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760 jobs at risk as Topshop Australia is placed into Voluntary Administration

London - Topshop/Topman (Austradia Pty Ltd), the separately owned and operated Australian franchise of the high street fashion retailer, has been placed into voluntary administration today following increasing debt. The move sees 760 jobs as well as a number of retail locations at risk.

Financial restructuring firm Ferrier Hodgson has been appointed administrator, and partners James Stewart, Jim Sarantinos, and Ryan Eagle are set to oversee the administration. The company is said to have been placed in voluntary administration amid mounting debt as Topshop considered it "optimal operating structure."

Topshop/Topman Australia placed into Voluntary Administration

Administrator Stewart stated that it will be "business as usual" going forward following the voluntary administration. The administrators will be working closely together with Topshop's parent company Arcadia Group to support and rescale the Australian business "to a sustainable platform going forward," said Stewart in a statement.

The management team at Austradia has also agreed to work closely with the administrators to ensure the outcome is the best possible solution for the business and its workers. At the time of being placed into voluntary administration, Topshop/Topman counted 9 stand-alone stores in Australia, 17 concessions in department store Myer as well as an online business, with a total of 760 employees.

All employees will continue to be paid by the administrators, and normal customer service and policies, including redeeming gift cards and product returns will continue as normal under the administration time, added Stewart. Topshop Australia is said to be latest fashion retailer to collapse into administration in the country, following on from the voluntary administrations of Marcs, David Lawrence, and Herringbone earlier this year.

Topshop and Topman are the leading brands from Arcadia Group, the British fashion company owned by Sir Philip Green. The separately owned and operated Australian Topshop/Topman franchise, Austradia, opened locally back in 2011. Department store Myers acquired a 25 percent stake in the Australia franchise back in 2015 and rolled out a number of Topshop and Topman concessions.

Photo: By Mtaylor848 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Marcolin Group renews eyewear licensing deal with Diesel

London - Marcolin Group has announced the early renewal of its licensing agreement for the design, production and worldwide distribution of Diesel Eyewear brand sunglasses and frames.

The partnership between the two, which first began in 2010, has now been renewed until 2023. "The early renewal of the eyewear license with Diesel expresses our clear willingness to invest in prestigious and international brands in today's market as very complex and competitive as the eyewear one," commented Massimo Renon, Marcolin’s Group Worldwide Commercial General Manager in a statement.

"We are pleased Diesel recognized us as the ideal partner in terms of creativity, distributional strategies and level of service, with which to collaborate and develop synergies to ensure successful results." Marcolin Group, which recently joined forced with the Rivoli Group to form a joint venture, brand portfolio includes a number of premium and high-end brands such as Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Moncler and Ermenegildo Zegna

"Marcolin has always been a partner able to deeply understand the DNA of our brand, interpreting the style through eyeglass and sunglasses of high quality and technicality," added Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO Diesel.

Photo: Diesel

Hugo Boss approves dividend payout of 2.60 euros per share

At the annual shareholders’ meeting held yesterday, the Hugo Boss managing board and supervisory board approved the proposal to pay out a dividend of 2.60 euros (2.91 dollars) per share. The dividend will be paid out on May 29, 2017.

This compares to 3.62 euros (4.05 dollars) paid in 2015. The dividend corresponds to a payout ratio of 93 percent of net income attributable to the shareholders of the parent company in 2016 against 78 percent last year.

Picture:Hugo Boss website

GFG Q1 NMV grows 35.2 percent, revenues up 34.7 percent

In the first quarter, Global Fashion Group (GFG) delivered net merchandise value (NMV) of 271.7 million euros (303 million dollars) representing a growth of 35.2 percent in euro terms and 16.9 percent on a constant currency and pro-forma basis. The Adjusted EBITDA margin showed a year-over-year improvement of 11.1 percentage points to reach an adjusted EBITDA margin of 12.5 percent for Q1 2017 and reduced losses by nearly 30 percent.

Total net revenue of the group for the quarter was 265.3 million euros (296 million dollars) representing growth of 34.7 percent on a euro basis and 17.6 percent on a constant currency pro-forma basis, against a back drop of challenging trading environments.

Financial highlights of the regional businesses

GFG said, Lamoda achieved strong NMV and net revenue growth on a constant currency basis of 31.5 percent and 37.3 percent, respectively, driven by the continued roll out of the marketplace model, further focus on broadening its reach to under-represented segments, and continued roll out of key new international and local brands.

Dafiti, the company said, delivered Q1 NMV and net revenue growth on a constant currency basis of 5.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, supported by marketplace business consolidation in Brazil. The region also achieved a significant Q1 gross profit margin improvement of 3.4 percentage points to 41.9 percent.

