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Earlier this week UK homewares Dunelm said that it sold Achica, an online store that offers goods at a discount, on February 15. The sale raised 600,000 pounds in cash.

According to Achica’s website, it is now part of BrandAlley. “Having run the Achica business for a year, and gained a better understanding of the business and its customers, we decided that the brand does not fit with the core Dunelm proposition,” said Dunelm’s chairman Andy Harrison.

The UK furniture group purchased WS Group, which includes Worldstores, Achica and Kiddicare out of administration in late 2016.

Harrison also explained that the margins came under pressure due to the “mix effect of acquired Worldstores sales and a higher proportion of end of season and seasonal products.”

Author: Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB has raised its largest fund ever. The investment firm sold fashion retailer CBR Fashion Group after 11 years, now eyeing further investments in the fashion industry.

“Fashion retail is challenging and there is so much change,” Christian Sinding, the firm’s Zurich-based head of equity, said in an interview. “We would stay away from traditional fashion retail unless there is an e-commerce angle.”

The buyout firm will continue investing in its three core sectors of health care, technology, media and telecommunications, as well as services. The fund will also selectively invest in industrial and consumer goods companies.

Sinding also advanced that “We have one more deal to do from our previous fund and then can we start deploying.” EQT accumulated 10.8 billion euros, making the fund the largest it’s ever raised and surpassing its own 8 billion euro target.

Private equity firms have been on a fundraising spree as yield-hungry investors seek returns outside of stocks and bonds, reports Bloomberg. Last year, Apollo sealed 24.7 billion dollars for its latest global buyout fund, the largest pool ever by a leveraged buyout firm. CVC Capital Partners raised more than 16 billion euros for its flagship European and North American fund, the most ever by a European buyout firm.

“Some funds are struggling to raise capital, but smaller, niche, sector-focused and multi-asset-class platforms seem to be winners,” Sinding said. EQT’s eighth pool of capital is 59 percent larger than its predecessor, which secured 6.75 billion euros in 2015.

Sinding said he expects to see a “bumper year” for sales of portfolio companies. EQT’s equity funds have made 60 exits since inception, returning more than 26 billion euros to investors.

About 70 percent of investors from EQT’s previous fund committed capital again, according to an EQT statement on Friday. Investors included New York City Retirement Systems, Teachers Retirement System of Texas and Danske Bank A/S.

Author: Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

After serving the fashion house since 2001, Burberry’s chief marketing officer, Sarah Manley is leaving the business at the end of July, reports Fashion Network quoting sources familiar with the development. The news follows after the brand’s creative director Christopher Bailey presented his last collection in London recently. Manley had joined Burberry one month after Bailey was named the label's new creative director, the report adds.

Manley’s career with the company started as global director of public relations, and then she was appointed vice president, and then SVP of marketing followed by her current position as chief marketing officer, which she has been holding over the last decade. The report further adds that Manley played a key role in expanding Burberry’s presence on a global scale through events like a massive holographic show; exhibition and store opening combinations in Beijing and Shanghai. She also led the “London in Los Angeles” concept at the Griffith Observatory.

In the third quarter to December 31, 2017, Burberry said comparable store sales increased by 2 percent, while retail revenues were down 2 percent reported and positive 1 percent underlying to 719 million pounds. The company has said that guidance for FY18 operating profit remains unchanged and continue to expect to remain strongly cash generative.

Picture:Burberry website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

Delta Galil reported sales of 371.6 million dollars for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with 376.3 million dollars for the same quarter last year, representing a 1 percent decrease. Sales for the 2017 full year increased 16 percent to a 1,368.1 million dollars against the previous year. Operating profit was 32.5 million dollars, a 1 percent increase, while operating profit for the year was 84.6 million dollars compared to 85.3 million dollars last year, a decrease of 1 percent.

Commenting on the company’s results, Isaac Dabah, CEO of Delta Galil, stated in a press release: ““Our recently acquired Delta Galil Premium Brands (DGPB) segment, continued to be a strong contributor to sales throughout 2017, and remains an exciting growth opportunity looking ahead. We have several strategic initiatives and category expansions in place for 2018 that are intended to maximize growth opportunities within that segment.”

Q4 net income rises 8 percent

Net income increased 8 percent to 20.1 million dollars in the fourth quarter and excluding one-time items net of tax increased 7 percent for the full year and amounted to 50.7 million dollars. Net income for the 2017 full year was 49 million dollars, compared to 51.9 million dollars last year, representing a 6 percent decrease.

