Material strategic risks

HUGO BOSS considers collection and industry risks, risks to the brand and corporate image, and investment risk to be among the material strategic risks.

Collection and industry risks

Collection and industry risks can arise from changes in fashion and lifestyle trends. The challenges in the collection development process above all involve recognizing trends at an early stage as part of creative management and incorporating these as quickly as possible into commercially successful collections as part of development work. Research and Development

Intensive analyses of relevant target groups and markets and of the sale of previous collections should help to reduce collection and industry risks. Also, proximity to customers in the Group’s own retail business and the increasing use of the data acquired as part of systematic customer relationship management facilitate the recognition of changes in buying behavior at an earlier stage and allow these to be taken into account when developing future collections. In the course of the ongoing digitization of the collection development process, HUGO BOSS is also managing to shorten development times further so that it can respond even more quickly to global trends. Research and Development

In the past few years there has been a global trend towards a more relaxed and clearly sportier clothing style. This has meant that over the last few years, the casualwear and athleisure segments of the global apparel market have developed faster than classic tailoring. With the expansion of its casualwear and athleisurewear offerings HUGO BOSS has been quick to respond to this development. The Group will further strengthen its collections in this area in future and continue to allocate more space in its own stores to the casualwear and athleisurewear ranges than in the past. Opportunities Report

The potential negative impact from collection and industry risks are considered to be high. Based on the risk mitigation measures implemented however, Management deems the likelihood of occurrence to be unlikely. 

Risks to the brand and corporate image

The occurrence of risks for the brand and corporate image can have a negative impact on the economic success of HUGO BOSS. For example, an inadequate quality of the products or services on offer in the Group’s own retail business, an uncontrolled price and markdown policy, the use of distribution channels that are damaging to the brand, unattractive marketing campaigns or non-compliance with laws or social standards could have a negative impact on the brand’s image.

Protecting and maintaining brand image has a high priority at HUGO BOSS. Ensuring a globally uniform brand and shopping experience, strict quality controls, a centrally managed price and markdown policy, the constant focus on developing the distribution strategy, an active compliance management system and exacting occupational and social standards contribute towards this target. In addition, legal trademark protection and the prosecution of product piracy are important efforts to secure the brand image.

The corporate image of the HUGO BOSS Group is reflected in how it is perceived by its stakeholders. All communication activities are managed by the central corporate communications, investor relations and corporate sustainability departments. These are involved in continuous dialog with all important interest groups. Compliance with laws, standards and guidelines, both within the Group and by partners, is also regularly verified. The Management considers a negative impact on the brand and corporate image to be possible. Based on the measures taken, however, the effects on the Group’s net assets, financial position and results of operations are deemed moderate.

Investment risks

The Group’s own retail activities come with investment risks in connection with the modernization of the store network, the selective opening of new stores, as well as the cross-channel integration and digitization of the Group’s own retail activities. The risk of bad investments refers for example to investments in stores for which long-term rental agreements have been entered into but which in retrospect fall short of the Group’s profitability targets. Bad investments can also result from the development and implementation of new furniture designs and digital elements.

The risk in connection with impairment of the value of ordinarily depreciated property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, right-of-use assets at the level of the Group’s own retail stores, other intangible assets with infinite useful lives (key money) and goodwill is the largest risk position in this area. First and foremost, a deterioration of the future business outlook can make an impairment of the relevant carrying amounts necessary. This kind of impairment would not become a cash item. Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, Note 10

For extensive investment projects there is a specific authorization process. Apart from qualitative analyses, e.g. with respect to potential locations of own stores, this also includes an analysis of each project’s present value. Central investment controlling appraises the planned investment projects with respect to their contribution to the Group’s profitability targets. In addition, subsequent analyses are conducted at regular intervals to verify the profitability of projects that have already been realized. Appropriate countermeasures are taken in the event of any negative deviations from the profitability targets originally set. Based on the measures implemented, the investment risk is assessed as possible, but with a moderate financial impact. Group Management