may have gone bust – but not because it was unpopular with customers
November 16th, 2022, Stephan Shakespeare may have gone bust – but not because it was unpopular with customers

The history of British retail is littered with once-beloved brands which eventually fell by the wayside. From Ratners to Rumbelows and Barratts to Blockbuster, each demise comes with its own story of bad management, shifting economic winds or simply changes in fashion. almost became part of that history this month, with the name eventually being bought by Next – even if the rest of the business didn’t survive. And data from BrandIndex, which tracks consumers’ perceptions of hundreds of brands every day in the UK – suggests the brand really wasn’t ready for retail’s knackers yard.

Looking across the year, the brand’s health has remained robust among consumers. Its Index score, which is a cocktail of a number of the metrics we track and reflects a brand’s overall health, was 4.8 exactly a year ago and was the same as recently as the end of October.

And if we poke around under the sofa cushions a bit more, we can see that it is only in the past month or so, perhaps as word has got out about the company’s financial woes, that some of its metrics have fallen away. Consumer Impression of the brand, for example, has remained broadly steady in 11 of the past 12 months and only fallen away in the past 30 days. Consideration for has also been consistent in each of the past twelve month, even if Purchase Intent (which measures which brand a consumer would be MOST likely to purchase from) has more than halved in the past month.

If is no longer viable, our data suggests it’s not because customers fell out of love with the brand or its products. Given that’s the case, acquiring the brand name could well turn out to be a canny move by Next.