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Salvatore Ferragamo publishes its 2016 sustainability report

Salvatore Ferragamo has published its 2016 sustainability report with deep commitment to social responsibility.

“The creation of sustainable value for the future of the planet and people is a vital and positive challenge for every business,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, President of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group, in the company’s statement announcing the publication of report, adding, “We have always been committed to upholding the principles of social and environmental sustainability.”

Salvatore Ferragamo reveals its 2016 sustainability report

The company said that it has focused its commitment to sustainability on certain macro areas: ‘People; Made in Italy, Products and Relationships with Workers; the Local Area and Culture; and the Environment’, which are explored in depth in the Group’s Sustainability Report. Initiatives range from those aimed at the development and professional growth of the group’s people and the improvement of their wellbeing to its commitment to promoting the local area and preserving artistic heritage, such as the restoration of the famous Fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria, Florence.

The Group also actively participates in a number of social projects, highlighting its commitment to local communities and conducts its business without losing sight of its Made in Italy values.

“Transparency in terms of our economic, social and environmental objectives and activities is an essential to our Group, which, since its foundation, has shared a close attachment to the local area, promoting traditional handcraftsmanship and celebrating the local culture and communities, making these core values the hallmarks of its business. And all this while devoting special attention to environmental protection, cultural heritage and the spirit of innovation,” added Ferragamo.

Ferragamo Group’s commitment to sustainability

The company added that through research into innovative and environmentally-friendly materials, the group has continued the tradition of experimenting with sustainable and alternative materials. Its partnership with Orange Fiber, an all-Italian start-up that makes innovative, vitamin-packed yarns from the by-products of citrus fruit juice, is the company said, an example of how the group combines sustainability with Made In Italy creativity.

“We earned major environmental recognition in 2016, including a LEED Platinum rating for our new building in Osmannoro, outside Florence, and ISO 14064 certification for Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, making it the first green corporate museum in Italy,” Ferragamo said further adding, “To extend our commitment in 2017, we will continue to pursue many new projects for the responsible use of resources and continuous improvement in ecological efficiency”.

The Sustainability Balance 2016 of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group has received the Business International Finance Award 2017 in the category 'Balance, Integrated Reporting, Financial Reporting'.

Photo :Salvatore Feragamo CSR website

YSL wants to double sales

Since hiring Anthony Vaccarello as their creative director, YSL has been rampant about trying to grow their business. While the brand saw impressive growth under previous creative director Hedi Slimane, The company plans on opening 20 stores a year and increase in-house production as they aim to double sales in the next three years.

YSL's target revenue is 2.2 billion dollars for the next three to five years.

Growth has continued to increase under Vaccarello, who has also brought a slate of new celebrity followers, including Nicki Minaj, Robin Wright and Dakota Johnson.

The brand has also become very popular among millennials, with that demographic now making up 70 percent of their customer base.

YSL aims for 2.2 billion in revenue

That is quite a feat for a luxury brand, as millennials are some of the trickiest consumers.

As millennials are slowly entering their years for increased salaries and more stable jobs, they have more disposable income to spend. Saint Laurent, under Slimane and now Vaccarello, has managed to create an aesthetic that appeals to the millennial consumer.

To reach more of their consumers, the company will be focused on store openings in strong growth areas like Shanghai and Beijing. At the end of 2016, YSL had 159 stores worldwide.

As part of their new business plan, YSL will be increasing production at their Tuscan factory.

Kering, which saw 12.4 billion euros in revenue last year, intends to keep growing their billion dollar business, with Saint Laurent as part of the bread and butter of that plan. The luxury conglomerate also owns reputable brands, including Gucci and Alexander McQueen.

photo: via Saint Laurent Facebook page
Lululemon partners with 7mesh to develop performance apparel

Lululemon Athletica and 7mesh Industries have announced a strategic partnership to co-create and push the boundaries in advanced technical apparel.

“We’re always open to unlock opportunities to fuel our innovation pipeline,” said Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin in a statement, adding, “In bringing together 7mesh’s extensive technical apparel expertise and performance-focused mindset with the capabilities of our industry disrupting R&D Whitespace team, we perfectly blend fashion and function to co-create transformational products for our guests.”