At Namshi, NMV and net revenue continued to grow on a constant currency basis by 8.7 percent and 8.5 percent for Q1. The company added that despite a continued challenging retail environment, Namshi managed to maintain a strong gross profit margin of 50.1 percent for Q1 2017.

Zalora and The Iconic delivered positive NMV and net revenue growth on a constant currency and pro-forma basis of 20.3 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively, with a gross profit margin increase of 2.3 percentage points to 40.7 percent.

Picture:Dafiti website

Rains launches lawsuit against Zara over raincoat design

London - Danish outerwear specialist Rains has filed a lawsuit against Inditex's leading brand Zara for allegedly copying its iconic raincoat design.

In the filing, Rains has requested that Zara ceases all manufacturing of the copy cat raincoats in question and halt all sales of them. The case, set to be heard at the Danish Court of Commerce, also sees Rains seeking compensation for damages and lost profits caused by Zara's design, which is said to infringe on Rains patent raincoat design.

Rains launches lawsuit against Zara over raincoat design

"Zara has copied some of our core products – classics – items which we have worked relentlessly on to help define our brand," said Daniel Brix Hesselager, Rains co-founder in a statement. "We’re talking about products that will not change from season to season. So this copying must stop immediately."

The lawsuit comes after Rains reached out to the Spanish fast-fashion brand in 2016 when Zara first launched its raincoats. However, when Zara began offering the same models for same earlier this year, Rains decided to take legal action. Zara's allegedly copied raincoat designs have been offered in Zara stores across the globe, as well as online, so it highly likely that Rains will be seeking for a large settlement.

Rains launches lawsuit against Zara over raincoat design

Rains is not phased by Zara's size either and determined to protect its design. "Their size and resources are great, but we are willing to go as far as it takes," added Hesselager. It would not be the first time Rains has gone to court in order to protect its iconic designs. The Danish brand previously won another case against Tif-Tiffy, a fellow Danish label which Rains accused of copying its aesthetic.

Rains launches lawsuit against Zara over raincoat design

Founded in Denmark in 2012, Rains has become an internationally renowned brand within five years thanks to its staple product, the rubber rain coat. Currently available at 4,600 retailers in 20 countries Rains offers a full range of waterproof outerwear, bags, and accessories. FashionUnited has contacted Zara for additional information on the matter.

Photos: Rains

M&S reports 63.5 percent decline in annual pre-tax profit

Adjusted profit before tax at Marks & Spencer (M&S), for the full year to April 1, 2017 was down 10.3 percent, which the company said was due to expected decrease in clothing & home sales and increased costs of new space. The company added that significant adjusted items of 437.4 million pounds (567 million dollars) resulted in profit before tax down 63.5 percent. Group turnover for the 52 weeks period ended April 1, 2017 increased 2.2 percent to 10,622 million pounds (13,774 million dollars).

Commenting on the company’s performance, Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer CEO said in a media release, “Last year we outlined a comprehensive plan to build strong foundations for the future. We said we would recover and grow clothing and home, continue with our plans for food growth, remove costs and simplify the business. As we anticipated, the planned restructuring of M&S has come with a cost and has impacted profits, but the business is still strongly cash generative and we reduced our net debt.”

Clothing & home revenue declines 2.8 percent

The company reported 105 basis points improvement in clothing & home gross margin with full price sales growth of 2.7 percent. However total revenues were down 2.8 percent due to planned reduction in promotions and clearance sales.

Adjusted basic earning per share for the year under review, reduced 12.6 percent to 30.4p against 35p last year, while basic earnings per share declined 70.7 percent to 7.2p from 24.9p in the previous year.

International profit before adjusted items rose 15.4 percent to 64.4 million pounds (83 million dollars), as a result of the company’s decision to exit owned stores in 10 loss-making markets. The company said, strong cash generation reduced net debt by 204 million pounds (264 million dollars) and full year dividend was unchanged at 18.7p.

“This has been a year of accelerated change at M&S, as Steve set out his plan for a simpler business, focused on customers. We are maintaining a total dividend per share at 18.7p, the same level as last year, taking into account the strong cash generation of the business,” added Robert Swannell, Marks & Spencer Chairman in the statement.

For the year 2017/18, in clothing & home, M&S expects a space decline of 1-2 percent, weighted towards the end of the year. The company anticipates gross margin to range between positive 25 to negative 25 basis points.

Picture:Facebook/M&S

Emaar Malls to acquire 51 percent stake in Namshi

Global Fashion Group (GFG) has entered into a strategic partnership with Emaar Malls, the shopping malls and retail business majority-owned by property developer Emaar Properties. The company announced that under the partnership, Emaar Malls will acquire a 51 percent stake in Namshi, the online fashion retailer in the Middle East, for a consideration of 151 million dollars including investment in the company for its future growth, with GFG retaining the remaining 49 percent.

