Gianni Georgiades, Managing Director EMEA for the footwear brand, is spearheading their transformation into a trans-seasonal, lifestyle and omnichannel business across the region. Owned by US brand house Deckers since 1995, first launched in California in 1978, they have been slowly diversifying its range over the past few years, introducing new styles such as women’s leather ankle boots, espadrilles and men’s desert boots. Georgiades says that this autumn will be where their transformation will truly take root. They have altered their classic boot, launching the Luxe range in September. In November, the Slim range is launched, with has additional cushioning and a Treadlite sole for extra traction. Georgiades is looking for “an Ugg for all”. He revealed that the classics currently equal around 35% of UK sales “and declining considerably, which is strategic”. His aims is to further decrease this to around 20% in the next four years and pushing more diverse seasonal and trend-led ranges while retaining the comfort USP that “dominates everything we do”. He says: “We don’t want to be a one-dimensional brand. We don’t want to be pigeonholed.” Women’s are further ahead in this process than the men’s as, it is still “going through a search process to decide exactly who we are”. It currently represents just 5% of UK sales. Men’s currently comprises 10% of Ugg’s global sales.
In the year to March 31 2015, Ugg made just under $1.5bn (£970m) of sales globally, up 15% from just under $1.3bn (£840m) on December 31 2013. The UK comprised around 32% of total EMEA sales. Wholesale is the largest element, representing $904m (£585m) of global sales compared to $380m (£246m) from retail and $210m (£136m) from ecommerce. The brand has 13,000 doors worldwide, of which around 1,000 are in the UK. However, it does not plan to increase this, rather to ensure it is with the best partners possible. To further boost sales, Ugg is expanding into new categories, including a home collection this autumn. This comprises sheepskin rugs retailing at £835, a mohair throw for £130 and a wool Luxe Lodge pillow for £178. It is being sold in Ugg stores, online and through Fenwick. The brand already offers loungewear, featuring dressing gowns, onesies and cosy trousers, but Georgiades dreams of going further with clothing – he wants Ugg to expand into outerwear.
More UK stores are also on the cards in the next few years, but Georgiades is unable to reveal specific locations.