October proved to be a month of ups and downs with some businesses surging while others faced trying times. Online-only retailer Asos saw sales up by over a quarter alongside being the first UK fashion retailer to integrate Google Assistant, enabling users to shop using its new voice-activated shopping assistant Enki.
Similarly Ted Baker profits have risen despite what has been described as ‘challenging external trading conditions’ by founder Ray Kelvin while Zara’s latest figures show a 30% jump in profits following downsizing from 66 stores in the UK to 64.
H&M announced a partnership with Swedish fintech business Klarna which sees them invest over £15 million of equity with the aim of elevating the modern shopping experience. Klarna will look to combine its digital payments technology with H&M’s physical and online stores to provide a ‘seamless’ experience.
Multi-billion dollar company Chanel has acquired 2007-founded British brand Orlebar Brown which specialises in swim and resort-wear for an undisclosed fee. Orlebar Brown received a significant boost after actor Daniel Craig wore a pair of its blue shorts in his role as 007.
Following on from the opening of its brick-and-mortar store in the US last month, e-commerce giant Amazon launched its first British fashion store in the form of a London pop-up.
Partner and co-head of Penningtons Manches’ fashion and luxury brands team Matthew Martin has commented on the Drapers Online investigation into the pros and cons of pre-packs which asks the question: are pre-packs a necessary evil for retail survival? This follows the pre-pack administration purchase of Coast by Karen Millen this week and Sports Direct’s purchase of ‘embattled department store’ House of Fraser in August.
In the wake of the acquisition of House of Fraser, there is confirmation that its flagship store in Manchester is closing down. So far 22 stores out of 59 are confirmed to be safe from closing.
In the continuing struggle for the high street, Debenhams could close a third of its 166 stores, amounting to over 50 stores in total, as part of a new emergency plan in line with the firm’s target of saving £100 million. Reports state pressure from majority shareholder Sports Direct and its CFO to clean up its balance sheet and cut costs is a factor.
French Connection UK is up for sale after reporting pre-tax losses of £15.1 million for the six months leading up to 31 July as compared to losses of £5.9 million a year earlier. Like much of the high street, French Connection has had a difficult time of late following an £800,000 hit from the House of Fraser collapse.
In an effort to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry, the Government has begun an inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry with a request for evidence from the ten largest retailers in the UK (Next, Marks & Spencer, Asda, TK Maxx, Homesense, Arcadia, Tesco, JD Sports, Debenhams and Sports Direct) on manufacturing ethics, recycling, plastic pollution and sustainability practices.
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