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64 Brands set 143 Targets for a Circular Fashion Future

UPDATE London - 64 international fashion companies have set a total of 143 targets to help accelerate the industry’s transition to a circular fashion system. Leading companies, ranging from Bestseller and H&M to Kering and Inditex have shown their commitment to sustainability after signing the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment and released their individual targets for circularity to the public online this week.

The move follows on from the May 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world’s largest event on sustainability in fashion, which saw the launch of the Global Fashion Agenda’s Call to Action. Fashion industry leaders pledged to move towards a more circular system at the time, with 64 companies, representing a total of 142 brands, equal to 7.5 percent of the industry, committing to defining a circular strategy for their own businesses by the end of 2017. Among the signatories are companies such as Adidas, Eileen Fisher, Hugo Boss, Reformation and VF Corp.

64 Brands set 143 Targets for a Circular Fashion Future

142 brands set targets for circular fashion systems by 2020

Since the launch of the commitment, the fashion companies have been working on setting their own individual targets by 2020, which have been reviewed by the Global Fashion Agenda and BSR. "Since the 64 companies signed the commitment, I've been very curious to learn about their company targets,” commented Eva Kruse, CEO of Global Fashion Agenda. “We have now reviewed all 143 of the targets, and although the focus areas and level of engagement vary from company to company, they all share a common feature by taking steps to transition to a circular fashion industry. I find that very encouraging."

All signatories have set targets in one or more of the following four sections: designing for circularity, increasing the volume of used garments collected, increasing the volume of used garments resold, and increasing the share of garments made from recycled post-consumer textile fibres. Out of the four areas, designing for circularity has received the most interest, with a total of 55 company targets set. This means that many fashion companies aim to either train they designers in circular design systems or aim to implement circular design principles, such as increasing a product’s durability. H&M is one of the fashion companies which has set a target to roll out dedicated training for circular design.

64 Brands set 143 Targets for a Circular Fashion Future

"We signed Global Fashion Agenda's 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment since it ties in well with our ambitious vision to become 100 percent circular and renewable,” said Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability, H&M group. “Part of our 2020 commitment is to develop and roll out training on sustainable materials and sustainable material use to all applicable colleagues and to continue to work on building circularity into the design process for all our products. One of the goals for H&M group is to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and to become climate positive throughout our entire value chain by 2040 at the latest.”

The Global Fashion Agenda is set to publish its first annual progress report in May 2018, which will highlight the signatories' activities and progress in reaching their targets.

Photos: courtesy of the Global Fashion Agenda

Pentland Brands to create over 100 new jobs in Nottingham

London - Pentland Brands, the parent company of international brands such as Ellesse, Speedo, Boxfresh, Berghaus and Mitre, is set to create more than 100 new jobs in Nottingham after moving its active brands to its headquarters in the East Midlands.

Pentland Brands current headquarters at NG2 Business Park is set to become the main location for its football brand Mitre and rugby brand Canterbury sales, marketing, finance, product and innovation teams. The shift sees more than 100 new jobs in the city across a wide range of areas, as Pentland Brands brings its active brands together.

“We know there’s great talent across the region, so it’s an ideal time to grow our multi-brand team here at our East Midlands HQ,” said Sean Hastings, global marketing director at Pentland Brands. “Speedo has a fantastic track record of innovative design and now we’ll be able to share this expertise with our teamsports brands.”

Nottingham has served as the base of swimwear brand Speedo International since it was acquired by Pentland Brands in 1990 and will become the principal location for all of its teams across its active brands portfolio. “These developments will help us to better manage our brands and opens up a broader range of career opportunities for our teams to work across multiple brands and projects,” added Hastings.

“To do this we’re launching academies that will help our people develop these specialist skills.” Once all the new positions have been filled, Pentland Brands will employ approximately 200 people in Nottingham, in addition to 72 field-based or flexible location positions.

Photo: via Pentland Brands

Primark posts 7 percent sales increase

For the 16 weeks to January 6, 2018, sales at Primark, part of the Associated British Foods Plc, were, the company said, 7 percent ahead of those reported last year at constant currency driven by increased retail selling space. Sales rose by 9 percent at actual exchange rates. In the first half, the company expects operating margins to be close to those in the same period last year with better buying virtually offsetting the adverse effect of the weaker sterling/US dollar exchange rate on purchases.

