It would seem that Skechers isn’t doing that badly despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not a secret that the retail industry has suffered tremendously. Some shops have been – and are still – struggling to survive and operate.
Last week, it was sadly reported that Topshop would be closing down its last physical outlet in Vivo City.
But not Skechers, it seems.
CNA reports that American athleisure sportswear opened five new stores in July and August which grew its retail footprint here to 30 brick-and-mortar stores. They have also expanded two existing ones and hired 40 new employees.
And here’s why they’re essentially giving the middle finger to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Seeing Challenges As Opportunities
It’s not a secret that COVID-19 and circuit breaker really did a number on the retail industry. Heck, it was reported that up to 30% of smaller retailers could not survive beyond Phase One.
In fact, during the circuit breaker, retail sales fell a record 52.1 per cent in May.
One such opportunity is the availability of “good locations” in shopping malls.
How did these “good locations” come about, you might wonder.
Apparently, there was an increase in the islandwide vacancy rate for retail space.
“Many brands are exiting so there are good locations that are available now versus before,” she told CNA in an interview on Thursday (Sep 10).
“At this point in time, the landlords are also reassessing the rental so that’s where we are able to do a further negotiation.”
Achieved Single-Digit Sales Growth
Ms Lee said that Skechers is one of the market leaders for athleisure casual sports clothing.
“We are blessed with the products (that are) able to cater to the market needs,” she said.
Ms Lee did not reveal exact figures but said Skechers achieved single-digit sales growth in Singapore on a year-on-year basis for the months of June, July and August.
This compares with double-digit sales growth seen earlier in the year.
The company remains “optimistic” about the months ahead and is targeting a single-digit fall in its annual sales this year from 2019, reports CNA.
“The initial projection we were doing in May was a double-digit reduction in sales,” said Ms Lee.
“We are still pretty much optimistic but of course, we need to watch and react to the market sentiment … If we see consumers spending lesser, then we’ll adjust our in-store promotions.”
You might remember that in June Skechers had their insane promotion where the second pair of shoes went for just $1 and they also had a sale of up to 60% off when you shopped online in their flagship Lazada store.
Issues Faced In The Long Run
At the moment, Skechers has about 290 employees in Singapore, with the local office also serving as its Southeast Asian headquarters.
According to Ms Lee, all 40 of the new hires – 30 in retail positions and 10 in the logistics team – are locals.
With the recent rise in qualifying salaries for Employment Pass (EP) applicants, the company wants to train more local employees for higher-paying shop manager roles going forward.
Currently, Skechers has Employment Pass holders in some of the managerial roles at its retail stores, as well as management trainee positions. It also hires work permit holders as retail assistants.
Even among the recent new hires, about one-fifth changed their minds soon after joining Skechers as they could not get used to the demands of working in a consumer retail store.
The company was able to find replacements fairly quickly due to the bigger pool of jobseekers at the moment, said Ms Lee.
Ms Lee also noted that the company is not affected by the recent changes in foreign worker policies but has some concerns about the long run.
“It will be a concern if they continue to increase the (salary) criteria for the different passes,” she said.
People like me who are too lazy to go out and shop, rejoice!
Inside Retail Asia reports that Skechers has plans to develop its own online stores as part of meeting the needs of consumers who prefer the convenience of shopping online.
Work for its own e-commerce site has been underway since last year but the pandemic and its disruptions prompted the company to expedite the process, said Ms Lee.
When asked if the company is concerned that it may be a little late to the e-commerce game, Ms Lee said she does not think so given how Skechers has an online presence via online platforms such as Lazada and Shopee.
Takeaways From This Article
- Always look for opportunities no matter how bad the situation outlook seems
- Skechers is hiring so as long as you’re willing to work hard, they’re one alternative you might want to look at.