A MESSAGE FROM MIKE20TH DECEMBER 2022
2022 has been a banner year for Rodd & Gunn as we cycled out of the significant disruption caused by COVID lockdowns and supply chain challenges and moved back to a more normal trading cycle. We continue to source our woven fabrics from amazing family-owned Italian mills and have developed new categories like candles, underwear and an expanded footwear range.
Our focus on knowing more and more about the impacts of our purchasing on the planet and people continues unabated. Our sustainability team is working hard on deep levels of traceability down to the farm level and ensuring all of our factories comply with all of our standards and requirements across the ESG spectrum.
Our team in our stores, department stores and eLodge have been incredible in handling all the challenges we have faced, and without them, we would not have the brand we have today.
We are very happy with our store network and our Auckland and Queenstown Lodge Bars. In August, we opened a stunning concession in Smith & Caughey, Auckland. We are very proud of it, bringing the number of department store concessions we operate in New Zealand to four.
We are looking forward to the Christchurch leg of SailGP in March 2023, where we are a major sponsor of the New Zealand team. We will be launching an innovative and distinctive supporters merchandise collection for this event, which will truly define our partnership with the New Zealand Sail GP team. We also have some exciting collaborations for 2023, but more on these soon.
We have continued to expand our presence in Myer and now in nearly every one of their stores. We have also expanded our footwear offer setting up dedicated footwear concessions in selected Myer footwear departments across Australia. In David Jones, we opened a new concession in their revamped Bourke St Melbourne store, which has been well received by David Jones customers.
The most significant opening in our history was the launch of our James St integrated hospitality and retail destination. Spanning 750m2 across two floors of an 1874 ‘Queenslander’ that has been wrapped by a modern but thoughtfully designed structure to create the ultimate Rodd & Gunn experience. Our retail presence is more refined than any of our stores, and the connectivity with The Lodge Bar is sublime. We have been humbled by the customer reaction to the entire venue, and we look forward to introducing this exciting concept to our new and existing customers.
Based on this success, we have signed a lease for a new 940m2 3-level destination in Little Collins St Melbourne which will open in late 2023. To continue to provide outstanding customer service for our online business, we opened a new distribution center in Melbourne, more than double the size of our previous premises. We are still bedding down the operations, but we are really happy to be able to provide same or next-day dispatch six days a week, ultimately moving to seven days a week from this new facility.
In March, we opened a store in Old Orchard Mall in Chicago, which now brings us to 12 of our own stores in the USA. Our entire focus is on opening integrated hospitality and retail destinations in the USA in late 2023 or early 2024.
Our USA wholesale business continues to grow, with our brand featuring prominently in all Nordstrom stores and having a solid presence in Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales. We also have Rodd & Gunn products available on nordstrom.com, neimanmarcus.com, bloomingdales.com and just launched on saks.com.
Our own e-commerce site continues to become a bigger percentage of our USA business as we build brand awareness and trust in our brand. Our decade-plus journey in the United States has been a lot of fun, and we continue to see a significant opportunity in the coming years and beyond.
In the space of a few weeks, we went from having virtually no business in Canada to a very significant one. We opened 24 concessions within Hudson’s Bay department stores across Canada from Montreal to Quebec. Our two-pronged e-commerce strategy with thebay.com and our own site has delivered the best launch in our history.
We have been humbled by how well Canadian consumers have accepted our brand. We will be opening more concessions in Canada in 2023 and, ultimately, one or two integrated hospitality and retail destinations.
Timing is everything in life, and we were fortunate to be able to open a store in Conduit St London in August 2019. Unfortunately, we had over 240 days of closure in the following two years due to COVID. However, in November 2021, luck smiled upon us as we were invited to launch on johnlewis.com, which has been an outstanding success. We have built a reputable business quite quickly and have been able to sell our brand the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
The success of our foray on to John Lewis online gave us a lot of confidence that our brand had a legitimate role in the UK and has led to us opening four concessions in John Lewis stores. We look forward to expanding within John Lewis, and much like Canada, we have ambitions to open an integrated hospitality and retail destination in the UK in the coming years.
Our first European venture opened in September 2022 in Galeries Lafayette Boulevard Haussmann Paris in what was a very special moment for all of us at Rodd & Gunn. Not only have we built the best concession in our fleet, but it has also enabled us to start a European business. We are also available on galerieslafayette.com, and we will be opening further concessions throughout France in 2023.
Also, in Europe, we launched on inno.com, Belgium’s largest department store business, and we are opening concessions in their stores in 2023. In March 2023, we will be launching our own e-commerce site in 3 languages supported by our Netherlands distribution center.
We look forward to sharing 2023 with you and thank you for your support in 2022.
Mike Beagley, CEO.