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John Lewis has said that customers were quick to respond to Black Friday deals from the company, with the busiest shopping hour online between 7am and 8am with an average of 495 units ordered per minute.

The company saw usage of the John Lewis app to snap up Black Friday deals going up 36.8 percent from last year. The use of mobiles was also up 9 percent on last year.

John Lewis operates 49 John Lewis shops across the UK including 35 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2 as well as online platform Johnlewis.com.

Picture:John Lewis website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”24-11-2017”

Bagir has announced that Shandong Ruyi Technology Group will be investing 16.5 million dollars in the company to acquire 54 percent of Bagir’s enlarged issued share capital. The company added that Chinese textile major will be a majority shareholder in the company and one or more director(s) will be nominated by Shandong Ruyi Group to join the board of Bagir.

Commenting on the development, Eran Itzhak, Chief Executive Officer of Bagir said in a statement: “The Shandong Ruyi Group team recognises the strength and experience that we have across our business and it is our advanced position in Ethiopia which they have identified as providing them with a global strategic advantage. With Shandong Ruyi Group as a key shareholder and partner we believe that Bagir will be best placed to exploit the opportunity presented by our Ethiopian manufacturing base far quicker and with more certainty than we could independently.”

Bagir inks strategic partnership with Shandong Ruyi

Bagir added that the new capital will be used partly to expand significantly the suit trouser and establish the jacket production lines in the company’s duty free and cost-competitive Ethiopian manufacturing base, to enhance R&D and innovation activities and to provide the working capital to support the growth.

Under the proposed agreement, Bagir said, Shandong Ruyi Group will subscribe for 359,560,310 new ordinary shares at approximately 3.5p per share. The issue price is approximately the same price as Bagir’s last fundraising round, carried out in December 2016 and represents a 155 percent premium to the price of 1.375p per ordinary share at the point trading in the shares was suspended on Monday 20 November 2017 at 12:10.

Founded in 1972, Shandong Ruyi Group is one of the largest textile manufacturers in China. Headquartered in Jining, Shandong, the group operates 13 domestic industrial parks and boasts some of the largest production lines and advanced technologies in China. Shandong Ruyi Group also operates over 4,000 points of sales (POS) that services a global customer base spread across six different continents.

Picture:Facebook/Bagir Group Ltd

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”24-11-2017”

Lululemon Athletica has appointed art director Rémi Paringaux as the new Brand Creative Director, says a Fashion Network report.

Paringaux, the report said, who is the founder and creative director of London-based digital agency Meri Media, brings vast experience of digital media to the Lululemon stable. He has also worked on developing online editorial content, web campaigns and mobile applications for brands such as Gucci, Stella McCartney and Comme des Garçons, and the publication houses, report adds.

The development comes after the company recently announced the departure of executive vice president and creative director Lee Holman.

During its second quarter trading update, the company said, for the full fiscal 2017, net revenue is expected to be in the range of 2.545 billion dollars to 2.595 billion dollars based on a total comparable sales increase in the low-single digits on a constant dollar basis.

Picture:Lululemon website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-11-2017”

London - Luxury department store Harrods is set to undergo its largest renovation in its 180-year history, as part of its wider three-year investment plan.

The revamp project will see the department store further invest in its e-commerce and "entirely" redevelop the iconic building's shop floor in a bid to appeal to more Asian customers. No changes will be made to Harrods exterior, only the store interiors, which include 330 different sections, will be renovated, reported the South China Morning Post.

Plans on the table for Harrods revamp include removing the Food Hall's wall and expanding the fine watch room to include a marble staircase leading to a new space on the store's lower ground floor. "Our Hong Kong and Chinese customers are extremely important to Harrods so are considered part of our redevelopment plans," said Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods in an interview with the Post. "For us, the future is in the East and we have been focusing on that for a number of years."

The three-year plan, which has been hailed as Harrods most ambitious investment since its opening, sees the department store strengthing its e-commerce offering to ensure it remains a popular destination for wealthy consumers from Asian countries. China is the biggest international market for Harrods, accounting for a fifth of its revenue.

