|Traded as||FWB: BOSS|
|Key people||Claus-Dietrich Lahrs (CEO and chairman of the managing board), Hellmut Albrecht (Chairman of the supervisory board)|
|Products||High fashion clothing, accessories, footwear|
|Revenue||€1.729 billion (2010)|
|Operating income||€263.9 million (2010)|
|Profit||€185.9 million (2010)|
|Total assets||€1.355 billion (end 2010)|
|Total equity||€361.2 million (end 2010)|
|Employees||9,940 (end 2010)|
|Parent||Red & Black Holding GmbH (55.62%)
Own shares (1.97%)
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In 1924, Hugo Boss started his clothing company in Metzingen, a small town south of Stuttgart, where it is still based. Due to the economic climate of Germany at the time, Boss was forced into bankruptcy. In 1931, he reached an agreement with his creditors, leaving him with six sewing machines to start again.
Supplier to the Nazi Party
That same year, he became a member of the National Socialist (Nazi) party and a sponsoring member ("Förderndes Mitglied") of the Schutzstaffel (SS). With their help, his economic situation improved. He also joined the German Labour Front in 1936, the Reich Air Protection Association in 1939, and the National Socialist People's Welfare in 1941. After joining these organizations, his sales increased from 38,260 Reichsmarks (RM)-$26,993 U.S. dollars-in 1932 to over 3,300,000 RM in 1941. His profits also increased in the same time period from 5,000 RM to 241,000 RM. Though he claimed in a 1934-1935 advertisement that he had been a "supplier for National Socialist uniforms since 1924," it is probable that he did not begin to supply them until 1928 at the earliest. It is certain that he supplied them no later than 1934. This is the year he became an Reichszeugmeisterei-licensed (official) supplier of uniforms to the Sturmabteilung, Schutzstaffel, Hitler Youth, National Socialist Motor Corps, and other party organizations. To meet demand in later years of the war, Boss used an estimated 30 to 40 prisoners of war and 150 forced (i.e. slave) labourers, from the Baltic States, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. According to German historian Henning Kober, the company managers were avowed Nazis who were all great admirers of Adolf Hitler. In 1945 Hugo Boss had a photograph in his apartment of himself with Hitler taken at Hitler's Obersalzberg retreat.
Post-WW II repercussions
Because of his early Nazi party membership, his financial support of the SS and the uniforms delivered to the Nazi party, Boss was considered both an "activist" and a "supporter and beneficiary of National Socialism". In a 1946 judgement he was stripped of his voting rights, his capacity to run a business, and fined "a very heavy penalty" of 100,000 Deutschemarks (DM)-$70,553 U.S. dollars-. He died in 1948, but his business survived.
In 1997, the company appeared in a list of Swiss dormant accounts in connection with reparations lawsuits, which stirred the publication of articles highlighting the involvement of Hugo Boss with the Nazis. In 1999, American lawyers filed lawsuits in New Jersey on behalf of survivors and their families for the use of forced workers during the war. The company did not comment on these lawsuits but reiterated an earlier statement that it would "not close its eyes to the past but rather deal with the issues in an open and forthright manner". In doing so it sponsored research by German historian Elisabeth Timm. Nevertheless, after Timm told the press of her findings, the company declined to publish them. In December 1999, an agreement was reached between the German government and the United States government along with a group of American class-action lawyers and Jewish groups. A fund equivalent to $5,100,000,000 U.S. dollars was to be financed equally by German industry and the German government, to compensate slave labourers used by the Germans in World War II. Hugo Boss agreed to participate in this fund, for an amount which was estimated by some sources to be $1,037,690.
Business in the 1950s–90s
As a result of the ban on Boss being in business, Boss's son-in-law Eugen Holy took over ownership and running of the company. In 1950, after a period supplying work uniforms, the company received its first order for men's suits, resulting in an expansion to 150 employees by the end of the year. By 1960 the company was producing off-the-peg suits. In 1969, Eugen retired leaving the company to his sons Jochen and Uwe, who began international development. In 1970, the first Boss branded suits were produced, with the brand becoming a registered trademark in 1977. This was followed by the start of the company's long association with motorsport, sponsoring Formula1 driver Nikki Lauda, and later the McLaren Racing team.
In 1984, the first Boss branded fragrance appeared. This helped the company gain the required growth for listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange the following year. The brand entered the world of golf by sponsoring Bernhard Langer in 1986 and entered the world of tennis by sponsoring the Davis Cup in 1987. In 1989, Boss launched its first licensed sunglasses. Later that year, the company was bought by a Japanese group.
After the Marzotto textile group acquired a 77.5% stake for $165,000,000 in 1991, the Hugo and Baldessarini brands were introduced in 1993. In 1995 the company launched its footwear range, the first in a now fully developed leather products range across all sub-brands. A partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was launched in 1995, resulting in the Hugo Boss Prize, an annual $100,000 stipend in modern arts presented since 1996.