Diluted earnings per share increased 7 percent in the fourth quarter to 0.79 dollar and excluding one-time items increased 7 percent and amounted to 1.98 dollars for the full year. For the full year, diluted earnings per share amounted to 1.91 dollars, compared to 2.03 dollars in 2016, a 6 percent decrease. EBITDA was 40 million dollars or 10.8 percent of sales in the fourth quarter, while for the full year, EBITDA was 115.9 million dollars or 8.5 percent of sales.

Delta Galil declared a dividend of 3.5 million dollars or 0.139 dollar per share, to be distributed on March 13, 2018.

Delta Galil expects FY18 sales to rise 2-5 percent

Delta Galil has provided its initial 2018 financial guidance, excluding one-time items, which is based on current market conditions. Full-year sales are expected to range between 1,400 million-1,440 million dollars, representing an increase of 2 percent-5 percent from 2017 actual sales of 1,368.1 million dollars.

Full-year 2018 EBIT is expected to range between 91 million dollars-96 million dollars, representing an increase of 4 percent-10 percent and EBITDA is expected to range between 119 million dollars-125 million dollars, representing an increase of 3 percent-8 percent. The company expects net income to range between 54 million dollars-59 million dollars, representing an increase of 7 percent-16 percent from 2017 actual net income of 50.7 million dollars and diluted EPS is expected to range between 2.11 dollars-2.30 dollars, representing an increase of 7 percent-16 percent.

Picture:Facebook/Splendid

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

Westfield Corporation has announced its full year results with 13 percent rise in 2017 net profit to 1.55 billion dollars. Revenue rose by 17 percent to 2.1 billion dollars with funds from operations (FFO) for the 12 months ended December 31, 2017 reaching 707 million dollars.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Westfield Corporation Co-CEOs, Peter and Steven Lowy said in a statement: “2017 was a significant year for Westfield with the announcement in December of the proposal to combine Westfield with Unibail-Rodamco to create the world’s best retail real estate platform. In the United States we have added over 130 retailers and brands that are new to Westfield in our recently completed developments.”

The company added that Westfield’s financial position is strong with balance sheet assets of 23.6 billion dollars, a gearing ratio of 38.1 percent and 2.6 billion dollars in available liquidity.

Westfield said that the company remains confident in the future outlook for its business and for 2018, it expects earnings will be positively impacted by the stabilisation of recently completed development projects including Century City and UTC together with the completion of the expansion of Westfield London.

Picture:Westfield website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

Associated British Foods plc, parent company of Primark has announced that its Chairman Charles Sinclair will retire from the board on April 11, 2018.

Michael McLintock, the company added, an independent non-executive director of the company since November 1, 2017, will succeed Sinclair as Chairman of the company and as chairman of the nomination committee on that date. Meanwhile, Ruth Cairnie, an independent non-executive director of the company, will succeed Sinclair as chair of the remuneration committee on April 11, 2018.

In its recent trading update for the 16 weeks to January 6, 2018, sales at Primark increased 7 percent compared to the same period last year at constant currency driven by increased retail selling space.

Picture:Primark website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

London - Charlotte Olympia, the luxury footwear and accessories label from Charlotte Dellal has filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States. The London-based label's three US subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware, as it prepares to close all of its stores in the US, according to media reports.

Pinktoe Tarantula Ltd and its affiliates Desert Blonde Tarantula Ltd and Red Pump Tarantula Ltd, which had been operating Charlotte Olympia's US business, filed a petition on Saturday in the US bankruptcy court due to "unprecedented" changes to the brick and mortar retail environment. The debtors estimated the value of their assets at 3.26 million US dollars, which was overshadowed by their 20 million US dollars in unsecured debts, according to Footwear News.

Charlotte Olympia to close down US operations

According to court documents, Charlotte Olympia's retail stores, located in New York, California and Nevada, had a history of being unprofitable. "The brick-and-mortar retail environment has been experiencing, and continues to experience, unprecedented disruption due to a confluence of factors, including the proliferation of online retailers, changing consumer tastes and demographics, and increased competition," stated chief restructuring officer William Kaye in the filing.

"Despite selling the iconic Charlotte Olympia brand and taking steps to reduce their expenditures, the debtors’ operations are not profitable due to the widespread disruption in the retail industry." Charlotte Olympia aims to liquidate all of its US inventory and close all of its US closes as soon as possible. The US subsidiaries have secured 410,000 US dollars in debtor-in-possession financing from Three14 Ltd., a UK subsidiary of Charlotte Olympia Holdings Ltd led by Dellal and Takhar.

Although Charlotte Olympia will be shutting down its US stores, it aims to maintain a US presence through its wholesale business. "The closing of our stores in the US is to effectuate a restructuring of our business post-partnership. This is due to the unprecedented disruption in the retail market," said a spokesperson for Charlotte Olympia to Footwear News.

