High Street

Clarks calls in advisors to review business

Shoe retailer Clarks has called in management consulting firm McKinsey & Co to review its business.

A spokesperson told Retail Sector that the company is “unable to share any specific details” of its new strategy, but did confirm that it is “transforming” the brand to “reconnect” with its consumers by designing new products and launching a new brand and marketing strategy.

The retailer said the last few years have been “challenging”, but added that it is “on track” to grow underlying profitability this year.

The spokesperson said: “Clarks is one of the few brands in the world with authenticity, a place in fashion history and a cult followership that sets us apart from other brands.

“Our new strategy will allow the business to capitalise on the momentum that our Clarks Originals products such as the Desert Boot and Wallabee are experiencing, and to meet our ambition of returning the business to sustainable levels of growth and profitability by 2023.”

It comes after the retailer revealed it was seeking rent reductions of up to 30% in August,  following a period of “poor trading”.

The retailer asked landlords to extend leases on certain stores in return for reduced rent costs. A source also told The Sunday Times that many of the retailer’s stores were too “profitable” for it to be a CVA candidate.

A spokesperson told Retail Sector: “Since early 2017, when Clarks announced that it would be conducting a full review and modernisation of the company’s property portfolio, we have been constantly reviewing our store estate to ensure that all stores are the right size and located in the right places to enable us to provide the right offering for customers.

“As a key brand on many of the UK’s high streets, we are committed to retaining our presence and ensuring our stores continue to play a critical role in delivering a great experience for our customers.”

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