How Tommy Hilfiger Broke All The Rules And Made An Epic Comeback

Tommy hilfigerReutersDesigner Tommy Hilfiger surrounded by models.

Tommy Hilfiger has successfully come back from the brink of extinction. 

The retailer had been crashing since logos and baggy jeans went out of fashion in the ’90s. 

“We made the mistake of following a trend that was going to be short-lived,” Hilfiger told Forbes Magazine, “because any trend is short-lived.”

Sales at the chain are now soaring thanks to an unconventional plan, writes Claire O’Connor at Forbes.

The new plan is “breaking all the rules of modern retail: raising prices, tailoring clothes smaller, alienating customers and cutting off stores,” O’Connor writes

The strategy is effective: revenues hit $US3.4 billion in 2013, a 7% increase from the year before. 

Tommy Hilfiger’s downfall happened a decade ago after the company began selling its merchandise to downmarket department stores like Kohl’s. 

The brand had become too ubiquitous, and needed to resonate with wealthy customers in order to once again become a successful aspirational brand. 

As its reputation suffered in the US, executives sought to turn business around in Europe. 

“The European business had grown from zero in 1997 to just under a billion in 2008 without any trace of the enormous logos and cheap price tags that defined Tommy Hilfiger in the US,” O’Connor writes. 

Executives also trimmed corporate headcount by 40% and reduced the number of wholesale outlets. 

Tommy Hilfiger struck an exclusive deal with Macy’s for its wholesale business and made over its fashions to have a more tailored look. 

Today, Tommy Hilfiger is focused on regaining market share in the US. 

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