On Thursday, Hugo Boss released its sales figures for 2014, a significant year thanks to Jason Wu, who showed his first two collections as creative director of womenswear. Though Wu's first offering only hit stores in the fall, the 32-year-old designer's presence gave Boss a lift for 2014 overall.
The company's sales rose 6 percent during the year to €2.5 billion, but its women's business grew 10 percent to €289 million. Since Wu's arrival, women's sales have increased 18 percent. As Boss heads into its first full year under Wu's direction, the question is whether that growth will hold — that is, whether the excitement generated by Wu's appointment and first two collections has real staying power.
To capitalize on Wu's strong start, Hugo Boss says it's giving womenswear "a more prominent position in the new stores, which tend to be larger," such that it occupies about one-third of the floor. That's a rather meaningful investment, considering that women's only contributed 11 percent of overall sales in 2014, with 15 percent being the goal for 2020. And while showing at New York Fashion Week has been helpful in keeping the brand in front of editors, Boss is hoping to keep climbing the relevance ladder by — what else? — placing a "strong focus" on outfitting celebrities.
Beyond its women's collection, Hugo Boss is also angling to make progress on the female front with regard to its management team. According to the company, it aims to have at least two women on its board after the 2015 elections. Out of 12 current board members, there is one woman.
It's kind of a low bar to set, but, as ever, two is better than one. Boss should aim higher, though. If it's really looking to invest in the growth of its women's collection, wouldn't better representation from that segment of the population within the company only benefit business?