Retailer of the Week
23 Oct. 2013
Enrico Baumbach, sales manager, Wöhrl, Nuremberg, Germany
Enrico Baumbach is the sales manager of the Wöhrl head office in Nuremberg city. Founded in 1930 the Rudolf Wöhrl AG (Wöhrl) offers over 100 brands such as Hugo, Levi's, Diesel, Boss Orange, Hamaki-Ho and Tiger of Sweden, at 37 different locations. Recently the fashion retailer celebrated its 80th anniversary as one of the leading fashion houses in Southern Germany. Enrico Baumbach talks about the most popular fashion cuts, colors and washings and explains what makes the multi brand retailer so special. Interview by Tatjana von Elverfeldt
Why did you open your store? Tell us the story behind it!
The foundation stone for WÖHRL Group was laid in Nuremberg in the early 1930s. With the opening of his own business, founder Rudolf Wöhrl and his wife Berta fulfilled their life’s dream. The basic idea was based on a wide range and high quality products that please for a long time. They combined this with the best quality service and individual guidance by motivated employees.
What are the most important ingredients for successful retailing?
Besides brand expertise and a good range, today it is especially important to be close to the customer. This makes the difference. Here we see our strength, because at Wöhrl we have always attached special importance to giving a first class service.
What are your current bestselling labels and which are your personal favourites?
For the upcoming F/W season light down and denim are in great demand in all forms and variations. Our best sellers next to Hugo, Levi's and Diesel, are labels like Lieblingsstück, Boss Orange, Hamaki-Ho and Tiger of Sweden. Currently my personal favourite labels are Denham and Tiger of Sweden. They are very innovative and convince me with great cuts and unusual designs.
How important is the denim segment for your business? Which cuts, colours and washings are currently the most popular?
Denim was and always will be an important topic for Wöhrl. Denim is experiencing a true hype right now. Currently most in demand are narrow forms in all sorts of washes and prints. Also "destroyed jeans" are very popular. In terms of menswear; classics with different washing options and narrow slim fit models are popular.
Which new labels have you added to your assortment recently?
New in our range are Denham, Lieblingsstück, Tiger of Sweden, Prey of London, Hamaki-Ho and Canada Goose.
Do customers search for their favourite brands and special styles, or do they buy spontaneously?
We have many fashion conscious customers who are looking for something special. Our audience in the U-one in particular are always looking for cutting-edge pieces.
Where do you buy your merchandise? Where do you find trend inspiration?
I love combining professional with personal by travelling to the fashion capitals London, Copenhagen and Milan, and gathering inspiration there. Also the Bread & Butter fashion trade fairs, Premium and Seek offer a good overview of the latest trends. What appeals to me personally is a top-level fashion degree, innovation, attractive presentation and a great atmosphere. For us however, it is important never to lose sight of the needs of the customers.
What do you think will be the key-pieces and trends for Autumn/Winter 2013?
A current trend for example is down in bright colours. Denim in all its variations and red and black plaid remain on-trend. Currently on the rise is ‘ghetto chic’, its flashy and urban.
How do you stay in contact with your regular customers?
We have a high percentage of regulars. The close contact with our customers stems from the good contact between our employees and customers. With customer events and special promotions, we maintain the customer relationship. Our style card offers regular customers bonus points on every purchase and many other exclusive offers. Also, the lifestyle magazine mystyle is delivered free to our regular customers. Here we present the latest trends and collections of our houses.
What does your shop have that others don’t?
As a multi-brand retailer, we offer customers the advantage of a broad and deep range of products in all segments. The special feature of this supply structure is the combination of the original brand appearances from the great mono-label brands such as Boss, Strenesse, or Marc O'Polo, and quality own brands such as Carnaby's and James B. Cook.
Also, crucial to Wöhrl is its strong regional roots and close ties to its site and its customers. As a traditional Middle-Franconian family business we have maintained the proximity to the customer for 80 years and we are also aware of our social responsibility. Whether fashion consultant, manager or director–Wöhrl has individuals behind the brand, which makes us authentic, sympathetic and approachable.
What do you like about your city and the customers in this area?
Nuremberg has a great old town with a very special charm. Nuremberg is also well positioned with a diverse retail structure in fashion. Therefore we are represented three times at our administrative headquarters.
How is buying behaviour changing – do people look for classics or specialities?
Considering all the ranges, our customers have a relatively balanced buying behaviour. Basics are a major part of the turnover, but our young audience in the U-one are often looking for the latest trends and special pieces.
Wöhrl shop window Nuremberg
Currently the focus of Wöhrl is on retail business. However, we do intend to offer our customers an omnipresent shopping experience in the medium-term, according to our "around the clock" scheme. Of course we can be found on facebook informing about new promotions, trends and shopping happy hours at our houses. We believe that it is important to use modern means of communication to give the customer a personal impression of the company.
Is there a model store which inspires you?
I am personally impressed with the London department store Selfridges, because it is innovative and constantly re-invents itself, yet remains traditional. This sense of tradition connects us. Also, I appreciate the typical British understatement of the store and its excellent selection - from accessories to top fashion.
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