Failure to adapt has left Clarks in a weak position to withstand the COVID-19 crisis, says GlobalData

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has recently announced that it is cutting almost 1,000 head office roles

Failure to adapt has left Clarks in a weak position to withstand the COVID-19 crisis, says GlobalData

, UK Retail Research Director at , a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on this news: “Clarks is in a typical midmarket squeeze: like M&S it is a heritage brand that has been too slow to adapt to a changing market – both in terms of product development (with the athleisure trend driving growth) and addressing the shift to online. The footwear specialist’s share of the UK footwear market has plummeted in recent years with Clarks falling from the market leader in 2014 to the third biggest player in 2019, overtaken by the leading sports retailers.”

“At the end of its FY2019, Clarks had 521 stores in the UK (including concessions), and while it began a portfolio review in 2017, it really should have started the process of eliminating stores much earlier, as the channel shift over the last decade has not come as a surprise. Progress has been at a snail’s pace – while it has shut some concessions it had the same number of full price stores in the UK at the end of FY2019 as it did at the end of FY2018.”

“A lack of decisive action over the last five years has hindered Clarks but chief executive, Giorgio Presca who joined in 2019 has demonstrated that he is keen to make significant changes, evident from the swathes of head office cuts announced.”


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