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Retailers grow up though economic unhappiness

Global retail industry continues to grow despite economic unhappiness. People have developed a strong appeal for luxury items. A report states that more than 80% of the top 250 retailers have posted increase in their revenues. Marks & Spencer, American apparel, Gap sales lower in the last month. Otherwise Zara, Primark, Ralph Lauren sells grow in July. But all are trying to expand their business. Because consumers hunger for luxury goods is strong, and marketing efforts of retailers focus on appealing to the aspirations of consumers, emphasizing on product value and consumer loyalty. To remain competitive in the dynamic retail environment, it is crucial for retailers to facilitate comfortable and error free customer service. Retailer’s latest activities articulates here as a regular section.

H&M opens the Natick mall
Hennes & Mauritz, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers known for offering fashion-forward apparel and quality basics, will open at noon on the first level of the mall. The Natick store will offer collections for ladies, men, young ladies, and young men to separate ‘store within a store sections for accessories, lingerie and sports apparel.
H&M is the first fashion company to roll out a global garment recycling program. Through this initiative, H&M customers at Natick Mall store can help save natural resources and contribute to a reduced environmental impact by donating unwanted pieces of clothing from any brand while in the store. Customers will receive a voucher for 15 percent off their entire next purchase for each bag of donated clothing.

M & S clothing sales fall again
A recovery in Marks & Spencer’s vital clothing business has suffered a setback after a fall in sales in the last quarter and shareholders called its products ugly and cheap. Britain’s biggest high street clothing retailer said that like-for-like sales in its general merchandise arm, which is primarily clothing, felt 0.4pc in the 13 weeks to last month.
This decline followed a 0.7pc increase in GM sales in the previous quarter, which was the first time in four years that M&S had grown clothing sales and sparked hopes that the company was recovering. Muriel Conway, a former designer at M&S, said that the retailer’s prints were ‘ugly and vulgar’ and some of its design was ‘crude’ and ‘cheap’. In a sign that investment in M&S’s ageing infrastructure is paying off, online sales rose by 38.7pc during the quarter following a revamp of the website last year.

Primark prepared to go Milan
Primark is taking its own brand of high street chic to Milan, home to Versace, Prada and Armani and one of the world’s fashion capitals. The retailer – already nicknamed Primarni by fans – plans to open three stores in Italy within the next 12 months. The move comes as Primark revealed that its first US store, in Boston’s Downtown Crossing, will open in September. Primark official said Primark already had stores in Germany, the UK, France and Spain, and that Italy was the logical next step. Primark’s own analysis has found Italy to be the second biggest potential market for the brand in the EU, behind only Germany. Primark has lined up eight new stores in the notoriously tricky US market. Report said the retailer had already begun shipping clothing to its new warehouse in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in preparation for the opening.

Zara cross $100-million sales mark in India
Spanish fashion brand Zara has become the first apparel brand in India to cross the $100-million sales mark, five years after it opened its first shop here. Inditex Trent, the joint venture between Zara brand owner Inditex and Tata Group’s retail arm Trent, posted 24% annual growth in sales for the year ended March 2015 at Rs 721 crore ($114 million), Trent said in its annual report released. In FY13-14, it had sales of Rs 580 crore. However, sales growth has nearly halved from a year ago period when, it was 43%.

Plans are on to open a few more Zara stores in India over the next three to four years in the major cities, the report said. The primary challenge to faster expansion is the availability of high quality retail spaces, which can be expected to generate reasonable sales throughput, it added.

Gap Inc. sales lower in July
Gap Inc. reported lower sales in July and provided disappointing earnings guidance for its second quarter, hurt by continuing weakness at its namesake stores and the stronger U.S. dollar. For the four weeks ended Aug. 1, Gap reported sales of $1.12 billion, down from $1.17 billion a year earlier.
In July, sales at the company’s namesake stores—excluding those newly opened or closed—fell 7%, compared with a 2% decrease a year earlier. Same-store sales at Gap’s Banana Republic fell 10%, compared with 6% growth a year earlier. The retailer said it now projects second-quarter earnings excluding certain one-time items of between 63 cents and 64 cents a share, less than analysts expectations of 66 cents a share, according to reports. On a reported basis, the company expects per-share earnings between 51 cents and 52 cents. Gap plans to release its second-quarter earnings Aug. 20.