Lululemon said, building on the success of its engineered sensation, Whitespace R&D is an investment priority and catalyst for innovation through its creation of new fabrics and construction technologies, product testing and future concept development.

“Working in close partnership with lululemon’s Whitespace team is an incredible opportunity for us. We’re excited to push the state of the art together in co-creating the most advanced technical performance apparel available,” added 7mesh CEO Tyler Jordan.

Located in Squamish, British Columbia, 7mesh is in close proximity to Lululemon’s Vancouver headquarters. Alongside the strategic partnership, Lululemon has also made a minority investment in 7mesh.

Picture:7mesh website

H&M May sales up 4 percent, posts 5 percent rise in Q2

The H&M group’s sales including VAT increased by 4 percent in local currencies in May 2017 compared to the same month the previous year. Converted into SEK, the company’s sales increased by 8 percent. H&M said that in the first half of the month sales were affected by tough market conditions in several countries and sales improved considerably in the second half of the month.

In the second quarter period, from March 1 to May 31, 2017, sales including VAT increased by 5 percent in local currencies compared to the corresponding quarter the previous year. Converted into SEK sales including VAT increased by 10 percent and amounted to 59,538 million Swedish krona (6,485 million dollars) compared to 54,341 million Swedish krona (6,247 million dollars) for the same quarter last year. Sales excluding VAT amounted to 51,383 million Swedish krona (5,907 million dollars) against 46,874 million Swedish krona (5,388 million dollars), representing an increase of 10 percent.

The total number of stores in the group were 4,498 on May 31, 2017 compared to 4,077 stores on May 31, 2016. The company added that the amounts are provisional and may deviate slightly from the six-month report, covering the period December 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017.

Picture:H&M website

Mulberry's annual revenues witness 8 percent revenue growth

Mulberry said in its preliminary results announcement that total revenue grew by 8 percent to 168.1 million pounds (214 million dollars) for the year ended March 31, 2017. Profit before tax was 7.5 million pounds (9.5 million dollars) against 6.2 million pounds (7.8 million dollars) last year.

Commenting on the company’s annual results, Thierry Andretta, Mulberry CEO said in a statement, "During the year we have made good progress. Our sales and profits are growing, enhancing our strong cash position. We have advanced our international growth strategy with a new partnership in Asia and the continued expansion of our omni-channel offer in key markets."

Key initiatives boost annual revenues at Mulberry

Mulberry said that during the year, a significant number of new products were launched under the creative direction of Johnny Coca. The Zipped Bayswater became an immediate bestseller since its launch during October 2016 and the family will be further extended in coming seasons. The bag was highlighted during the marketing campaign, "Modern Heritage", which ran during April and May 2017.

Global digital sales were up 19 percent to 25.5 million pounds (32 million dollars) for the period, accounting for 15 percent of group revenue. Retail sales including digital were up 8 percent to 128.3 million pounds (163 million dollars) for the period with like-for-like sales up 5 percent.

A number of services were added to the Group's omni-channel offer during the period and local mulberry.com sites were introduced in China and Korea. In the USA, a local distribution centre was established in order to facilitate local fulfilment. There were 67 directly operated stores at the end of the period. The year witnessed relocation of the Covent Garden and Bicester stores; and acquisition of the store in Sydney, Australia and through the Mulberry Asia agreement, signed at the end of the financial year, the group acquired one store in Hong Kong post year-end.

Mulberry will acquire two stores in China, and one concession in Taiwan during the financial year ending March 2018. In North America, two stores were closed, New York (Madison Avenue) and Washington, the digital offer was enhanced and sales commenced to the Nordstrom department store chain.

Wholesale revenue, comprising sales to partner stores and selective multi-brand wholesale accounts, increased 7 percent to 39.8 million pounds (50.6 million dollars). The franchise store network at the period end had a total of 52 stores in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The four stores acquired by Mulberry Asia will join the group's own Retail store portfolio during the financial year to March 2018. Selective new wholesale accounts were opened in Europe, North America and Asia.

