// VF Corp EMEA boss says UK will remain central to business strategy post-Brexit
// Martino Scabbio Guerrini also remained upbeat in the future of physical retail
The boss of the European arm of the parent company of Vans, The North Face and Timberland has said the UK will still be central to its strategy after Brexit.
Speaking to PA, VF Corp EMEA group president Martino Scabbio Guerrini said the company’s recent signing of two new shops in the capital showed “a lot of commitment to London and the UK in a time when there’s questions around that”.
“In this case we are sticking to our long-term strategy and the UK’s a really important market,” he said.
It comes after VF Corp said last month it would open a new flagship Vans store at the former Miss Selfridge in Oxford Street.
More recently, the company secured a site in Carnaby Street for a new Timberland store.
Scabbio Guerrini said VF Corp’s plans for its UK operations are set to help it to weather the economic uncertainty around Brexit.
“To a certain extent there’s a little bit of an overlap in our work to invest into the marketplace, to improve the customer experience and the preparation for various Brexit outcomes,” he told PA.
He added there was potential for more shop openings around the UK.
He also emphasised VF Corp’s confidence in the future of bricks-and-mortar retail, which believes can co-exist with online shopping.
However, he said physical retailers needed to keep up with the times to survive and pointed to the high number of retailers struggling in the current climate.
“They were not open and somehow bold enough to address change early on,” he said.
“I always say I’m not afraid of change, I’m scared of not changing. Because the speed of technology today is very different from 10 years ago.
“People are shopping on their phones within only a few years. The last five years have quickly turned the company upside down.”