Bootmaker Dr Martens to offer repairs in sustainability step

Bootmaker Dr Martens to offer repairs in sustainability step
People walk past a Dr Martens store in Manchester, Britain, May 26, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters file

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LONDON — Dr Martens plans to launch a shoe repair service in Britain next month as it seeks to polish its sustainability credentials, encourage customers to extend the life of their boots, and create a new revenue stream.

The London-listed maker of leather boots, shoes and sandals is currently testing the service with its employees, CEO Kenny Wilson said in an interview. The British launch is a pilot, with a view to expanding the service to continental Europe.

Even if the repair service displaces some demand as people opt for repairing their boots over buying a new pair, Wilson said the service would bring benefits overall.

"Could it potentially lose us some business short term? Yes, but we think about it long-term, therefore we think it will breed customer loyalty, and it's the right thing to do," he said.

"I get letters from people every week saying, 'can I get my DMs repaired'," he added.

Dr Martens is working with The Boot Repair Company in the northern English city of Leeds to offer repairs.

To replace worn-out soles on a pair of boots — a procedure that requires taking the whole boot apart — customers would pay £81 (S$137.20), Wilson said, while other repairs would likely be less expensive. That compares with £169 for a new pair of Dr Martens 1460 boots.

Overall, Wilson said he sees a big opportunity in the second-hand market for Dr Martens, with the potential to grow to a tenth of group revenue. In May last year, the company launched a resale service with second-hand marketplace Depop.

Clothing and footwear brands around the world, including Zara and H&M, are seeking a toehold in the resale market as more sustainability-conscious young shoppers opt for second-hand over new.

ALSO READ: H&M to sell second-hand clothes at London store

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