Profit before tax was 7.5 million pounds (9.5 million dollars) against 6.2 million pounds (7.8 million dollars) last year, after accounting for non-recurring costs relating to activities in North Asia, adverse currency movements and non-cash store impairments. The board of Mulberry has recommended the payment of a dividend of 5.0p per ordinary share.

Like-for-like sales up 1 percent as of June 3, 2017

Like-for-like retail sales including digital were up 1 percent for the 10 weeks to June 3, 2017. In the UK, like-for-like sales were up 2 percent and the company said, sales continue to benefit from an increase in tourist spending in London, although domestic demand has been softer. International like-for-like sales show a weakening in non-strategic locations with management continuing to focus on the optimisation of the store network.

Picture:Facebook/Mulberry

Global Brands Group posts 11.6 percent rise in annual revenue

Announcing its first set of 12-month results since moving the company’s financial year end date to March 31, Global Brands Group said that it achieved a solid performance despite a tough business environment. During the reporting period, the group revenue increased by 11.6 percent to 3,891 million dollars. The company’s total margin improved from 33.9 percent to 36.4 percent as a percentage of revenue.

“I am pleased to report that Global Brands delivered solid results for the year ended 31 March 2017. Despite a tough business environment, we achieved one of the strongest levels of topline growth in the industry, alongside continued improvement in our margins and profitability,” commented Bruce Rockowitz, the company’s Chief Executive Officer & Vice Chairman in a media release.

Operating profit rises 64.5 percent

The company added that compared to the same period last year, both core operating profit and net profit attributable to shareholders posted a strong increase of 64.5 percent and 89.4 percent and reached 173 million dollars and 90 million dollars, respectively, while adjusted net profit attributable to shareholders also increased by 49.4 percent to 72 million dollars. The company’s EBITDA increased by 26.3 percent to 380 million dollars.

Global Brands discloses its results in accordance with the group’s four business verticals: kids, men’s and women’s fashion, footwear and accessories, and brand management. For the reporting period, the company said, kids business performed strongly because its characters business continued to deliver consistently, while kids fashion business also performed well on the back of strong growth of brands such as Under Armour. Segment revenue grew by 3.9 percent to 1,603 million dollars, while total margin increased by 9.9 percent to 584 million dollars. Core operating profit increased by 62.2 percent to 76 million dollars.

Revenue from men’s and women’s fashion increased by 31.5 percent to 820 million dollars compared to the same period last year, while total margin increased by 47.8 percent to 353 million dollars due to growth of businesses as well as the addition of new licenses. For the reporting period, core operating profit increased by 78.6 percent to 73 million dollars.

Revenue from footwear and accessories segment increased by 5.6 percent to 1,281 million dollars, while total margin increased by 13.6 percent to 428 million dollars due to new businesses and improved business mix in favour of higher-margin businesses. Footwear and accessories recorded a core operating profit of 8 million dollars for the period under review.

Brand management business saw considerable growth, largely driven by the formation of CAA-GBG, with revenue reaching 188 million dollars and total margin of 50 million dollars. Core operating profit for the reporting period was 17 million dollars.

The geographic split of the group’s revenue was 80 percent North America, 15 percent Europe/Middle East and 5 percent Asia.

Over the course of the past three financial years, our first Three-Year Plan as an independent company, we have made significant strides in establishing a solid foundation for our business and were able to deliver compound annual growth of 5.8 percent in revenue, and 9 percent in core operating profit, and 8.7 percent in EBITDA, while total margin percentage increased by over 500 basis points. As we enter into our new Three-Year Plan (fiscal year 2018 to 2020), we will continue to focus on growth with the goal of reaching 5 billion dollars in revenue by the end of fiscal year 2020, improving our total margin percentage by 150 basis points, and increasing EBITDA by 50 percent,” added Rockowitz.

