An inherent aspect of the fashion industry is the products' short life span...
Goran Bille is the CEO of leading European fashion retailer Lindex. He says that fashion is fun during an interview with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi.
Lindex is a fashion chain retailer basically from Sweden but operating in Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Russia, Central Europe, Bosnia Herzegovina and the Middle East. It sells fast fashion for women and children through 430 stores. Lindex is a part of the Finnish bourse-listed Stockmann Group which is a 150 years old parent company. The Group's revenue in 2012 was EUR 2116 million. It has two fashion chains namely Lindex and Seppala.
Goran Bille is the CEO of Lindex as well as the Director of fashion chain division of Stockmann Group. Prior to joining Lindex in 2007, he was the Managing Director at H&M Rowells and Country Manager (Sweden) at H&M. He has done B.Sc.(Econ.).
How many years you have spent in the apparel industry and what is the most exciting part of working in the apparel industry?
I have worked in the apparel business for 35 years and what I feel is the most fantastic thing within this field is that it is always changing and constantly developing.
Do you feel that there is a need of rigorous marketing in the apparel industry to make a stand in the global market?
All marketing must work together with the product to get the best offer and inspiration to our customer. Lindex marketing and PR will inspire, create interest to want to visit and shop in our stores or our online store. The marketing will work in the short and long term, and clearly show what Lindex stands for.
We also want to surprise and inspire our customers by bringing additional collections to our other wide assortment. We have had a number of design collaborations, most recently, a very successful collaboration with fashion house Missoni, where 10% of sales went to charity for breast cancer research. Since 2003, we are proud sponsors of Cancer's Pink Ribbon campaign which aims to raise money for breast cancer research and to raise awareness of breast cancer. Since 97 % of Lindex employees and our target audience is women, we feel it is good to support the Cancer Society and its good thing.
According to you, which stage of garments business is more painstaking: manufacturing or retailing and why?
Nothing is really painstaking but rather to be looked upon as opportunities. We have the possibility to make a change in the manufacturing, looking for a cleaner path with our eyes overpriced on how the environment is for the workers. Retailing is at the moment extremely exciting with mobile and on-line sales have added on to the brick and mortar selling.
Do you believe that online shopping will soon take over the actual retail market?
No, it will be an important channel but a compliment to bricks and mortars. E-commerce is growing rapidly and becoming an important part of the offering. We are now in 16 markets with over 470 physical stores. With our shop at www.lindex.com can shop from the 27 EU countries plus Norway, online shopping has a great potential. Our ambition is to weave together the physical store and e-commerce as far as possible in order to create an optimal shopping experience for the customer.
If a fashion of today becomes out of fashion tomorrow, is it not difficult to manage the existing stocks present in the stores? How do you cope with this problem?
Fashion is a tough but very interesting industry, sometimes fashion makes fast turns and you always have to be prepared. We are therefore working widely and systematically in order to sharpen our competitiveness. Today, it is not enough to have the best designers and a strong sourcing and sales organization, but it also requires logistics solutions so that we can get the right clothes at the right time at the right store. Inspiring store environment and employees who provide extraordinary service to our customers is also important components of having to manage the existing stocks present in the stores.