Dellal trained at Giambattista Valli before going on to launch her own eponymous London based brand in January 2008. She opened her first store in London in 2010, followed by her debut US store in New York in 2012.

FashionUnited has contacted the brand for additional commentary.

Photos: Charlotte Olympia SS17, Catwalkpictures

Author: Vivian Hendriksz
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

Gucci has announced a new organizational structure effective March 1, 2018 in a bid to expand its growing global business, reports WWD. The new structure will see four new areas namely merchandising and global markets, headed by Jacopo Venturini; indirect channels, outlet and travel retail, headed by Piero Braga; brand and customer engagement, led by Robert Triefus and digital business and innovation, headed by Nicolas Oudinot, while rest of the reporting lines to Gucci’s President and CEO Marco Bizzarri remains unchanged, the report added.

Coinciding with the change in its organisational structure, Gucci has also announced that its executive vice president and chief consumer officer Micaela Le Divelec is leaving the business. Le Divelec has served the company since 1998 in growing career moves. In 2004, she was appointed group controller and later promoted to the position of chief financial officer in 2008. In September 2010, she was named Gucci executive vice president and chief corporate operations officer.

In its recent set of financial results, parent company Kering attributed buoyant annual sales and earnings growth to Gucci, which outperformed the market, with 2017 revenue topping the 6 billion euros (7.3 billion dollars) mark for the first time, up 41.9 percent reported and 44.6 percent on a comparable basis.

Picture:Gucci website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

The Björn Borg AB Group’s net sales fell 0.7 percent to 170.3 million Swedish krona (20.9 million dollars) for the fourth quarter, while net sales for the year ended December 31, 2017 increased 10.3 percent to 696.5 million Swedish krona (85.5 million dollars). Fourth quarter earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to 0.43 Swedish krona (0.05 dollar) against 0.74 Swedish krona (0.09 dollar), same quarter last year, while full year earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to 1.48 Swedish krona (0.18 dollar) compared to 1.88 Swedish krona (0.23 dollar) last year.

Commenting on the company’s results, CEO Henrik Bunge said in a media statement: “The fourth quarter saw a significantly better gross profit margin than the previous year at 58.3 percent. We are increasing our costs, but this is essentially due to our Benelux acquisition.”

Review of Björn Borg’s Q4 and full year results

The gross profit margin for the quarter rose to 58.3 percent against 48 percent, while operating profit amounted to 16.9 million Swedish krona (2.08 million dollars against 21.4 million Swedish krona (2.6 million dollars). Profit after tax amounted to 11 million Swedish krona (1.3 million dollars) in the fourth quarter compared to 17.9 million Swedish krona (2.2 million dollars).

Excluding currency effects, full year sales rose 9.6 percent and the gross profit margin reached 54 percent compared to 50.3 percent last year. Operating profit amounted to 55.4 million Swedish krona (6.8 million dollars) against 64.2 million Swedish krona (7.9 million dollars) and profit after tax amounted to 37.4 million Swedish krona (4.6 million dollars) against 46.9 million Swedish krona (5.7 million dollars).

Brand sales for the quarter dropped 3 percent to 360 million Swedish krona (44.2 million dollars) and for the full year, sales fell marginally to 1,542 million Swedish krona (189.5 million dollars) from 1,551 million Swedish krona (190.7 million dollars) last year. Excluding currency effects, brands sales were down 2 percent. Brands sales in the underwear product area were down 4 percent, while sports apparel grew 9 percent during the year and footwear 7 percent against 2016.

Among large markets, the company said, Finland posted growth while Sweden grew slightly against last year, while other large markets witnessed a fall in sales due to poor performance of the underwear category. The company’s smaller markets England and Germany, however saw improvement in sales. The company opened one store in Finland in the third quarter of 2017 and as of December 31, the company operated 41 Björn Borg stores, of which 35 are group-owned against 20 last year. The company said, increased in group-owned stores is because of the acquisition of Benelux, where 13 stores were re-classified as company-owned in the first quarter of FY17.

The board of directors has decided to propose a dividend of 2 Swedish krona (0.25 dollar) per share to the Annual General Meeting, totalling 50.3 million Swedish krona (6.1 million dollars).

Picture:Björn Borg website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”

Billabong International Limited reported EBITDA for the six months ended December 31, 2017 was 19.3 million Australian dollars (15 million dollars), compared with 23.9 million Australian dollars (18.6 million dollars) in the prior corresponding period, down 19.1 percent as reported and 15.9 percent in constant currency. Total revenues for the half were 474.5 million Australian dollars (371 million dollars), down 3.1 percent reported and 1.5 percent in constant currency. The company reported a net loss after tax of 18.4 million Australian dollars (14.3 million dollars).