Picture:Kenneth Cole website

Gerry Weber H1 revenues decline 3.6 percent

In the first half from November 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017, consolidated sales revenues of the Gerry Weber Group were down 3.6 percent on the same period of the previous year to 427.8 million euros (480 million dollars).

Commenting on the first half trading, Ralf Weber, CEO of Gerry Weber International said in a press release, “The figures for the first six months of 2016/17 are fully to plan, which makes us optimistic that we will reach the objectives we have set ourselves for the full financial year. The market environment remains difficult but we responded at an early state.”

Core retail segment revenues down 6.8 percent

The company said, its core brands – Gerry Weber, Taifun, Samoon and Talkabout contributed 334.9 million euros (375 million dollars) compared to 352 million euros (394 million dollars) in first half of the previous year, to total group revenues. Hallahuber, the Munich-based subsidiary, generated 92.9 million euros (103 million dollars), contributing around 21.7 percent to group revenues.

The core retail segment generated 192.3 million euros (215 million dollars) in revenues and the wholesale segment recorded revenues of 142.6 million euros (160 million dollars). The company said, 6.8 percent decline in the core retail segment’s revenues is primarily attributable to the closure of 115 core brand stores in the context of the Fit4Growth programme.

The company added that after declining at a disproportionate rate in the past financial year, like-for-like retail revenues stabilised at market level in the first six months of the current financial year, dropping by 3.4 percent in the first quarter and 1.5 percent in the second quarter.

Revenues generated by the Gerry Weber online shops are contributed 13.9 million euros (15.6 million dollars) to core retail sales, representing an increase of 11.6 percent compared to the first half of the previous year. The online share of core retail sales thus increased from 6 percent to 7.2 percent. Hallhuber’s online operations generated revenues of 9.1 million euros (102 million dollars) in H1 2016/17, up 7.1 percent on the previous year. Online revenues thus accounted for 9.8 percent of Hallhuber’s total revenues.

Sales revenues of the Gerry Weber core wholesale segment declined by 2.1 percent to 142.6 million euros (160 million dollars). The Hallhuber brand contributed 92.9 million euros (104 million dollars) to group revenues in H1 2016/17. Although sales revenues remained almost unchanged, the brand’s gross margin improved from 60.6 percent in the first half of the previous year to 63.3 percent in the reporting period.

The group’s consolidated EBITDA was down by 3.3 percent to 28.9 million euros (32 million dollars). The group’s consolidated EBIT decreased to 6 million euros (6.7 million dollars) in H1 2016/17.

Expects 2016/17 revenues to be down 2 to 4 percent

The company added that in view of the prevailing challenging market conditions and the performance in the first six months of 2016/17, the managing board confirms the forecast for the full year and expects sales revenues to be 2 percent to 4 percent lower than in the previous year and consolidated EBITDA reported of between 60 million euros and 70 million euros (67 to 78 million dollars) compared to previous year’s 77.3 million euros (86 million dollars).

Consolidated EBIT reported is expected to amount to between 10 million euros and 20 million euros (11 to 22 million dollars).

Picture:Gerry Weber website

Things aren't looking good for Lanvin

France's oldest luxury fashion label is facing one of its darkest hours. Sales are in a slump, losses are set to widen this year, and a cost cutting strategy is leaving employees in panic. Reports of Lanvin's dire situation first broke on Reuters.

Lanvin holds the distinction of being one of the last independent major fashion labels, while many of its competitors belong to luxury fashion conglomerates like LVMH and Kering.

In 2015, the brand fired famed creative director Alber Elbaz, who was credited with reviving the stagnant luxury label. Elbaz, a celebrity among fashion designers, created feminine silhouettes, and his public persona was a major force in driving the brand's success.

In contrast, his successor Bouchra Jarrar, who was tasked with boosting the brand's, has designed more tailored, conservative silhouettes, that customers clearly aren't responding too. She is also not as big in the public eye. Her first collection for the brand did poorly, and the second collection didn't do much better.

Lanvin's sales are still in a slump

A source with access to the company's results told Reuters that sales fell 23 percent last year to 162 million euros, compared to their peak of 235 million euros.