"We have seen a lot of social media activity in China," added Ward, who noted that the launch of Alipay had led to a discussion with Alibaba's Tmall, but Harrods has not formally decided if it would sell products via the Chinese online shopping platform. "The growth of Chinese e-commerce platforms is very impressive and we watch their progress closely. But it would need to be the right customer experience for us to seriously consider it.”

Author: Vivian Hendriksz
Posted: ”23-11-2017”

ANALYSISThe U.S. fashion retailer reported its third-quarter results Tuesday, surprising the market with figures that exceeded expectations on both the top- and bottom-line. CEO Richard Hayne noted that "fashion is back" and that momentum has continued into November.

Furthermore, highlighted Urban Outfitters (URBN), these figures point to the company potentially setting up for a "promising" holiday season.

However, point out from ‘Seeking Alpha’, questions still abound though on the changing "model shift" from growth in direct-to-consumer; and the solid results and "cautiously optimistic" near-term outlook do little to quell fears.

What analysts said: good quarter, but not enough for an upgrade

Urban Outfitters (URBN) reported its third-quarter results (three months to last of October, on November, 20 after-market close. Headline results were positive with the company "beating" on both the top- and bottom-line in the quarter relative to expectations.

Like-for-like sales recovered at all the group’s three brands, prompting CEO Richard Hayne note that the momentum has continued into November. "Fashion is back" and in the short-term this may be setting up for a "promising" holiday season, albeit with the caveat that it is always extremely competitive and unpredictable.

Investment analysts at William Blair raised their FY2018 earnings estimates for shares of Urban Outfitters in a report released on Tuesday. William Blair analyst D. Carden now anticipates that the apparel retailer will earn 1.54 dollars per share for the year, up from their prior forecast of 1.46 dollars.

Several other research firms have also commented on URBN. Wells Fargo & Company reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a 28 dollars target price on the stock in a research note on Tuesday.

Likewise, Nomura/Instinet analyst, Simeon Siegel, reiterated his “neutral” rating on shares of Urban Outfitters and raised his price.

The stock has been surging since its second-quarter report overcame a low bar as it is up 41 percent over the last three months.

Photo:Urban Outfitters, Official Web

Author: Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez
Posted: ”23-11-2017”

Karen Millen has said in a statement that its financial results for the year ending February 2017 showed an increased gross profit of 95.4 million pounds (127 million dollars) compared to 93.9 million pounds (125 million dollars) for the prior year on sales of 158.8 million pounds (211 million dollars). The company added that continued investment in the business, particularly in digital infrastructure and a review of the full store portfolio contributed to narrowed operating losses for the year of 9.2 million pounds (12 million dollars).

Commenting on the annual results, Beth Butterwick, CEO of Karen Millen, said in the statement: “This has been a year of change at Karen Millen as we stabilised the business to prepare the ground for a return to profitable growth. The changes are already having an impact, with our new web platform driving a significant year-on-year growth in our digital business.”

The company added that the year to February 2017 saw significant change within the business including the appointment of a new CEO and CFO, further strengthening of the senior leadership team, and the delivery of a new web platform to enhance the online and mobile offering and introduce new delivery options. The business also embarked on a brand review, underpinned by extensive customer and market research.

“With more than 50 percent of our revenue coming from overseas, we’re positioned favourably to weather the ongoing challenging market conditions in the UK,” Butterwick added.

Picture:Facebook/Karen Millen

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-11-2017”

Worldwide sales at Mothercare were down 1.4 percent at 627.9 million pounds (835 million dollars) with total UK sales down 1 percent at 229 million pounds (304 million dollars) and total international sales were down 1.7 percent at 398.9million pounds (531 million dollars). Group sales, the company said, which reflect UK sales and reported revenues or receipts from international partners were down 2.4 percent at 339.5 million pounds (451 million dollars).