Commenting on the first half results, Billabong Chief Executive Officer Neil Fiske said in a statement: “The results we are reporting today are consistent with the updated guidance given in January – namely that we would be down in the first half, but expect to be up in the second to deliver full year EBITDA of 51.1 to 54 million Australian dollars – at or just above last year. This result and our expectations for the full year reflect the challenge we face in converting our operational improvements into EBITDA growth. The fact that a number of industry participants are currently undergoing a sales process is yet another indication of the tremendous disruption that we are witnessing.”

Billabong’s first half performance across core regions

The Americas, Billabong said, delivered the benefits of change initiatives undertaken in the past four years. EBITDA prior to global allocations was up 34.1 percent to 13.3 million Australian dollars (10.4 million dollars), with total revenue up 3.9 percent. Ecommerce sales grew 19.5 percent, representing 9.6 percent of sales, while brick and mortar comparable store sales were up 0.7 percent on slightly lower margins. Total comparable retail sales, combining comparable stores and ecommerce, were up 5.8 percent and margins were down, by 60bps. The company expects revenue and EBITDA gains in the Americas to level out in the second half as it cycles tougher comparables and operational improvements.

Asia-Pacific (APAC) posted EBITDA prior to global allocations for the region down 9.2 percent in constant currency, a decline of 2.1 million Australian dollars (1.6 million dollars). Total revenues were down 4.5 percent, up 1.3 percent in retail but down 16.6 percent in wholesale reflecting ongoing weak market conditions, but also the lag effect of some assortment and execution issues. Gross margins improved 120bps. APAC brick and mortar retail comps were up 0.9 percent for the half, however, retail conditions remained challenging in Australia, where first half comparable store sales ended down 0.6 percent, but comps during the key December month were up 2 percent in Australia. Ecommerce grew 28.7 percent for the half, 40.2 percent in Australia. Total comparable retail sales for the APAC region were up 1.8 percent for the half and retail margins were up 120bps.

Results in Europe, the company added, were affected by the timing shift in wholesale revenue, and weaker than anticipated retail results. There was a good improvement in margins, and the region is still expected to be ahead in EBITDA for the full year on a relatively flat revenue line. EBITDA prior to global allocations for the first half was down 29.4 percent to 4.9 million Australian dollars (3.8 million dollars), a 2 million Australian dollars (1.5 million dollars) decline on a constant currency basis. Total revenues were down for the region by 6.1 percent in constant currency, while gross margins were up by 100bps. Retail in Europe performed below expectations in the half, with brick and mortar comparables down 2.3 percent. Ecommerce grew 15.1 percent and now represents 5.5 percent of total sales. Total comparable retail sales were down 0.3 percent, but retail margins improved 140bps.

RVCA brand performs well across geographies

The results, the company said, varied among the company’s big three brands of Billabong, RVCA and Element. In wholesale equivalent sales including sales to own retail - Billabong was down 0.5 percent for the half, up in Americas, down in APAC, Element was down 13 percent, impacted by the timing shift in Europe and a change in distribution strategy in Canada and RVCA was up 9.6 percent with growth in every region.

Brand Billabong continued to gain share in the important US specialty channel, strengthening its position as the number one brand within the core market. Element faced a challenging first half in all geographies, but is expected to record modest full year sales growth in Europe, its largest market. RVCA continues to show good share results in its core market in both men’s and women’s categories.

Billabong confirms full year outlook

The company has confirmed the guidance provided in early January that it expects the group’s FY18 EBITDA (excluding significant items) to exceed the prior year, to be in a range between 51.1 million and 54 million Australian dollars (39.9 to 42.2 million dollars), subject to reasonable trading conditions and currency markets remaining relatively stable. The group continues to have a significant bias of second half earnings to the Americas, with a high concentration of sales in the month of June.

On January 5, 2018, the company announced that Boardriders, Inc. will acquire all of the shares in Billabong, other than those already owned by its related entities.

“The first half result we report today and the challenge of the task ahead need to be seen in the context of the proposal from Boardriders, Inc. that is currently before shareholders. The offer of 1 Australian dollar per share represents certainty for shareholders. The Directors unanimously recommend the proposal, with founder Gordon Merchant and a nominee company of cornerstone investor Centerbridge Partners both stating they intend to vote in favour of the scheme, in the absence of a superior proposal,” added Billabong Chairman Ian Pollard.

Picture:RVCA website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-02-2018”