Hunter Quits London Fashion Week & Changes Strategy

HUNTER’S NEW GAME: The changes keep coming at Hunter, which is reorganizing its focus on the consumer — and quitting London Fashion Week.

On Tuesday, Hunter confirmed that it will not stage a show in February as part of its new strategy to speak directly to its audience via music festivals and its own retail stores.

The brand, which saw the departure of its chief executive officer, James Seuss, last month, said it’s looking to “explore and amplify its authentic connection” to music festivals with multiple customer-facing moments planned globally for 2016.

The label did not provide any further details about its plans, but it’s understood the activity will begin in the spring, around the time Coachella begins.

The new focus will also be on Hunter standalone stores: Last year, the brand opened its first flagship on London’s Regent Street, and it has also established a joint venture with Itochu in Japan to develop the brand in that market. A flagship is set to open in Tokyo next year. The brand is also investing in multi-language e-commerce platforms.

“The success of our first flagship on Regent Street, which showcases the full range of products that Hunter now offers, is a testament to the evolution of the brand,” said Alasdhair Willis, Hunter’s creative director and a member of the interim leadership committee that is managing the business until a new CEO is chosen. “We will be opening a Tokyo flagship in March, which will be closely followed by stores in New York and Hong Kong. It’s an opportunity for us to directly engage with customers in some of our most important markets as we continue to build the brand.”

Hunter has been gaining momentum under its strategic private equity investor, Searchlight Capital Partners, with sales and profits up for the 2014 fiscal year.

In the 12 months through Dec. 31, pre-tax profit rose 5.5 percent, to 15.4 million pounds, or $23.4 million, while sales were up 17 percent, to 95.7 pounds, or $145.4 million.

Hunter launched the brand category Hunter Original with a runway show at London Fashion Week in February 2014, showcasing footwear, outerwear, knitwear and accessories, alongside the brand’s signature rubber boots.

Over its four fashion shows, the label has collaborated with Instagram, tech startup Grabyo, Ocean Outdoor and Periscope. Hunter Field, a specialist performance category, launched in spring 2015.

The senior management team consists of Willis; Benedict Smith, chief financial officer; Julie Rafferty, product and sourcing director; and Wendy Svarre, CEO and president, Americas.

The company said last month that a search is under way for a candidate “to lead Hunter through its next phase of growth.”

To explore Hunter’s spring ’16 runway collection, click through the gallery below:

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