Commenting on the first half update, Mark Newton-Jones, Chief Executive of Mothercare said in a media statement: “Our international markets remain challenging, primarily as a result of weak trading in the Middle East that is dragging down our overall performance overseas; there is no clear sight as to when things will bottom out in that region. Towards the end of the reporting period, and in subsequent weeks, we have seen a softening in the UK market with lower footfall and spend which is consistent with recent industry reports.”

First half result highlights of Mothercare results

Adjusted group loss before tax was 0.7 million pounds (0.9 million dollars), while UK adjusted losses increased to 9.6 million pounds (12.7 million dollars), and adjusted international profits were down 28 percent to 14.9 million pounds (19.8 million dollars).

In the UK, the company posted growth in like-for-like sales of 2.5 percent, supported by online growth of 5.3 percent. The company said, an improvement in gross margin of 34bps, was more than offset by costs primarily associated with the transformation, including warehouse transition costs, property and depreciation.

Adjusted EBITDA in the UK improved to 1 million pounds (1.3 million dollars), although adjusted losses in the UK increased to 9.6 million pounds (12.7 million dollars). Online sales were up 5.3 percent and now account for 42 percent of the total UK retail sales.

The company now has 75 percent of the store estate or 97 stores in the modern ‘club’ format and closed ten underperforming stores in the period as part of its planned closure programme.

International sales decline 1.7 percent

Total International sales fell by 1.7 percent to 393.2 million pounds (523 million dollars) in actual currency), while constant currency delivered a fall of 7.7 percent. Adjusted profits of international business was down 28 percent to 14.9 million pounds (19.8 million dollars). The company said that the adjusted profit was impacted by lower sales, with the benefit of currency translation.

Space was down 3 percent in the period, opening 68 stores whilst closing 83. The company has refurbished 127 stores in the modern ‘club’ format. Mothercare launched a new website in Pakistan and two new marketplaces in United Arab Emirates and India. The company is now trading online in 23 markets across 30 websites and marketplaces. Online sales have grown by 73 percent in moving currency and 57 percent in constant currency. The company added that international like-for-like sales were down 8 percent, with the Middle East continuing to be a drag, due to its scale, on overall performance. Russia has been impacted by unseasonably cold weather in the summer months and mild weather in autumn/winter.

Mothercare added that towards the end of the reporting period, and in subsequent weeks, it has seen a softening in the UK market with lower footfall and spend. International markets, the company said, in particular the Middle East, remain challenging.

Picture credit:Mothercare

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”23-11-2017”

C&A Europe has announced that Willem Eelman, chief operations and transformation officer (COTO), will step down from the European executive board of the company. The company added that he and his family will move back to The Netherlands and seek new business challenges outside of C&A.

The company said in a statement that Eelman joined C&A Europe as chief financial officer (CFO) in October 2014 bringing with him valuable experience from Unilever in roles in finance and contributing to Unilever’s transformation in Europe. Next to his task as CFO, Eelman was instrumental in developing the omni channel vision for C&A to ensure that the can fulfill the needs of its customers, underpinned with ‘fit for purpose’ supply chain and IT capabilities.

In September 2016, Eelman handed over his CFO responsibilities, and in his new function as COTO was given the responsibility to lead the transformation programme which has been progressing with the ongoing implementation of product lifecycle management in Brussels and Dusseldorf, the re-platforming of the on-line business and a new supply chain and store fulfillment for Central and Eastern Europe with a target to go-live in 2019.

With around 2,000 stores in 21 countries worldwide C&A is an enterprise of COFRA Holding AG with a presence in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and China.

