HUNTER’S NEW GAME: The changes keep coming at Hunter, which is reorganizing its strategies around the end consumer and quitting the London Fashion Week schedule.
On Tuesday, Hunter confirmed that it would not stage a show in February as part of a new strategy to speak directly to its audience via music festivals and its own retail stores.
The brand, which saw the departure of its chief executive officer James Seuss last month, said it’s looking to “explore and amplify its authentic connection” to music festivals with multiple customer-facing moments planned globally for 2016.
The brand did not provide any further details about its plans, but it’s understood the activity will begin in the spring around the time Coachella begins.
Going forward, the focus will also be on stand-alone stores: Last year Hunter opened its first flagship on London’s Regent Street and it has also established a joint venture with Itochu in Japan to develop the brand in that market. A second flagship is set to open in Tokyo next year. The brand is also investing in multilanguage e-commerce platforms.
“The success of our first flagship on Regent Street, which showcases the full range of products that Hunter now offers, is testament to the evolution of the brand,” said Alasdhair Willis, Hunter’s creative director, and a member of its interim leadership committee which is managing the business until a new ceo is found. “We will be opening a Tokyo flagship in March which will be closely followed by New York and Hong Kong — it’s an opportunity for us to directly engage with customers in some of our most important markets as we continue to build the brand.”
Hunter has been gaining momentum under its strategic private equity investors Searchlight Capital Partners, with sales and profits up for the 2014 fiscal year.
In the 12 months to December 31, pre-tax profit rose 5.5 percent to 15.4 million pounds, or $23.4 million, while sales were up 17 percent to 95.7 pounds, or $145.4 million.
Hunter launched the brand category Hunter Original with a runway show at London Fashion Week in February 2014, showcasing footwear, outerwear, knitwear and accessories, alongside the brand’s signature rubber boots.
During its four fashion shows, it has collaborated with Instagram, the tech start-up Grabyo, Ocean Outdoor and Periscope. Hunter Field, a specialist performance category, launched in spring 2015.
As reported, the senior management team consists of Willis, Benedict Smith, chief financial officer; Julie Rafferty, product and sourcing director; and Wendy Svarre, ceo and president, Americas.
The company said last month the search is currently underway for a candidate “to lead Hunter through its next phase of growth.”