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“We are having to be more open minded and agile than ever before”

Ahead of next month’s B&LIS, LicensingSource chats to Asda’s Ruth Golightly on why she wanted to get involved, trends and some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry right now.

Can you explain your role and how Asda fits into the licensing eco-system?

I have been part of the Asda/George family for 15 years working across childrenswear and womenswear, mainly as a buyer and buying manager, but more recently taking the role of head of womenswear. Licensed product at George makes up approximately 15% of our total sales, but on childrenswear is nearer to 30%. On adult we are targeting lifestyle brands as well as traditional licensed brands for growth.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the licensing industry right now?

Rising costs throughout the supply chain and unpredictability of global issues affecting the supply chain is the main issue right now, almost putting pressure on an increased demand from the customer on the need for buying recognised brands and licenses as this feels a safe and reassuring choice above true fashion and trends in clothing.

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing in licensed apparel that impact brands and retailers?

It’s a mix between safe, nostalgic and popular younger kids brands for toddlers, preschoolers and younger children versus newer, cooler emerging fashion brands such as gaming and lifestyle brands like Netflix.

How have consumer behaviours changed since Covid?

Our online mix versus retail sales has increased dramatically. Also, it’s great value that is front of mind, allowing us to gain newer customers who may previously not have shopped with Asda or George as a first choice.

Why are you looking forward to speaking at B&LIS?

I love the interaction with others and engaging open and honest conversations within others in the industry, it’s a real buzz.

What will delegates take away from your session?

I hope to share how retailers are thinking in a rapidly changing world. We are having to be more open minded and agile than ever before. I also want to get across it’s in everybody’s interest to share best practice to help the whole industry succeed together.

Ruth Golightly is head of womenswear, licence at ASDA. She is participating in a think tank called ‘Can the Licensing Process be Rebuilt?’ alongside Abysse Corp’s Emily Fawcett at the European edition of Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit, taking place 21 June, at the Royal Geographical Society in London. To find out more, click here.

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