Retail report card: Hugo Boss

Written by Laura Pratt

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Brygidyr wants a new, expensive suit. Or so he tells Paolo, the sharply dressed youngster who approaches at the Hugo Boss menswear store an acceptably speedy 50 seconds after we walk in. “What’s hot?” we ask. Browns, we’re told. Fair enough, bring us your best browns. But Paolo bails early (Brygidyr’s question about wrinkling proves too much for him) and is replaced by an even more sharply dressed gent — the manager — who swoops onto the scene with an immediate display of his suitability for the job. “You’re a 42 tall,” he pronounces. Brygidyr confirms it, and I tell the manager he should have a booth at the midway.

He’s tall and a bit surly, but has a charming way of leaning delicately across a row of suit jackets to draw your eye down into their luxury. Brygidyr tries on a buttery four-button-cuff pinstripe and, searching for a mirror, sashays past the store’s towering posters of sulking young men. Our consultant hovers discreetly, cooing expertly and occasionally plucking imaginary lint off his model’s shoulders. When Brygidyr rejects this pick, the manager skillfully steers us past the cheaper offerings to the Armanis and Roberto Cavallis, slipping each one over Brygidyr’s shoulders like the closing steps of a dance.

In the end, this shopping experience is a success, and not because Brygidyr agrees to buy anything. (“I’ll be back when my EI cheque comes in,” is his exit line.) The salesperson was persistent without being pushy, and clever enough to contain us in the most profitable territory.

But even the Hugo Boss experience wasn’t perfect. “There’s one thing that every single person did wrong,” Brygidyr sighs, as we complete our retail tour. “They never asked for the order. They never said, €˜Want to take a suit home with you today? Perhaps a tie?’ You’re there to sell. You cannot forget that.”
Grade: A

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