Ralph Lauren gets more than hope
Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL) reported better-than-expected financial results for its first fiscal 2016 quarter earlier this week, three months after announcing a major global brand management structure. Despite declining by five percent on a reported basis, net revenues of $1.6 billion were in line with the prior year period on a constant currency basis, driven by double-digit international growth, new store openings and global e-commerce expansion. Wholesale segment sales declined six percent on a constant currency basis, negatively impacted by retail customers’ receipt plans due to an earlier Easter this year which was partially offset by double-digit constant currency growth in Europe. Reported wholesale segment sales declined nine percent to $642 million.
The company ended the first quarter of fiscal 2016 with 467 directly operated stores, comprised of 140 Ralph Lauren stores, 65 Club Monaco stores and 262 Polo factory stores. The company also operated 558 concession shop locations worldwide at the end of the first quarter. In addition to company-operated locations, international licensing partners operated 79 Ralph Lauren stores and 24 dedicated shops, as well as 124 Club Monaco stores and shops at the end of the first quarter.

eBay takes a second hand clothing company
American multinational corporation and e-commerce company eBay has acquired secondhand clothing and accessories marketplace Twice, in order to beef up its Valet service, which sells used apparel on behalf of its customers, according to media reports. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. This is the first buy for eBay since it parted ways with PayPal on July 17. Twice said that its technical leadership and engineering team will join eBay to power its Valet service, which recently expanded to help users sell high-value designer clothing easily.

The company, which launched in 2012 and has been backed by venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz, will slowly wind down its current operations. It’s currently running sales to clear out its inventory and won’t accept returns after July 30. eBay reported strong second quarter results last week with revenue growth up 7 per cent — numbers that beat Wall Street expectations. The company also delivered an optimistic yearly forecast with an expected revenue growth of 3 per cent to 5 per cent. Additionally, eBay reached a definitive agreement to sell its eBay enterprise unit to a private equity firm for $925 million.

Nike reveals Alexis Sanchez’s boots
Nike have unveiled their new Nike Tech Craft range of boots – which will be worn by Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez among others. Specifically designed to aid players’ first touch, the boot features a thin layer of leather in ‘high ball-contact areas’ to help control.

‘This was a daunting project, as each of our boots have quite different uppers, said Nathan VanHook, Nike Football Senior Design Director and added the challenges of fusing leather onto Flyknit and loft mesh required numerous prototypes and various methods of application before we cracked the code. The boot is released to the public on the Nike Football App and available now on Nike.com. Edinson Cavani and Blaise Matuidi will join Sanchez in wearing the boots on the pitch. They have been released in a range of different colours, including pink, blue, orange and green, giving customers a wide array of choice.

American Apparel Q2 earnings fall
American Apparel Inc. posted a wider second-quarter loss in a preliminary earnings statement and said it won’t be able to report official figures on time because its management is engaged in talks with lenders. The net loss expanded to about $19.4 million, or 11 cents a share, from $16.2 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a filing. Revenue sank about 17 percent to $134 million, the fourth straight decline. No analysts’ estimates were available for comparison.
The company has racked up more than $300 million in losses since 2010, spurring it to raise cash several times. Earlier this year, it started selling shares on the open market. In July, the company said it couldn’t guarantee it would have enough cash to meet funding requirements for the next 12 months.

Hugo Boss boosts up store target
German fashion label Hugo Boss AG raised its target for store expansion this year as new shops helped boost second-quarter sales, offsetting rebates and inventory writedowns. The company will open 65 new stores, Hugo Boss said. The retailer said it aimed to add 50 shops. Sales rose 16 percent to 647 million euros ($708 million) in the second quarter, fuelled by gains in Europe. That topped the 628 million-euro average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The stock traded 0.3 percent lower at 109.85 euros as of 9:08 a.m. in Frankfurt. The company also said its full-year gross profit margin will increase less than it previously expected as it offers higher discounts and writes down inventory. That margin narrowed to 66.5 percent from 66.7 percent in the second quarter.

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