With FinalCut, Harry Rosen dips a toe into online discount

Harry Rosen has launched FinalCut, an online sales platform catering to the fast-growing discount shopper segment. The brand is promising to make luxury more accessible by offering significant savings on luxury brands like Canali, Versace and Tom Ford.

The fashion retailer has become synonymous with premium (and premium-priced) menswear over its 67-year history, but FinalCut is offering what it calls a “more accessible style experience.” It is constructed around what it describes as “unique, relevant and high-quality” items from the previous men’s fashion season, which are being sold at an average of 60% less.

“[The target customer] is really more the value-seeker,” said Trinh Tham, chief marketing officer, executive vice-president of marketing and ecommerce with Harry Rosen in Toronto. While Harry Rosen already operates the discount banner The Outlet by Harry Rosen, FinalCut was designed to be a digital-first offering focusing on product categories best suited to ecommerce, said Tham.

“There is crossover with some of the Harry Rosen and The Outlet by Harry Rosen customers, but we’re targeting a new customer base that’s probably a little bit younger,” she said. “We want to attract that younger customer who will be given an opportunity to try some of these wonderful luxury brands at a more manageable price point.”

The idea, said Tham, is to introduce shoppers into the Harry Rosen “ecosystem” and then have them possibly explore its other offerings. FinalCut is carrying approximately 10,000 items at launch, with plans to add another 800 leading up to the holiday season.

“Why pay retail?” has long been a rallying call in the fashion space, and a wave of off-price retailers has risen up to cater to that sentiment. TJX Canada’s Winners and Marshalls banners were seeing a steady increase in sales prior to the pandemic, while upscale brands like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue have also made efforts to entice more parsimonious customers by creating discount banners like Nordstrom Rack and Saks OFF 5th.

At the same time, the fast-growing resale market is projected to reach $US77 billion by 2025, with James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of online reseller ThredUp, saying in the company’s 2021 Resale Report that the world is in “the early stages of a radical transformation in retail” as consumers are beginning to embrace resale and policy-makers are getting on board with the circular economy.

While noting that “thrifting” is a pandemic habit likely to stick, the report also suggests the off-price segment is poised to grow over the next decade, predicting that it will reach 19% market share by 2030 (up from 11% in 2010), while department stores will see their share fall to 7% from 15% a decade ago.

“We recognized the growing trend of Canadians seeking value, not just in mass products, but also the luxury space,” said Tham. “We wanted to make sure that we recognized that and provided an offering to make luxury more accessible.”

While the closure of its physical locations because of the pandemic was a factor in a surge in online sales, the launch of FinalCut comes amid a broader focus on ecommerce by Harry Rosen. The company says that its online sales have nearly tripled since 2019, and its online sales this year have already exceeded targets set for 2023.

“We’ve been known more for our brick-and-mortar locations, and this is the next evolution of our offering in the digital space,” said Tham. “It’s a very natural evolution to extend into this more value-driven space to capture the market, because we know the opportunity is there.

“The new banner complements the investment we made as a Canadian ecommerce leader,” she added. “And because we’ve already surpassed our target [for online sales] in 2020, we are confident that this is a great next step in our evolution.”

FinalCut will also bring in more affordable brands that might not ordinarily be found in its parent brand, said Tham, and will reflect the growing consumer appetite for casual wear that has sprang up in the wake of the pandemic. “There’s going to be a lot of testing and learning and listening to our customers in terms of what they want,” said Tham.

Harry Rosen worked with Toronto agency Jackman on strategy and brand identity for the FinalCut, which is built around the positioning statement “Steal the limelight,” a can’t-miss neon-green colour scheme and a URL, ShopFinalCut.com, that was specifically designed to be a call-to-action for potential shoppers.

“We really want this banner to have an element of excitement and that idea of the hunt to find that right piece [for your wardrobe] at a great value,” said Tham. “We absolutely love the positioning. We feel it’s got a youthful, accessible, high-quality vibe to it.”

FinalCut is also partnering with companies like Style Democracy, which specializes in outsourced warehouse and pop-up sale events, to spread awareness among the discount shoppers that populate its events. Last week, its blog promoted the top finds from the discount store.

It’s the type of environment that Harry Rosen would ordinarily never set (a Prada-clad) foot in, and that’s exactly the point, said Tham. “You’ll find [FinalCut] in places you wouldn’t find Harry Rosen, and that’s deliberate, because we’re trying to reach that deal-seeker that’s probably looking for deals in different places than the mainline Harry Rosen customer.”

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Chris Powell