Commenting on the development, Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties, said in a statement, “The acquisition of a majority stake in Namshi underlines our digital-driven strategy to leverage the growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa region. Namshi offers a perfect fit for Emaar Malls in accelerating its focus on multi-channel retailing, and creating long-term value for its stakeholders.”

Emaar Malls to acquire majority stake in Namshi

As a part of the agreement, Emaar Malls will support the company to access additional fashion brands, further develop its logistics infrastructure and expand its geographical footprint in adjacent countries. Namshi will continue to benefit from GFG’s network, expertise in fashion e-commerce and shared resources, such as global brand acquisition and global IT development and innovation.

“We are very excited to welcome Emaar Malls as our majority shareholder. We are confident that this partnership will unlock further opportunities and help accelerate the development of Namshi for the benefit of our customers,” added Hosam Arab, MD of Namshi.

Led by co-founders Hosam Arab, Faraz Khalid and Hisham Zarka, Namshi launched in 2012, and offers a wide range of over 50,000 products across over 600 international and local fashion brands and its own private labels. The company already serves customers across the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

For the full year 2016, the company recorded net revenue of 555 million UAE dirham (151 million dollars) and achieved its first full-year of profitability and positive cash flow.

“We are proud of how Namshi contributes to the growth and vibrancy of e-commerce in the Middle East since its inception in 2012. With the complementary strengths of Emaar Malls and GFG, Namshi is now more than ever uniquely positioned to be the best long-term partner for fashion brands and customers in the region. GFG’s partnership with Emaar Malls follows the group’s strong performance in 2016,” said Romain Voog, CEO of GFG in the statement.

Picture:Namshi website

UPDATE

LVMH is one step closer to owning all of luxury fashion house Christian Dior. Semyrhamis, the holding company from the Arnault family group, officially filed its simplified mixed offer for the outstanding shares it does not already own in Christian Dior with the French financial market authority.

The move is in line with the plan announced by the group late last month. "Based on the independent expert’s conclusions which confirm that the offer is fair and further to the release of the favorable opinion of the ad hoc committee composed of independent directors, the Board of directors of Christian Dior, held on May 22nd, 2017, has unanimously recommended that Christian Dior shareholders tender their shares to the offer," wrote LVMH in a statement on Tuesday morning.

"In addition, Christian Dior Couture’s works council has released a favorable opinion on the proposed disposal of Christian Dior Couture to LVMH,” it continued, adding that the LVMH and Christian Dior boards of directors have also unanimously approved the agreement through which Christian Dior Couture will be acquired by LVMH for 6.5 billion euros, (7.31 billion USD)," added the statement.

The step, once completed, will see Dior become the second biggest brand under LVMH's fashion division, after Louis Vuitton.

Fashion sales increase 4.9 percent at John Lewis

For the week to May 20, 2017, total sales at John Lewis were 76.3 million pounds (99 million dollars), up 1.1 percent on last year. The company said, fashion sales were up 4.9 percent, driven by customers buying casual clothing ahead of the anticipated warmer weather and summer holidays.

Sales of womenswear were up 7 percent and menswear grew by 6.3 percent, while sales of beauty, wellbeing and leisure also increased 14.2 percent year on year driven by price matching a competitor's promotional event.

Electrical and home technology sales were up 0.8 percent year on year, while communications technology product sales were up 5.8 percent driven by demand for the new Samsung S8, Apple watches and the FitBit Alta. Home sales were down 2.2 percent year on year.

Picture:John Lewis website

Style Group Brands is on the prowl for new investors

London - Style Group Brands, the parent company of womenswear labels Jacques Vert, Precis Petite, dash_, Windsmoor, and Eastex, is said to be in search of new investors amid fears it may fall into administration.

The fashion business is understood to be seeking new investors and holding talks with potential buyers, as there is a "very real risk" administrators would be called in if Style Group Brands is unable to secure backing, according to a report from Sky News.

At the moment the company is said to be exploring all options, but a definite outcome is not expected until next week. The report comes two months after Style Group Brands, owned by private equity house Sun Capital Partners, appointed KPMG to explore a sale or restructuring of its company amid an increasingly difficult trading environment.

Any sale or restructuring of the business may lead to a number of store closures, putting the 1,100 jobs at the group brands at risk. At the moment the company operates over 1,850 stores throughout the UK, Europe, and Canada. If Style Group Brands does appoint administrators, then KPMG are set to oversee the process added the report.

Sun Capital Partners acquired Jacques Vert in 2012 and oversee the company's expansion with the merger of Irisa Group. The company was known as Jacques Vert Group until it rebranded as Style Group Brands in 2016.

Photo: Style Group SS17 Edit