Picture:C&A Europe

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”22-11-2017”

Quiz Group revenue increased 35.2 percent to 56.1 million pounds (74 million dollars), while underlying operating profit increased 31 percent to 4.8 million pounds (6 million dollars) and underlying EBITDA increased 32.1 percent to 6.2 million pounds (8 million dollars). Underlying PBT increased 31 percent to 4.8 million pounds (6 million dollars), while underlying EPS rose 35.5 percent to 3.28pence.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Tarak Ramzan, the company’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement: "We are pleased to report a very good performance for the Quiz brand in the first half of the financial year with strong growth delivered across each of the brand's distribution channels, most notably online and international. Current trading has remained strong since the period end and, underpinned by our strong collections, the group enters the important Christmas trading period with good momentum."

Highlights of Quiz’s H1 results

The company said, when the costs of the IPO transaction, which the company floated in July this year and the group restructuring undertaken prior to the IPO and the impact of share based payments, operating profits were 3.7 million pounds (4.9 million dollars) and EBITDA increased to 5 million pounds (6.6 million dollars). The underlying EBITDA margin of 11 percent, the company added was consistent with the 11.2 percent of the previous period.

The Quiz brand continued to grow online with group’s online revenue increasing 204.6 percent to 13.8 million pounds (18 million dollars) in H1 2018. Sales through Quiz's own website increased by 122 percent in H1 2018. The strong growth in sales made through third-party websites, the company added, includes the benefit of commencing sales on the Next website in October 2016 and through Zalando in May 2017. 1.1 million pounds (1.4 million dollars) sales were generated from international markets.

International sales include revenue from Quiz standalone stores and concessions in the Republic of Ireland, standalone stores in Spain and franchises in 20 countries. Sales increased 26.1 percent or 23.2 percent in constant currency to 10 million pounds (13 million dollars). This increase in revenues comprised a 1.1 million pounds increase in revenues generated from the franchise partners and a 0.9 million pounds increase in revenues from stores and concessions in the Republic of Ireland and Spain.

Sales in the UK stores and concessions up 15.2 percent

Sales in the group's UK standalone stores and concessions increased 15.2 percent to 32.3 million pounds (42 million dollars).

During H1 2018 Quiz continued its international expansion opening three stores in Madrid, Spain during the summer, marking the group's first standalone stores outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland. These openings complemented the recent launch of Quiz's own Spanish language website in September. The company also opened a new concession in Galway and in October 2017, a new store was opened in Dublin. As a result, the company now has seven stores and 20 concessions in the Republic of Ireland.

The company also signed new franchises in Dubai, UAE and Morocco, which resulted in the number of international outlets increasing from 65 to 76 points of sale in H1 2018. Quiz’s first direct sales in the US will start in December when it commences trading with Lord and Taylor, New York.

In the UK, Quiz opened one new standalone store in Warrington and four new concessions with existing UK partners. As part of the group's active management of its retail portfolio, the company closed one standalone store in Aberdeen and four concessions in the period. Since September 30, 2017, three new stores have opened in Plymouth, Leicester, and Glasgow with a fourth scheduled to open by the end of November in Bristol. In addition, three new concessions have opened. Further to the expiry of its lease, one store in the Arndale centre in Manchester closed in October. Further to these changes there are now 70 stores and 149 concessions in the UK.

Since the end of H1 2018, the company has witnessed its underlying sales, excluding non-recurring wholesale revenue in relation to Spain in the year ended March 31, 2017, in the seven weeks to November 18, 2017 are up 32.9 percent year on year.

Picture:Quiz website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”22-11-2017”

Neiman Marcus Group has reported that its comparable revenues rose 4.2 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2018 from the same quarter a year ago – the first increase since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 – supported by the company’s “Digital First” strategy and recent investments in new technologies and marketing tools.

For the quarter ended October 28, 2017, the company reported total revenues of 1.12 billion dollars, an increase of 3.8 percent compared with total revenues of 1.08 billion dollars from the same quarter a year ago. During the quarter, the company reported a net loss of 26.2 million dollars compared with 23.5 million dollars for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Adjusted EBITDA, for the quarter was 123.5 million dollars compared to adjusted EBITDA of 122.9 million dollars for the first quarter a year ago.

Picture:Facebook/Neiman Marcus

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”22-11-2017”