Sales took a further decline in 2017 of 32 percent. Although it is a difficult time for retailers, rival brands such as Gucci are still doing. The luxury consumer just isn't going for Lanvin.

The company has appointed advisory firm Long Term Partners to look at ways to reduce costs and shutter stores. They are already plans to layoff nine people, and reduce advertising spending and store investments.

In the face of declining business, some employees are already leaving and given the negative press, they are also having trouble attracting talent.

Their shareholders are also reluctant to invest more cash into the business. Controlling shareholder Shaw-Lan Wang has hesitated to invest in the brand for years, and won't let Swiss investor Ralph Bartel invest into the business either to prevent him from diluting her stake.

Given the era of designer musical chairs we live in, if Jarrar doesn't turn the brand around soon, it is possible that Lanvin will start seeking a new designer.

While the company has long remained independent, if their sales continue to struggle, there is also the possibility a luxury conglomerate like LVMH could try and scoop them up if the opportunity presented itself. However, that idea is still a far off hypothetical.

photo: via Lanvin Facebook page
EU Parliament urged to investigate Bangladesh labor violations

Non-profit organization Clean Clothes Campaign is urging members of the European Parliament to open a trade investigation into labor rights abuses as part of a resolution on Bangladesh which will be debated this Wednesday.

If voted through, the investigation would be carried out by the European Commission in order to assess if the ongoing repressions of trade unions rights in Bangladesh should disqualify the country from having preferential trading terms with the EU. The move comes after a significant increase in violent repressions. Last December saw wage strikes met with mass dismissals, raids on trade union offices and the arrest of over 30 labor leaders. Although an agreement in February 2017 led to the release of the arrested labor leaders, they continue to face charges which include a potential prison sentence. In addition, workers still have not been reinstated following their dismissals in December 2016.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is also concerned with the recent attacks, threats and criminal charges leaders and members of the Bangladesh Industrial and Garment Union Federation (BIGUF) have faced over the last months. Although the European Union response to these events has seen an increase in the level of communication with the Bangladeshi government, it has fallen short of any meaningful action argues the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Bangladesh has been given the deadline of August 2017 to honor its commitments in the field of labour reform and formulate a clear plan of labour law reform, which is set to be implemented by June 2018 by the European Union following the annual review of the Sustainability Compact between Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organization (ILO). But the Clean Clothes Campaign believes that this is just another deadline Bangladesh will fail to adhere to, as the international community, including the ILO supervisory bodies, have repeatedly stated that the Government of Bangladesh is not willing to guarantee minimum international labor standards and are urging for a stronger and more immediate response.

"The government of Bangladesh has had enough time to carry through the necessary labor reform it committed to so many years ago. The December crackdown and the recent violence show that the situation has in no way improved; to the contrary, it has deteriorated," stated Ben Vanpeperstraete of Clean Clothes Campaign. "It is vital that the European Union starts a clear investigation into whether the Government of Bangladesh is complying with its obligations under the Everything But Arms trade agreement."

Photo: Clean Clothes Campaign, Facebook

The number of countries experiencing physical violence and threats against workers has risen by ten per cent in just a year.

Attacks on union members have been documented in 59 countries, fuelling growing anxiety about jobs and wages. Corporate interests are put ahead of the interests of working people in the global economy, with 60 per cent of countries excluding whole categories of workers from labor laws.

Unionists have been murdered in eleven countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Mauritania, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and Venezuela.

Working people are being denied the basic rights through which they can organise and collectively bargain for a fair share. This, along with growing constraints on freedom of speech, is driving populism and threatening democracy itself.

The Middle East and North Africa are the worst regions for treatment of workers, with the kafala system in the Gulf still enslaving millions of people. The absolute denial of basic workers' rights remains in place in Saudi Arabia. In countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, conflict and breakdown of the rule of law means workers have no guarantee of labor rights. In conflict-torn Yemen, 6,50,000 public sector workers have not been paid for more than eight months. The continued occupation of Palestine also means that workers there are denied their rights and the chance to find decent jobs.