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SMCP considers public listing on Euronext Paris

London - SMCP is currently mulling over a public listing in Paris, as the group continues to grow thanks to an increasing appetite for its accessible luxury brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot.

The group announced its intention for a potential listing of its shares on Euronext Paris Wednesday evening, adding that it has the support of its majority shareholder Shandong Ruyi Technology Group. SMCP added that Shandong Ruyi Group, which recently acquired British heritage brand Aquascutum through its holding company Jining Ruyi investment, would retain its majority stake in the group following any listing.

SMCP sets its sights on an IPO in Paris

Shandong Ruyi stressed that it remains committed to supporting SMCP's ongoing development and "strongly believes a public listing would support its global development and visibility." A potential IPO, which would be subject to market conditions, is said to be part of SMCP broader aim to continue "its profitable growth journey and to pursue its mission to spread Parisian chic around the world," according to a statement.

SMCP considers public listing on Euronext Paris

A public listing would come after strong trading results and year-over-year growth, which sees SMCP nearly doubling its total sales in three years. In 2016 SMCP reported a 16.4 percent increase in sales, as well as a 22 percent increase in profitability. E-commerce sales for the group grew 80 percent in 2016, totaling 10 percent of its total sales. "SMCP intends to build on the strength of its unique business model and continue to implement its winning strategy, with the objective of confirming its position as a leader in the global apparel and accessories market," added the group.

Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot are currently available at more than 1200 points of sales in 36 countries. Evelyne Chetrite and Judith Milgrom founded Sandro and Maje in Paris, in 1984 and 1998 respectively and continue to oversee the creative direction for the brands. Claudie Pierlot was also founded in 1984 by Madame Claudie Pierlot, and acquired by the group in 2009.

Shandong Ruyi Technology first acquired a majority stake in SMCP in October 2016. SMCP's founder and senior management, in addition to private equity firm KKR, currently hold a minority stake in the group.

Photos: SMCP website

Huntsman x TOSHI launch at home delivery and fitting service

Savile Row tailor Huntsman has partnered with luxury technology company Toshi to offer personal home delivery and fitting service for its London-based customers.

The new service, which is available to customers living within Zones 1 to 3 in London, offers online shoppers the chance to select a timed delivery slot to receive their order. An experienced tailor will then deliver the purchased goods personally to the customers given address.

In addition to home delivery, customers can also choose to add alternative sizes or suggested additional purchases and be able to add on an at home fitting service with the experience tailor. The luxury delivery and fitting service sees Huntsman aiming to close the gap between e-commerce and the in-store experience.

Founded on Savile Row in 1849, Huntsman is a bespoke tailor which also offers made-to-measure and ready-to-wear collections and accessories.

Photo: Courtesy of Huntsman

Metis Partners initiates sale of Brantano’s IP assets

Leading UK-based shoe retailer Brantano’s intellectual property (IP) assets are being brought to market by Metis Partners, the commercial intellectual property consulting firm, on behalf of the company’s administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. It may be recalled that Brantano entered into administration on March 22, after the company’s owner Alteri failed to secure a buyers for the footwear chain.

Commenting on the development, Morven Fraser of Metis Partners, who is co-ordinating the marketing drive, said in a statement, “Brantano is highly recognised and, as a result, a very valuable brand. With the footwear market forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers to rise from its present value of 7.9 billion pounds (10 billion dollars) to 9.1 billion pounds (11.5 billion dollars) in 2020, the Brantano brand is in pole position to take advantage of this anticipated growth.”

Brantano IP assets up for sale

The company said that sale has been instructed by joint administrators of the company, Tony Barrell and Mike Jervis of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The IP assets for sale include an extensive portfolio of shoe brands, national trade mark portfolio, a branded website and domain name and e-commerce software, which the company expects to attract significant interest from those operating in the footwear, clothing and accessories sectors, as well as brand acquisition businesses.

Founded by the Brantegern brothers in East Flanders, Belgium in the mid-20th Century, the Brantano shoe brand has for many years been a regular feature on high streets throughout Western Europe. Trading in Britain since 1998, the company once oprated 72 stores and 82 concessions nationwide and in the year to February 2017 had revenues of approximately 82.1 million pounds (103 million dollars).

Picture:Facebook/Brantano

A New York fashion designer admitted his role Wednesday in an alleged international bribery scheme involving the brother and nephew of former UN chief Ban Ki-moon, officials said.

