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TFG London, the owner of premium British brands Phase Eight, Hobbs, Whistles, Damsel in a Dress and Studio 8 said in its interim financial results for the six months to September 30, 2018, that the company reported sales of 200.4million pounds (252 million dollars) compared to 133 million pounds in the same period last year. After the integration of the Hobbs brand into TFG portfolio, the company added, Meg Lustman, Hobbs’ CEO is stepping down in January to explore alternative non-executive positions in the sector.

Commenting on the first half trading, Ben Barnett, Chief Executive of TFG London, said in a statement: “The strong first half performance at TFG London, achieved in a tough trading climate, has been achieved through a relentless customer focus, with the successful delivery of conversion initiatives across our online channels and with greater breadth and depth of stock availability.”

TFG reports comparable sales growth of 2.3 percent

All brands under its fold achieved double-digit online growth with total sales growth of 50.7 percent against the prior year, including the Hobbs brand, which was acquired in the second half of 2017. Comparable sales grew by 2.3 percent.

The company’s EBITDA was 13.7 million pounds (17.2 million dollars) compared to 14.8 million pounds last year. The company added that EBITDA was 16.2 million pounds (20.3 million dollars) excluding additional 2.5 million pounds write off for House of Fraser. TFG opened 68 stores and concessions with 21 new openings across nine international markets.

TFG appoints new managing directors to lead its three divisions

The company also announced the appointments of dedicated managing director into each of its three largest divisions, effective from January 2019:

Simon Pickering is joining Phase Eight as Managing Director with a wealth of retail experience, gained through key product, trading and digital roles at brands including Fat Face, Reiss, Arcadia and latterly House of Fraser. Justin Hampshire will join Hobbs as Managing Director. Hampshire had stepped into the role of managing director at Whistles in September 2016. He has previously held senior leadership roles including: CFO at Whistles; Crew Clothing as COO; and Marchpole as CFO.

Additionally, the company said, Helen Williamson will move into the role of Managing Director at Whistles, who had joined Whistles as commercial director in February 2015, and was appointed to the role of brand director in September 2016.

“Justin and Helen have been instrumental in driving the growth of the Whistles brand since its acquisition by TFG London in March 2016, and I am delighted to welcome them into their new roles within the Group,” added Barnett.

Picture:Facebook/Hobbs London

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

British business magnate and founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, has said that a hard Brexit would be disastrous for the UK and would force many british business to close, leaving the country “near bankrupt”.

“I think that Theresa May just needs to be 100 percent honest with the public,” Branson told the BBC. “She’s admitted that her Brexit wouldn’t be as good as staying in the EU. She’s admitted that a hard Brexit would be an absolute disaster for the british people.”

Sir Richard commented on the weakening of the pound surrounding Brexit uncertainty. “When we were in the EU a couple of years ago the gross national product of Great Britain was the best in Europe - it’s now the worst and we haven’t even gone into a hard Brexit.

"If British business suffers, British people will suffer"

“Before the Brexit vote the pound was nearly 1.55 [dollars] , it’s now at 1.23. If we have a hard Brexit it will have dropped to parity with the dollar.”

“It’s now very very clear that Britain will be near bankrupt if we push ahead with something like a hard Brexit.”

Sir Richard also voiced his concerns about the future of UK businesses if a hard Brexit went ahead. “I’m absolutely certain that quite a few British businesses will close if there’s a hard Brexit.”

"If British business suffers, British people will suffer, and it's really really important that people realise that."

This comes following a week of tension in UK politics, with Theresa May delaying MPs’ vote on her Brexit deal, then winning a vote of no confidence in the conservative party.

Photo credit: Photo credit: Pexels, Dom J / GfK

Author: Huw Hughes
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

The turnaround of high street department store chain House of Fraser is facing significant challenge. Parent company Sports Direct chief Mike Ashley stated the company is facing a multitude of challenges to turn the ailing store group into the "Harrods of the high street."

