Yesterday Pittards, the UK based tanning group, held their AGM. It lasted nine minutes, fitting the routine of many companies in the UK and US where getting AGMs concluded in record time is a target. This approach begs a few questions:
– Why bother to turn up
– Why not use the event for PR and Investor Relations
All the more so when Pittards have returned to the old expensive format of Annual Report full of pictures and good information. Annual Reports are really useless documents since they hold out of date information that interested investors have had on line for a while. The value in this is probably to be used to encourage new investors to come in as it appears that that Browallia is steadily reducing its shareholding and is already below 50%. Certainly the restructured Pittards has put itself in a good place for future growth and the shares will be sought after.
To be fair to Pittards the large number of attendees at the AGM were asked to go shopping in the company store with the offer of a 10% discount and more importantly were given a very open tour of the new design centre.
Pittards are “carefully and cautiously” entering the retail market. Having pioneered ingredient branding as a high performance and quality branded leather a moving to finished leather is development that would have been frowned upon historically. Today is perhaps different. First through Daines and Hathaway Pittards have given themselves access to the high street and second the new rules of retail demand much more control of the whole supply chain. This latter does not require ownership but with access to the raw material assured Pittards are in the right place to give this a fair go.
One of the biggest issues when moving into the market place owned by your customers is what their reaction will be. The expectation is that there will be retaliation. This is a tactic employed by Pittards under previous managements so they know all about it. Nevertheless they will have to tread warily to move successfully from a component brand to a retail brand.