Business in 2000s–10s
In 2005, Marzotto spun off its fashion brands into the Valentino Fashion Group, which was then sold to Permira private equity group. Permira owns its majority shareholding in the Hugo Boss Group via Red & Black Holding GmbH at 56%, with 42% of the shares floated on MDAX and the residual 2% held by the company itself. Hugo Boss has at least 6,102 points of sale in 124 countries. Hugo Boss AG directly owns over 364 retail stores, 537 monobrand retail stores, and over 1,000 franchise owned shops.
Products are manufactured in a variety of locations, including the company's own production sites in: Metzingen, Germany; Morrovalle, Italy; Radom, Poland; Izmir, Turkey; and Cleveland, United States. There are two core brands, Boss and Hugo.
The ranges are
- Boss Black, which includes modern classic clothing in both menswear (1970) and womenswear (2000). Boss Black has the widest variety of products and is the most widely distributed Boss range.
- Boss Orange, which includes originally quirky styling with bohemian influences in both menswear (1999) and womenswear (2005). This line was relaunched in 2010 as denim based casual wear.
- Boss Selection, which includes only high priced menswear (2003) aimed at a mature market with an emphasis on English tailoring styles.
- Boss Green, which was previously known as Boss Sport, includes golf-style active clothing in both menswear (2003) and womenswear (2010).
- Hugo, which includes fashion forward styling with a European look in both meanswear (1993) and womenswear (1998).
Hugo Boss has licensing agreements with various companies to produce Hugo Boss branded products. These include agreements with Samsung and HTC to produce cell phones; C.W.F. Children Worldwide Fashion SAS to produce children's clothing; Shiseido and Procter & Gamble Prestige to produce fragrances and skincare; Movado to produce watches; and Safilo to produce sunglasses and eyewear.
In 2009, BOSS Black was by far the largest segment, consisting of 68% of all sales. The remainder of sales were made up by BOSS Orange at 17%, BOSS Selection at 3%, BOSS Green at 3% and HUGO at 9%. .
Business in 2010s–present
In March 2010, Hugo Boss was boycotted by actor Danny Glover for the company's plans to close an Ohio suit manufacturing plant after 375 employees of the Workers United Union reportedly rejected Hugo Boss proposal to cut the workers' hourly wage 36% from $13 an hour to $8.30. After an initial statement by CFO Andreas Stockert saying the company had a responsibility to shareholders and would move suit manufacturing from Ohio to other facilities in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, the company capitulated to the boycott and cancelled the project.
- "Annual Report 210". Hugo Boss. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
- Timm, Elisabeth (April 18, 1999). "Hugo Ferdinand Boss (1885–1948) und die Firma Hugo Boss". Metzingen Zwangsarbeit (in German). Retrieved December 31, 2010.
- Kober, Henning (July 29, 2001). "Über den Umgang mit Zwangsarbeiterinnen bei Boss". Metzinger Zwangsarbeit (in German). Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Givhan, Robin (August 14, 1997). "Hugo Boss Factory Made Nazi Uniforms". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- "Hugo Boss Acknowledges Link to Nazi Regime". The New York Times. August 14, 1997. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
- White, Constance C. R (August 19, 1997). "Patterns: The Fallout on Hugo Boss". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- "Hugo Boss 'used slaves to work for Nazis'; Charge by Holocaust Survivors". The Daily Mail. May 15, 1999. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Bazyler, Michael (2005). Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America's Courts. NYU Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8147-9904-8. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- Bourdoiseau, Christophe (June 23, 2000). "Les habits nazis de Hugo Boss". Le Point (in French). Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Andrews, Edmund L. (December 18, 1999). "Germany Accepts $5.1 billion Accord to End Claims of Nazi Slave Workers". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- "German Companies Participating in the Forced/Slave Labor". Jewish Virtual Library. July 8, 2000. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
- Kober, Henning (June 18, 2002). "Besuch beim Boss". Taz (in German). Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- "Boss Bottled (1988)". Basenotes. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
- "Marzotto S.p.A.". The New York Times. November 2, 1991. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- "HUGO BOSS AG Organisational Structure". Hugo Boss AG. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- "PG.com HUGO BOSS: fragrances, contemporary design, design competition". Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- "Movado Group Inc.". Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- "Safilo Group S.p.A/". Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- "Results of Operations in Fiscal Year 2009". Hugo Boss AG. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Glover, Danny (March 7, 2010). "Glover: Help Ohio Plant, Shun Hugo Boss At Oscars". Associated Press. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- Hugo Boss to move US factory production to Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, trade union says
- Covert, James (April 24, 2010). "Stars' factory crusade shows Hugo who's 'Boss'". the New York Post. Retrieved January 1, 2011.