It’s a well-known fact that Clarks Shoes have been leaders in the high-street shoe industry for decades. Many would flock to their stores to purchase guaranteed well-made, robust shoes that were both comfortable and affordable. However, in recent years, Clarks employees have been made aware of the dark future that is looming, as the British company have suffered a 65% drop in profits throughout its 550 stores.
The large decline in profits may be down to the increased rates of online shopping. Many other retailers offer shoes at competitive prices – with free shipping in some cases. A number of high-street clothing stores have also started to stock their own range of shoes, placing a great deal of pressure on specialist shoe stores like Clarks. Business rental prices seem to have catapulted too, meaning that Clarks will need to take a closer look at the stores which will be kept open and those which will eventually close.
Brexit has brought about many challenges to the British pound and has started a long line of pressures for the shoe company. Most of Clarks’ shoes are imported, meaning the decline of the pound is proving extremely tough, even for a brand that is so well established. In the face of such issues, there is little opportunity for Clarks to sell extras – unlike other retailers – to boost profits, leaving them in a downwards spiral.
It could be argued that traditional shoe styles have become outdated, due to the rise of the athletic shoe by worldwide brands such as Nike, Adidas and Converse. Yet, Clarks still remains one of the leaders in the traditional shoe market, facing competition from other retailers such as Dune and Office. The brand has also been resilient in the draw towards children’s shoe supplies. Each year, parents make their way to stores to purchase school shoes ready for the upcoming term, and a decline in stores would certainly lead to a gap in the market.
Clarks will need to consider a wide range of aspects when delving into the final details. What is now needed is a closer look at the stores which have a large customer base, as well as how they can maximise their online strategy. The ever-growing popularity of online marketing is thrusting newer brands into the spotlight and leaving behind traditional brands such as Clarks.
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