Following a challenging year for the retail business, wholesale has proven to be a symbiotic relationship that can help brands and merchants weather ups and downs. And in a number of cases, these partnerships evolved and strengthened in response to the tests of Covid-19.

Despite the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) online shopping—which grew further during the pandemic—wholesale remains a means for brands to gain new customers and drive sales. And for retailers, these wholesale partnerships help deliver newness, varied experiences and coveted labels to customers.

Even brands with their own established brick-and-mortar presence in shopping centers or on high streets can benefit from wholesale partnerships—from boutiques to department stores to chains, since these placements can expand their physical reach. Selling alongside other labels via a multi-brand presence in stores or online also boosts discoverability, opening up a brand to new audiences.

Expanding from DTC-operated channels to wholesale requires some adjustments, such as a shift in assortment strategy and changes in product development. Brands also note the importance of building strong retail partnerships to make wholesale placements most effective. Some labels are becoming more selective in their alliances, strategically picking only retailers who offer true synergy.

Download the 2021 Wholesale report—brought to you by editors and reporters from across Fairchild Media Group, which includes WWD, Sourcing Journal and Footwear News—to discover:

  • Why DTC brands like Marine Layer, Faherty, Naadam and Rhone are embracing wholesale
  • What vendors can offer retailers from a customer engagement standpoint, including social media and livestreaming
  • How retailers and brand partners navigated wholesale during Covid-19
  • Why Liverpool reduced its number of wholesale accounts, and how it is choosing retailer partners
  • The opportunities available in off-price wholesale distribution
  • How wholesale fits into companies' larger retail strategies



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