Boris Saragaglia, CEO of Spartoo: "In the current market context, we must be combative"
The e-tailer Spartoo announced this month a rather positive annual balance sheet. Marketing investments and future strategy, Boris Saragaglia, Spartoo's managing director, shares his state of mind and his vision of the current market, in the midst of the French ready-to-wear crisis.
Faced with the crisis in French ready-to-wear, what is your state of mind regarding the evolution of the market?
It's no secret that French consumption and purchasing power have declined. So we have seen a reordering of consumer priorities and I think that personal equipment (clothing and footwear) is not at the top of the list. Footwear remains a robust sector in ready-to-wear, unlike the t-shirt or shirt market for example, which is more volatile and less useful.
Beyond the difficulties caused by the drop in consumer purchasing power, if we take stock of the brands that went out of business, it was mainly retailers in physical distribution. All these brands were old and struggled to rejuvenate their image. But it's not easy to survive over time and not grow old with your customers. Another element to take into account is the significant increase in rents, which has penalised these physical brands. Add to this the steady increase in labour costs in China due to regulatory changes, the cost of transport, energy etc. In addition, the crisis has affected French brands for which it was difficult to compete with international brands (H&M, Zara, etc.), which may have been losing money in France but were making money elsewhere.
How do you manage to get through this crisis?
In the current market context, we have to be prudent, agile, and combative. To succeed, we have to be reactive to changes in consumer habits. We have focused on developing our offer while remaining a footwear specialist. Our strategy is to have an unlimited offer on the internet, with attractive prices, without being the cheapest, in order to offer affordable quality for the average consumer. To this, we seek to add proximity through physical shops. All of this is done by focusing on our own brands as well as on international brands.
Another clear choice for our strategy is to focus on excellent customer service. We are constantly being evaluated and we take into account consumer feedback in order to improve. In short, our overall strategy is to create proximity with our customers, to talk to them regularly. This can be a challenge in the shoe world, as on average people only buy a new pair of shoes every 120 days.
Are you affected by the changes in consumption caused by ecological awareness?
First of all, it is important to know that for street shoes, the circuits are quite short, unlike for sports shoes. Fast fashion in the textile world has been used for a long time and to excess by a young public, but the shoe sector has never really been in this trend. It is a rather noble product, a pair of shoes is not disposable like a t-shirt or a shirt that you buy at a low price for a unique occasion and that you will never wear again. We are therefore not the first to be affected by the changes in consumption due to ecological awareness.
Spartoo's annual review: key figures
On March 20, 2023, Spartoo presented its annual report, and here are some of the key figures:
In December 2022, Spartoo's business volume was €209.6 million, which is -1.9% compared to 2021.
As of 31 December 2022, Spartoo had a cash position of €9.4 million.
In 2022, the e-tailer recorded an increase in stock value of €13.6 million.
The average basket price on the site increased by €3 in 2022.
To find out more, read Spartoo's detailed annual report.