Ashley this week unveiled Sports Direct's half-yearly results which in the 26 weeks to 28 October, it saw a 62 percent rise in pre-tax profits year-on-year to 74.4 million pounds.

"Outside of the House of Fraser acquisition, the Sports Direct Group has had another successful period," said Ashley. He added that excluding the department store chain, Sports Direct expected to be within its forecast for growth of between 5 to 15% percent by the end of the financial year. Including House of Fraser, we expect to be behind last year's result."

Sports Direct non-executive chairman David Daly said: "The fact that Sports Direct is responsible for saving thousands of jobs at House of Fraser, at a time when the High Street is under immense pressure, is an achievement of which everybody in the Group should be extremely proud."

In October Sports Direct said it had "dismissed the former directors and senior management of House of Fraser," which many regarded as unnecessarily abrupt. Two months earlier, in August, the company paid 90m pounds for the acquisition of the group's 58 UK stores.

Photo credit: House of Fraser website; article source: BBC

Author: Don-Alvin Adegeest
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

For the year to March 25, 2018, EBITDA losses at Cath Kidston reached 10.5 million pounds compared to 8.4 million pounds, last year due to currency fluctuations, reports Retail Gazette. However, the company posted a 1.2 percent increase in revenues to 130.7 million pounds for the year under review.

The report quoted the company’s Chief executive Melinda Paraie, saying: “During the period the group continued to grow top-line sales, despite significant headwinds in some of the markets in which we operate.”

The company’s sales in the UK rose by 5.1 percent year on year to 91.3 million pounds. Cath Kidston also witnessed strong growth in Asian markets, with sales in Japan rising by 5.4 percent. The company opened doors to four new stores during the period under review and now operates 32 stores in the country. While sales growth in the region was driven by ecommerce, the company aims to launch 10 new stores in the coming year. In China, Cath Kidston signed a new franchise agreement, through which it plans to open 50 stores over the next five years.

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

Myer Holding Limited has announced the departure of Bob Thorn from the Myer Board. The company said that Thorn would be stepping down from his position in February 2019.

Commenting on Thorn’s decision, Myer Chairman Garry Hounsell said in a statement: “On behalf of the board and the executive team, I would like to thank Bob for his significant contribution to the company during the past five years. I will continue to honour my commitment to shareholders in relation to board renewal to ensure we have the right mix of skills and experience on the board.”

“It has been an honour to be a director of Myer, and I thank shareholders for the trust they placed in me. However, after discussions with my family, I have decided to cease public company boards in 2019,” added Thorn.

Picture:Myer website

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

For its first half to September 30, 2018, Indian online fashion retailer Koovs Plc said that revenues were down by 40 percent at 195.9 million Indian rupees (2.7 million dollars), due to reduced gross order value and an increase in sales tax. However the company’s pre-tax loss reduced by 10 percent to 580.9 million India rupees (8 million dollars) driven by cash preservation and cost saving initiatives. With funding now secured, in the second half, the company said that the group has begun to rebuild stock levels and resume marketing activities, delivering encouraging green shoots.

Commenting on the trading performance, Lord Alli, Chairman of Koovs, said in a statement: "There is no doubt that the business faced significant challenges over the past year. Our primary focus in H1 was to secure new funding to support Koovs' growth and conserve cash to sustain the business by reducing marketing and our stock levels. I am delighted that during the period we secured commitment for up to 45 million pounds of new investment, which includes funding from FLFL, part of India's largest retail business Future Group, and further strategic investment from existing partner HT Media."

The company added that prior to securing funding in September 2018 marketing spend was reduced by 46 percent and stock levels by 49 percent to conserve cash. Gross order value for the first half was down by 32 percent impacted by the reduction in marketing and stock and trading margin decreased to 14 percent compared to 18 percent last year as full price sales were impacted by a lack of new stock.

