Discussing the British boot brand’s latest earnings Thursday, CEO Kenny Wilson said Dr. Martens plans to raise its U.S. prices $20 in Autumn/Winter 2022. The change will bump the price of the company’s signature 1460 boot from $150 to $170, a 13.3 percent increase. It last raised prices in the U.S. in Spring/Summer 2019.
The U.K. and Europe also will see prices increase, though only by 10 pounds ($13) and 10 euros ($11), respectively. Prices in the Asia-Pacific region will remain static.
Dr. Martens based its price hikes on a study it and a strategic partner conducted over the summer in seven key markets. That data, Wilson said, suggested the company will be able to increase prices “without any loss in volume.” The last time Dr. Martens worked with this consultancy, he noted, the group predicted a slight drop off in volume, when in reality the brand was able to raise both prices and volume. The company used its popular Jadon boot to conduct a small-scale test of the price bump over the holidays in the U.S. Rather than hurting sell-through, volumes actually rose.
“The research gave us real confidence because the consumer actually thinks they’re paying more for Dr. Martens than they actually are,” Wilson said. “So, there’s more brand value there than we’re currently charging on pricing. So, we do feel confident about this.”
Though prices will remain the same in the Asia-Pacific region, Wilson said that is because they are already “significantly higher” than in Western markets. In fact, even after the price increase in the U.S., prices will still be 28 percent higher in Japan.
Dr. Martens is hardly the first company to indicate plans to raise prices. Caleres, the owner of Famous Footwear, said last month that price increases would average 15 percent when implemented next spring. In September, Nike’s executive vice president and chief financial officer Matthew Friend indicated that the Swoosh was raising prices in “the low single-digit range” in the second half of its fiscal year—a period that began this month. In November, Adidas’ chief financial officer Harm Ohlmeyer revealed that the German footwear giant would be increasing its prices at a “mid-single digit rate” next year. When Allbirds discussed its first-ever earnings report a couple weeks ago, co-CEO and co-founder Joey Zwillinger said company moved “some” of its core products from $95 to $98 with “really no perceivable volume impact.”
According to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew an unadjusted 6.8 percent in November—the largest 12-month inflation increase since 1982. The overall CPI increased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent compared to October. Though retail apparel prices experienced a 1.3 percent increase last month, footwear prices saw a more modest 0.7 percent bump. Women’s footwear led the way with a 1.2 percent increase, while men’s only registered a 0.1 percent gain. The price of boys’ and girls’ shoes, meanwhile, declined 0.6 percent.