time to incentivise their purchase, but if you can reward them with things like points or exclusive invites through personalised newsletters, they will keep coming back. We have a Fenwick database and a lingerie database so we can tap into our loyal customers.”
Lauren Thurston, branded buyer for lingerie and nightwear at Figleaves, also believes that retailers who continue to reinvent themselves will prosper.
“Some retailers have not necessarily moved forward, but for the ones that have, they will have a bright future.”