Hugo Boss's Matthew Keighran is the latest industry figurehead to join the Ragtrader Live speaker lineup.

He will join executives from R.M Williams, David Jones, Manning Cartell, Sass & Bide, Pandora and Cotton On in revealing their winning local strategies. 

Grab your tickets here and read a teaser on his market insights below.

What are some strategic changes for the business ahead?

As of the spring 2018 season, we will operate with just two brands – Boss and Hugo. Boss will serve the upper premium business segment as well as the more sophisticated casualwear collections.

Boss Orange and Boss Green will cease to operate as independent brands but instead will be integrated into the Boss core brand. This means Boss will be able to offer the right clothes for every occasion: business, casual (based on the current Boss Orange) and athleisure (which is currently covered by Boss Green).

This will result in a more consistent brand image and the ability to better exploit our growth potential in the casualwear segment.

Hugo will appeal to a broader base of younger customers with fashionable collections offered at attractive prices.

Hugo’s entry-level price range will be around 30% than that of the core Boss brand.

This will open up new growth potential for Hugo, both through the further development of the casualwear product range as well as expansion outside Europe.

The realignment of the brand portfolio is set to commence with the delivery of the pre-spring 2018 collections.

A Boss Jacket is currently $799 and a Hugo jacket is currently $749. As of Spring 18 a Boss jacket will be $749 and a Hugo jacket will be $549.

A Boss Coat is currently $749 and a Hugo jacket is currently $749. As of Spring 18 a Boss jacket will be $699 and a Hugo jacket will be $499.

How have you have you grown your presence in the market?

Plans throughout 2017 include further expansion in the retail network: Melbourne Airport opening in June as well as the refurbishment/relocation of Boss Edward Street, Brisbane and Boss Chadstone, Melbourne.

Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast opened in 2016 and we expect this store will be our biggest footprint in Queensland.

From a wholesale perspective, this side of the business has developed strongly with our key wholesale partner David Jones. The partnership has led to further offerings in suburban and downtown locations.

We have also seen growth in the wholesale business outside of apparel with the evolution of our shoes and accessories business and we have further developed our online presence through wholesale with The Iconic.

How many do you want to grow this to over the next year?

We are currently focusing on key doors, which include the larger most profitable stores, e.g. Boss King Street in Sydney and Boss Collins Street in Melbourne and plan to maximise their potential.

Our strong marketing plans based on the geographic locations of individual stores across Australia will secure the right promotion and in turn the success of these stores.

Merchandise will play an integral role in the growth of our business and the consolidation of the Boss brands will be a key contributor to this growth.

The brand integration will allow us to further tailor our product offering enabling us to meet customer demands. As a result we will offer a more personalised shopping experience and a tailored approach to different store customer demographics.

To secure the trajectory of growth, we will drive customer engagement through delivering a 360 approach ensuring all consumer touch points are being reached.

We have established a digital promotional presence in the market through online advertising, influencer campaigns and social media interactions.

We execute in-store activations offering our best clients’ money – can’t - buy experiences, such as with Formula 1 through the Boss sponsorship of Mercedes, and create in-store theatre around key trading periods.

Our customers are frequently informed via email, SMS and direct mailers about new season collections and promotions, while print advertising continues as an important brand positioning tool.

We invest in the best people at all levels in the retail network and also in head office. Training and development is key in employee retention and we are set to invest more in this over the coming months.

In the past 18 months, we have taken over one venue in Auckland from our business partner in Newmarket and opened a new store in Queen Street.

What are the key performing states and why?

New South Wales continues to be our key performing state followed closely by Victoria. These states have a higher customer spend partly due to the high influx of tourism (particularly from Asia) and also being the business and corporate hubs of Australia.

What are the key performing product categories?

Hugo Boss is most well known as a suiting brand in Australia and our tailoring business remains a key performer. In recent years, we have seen a shift away from suits into separates: jackets and trousers.

This has been a global trend for our brand as well as locally. In light of this, our sportswear business has seen a lot of growth and has over performed. Our womenswear business experienced strong growth in 2016 and continues to improve.

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