Primark added that the UK continued to perform well with strong like-for-like sales, a consequent strong increase in share of the total market, and trading. However, the sales growth across Europe was held back by unseasonably warm weather in October, followed by good trading in the five weeks leading up to Christmas. Primark further said that the company achieved record sales in the week before Christmas, and trading in the US has continued to make progress.

Retail selling space increased by 0.3 million sq. ft. since the financial year-end and at January 6, 2018, Primark operated 350 stores. Five new stores were opened in the period ay Bielefeld, Munster and a city centre store in Stuttgart, Germany, Charlton in the UK and Loulé in the Algarve. In addition, there were two relocations in the UK: a return to the redeveloped Westgate shopping centre in Oxford and a move to a larger store in Rotherham. The company expects to open 1.2 million sq. ft. in this financial year.

Picture:Primark website

World's first green supply chain map links brands to factories in China

Further increasing much needed transparency in the supply chain, a new interactive map shows the connections between international buyers like brands and retailers and their suppliers in China. The Green Supply Chain Map is the brainchild of the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) in China and was announced last week.

“The Green Supply Chain Map is a leadership initiative dedicated to showcasing brands’ commitment to supply chain transparency and environmental management. It openly links brands' supplier lists to publicly-available environmental data, including real-time data for air emissions and wastewater discharge,” states the IPE's explanation of the map.

“The map has the potential to become a true game-changer for public environmental oversight and improvement efforts for industrial manufacturing in China,” commented Ma Jun, environmentalist and director at IPE. “We hope to see more brands step up their game and join the map to connect the missing dots of accountability in the vast network of global supply chains.”

World's first green supply chain map links brands to factories in China

Green Supply Chain Map makes connection between brands, suppliers and environmental impact

As the world's first map publicly linking multinational corporations to their suppliers' environmental performance, it is a powerful tool that interested brands can join voluntarily, thus demonstrating their leadership toward supply chain transparency and monitoring environmental efforts. Suppliers can publicly verify (and advertise) their environmental compliance, potentially attracting more orders. Last but not least, the map offers consumers a way to check on brands' and retailers' efforts and to let that information influence their purchasing decisions. So far, six brands have joined and disclosed supplier data - Esprit, Gap, Inditex, New Balance, Puma and Target.

“Until now, customers have lacked effective tools to assess the environmental impact of their favorite brands’ global operations,” said Linda Greer, senior health scientist for NRDC and founder of its Clean by Design green supply chain program. “These companies that have stepped up to put their names first on the inaugural map are showing new levels of transparency on their manufacturing abroad and are demonstrating real leadership in supply chain responsibility.”

Users can filter the map by brand to view and understand individual companies’ supply chains. The air, water and weather conditions in a factory's particular location are displayed as well, together with the air and wastewater pollutants each factory is releasing - alarmingly, all are out of compliance on both accounts.

For each factory, the name, province and city is available as well as if there are any violation records. Some of them have also provided real-time emissions data, feedback about corrective actions to improve environmental performance and annual pollutant emissions and resource usage data, which the map can be filtered for. The information is based on publicly available data from the Chinese government for nearly 15,000 major industrial facilities and the map provides access to environmental supervision records for over half a million more facilities.

The map is the result of the NRDC's and IPE's collaboration over the past eight years to address China’s air, water and soil pollution problems as the country has massively expanded its industrial manufacturing base. A staggering amount of this pollution – up to 25 percent of carbon emissions, for example – is linked to the manufacture of products for export abroad, garments and textiles in particular.

“We hope our map can serve as a reference for other countries and regions facing similar concerns about environmental impacts of rapid industrialization within their own borders,” said Kate Logan, the IPE's green choice outreach director.

The Green Supply Chain Map is available in English and Chinese and can be accessed via wwwen.ipe.org.cn/MapBrand/Brand.aspx.