Malcolm Harris, 53, pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to money laundering and wire fraud after pocketing a 500,000 USD bribe purportedly meant to persuade officials in an unnamed Middle Eastern country to purchase a 72-story building in Vietnam, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

The funds had been provided by Ban Ki-sang, a senior executive at South Korea's Keangnam Enterprises Co Ltd., and his son Joo Hyun Bahn, alias Dennis Bahn, who were attempting to sell the Hanoi skyscraper for 800 million USD. Ban is the brother of the former UN Secretary-General.

Since 1977, the United States has criminalized the bribery of foreign officials to win business. Under the law, US authorities often pursue foreign nationals if their conduct involves US territories, the US banking system or companies whose stock is traded in the United States.

An indictment unsealed in January also charged Sang Woo, also known as John Woo, with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Federal prosecutors believe that between March 2013 and May 2015, Harris, Bahn and Ban conspired to bribe an unidentified foreign official in the Middle East to secure the sale of the Landmark 72 Building, which had been built by Keangnam.

Harris falsely claimed to have connections to the foreign official, the Justice Department said in a statement, sending his alleged co-conspirators several phony emails purportedly written by that official. In April 2014, Ban and Bahn allegedly agreed to pay a 500,000 USD bribe upfront and 2 million USD more once the sale closed. But Harris pocketed the initial bribe, using it for lavish personal spending, including a luxury penthouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the statement said.

A case against Bahn is currently under way in New York while Ban is a fugitive currently residing in South Korea, according to the Justice Department. (AFP)

JD.com invests 397 million dollars in Farfetch

London-based luxury marketplace Farfetch has received 397 million dollars in investment from JD.com to open the “ultimate gateway” in China to create a platform to bring luxury e-commerce to its 80 billion dollar market.

The deal with China’s largest retailer will see Farfetch leveraging JD's logistics, Internet finance and technology capabilities and social media resources, including its WeChat partnership, while giving JD.com a luxury boost and access to its leadership in global luxury.

Farfetch already does have well-established operations in China, it is the partner of choice for 200 luxury brands and more than 500 multi-brand retailers within China, however, the deal will see JD driving further brand awareness, traffic and sales for Farfetch in the market, said a press release from the two brands.

José Neves, founder, co-chairman and chief executive of Farfetch, said: "China is the world's second largest luxury market, and we are delighted to have such a respected partner, known for its strict protection of IP, with whom to address Chinese luxury consumers.

“This partnership addresses the market's challenges by combining the Farfetch brand and curation with the scale and influence of the foremost Chinese e-commerce giant. This strategic partnership will provide brands a seamless, immediate access to the luxury consumer and Chinese luxury shoppers with access to the greatest selection of luxury in the omnichannel way of life they have already fully embraced.”

Farfetch and JD.com partner to create “ultimate gateway” to China for luxury brands

As part of this partnership, JD.com will become one of the largest shareholders of Farfetch, investing 397 million dollars, and Richard Liu, JD.com's founder and chief executive, will join the Farfetch board, joining Dame Natalie Massenet and Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International.

In addition, the two companies will partner on marketing, logistics and technology solutions to build the brand in China, while Farfetch will continue to be the customer-facing brand.

"As part of our major luxury push, we could not have found a stronger online partner than Farfetch," added Richard Liu, chairman and chief executive of JD.com. "We have always believed that the long-term trend of Chinese e-commerce is towards quality over price and this partnership with Farfetch further extends our lead in the battle for the future of China's upwardly mobile consumers. We look forward to deepening our relationships with Farfetch and luxury brands in the months and years ahead."

The deal will allow all 700 brands and boutiques that are part of the Farfetch marketplace to take advantage of the new resources as part of the new gateway to China’s luxury market, such as Farfetch brands offering customers a premium level of service through JD’s recently launched Luxury Express service.

Farfetch partner brands with a local retail presence, will also have access to world-class omnichannel capabilities, including click and collect and in-store returns, connecting the brands' physical retail stores in China to consumers. In addition, Farfetch users in China will also gain access to a variety of services from JD Finance, including JD Pay, which will be a preferred payments partner, and Baitiao, JD Finance's popular consumer microcredit channel.

The announcement comes as JD steps up its focus on high-end luxury and fashion to match the huge demand among its upwardly mobile customers. Over the last two years, JD has hosted fashion shows in New York, Milan, London, Beijing, and Shanghai, and added several key international brands on the site, including Armani, Swarovski and Zenith.

