Further to the article “Virgin misses chance to clothe online users” (MW October 8), I would like to make clear Virgin Clothing’s position on Net sales – or e-commerce as it is often called.
Mike Butcher is correct in the statistics he quoted and it is indeed true that for companies such as the Gap and Eddie Bauer, the Web is a wonderful sales vehicle for the US market. Unfortunately he has failed to grasp the essential difference between those two companies and Virgin Clothing, namely that both the Gap and Eddie Bauer are retail operations. Hobo Clothing, while offering a commendable service, has only one retailer in England and operates almost as a Web retail company.
Virgin Clothing is a wholesale clothing business, committed to supporting the retailers who stock our products. While we have not ruled out our Web sales, we would not enter into that arena without a lengthy consultation process with our existing retailers, a process which retail operations such as the Gap do not, for obvious reasons need to undergo.
We do, however, have the technology to handle online sales and have been using this for our Virgin Group staff discount scheme, making it possible for staff to order online.
It was a shame Mike didn’t contact us as we could have explained these differences to him and talked through some of the aspects which we believe make the Virgin Clothing Website one of the best fashion sites on the Web.
Chief executive officer
The Virgin Clothing Company