Roger Saul: Founder of Mulberry On The House of Fraser Deal.
This week Mulberry’s founder has said luxury brands will “think very hard” about continuing to deal with House of Fraser after the department store chain’s collapse into administration and takeover by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.
Roger Saul told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the “reverberation around the designer fashion world is fairly enormous” and the collapse would usher in a “fundamental change to how retailing will work”.
House of Fraser's administrators EY revealed last week that suppliers including a host of well-known designer brands would not be paid millions of pounds of debts.
Mulberry’s share price plummeted by 30% on Monday after the designer handbag maker announced it would take a £3m hit as a result of the administration.
“You’ve got Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Diesel; a large number of good, high-end brands that have good operations that have been hit by this,” Mr Saul said.
“Because House of Fraser has a stretch throughout the whole of the UK with its store group, effectively many brands have chosen that as their route to the market or consumer around the UK, outside of London where they have their own stores.
“So it does mean that this is a fundamental change to how retailing will work and brands will have to think very hard, ‘do I stay with Mike [Ashley] in his new form, what will his new form be?”
Luxury brands still “without doubt” need to have an offline presence despite retail sales increasingly shift online, Mr Saul said. “You’ve got to have clicks, bricks and mortar.”