Founded in 1955, the Cordes GmbH Schuh Sport Mode chain of footwear stores has its headquarters in Herzebrock-Clarholz, where it is present with a sales area of 400 square metres dedicated to women’s, men’s, and children’s footwear, and accessories, which is joined by the Schuhwerk bei Cordes stores, with a branch in Herzebrock-Clarholz + Rheda-Wiedenbrück (footwear, textiles, and accessories) and Cordes Schuhe, with three stores in Rheda-Wiedenbrück (Gabor, Ecco and Camel Active). The selection also features some Italian brands, representing around 25% of the total. We met up with General Manager Raimund Cordes to take stock of the Post-pandemic situation with him and understand the company’s strategies for the near future.
By Claudia Schulz
How are sales proceeding?
Sales are proceeding quite slowly. The lockdown, and the general climate of uncertainty, have undoubtedly undermined the confidence of consumers and their desire to make purchases. In fact, by working from home most of the time, and with their social lives at an almost complete standstill, occasions for dressing up and buying a new dress or pair of shoes were few and far between, and purchases were more or less dictated by practical needs.
What repercussions did the outbreak of the pandemic have on your business?
Like most retailers, we recorded a significant drop in sales in our physical stores, a drop that was fortunately compensated for by an exponential increase in online sales. In general, we recorded a loss in profit when compared to the past.
What strategies will you be implementing in the months to come?
We are investing a lot in winning over customer loyalty through investments in social channels, for example, but also by making a centralized customer service hub available to answer questions and reply to requests. We also offer a ‘click and collect’ service and we always have an active presence in our branches, so we can stay abreast of the situation. Moreover, we are especially focused on physical stores, because our aim is that of offering a satisfying ‘shopping experience’ and reinforcing customer loyalty. Unlike many of our colleagues, we have not cut back on our purchases for the coming fall-winter season, but rather have increased them, while constantly monitoring costs at the same time.
Have you completed your orders for fall-winter 2021/22? Did you update your range of products?
Yes, with the fair of Munich we wrapped up our purchases for the fall-winter 21/22. As far as the structuring of our offer is concerned, this follows a long-term strategy, which has not undergone any changes in response to the outbreak of the pandemic.
How do you think consumer purchasing habits will change in the near future and what about the fashion industry in general?
As a whole, the fashion industry has taken a hard blow and without a doubt, it will take time before we return to pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, we are witnessing also a new orientation by some consumers, who seem more interested in sustainable, comfortable, and functional products. At the same time, ‘fast fashion’ seems to be losing market shares, while we are also witnessing a larger share of the market in the hands of some big players and an increase in online commerce.
In the near future, do you think you will participate in sector trade fairs?
I regularly visit all of the most important fairs and will continue to do so also in the future, if the opportunity presents itself. This is because trade fairs are an irreplaceable moment for learning about new trends and orientations in the market. In fact, today consumers are extremely well-informed and this means we cannot allow ourselves to make mistakes.