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Tradition meets trends in the shirt market


Hatico combines quality and tradition with modern style and trends. The company offers a broad portfolio of shirts split into two collections, each aimed at very different markets. The Hatico label targets men aged from mid-40s upwards with a slightly wider silhouette.

It consists of modern, high-quality, easy-care casual and business shirts, in both long and short-sleeved versions, in a range of attractive and wearable colours and patterns. In contrast, the PURE label, which was introduced in 1996, is aimed at men between 16 and 50 years of age, encompassing the school graduation event market to lifestyle customers and fitness center visitors.

Pure is a contemporary range, cut as slim fit and extra slim fit. In addition, Hatico supplies traditional Bavarian-style shirts, principally for the Munich Oktoberfest. “We launch two collections per year,” explains Chief Sales Officer Joseph Reiter. “In addition we have two smaller flash programmes. We keep a very close eye on the market, and the flash programmes enable us to react quickly to new trends, such as this year’s butterfly shirt.”

Hatico sells up to 95% of its shirts through retailers, with the remainder being sold through its own website and large online stores such as Amazon and OTTO. The shirts are manufactured in a range of overseas locations: Bulgaria, Macedonia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Bangladesh. Up to 45% of Hatico’s shirts are exported.

Austria is currently the strongest export market, followed by Russia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium. “Although we have a strong export market, we still believe that the greatest potential is to be found in Germany,” points out Mr. Reiter. “Our challenge is to raise our profile and build greater brand awareness.”

The company has an active marketing programme and is not afraid to try out new methods of promotion. “We use Facebook and Instagram, which help us to attract younger customers,” the Chief Sales Officer says. “Many young people follow particular bloggers to stay in touch with the latest trends, and we have recently set up an Instagram account for PURE . It is quite difficult to broaden our reach purely through our Internet site.”

One initiative which was less successful was the company’s involvement in the Berlin Fashion Week. “The return on investment was extremely low,” Mr. Reiter reveals. “We therefore decided that it would be more beneficial for us to invest in point of sale (POS) activities.”

One initiative which has reaped particularly worthwhile rewards is the policy of Never Out of Stock (NOS) goods – business shirts which have been identified as best sellers are always in stock, so customers can depend on constant availability.

Shirts retail at between 49 and 70 EUR, depending on style and range. “I believe we offer a great price-performance ratio, especially when combined with our NOS approach,” Mr. Reiter underlines.

Hatico considers itself a modern niche supplier, ranked at number five in the market in Germany, behind four very large manufacturers. With a staff of 85, the company currently turns over 20 million EUR annually.

With its wide range of shirts, Hatico products appeal to a broad audience, and Mr. Reiter sees no reason to change this. “Young fashion is very heavily defined by its slim fit,” he notes. “Customers want to show off their silhouette, and the slim and extra slim fit ranges in our PURE line effectively meet this demand.”

Other characteristics are also becoming increasingly important, especially for business shirts. Customers who regularly travel on business, for example, often look for shirts in non-iron material. The sports industry is, perhaps, a surprising competitor to the more traditional shirt suppliers.

“The sportswear industry is looking to capture a share of our market,” Mr. Reiter says. “The functionality that sports clothing offers, such as breathable fabrics, is becoming equally relevant for business customers. Many people cycle to work these days and need to be able to arrive and walk straight into a meeting in a fresh and uncrumpled shirt.”

Despite the competition, Hatico appears set for a long and successful future. Its next flash programme was launched at the beginning of June, and the first 2018 collection will be revealed in July, although it will not be on sale until January 2018.

The Hatico line of casual and business shirts for the 40+ age group continues to sell well, while the PURE range is showing outstanding potential. “Although the market leader is somewhat ahead, we believe it is realistic to aim for the number two spot in the DACH region for the PURE brand within the next five years,” concludes Mr. Reiter.

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