Illustrations: via IPE website

TFG reports upbeat sales growth in December

South African retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) has reported a 31 percent increase in December sales after its recent acquisition of Britain’s womenswear label Hobbs, reports Reuters Africa. The group had earlier acquired two other UK-based businesses including Phase Eight in 2015 and high-street fashion retailer Whistles in 2016.

The company said in statement that the group’s expansion into the foreign markets led to 64 percent jump in its international division’s December sales. The quoted the company statement that said: “Following very strong Black Friday trade on November 24, December trading was pleasing and above management’s expectations. For the nine months to December 31, total sales including its African and international divisions were up 17.1 percent.”

For the nine months to the end of December, total sales including its African and international divisions were up 17.1percent or 19.1 percent currency-neutral, while at TFG London, total turnover was up 13.5 percent for the nine month period.

Picture:Hobbs website

London - Marks & Spencer is set to open a new clothing and hime distribution centre in Welham Green (Hertfordshire) early next year as part of its five-year transformation plan. The move will see operations at M&S current distribution centre in Neasden transferred to other sites within its logistics network.

The existing 495,000 square foot site at Welham Green will become a mechanized clothing distribution centre, serving 150 stores in the South East of the country. A former Tesco distribution site, the new centre will be operated by a third-party logistics supplier and employ more than 500 people. It will be fitted out and tested throughout 2018.

Following the opening of its new site in Pelham, M&S will cease its operations at its Neasden location in North London and transfer the work to other centres in its network. “M&S is changing and we are transforming our stores and supply chain to better serve our customers,” said Gordon Mowat, Director of Clothing & Home Supply Chain & Logistics in a statement.

“The new site in Welham will deliver better service and availability for our customers and enable us to become a faster, more agile, lower cost retailer. The location has fantastic transport links and we’re looking forward to building a great operation in Hertfordshire. The decision to move operations from Neasden to other sites within our network is not one we have taken lightly, however it’s an important part of our transformation.”

The new Pelham Green centre will also incorporate 27,000 square feet of office space. The site in Neasden, which is operated by third-party logistics specialist XPO Logistics and DHL, has entered into a period of consultation with the 380 employees who work on site. The move marks M&S latest changes to shifting to a single-tier clothing and home distribution network. The network currently consists of 19 distribution centres and warehouses, including centres in Swindon, Castle Donington and Bradford.

True Fit closes 55 million dollar investment round

True Fit, the data-driven personalisation platform for footwear and clothing, has secured 55 million dollars in a Series C investment round, led by Georgian Partners with participation from existing investors Jump Capital, Signal Peak Ventures, Intel Capital, and new investor Cross Creek Capital.

The new funding will enable the brand to develop its AI data platform, said True Fit in a statement, as well advance the innovation of its personalised style, fit, and analytics solutions. It will also expand the company’s offerings to include more robust open APIs, new AI-driven integrations, and new capabilities such as personal outfitting, chatbot virtual stylists, and enhanced visualisations.

The investment comes on the back of rapid growth for the business, where the company tripled its commercial growth year-on-year in 2017, as well as expand its network of retailers and partners in North America, UK and EU markets, while expanding into new global markets including Asia and South America.

Customers of True Fit includes House of Fraser, Next, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, La Redoute, Aldo, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Guess, Clarks, G Star Raw, Bloomingdale’s, Topshop, Lands’ End, and Michael Kors.

Georgian Partners invests in True Fit

“The retail industry is experiencing an exciting and profound shift toward great, personal experiences, and rich, data-driven personalisation is at the core driving the growth,” said William R. Adler, chief executive officer of True Fit. “We are grateful to steward this special data collective on behalf of thousands of brands and the world’s leading retailers, while supporting them with the innovative tools required to successfully compete.”

Adler added: “We’re thrilled to welcome Georgian Partners to our investor group and board of directors. The Georgian team is extraordinary, and their thesis for building the world’s best AI-driven data platforms makes this a very natural partnership. This round and their leadership underscores and accelerates our vision to be the intelligence inside every footwear and apparel shopping experience.”

Georgian Partners managing director Justin Lafayette, said: “As a trusted partner for the apparel industry, True Fit has developed a truly unique dataset. We’re very excited to be partnering with what is a world-class team to help further develop their applied AI capabilities.”