Image: courtesy of Farfetch / Jose Neves

As the third-largest retailer, ranked by Forbes earlier this year, Amazon is know moving towards a new Prime Wardrobe service for fashion. Exclusively for prime members, the new service will​ allow customers to try on their clothing before committing to buy.

The Prime Wardrobe feature is a box service in which Amazon Prime customers will receive clothing at home. They will be able to try on the clothes at home and return any unwanted pieces for free. The wardrobe system lets customers make individual selections in order to choose which pieces they may want. Amazon also provides discounts when customers keep several items at once, offering a ten percent discount for three or four items and up to 20 percent off more than five.

Currently, it seems the box model trend is emerging, and Stitch Fix also follows a similar format. According to Business of Fashion, Stitch Fix currently has an annual revenue of 730 million dollars through its box fashion service. As Amazon is already wildly successful as a retailer, capitalizing on a convenient, online-friendly shopping service may ultimately be a smart, strategic move for the company.

All you need to know about J.Crew restructured debt program

ANALYSISThe U.S. preppy fashion label is making progress towards restructuring its debt. J. Crew has just received the green lights to get a credit agreement amendment approved, which it has been seeking to dissolve a lender lawsuit. The legal case pursues the blockage of the transfer of intellectual property to an affiliated company, after Canyon Partners sold 100 million dollars’ worth of J.Crew’s loan earlier this week.

A source close to the matter cited by Bloomberg said that the fashion retailer, which faces a total debt of 2.1 billion dollars, asked creditors to agree to an out-of-court restructuring that would extend the maturity on bonds to 2021. Once approved, this exit will give J. Crew more time to turn around its business and boost declining sales.

On June,16 J.Crew gets closer than ever to moving on with its debt restructuring

On June, 16 J.Crew Group announced they have received consents to the Term Loan Amendment announced on June 12, 2017 from a majority of the lenders under its term loan agreement, the requisite threshold for approval. The retailer has received to date consents from holders representing more than 80 percent of the Term Loan. As per information gauged by Bloomberg, in order to implement the recently announced restructuring out-of-court, J.Crew will need 95 percent of its bondholders to sign on.

The Term Loan Amendment was announced in connection with the offer to exchange any or all of the outstanding 566.5 million dollars aggregate principal amount of 7.75 percent/8.50 percent Senior PIK Toggle Notes due 2019 issued by Chinos Intermediate Holdings, A, Inc., an indirect parent company of the fashion retailer.

Next steps for the company is “to immediately stay all litigation activities regarding the Company's intellectual property transactions that occurred in December 2016. Upon the satisfaction of all conditions to the effectiveness of the Term Loan Amendment, the direction will require the Term Loan Agent to withdraw and dismiss, with prejudice, all pending litigation, including any claims that were or could have been asserted between the Company and the Term Loan Agent.”

As previously explained by the retailer, J.Crew “views these transactions as strategically important to its overall effort in positioning the company for long-term success. Addressing the nearest-term maturity removes an overhang in a challenging market environment and provides the company a clear and more confident path to execute its business plan.”

New deal gets J.Crew more time and cheaper debt to repay

The deal would help J.Crew move on to a second phase of debt restructuring and also settle a lawsuit that has been lingering over the company since December. This deal would exchange J.Crew's senior bond debt (currently standing at 566.5 million dollars and maturing in 2019), for new bonds worth less than half as much and due two years later. The group would also receive new stock recalls Reuters.

Earlier this year, in April, J. Crew advanced it wouldn't be able to pay interests on these bonds in due time in November. To make it up for that, the retailer would pay in kind.

Despite the deal going through, the company would still be forced to implement further restructuring of its debt.

Valentino will distribute 150 million euros worth of dividend to its parent company Mayhoola to partially repay the investment the Qatari fund made when it acquired the late designer’s namesake label in 2012.

According to the economic newspaper ‘Milano Finanza’ this is a way to repay, in part, the investment made five years ago by the Qtari sovereign fund. “Now, at one time, it repays 21 percent of the spending five years ago."

Industry experts quoted by Milan Finanza interpret the distribution of the 150 million dividend as "the will of the Qataris to start evaluating a way out of the Italian fashion store", reported Reuters.

Valentino registered a 13 percent increase in revenues to 1.1 billion euros by the end of its fiscal year 2016. The fashion label’s EBITDA grown from 180 million euros in 2015 to 206 million in 2016, while operating profit raised from 114 million to 133 million euros.

