Michael Kors has a problem.
The US fashion brand has become far too ubiquitous for its own good. Comparable sales recently dipped 7.6% and whole sale net sales dipped 7.2%.
But unlike its competitor Coach, which has been working to undo its damage by scaling back on promotions, selling better products, and updating its own retail stores, Michael Kors is far behind, and has been relegated to a basic b— status.
You know who that is: she wears a Michael Kors bag, Lululemon leggings, Ugg boots, a North Face fleece, and holds a Starbucks cup. She is listening to Taylor Swift, most likely. (All of these brands made Fashionista’s list of ‘8 Brands That Cater to Basic B—-es and Bros‘ )
While none of that is necessarily bad, it isn’t good news for a brand that retain — or resuscitate — its premiere positioning.
In fact, its brand image could be hurting sales.
“I think much of this is related to the brand image of Michael Kors,” Neil Saunders, CEO of consulting firm Conlumino wrote in an email to Business Insider. “It is somewhat brasher than that of Coach, which is viewed as more of a heritage brand, and I think this has negatively impacted its efforts to become less ubiquitous and turn around its image.”
Though being “basic” has adopted a pejorative term, let us not forget that it also means regular…even popular — at least at first. The only difference is that this is now potentially hurting Michael Kors.
The sorts of handbags that have become more popular aren’t necessary name brands. Teens, for instance, don’t care for expensive gifts or luxurious items (consider Tiffany & Co.’s recent struggles).
And Coach, as Saunders mentioned, showcases more of a ‘heritage’ look. Coach is also trying to control its image and retain its level of luxury by pulling out of 25% of its wholesale locations. (Michael Kors has recently announced it will pull out of department store couponing and friends and family discounts.)
None of this is to say Michael Kors hasn’t tried to convey itself to be trendier. Its Instagram shows that it’s trying to showcase a higher-fashion look.
Starbucks, another brand that has been relegated to a “basic” status, has tried to fix its image with trendy items like coconut milk and cold brew coffee.
The handbag category as a whole has been struggling, in part as department stores fumble and tarnish brand’s reputations, too.
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