In just five years, British lingerie retail startup Boux Avenue has made it into the top 15 brands in women’s underwear.
Despite facing growing pressure from Primark and H&M, following significant range expansion and improved design and quality in their underwear and nightwear collections, Boux Avenue continues to build a loyal customer following and differentiate its proposition from the value segment of the market.
As a result, full year 2015/16 UK sales reached £44.4million – entering the lingerie specialist into the women’s underwear Top 15 with a market share of 1.3 per cent in 2016.
Despite pressures on the high street to discount, Boux Avenue has maintained a strict stance on full-price trading and strategic promotions, which has been essential in justifying its mid-market prices and encouraging consumers to buy into the brand all year round rather than wait for sale periods. While midmarket rival M&S remains the UK market leader, it is losing share and traction among a younger shopper base. This provides Boux Avenue with a ripe opportunity to lure M&S’s customers in the 16-30 age bracket away, via investment in trend influenced designs, specialist customer service, and enhanced product fit and innovation – particularly in shapewear where M&S continues to excel in.
For a young retailer, Boux Avenue has approached physical expansion cautiously, operating 28 UK stores after five years of trading. This has allowed it to build consumer awareness on the high street, but ensures that it is not overexposed during periods of restricted discretionary spending and as consumer spend continues to shift online.
Improving brand accessibility via selling through third party online channels including Asos and Very will fuel further sales growth and win the appeal of new customers in 2017.
- Honor Strachan is an analyst with Verdict Retail.