The British brand Church’s has raised their prices with approximately 40-50% across the board of their entire offerings. Over one night a pair of their Custom Grade Goodyear welted shoes went from to €570 to €830. In their newfound decision to enter a new segment they are likely to lose a lot of their existing customers.
I first thought it was a joke, when I saw a screenshot in the Church’s thread on StyleForum showing the price of the classic plain cap toe oxford model Consul priced at £720 (€830). Discussions at first was on it to be an IT glitch, since only a few models had raised prices, but when the retailer Herring Shoes sent out a newsletter informing about the new prices to set in on all Church’s shoes, and as all shoes on the Church’s site eventually went up with 40-50% in general, it was evident that this was the new deal.
As Financial Times wrote in an article on the topic, Church’s are likely setting their brand up for a new type of customers. We’ve seen it coming a bit with the new type of more fashion forward models coming out, cemented Made in Italy shoes entering their ranges, and so on. The fact that they also built out things in their Northampton factory made one hope that they would at least continue to have the classic welted footwear as a base, and their new top range Crown Collection launched a couple of years ago showed they also did new good things in this area. Now, the owner Prada seem to have decided that Church’s are to be more of a luxury fashion brand, pricing them into a new category. Cause it’s highly unlikely that their existing customers who like Church’s for what they’ve been will feel that it’s worth it to pay almost 50% more than what they bought the same shoe for a few years ago. Those folks in many cases know well enough about Crockett & Jones, Cheaney etc and will buy these instead, to a large extent. Time will tell if Church’s will find its new crowd in the more top tier price segment they have entered. For the shoe industry in Northampton, I sure hope so, a loss of a player like Church’s would be a big blow.
What do you all think of the new prices of Church’s? If you’ve been a customer, will you continue to buy them?