Image: courtesy of True Fit - its new headquarters in Boston

Burberry posts 2 percent comparable sales rise in Q3

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 (990 million dollars) from 735 million pounds (1,012 million dollars), same quarter last year. The company said, guidance for FY18 operating profit remains unchanged and continue to expect to remain strongly cash generative.

Commenting on the trading update, Burberry’s Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti said in a statement: "We are making good progress embedding our strategic vision into the organisation and remain on track to meet our full year profit target. We are building on strong foundations and are fully focussed on the successful delivery of our multi-year plan to position Burberry firmly in luxury and deliver long-term sustainable value."

Financial highlights of Burberry’s Q3

The company added that comparable sales in Asia Pacific witnessed mid-single digit percentage growth consistent with the first half. Mainland China also delivered mid-single digit percentage growth, while Hong Kong was broadly unchanged year-on-year with improved domestic trends. Korea saw a better performance from both domestics and tourists, although sales still declined slightly. EMEIA posted a low single digit percentage decline, impacted by the UK, while the UK declined by a high single digit percentage, as it annualised exceptional performance of 40percent growth in the prior year boosted by tourist inflows.

Continental Europe, the company said grew comparable sales and the Middle East improved and Americas reported a low single digit percentage growth consistent with the second quarter. The US was broadly unchanged year-on-year with improved conversion offsetting footfall declines and tourist spending, Burberry added, still negative, showed a slight improvement compared to the second quarter.

By product, the company further said, fashion outperformed as customers continued to respond positively to new products across categories and improved outfit offer and full look merchandising showed positive early results with tops, skirts and trousers outperforming.

Direct-to-consumer digital continued to deliver positive growth led by Asia Pacific and mobile transactions represented 40 percent of revenue.

Picture:Burberry website

Zalando expects to report 21.2 to 23.2 revenue growth in Q4

Zalando SE reported group revenues growth of 21.2 to 23.2 percent to 1,323-1,345 million euros (1,616.8 to 1,643.7 million dollars), in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to preliminary figures. For the same period, Zalando said that the company expects to achieve an adjusted EBIT of 107-120 million euros (130.7 to 146.6 million dollars), corresponding to an adjusted EBIT margin of 8.1-8.9 percent.

Commenting on the preliminary result update, the company’s Co-CEO Rubin Ritter said in a media statement: “We pulled off a strong finish to the year, despite a challenging October. In 2017 we delivered on our promise of profitable growth. We are excited to continue on this path also in 2018 and beyond. Our focus will remain on strong market share gains, facilitated through continued investments.”

In the fiscal year 2017, Zalando added, the company achieved preliminary results in line with its guidance. The company recorded revenues of 4,478-4,500 million euros (5,473 to 5,499 million dollars), growing by 23.1-23.7 percent. Adjusted EBIT for the same period is expected to come in at a margin of 4.7-4.9 percent or 209-222 million euros (255 to 271 million dollars) compared to 216.3 million euros (264 million dollars) or 5.9 percent in 2016.

Picture:Zalando UK website

Minimum appoints Josef Lützen its new Chief Commercial Officer

Minimum, a fashion brand from Denmark, has strengthened the management of the company by hiring Josef Lützen as the new Chief Commercial Officer, who joined the company from January 2, 2018. The company said, Lützen will be responsible for the commercial and creative direction of the future Minimum collections. He steps into the position earlier held by current CEO Peder Tang.

“I am very pleased to get the opportunity to work with Minimum. The company is going through a lot of positive changes and I am looking forward to the many tasks that follow. Minimum has great potential, and would like to help the company reach it,” said Lützen in a statement, commenting on his new role with Minimum.

Lützen was earlier director of retail projects & modern operations at PVH Corp in Amsterdam. He also holds many years of experience in the international fashion. He was earlier associated with Samsøe & Samsøe in Denmark, the Dutch brand Gstar and Whyred in Sweden.

“We are excited to present Josef as our new CCO. He matches the profile we have been looking for. We are looking forward to his contribution to Minimum with his vast experience from the international fashion industry where he has shown strong results throughout his career,” Added Tang.

Picture credit:Minimum