OFFICE HAS A PROUD LONDON HERITAGE. STRONGLY INFLUENCED BY THE ICONIC LONDON FASHION CULTURE, OFFICE PRESENTS CUSTOMERS WITH A WIDE, CURATED, QUALITY RANGE OF THE LATEST IN-DEMAND STYLES AND BRANDS. THESE LONDON ROOTS, TOGETHER WITH THE FOCUS ON YOUNG FASHIONABLE FEMALE CONSUMERS IN THE UK AND THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, MAKE OFFICE A SOUGHT-AFTER RETAIL PARTNER FOR THE BEST FASHION FOOTWEAR AND TOP SNEAKER BRANDS GLOBALLY.
A multitude of leading brands along with Office's own brand made-to-order (MTO) product create a desirable footwear destination for customers who want to complete their fashion look. The wide variety of brands on offer reduce brand exposure risk to the business and ensure there is no reliance on a single supplier.
Offspring is a brand within the Office stable that caters for the sneaker-obsessed community, and offers a range of limited, highly fashionable sneakers from the world's top brands. Offspring offers product that cannot be found in traditional retail outlets and the limited accessibility to 'drops' of collectable product drives a high level of engagement within the passionate Offspring community.
Office holds a premium mainstream market positioning and is committed to providing customers with quality footwear that is fashionable and in line with key lifestyle trends. Buying and technical teams work closely with suppliers to ensure Office's product is of high quality.
Relationships with key brand partners ensure Office enjoys better product access to best sellers, attracting larger stock allocations and broader ranges. The value and strength of these relationships were evident in the past year, with several joint marketing and brand alliance events being undertaken. These relationships have resulted in further support from brand partners.
The merchandise team is highly receptive to introducing new brands in Office and Offspring, with brand partners and customers alike recognising Office as an exciting and strategically important retail partner for launching brands which showcase the latest styles and brands and 'must-have' shoes for the season.
Office also collaborates with key brands to design and develop unique product exclusively available in Office and Offspring stores. Relationships with branded partners have been developed over many years and Office works closely with suppliers to identify future trends and build mutually beneficial strategies to enhance brand exposure and elevation.
The branded offering is complemented by Office's own label MTO fashion footwear. The product ranges are designed in house and sourced globally from European and Asian countries with excellent quality and value. European suppliers provide quick response and the ability to react speedily to customer demand. This is particularly important to ensure that Office showcases emerging trends in a highly competitive and fast-paced fashion footwear market.
Own-label has experienced a disappointing performance in recent years and endured another tough trading period in 2023. Office has focused on growing the existing MTO footwear offering rather than on introducing new ranges and aims to maximise opportunities to grow the contribution from men's footwear. Increased travel to Europe and China by the merchandise team has improved price negotiations and strengthened supplier relationships.
MTO is a strategic pillar of the business and a new team has been appointed to revitalise the product offering and ensure that Office maintains its status as the style leader in high-street footwear fashion.
Management aims to increase the contribution from this higher margin category as a proportion of total sales to increase Office's gross margin and to further entrench its unique market proposition.
FORECASTING FASHION TRENDS
Designers and buyers track trends and ensure the merchandise reflects the latest looks. Trend information is sourced from seasonal catwalks, international trade fairs, online subscriptions, social media, sources of international and local retail inspiration as well as global and local street trends. Celebrity styling and events are also analysed to ensure that 'must-have' items are available. The design team creates unique styles that are aligned with the Office handwriting to create a broad and exciting range of footwear for all the customer's lifestyle needs.
Speed to market and trend reaction are increasingly important factors for both ladies' and men's product, as customers are exposed to trends sooner through social media and react and shop them immediately. Office's fashion-orientated philosophy requires that the teams continually enhance and develop their knowledge of emerging fashion and consumer trends. This process has evolved in recent years through the sharing of knowledge of Truworths' robust merchandise buying, planning and sourcing processes.
ETHICAL PRODUCT MANUFACTURING
Office is committed to ethical and fair manufacturing. All own-label suppliers are required to comply with the Office Code of Ethics and Good Business Practice, which is designed to be fair, achievable and promote the ongoing development of suppliers.
The code of ethics is based on international standards including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation Conventions. The code's general principles ensure that all people who are employed through Office's suppliers have decent working conditions, are not exploited and are treated fairly and with dignity. All products must be produced lawfully, through fair and honest dealings.
A formal statement from the board is published annually on the Office website in compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act.