Global logistics and shipping patterns normalised in the reporting period and As a result, delivery lead times improved. Office therefore experienced minimal stock availability issues on its own-brand or branded products.
This improvement follows a turbulent past three years where global supply chains and consequently stock availability have been hampered by port closures, shipping delays, container shortages as well as excessive sea freight charges and higher fuel costs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and later by the war in Ukraine.
Office operates a centralised distribution model from its warehouse in Kilmarnock, Scotland. Management plans to re-engineer the facility to improve productivity, create distribution efficiencies and increase capacity. This will ensure we adequately manage capacity during the peak trading periods, following the closure of Office's second warehouse in 2022. The closure of this second warehouse reduced distribution costs, which improved gross margin during the year.
Efficient e-commerce fulfilment is key to Office's omni-channel offering. An express 'click & collect' offering has been developed and is undergoing testing, with the service expected to be launched on the Office and Offspring websites in the first half of the 2024 financial period. This should see benefits flowing from increased convenience for customers.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH KEY SUPPLIERS
Office is a strategically important retail partner to several of the world's leading fashion footwear brands. Office continues to build collaborative, strategic relationships with these key brand partners and suppliers, thereby ensuring that good service levels are achieved and that Office is able to secure allocations of the most in-demand product.
Through trusted relationships Office has developed a quick response model with key partners. This allows the buyers and designers to react to trading conditions and trend information.
Through longstanding supplier relationships, Office has developed a quick response model for its own brand MTO footwear. This allows buyers and designers to work on short lead times and to react to trend information and customer demand by making style changes and adjusting order quantities in season.
Office's European suppliers source all components in the European Union, allowing fast product development and reduced overall lead times. Buyers and designers regularly travel to key sources within Europe as well as interacting regularly with sources in longer-lead time destinations in Asia to build relationships, align business strategies, improve communication and reduce development times.