Online shoe retailer M.Gemi has secured 16 million for its first physical store, to be based in Boston, its hometown. The company will sell the same high-end Italian-made men’s and women’s shoes at reasonable prices.

The Series C round was led by Burda Principal Investments, and added on the contributions from previous investors Accel, General Catalyst Partners and Forerunner Ventures. The company explained Tuesday that the investment will help them develop their predictive analytics tools and supply chain.

According to the ´Boston Globe´, the company has brought in a total of 47.2 million dollars from investors.

In addition to this foundational brick-and-mortar store, the brand will get physical with a second “fit shop,” an outlet in the Boston´s Prudential Center where customers can check out its latest offerings before buying online.

Kering faces lawsuit over ‘Made in Italy’ label

London - Kering has rebuffed all allegations made in a class action lawsuit concerning the origins of its luxury eyewear and sunglasses which are labeled as ‘Made in Italy’. Selima Optique, a luxury eyewear and sunglass designer boutique in New York and France, filed a class action lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court last week, which accuses Kering and its subsidiary Kering Eyewear of “deliberately and falsely” advertising products as ‘Made in Italy’.

In the lawsuit, the boutique claims that different parts of eyewear and sunglasses from Kering leading luxury brands, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Brioni, Stella McCartney and Tomas Maier, are made in China and before being shipped to Italy to be assembled and then stamped as ‘Made in Italy.’ Selima Optique, which sells its own home brand of Paris-made eyewear, as well as eyewear and sunglasses from Kering held luxury brands in its stores, argues that the luxury conglomerate is misleading consumers by attaching the ‘Made in Italy’ label to its products.

Kering has denied all allegations made in the lawsuit. “Kering Eyewear denies all allegations made by Selima Optique, Inc,” said a Kering spokesperson to FashionUnited. “Kering Eyewear luxury products are made in Italy and are labeled in compliance with all applicable law.” According to Italy’s 2009 “Made in Italy Law”, only products which are completely made in Italy, which includes planning, manufacturing, and packing, can be labeled so in every language. Every misdemeanor or abuse of the label is punishable by Italian law.

The eyewear boutique claims to have first become aware of Kering’s allegedly mislabelling last October, after receiving a shipment of YSL eyewear frames and noticing one pair was stamped with ‘Made in China’ on one side and ‘Made in Italy’ on the other, according to WWD. Kering Eyewear, which has its headquarters in Veneto, Italy, attributed the double stamping of the eyewear frames to a human error in its manufacturing hub, stating that ‘Made in China’ label was meant for another style of Puma sunglasses which are indeed made in China.

However, Selima, designer, and founder of the boutique, believes this reasoning is insufficient. “[Kering] did not explain why a temple that is stamped ‘Made In China’ belonging to a pair of sunglasses that is purported to be made in China would inexplicably end up in an Italian factory,” she said to WWD. “Wholesale customers and retail consumers, who pay a premium for Italian made products especially those carrying designer labels such as Yves Saint Laurent, are falling victim to a deceitful bait-and-switch scheme by defendants, who are selling eyewear that are actually manufactured in China, while bearing the stamp ‘Made in Italy.’”

Kering maintains that all its luxury eyewear for Kering Eyewear is manufactured in Italy, and, for a small part in Japan. A spokesperson clarified to FashionUnited that Puma eyewear products, which are mainly made in China and distributed by Kering Eyewear in Veneto, receive their ‘Made in’ stamp in the same warehouse as its other luxury eyewear and sunglasses, which is in accordance to Italian legislation. “By mistake, 21 pieces of ‘Made in Italy’ luxury eyewear that were already stamped ‘Made in Italy’ also received a ‘Made in China’ stamp that was dedicated to Puma frames,” said a Kering spokesperson to FashionUnited. “Kering Eyewear immediately apologized for the mistake and offered the clients to exchange these products, and sent all due certificates to customers demonstrating that these products are indeed Made in Italy.”

“All customers accepted the exchange except Selima Optique, who had bought one pair of glasses.” The luxury conglomerate stressed that the ‘Made in Italy’ aspects of its luxury eyewear products were not in question and added that they intend to defend its rights in this legal case. FashionUnited has contacted Selima Boutique for additional information.

Photo: Gucci Pre-Fall 17 Collection Campaign, Facebook