Retailer of the Week
08 Feb. 2012
LUTZ SPONSEL, MAINGOLD, WÜRZBURG, GERMANY
What are your current bestsellers and how do you identify important trends ?
Top brands such as J Brand, Moncler, Drykorn, UGG, Liebeskind, Duvetica, Current Elliott are sold really well. We love brands with unique characters that follow their own path and are confident enough to leave out certain trends in order to stay true to their style. To identify new trends that match the German market, we closely collaborate with the important German agencies and also love to travel to find fashion afflatus.
Which denim labels sell the best?
At the high end, labels like J Brand sell great due to its perfect fit and Current Elliot for innovation. Dr Denim and Cheap Monday are top sellers in the entrance price range. In between, we are quite happy with the sales of Drykorn, G-Star and Maison Scotch. The most sought after style is still straight to skinny in subtle, dark washings. But we rarely sell single pieces, rather complete looks since we run our shops with a high density of staff that is well-trained and committed to sell fashionable styles.
What is the most important trend coming up?
For summer 2012 it is definitely the “shlouse” – half shirt, have blouse, ideally in silk. And the silk dress. Looking at shoes: wedges. We will expect a great demand of dresses, blouses, knitwear and box shapes. The buying behaviour commutes to a combination of classic and individual styles.
Are there any new brands in the Maingold portfolio?
We only sell selected brands and it takes a while before we include newcomers. But once we decide to stock a label, we are very brand loyal. We are amazed by Philippe Audiberd and all the new, young Scandinavian labels. We love the ones that come out of the blue and are suddenly featured in all fashion magazines such as it happened with Wildfox or Ash some seasons ago. This means, we always have to watch the market very carefully and be in funds to be able to react fast.
What makes you special compared to other stores?
One thing is that we always try to be the first in town with new trends and brands. Furthermore we know how to make our product range look like a consistent collection although it is composed of dozens of labels. This is the haute école of buying! Also the interior and atmosphere inside the store are key success factors. Otherwise people could just shop online.
Are there plans for an online shop? Do you believe that traditional retail stores are a fading model?
One of our biggest strengths is the personal shopping experience that we provide. That is why we are not working on any plans to expand online since the web business is a trade form that we have not worked with yet. We also don’t shop online ourselves. What we like personally we can get at our own shops or from travels in other cities or countries. We think that well-led stores that reach their target group won’t feel the online competition.
What do you like about Würzburg as a location?
Our town is no megacity but our customers are well-informed about trends and very open for new styles. We have a great network that allows us to do without advertising and to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations.
Which other stores inspire you?
Maingold has no role models. All the other stores we like are in big cities and would not work in Würzburg. However, I like the bookstore at LACMA in Los Angeles and my wife loves Le Bon Marché in Paris.
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