Koovs secures funding from FLFL, appoints Avni Biyani to its board of directors

During the period, The group secured investment of up to 45 million pounds (56.7 million dollars) with 21.8 million pounds already received in Q2, which Koovs said will help in delivering scalable growth over the coming years. The funding is comprised of 5.8 million pounds (7.3 million dollars) from Future Lifestyle Fashion Limited (FLFL), part of Future Group in July 2018, with an additional 9.5 million pounds to 10.5 million pounds to be subscribed for upon satisfaction of certain conditions. Once the subscription is completed FLFL will be Koovs' largest shareholder with approximately 29 percent of the issued share capital. HT Media - owner of the Hindustan Times made media-for-equity investment worth 17.1 million pounds (21.5 million dollars) over four years, while 12 million pounds (15 million dollars) were secured from directors and existing and new shareholders.

"The funding secured in H1 allows us to get back to business and in H2 to date we have restarted marketing activities and expanded the product range, increasing the current trading margin," added Mary Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Koovs.

The company also announced the appointment of Avni Kishore Kumar Biyani as Non-Executive Director with effect from January 1, 2019. Biyani is a director of Future Lifestyle Fashions Limited, a significant shareholder in Koovs plc and part of India's largest retail business Future Group. She is also a director of Future Ideas Company Limited, Surplus Finvest Private Limited, Future Capital Investment Private Limited, Hain Future Natural Products Private Limited and Mibelle Future Consumer Products AG. The company said, she has been closely involved with the conception and launch of Future Group's fashion brands such as Cover Story, and is the founder and concept head of India's gourmet chain Foodhall, which is also part of Future Group.

Additionally, the company said that non-executive Director Anant Nahata is stepping down from his position on the board of Koovs. He had founded the Koovs online fashion platform with Chairman Waheed Alli in 2013 and has been a major contributor to its development as a technology-driven fashion e-commerce destination in India.


Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

Southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce company, Alibaba-owned Lazada Group, has announced that its executive president Pierre Poignant will succeed Lucy Peng as CEO of the Lazada Group with immediate effect as part of the group’s succession planning. Peng will remain executive chairwoman of the Lazada Group.

“Pierre is a well-respected Lazada co-founder, who has contributed tirelessly to the company for the past six years. He and the team of other co-founders had the vision to build our logistics network from the ground up back in the days when no one in Southeast Asia believed in e-commerce – this valuable asset has now set us apart from the competition. Over the years, Pierre has consistently delivered beyond his call of duty and excelled in every role he has taken up,” commented Peng in a press release on 13th December 2018.

Poignant thanked Peng for the confidence and trust that was placed in him. He also paid tribute to Lazada employees “for walking the long journey” with him since Lazada’s launch in 2012. Back then, Poignant engineered the development and expansion of Lazada’s logistics footprint and built the company’s e-logistics capabilities. Over the years, he assumed other roles with Lazada such as COO, overseeing customer service, supply chain and content production.

Pierre Poignant will succeed Lucy Peng as CEO

Poignant was appointed group executive president in August 2018. He will lead the company’s strategic development and find new growth pillars, while continuing to manage Lazada’s operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, working closely with country CEOs and regional functional team leaders.

Lucy Peng took over from CEO Max Bittner who had managed the online retailer since its launch in 2012 in March of this year when Alibaba doubled its investment in the start-up to four billion US dollars to integrate it more deeply into its own infrastructure. The Chineses online giant took control of Lazada in April 2016 for one billion US dollars and invested another billion in 2017 when former owner Rocket Internet sold all of its shares to Alibaba in June.

According to Poignant, Lazada has benefitted from the Alibaba ecosystem, from the technological prowess to the logistics network. “2018 is a turning point for Lazada. We have improved and evolved and now come out stronger, more efficient, and more agile than the start of the year. Our transformation has just begun and I am confident next year will be another watershed year,” he said.

Lazada currently offers exposure and market access to over 155,000 merchants, 3,000 brands, 100 logistics partners and 300 million SKUs in categories ranging from beauty, fashion, and consumer electronics to household goods, toys, sports equipment and groceries. The online retailer reaches over 560 million potential customers in the region. Its latest valuation was 3.15 billion US dollars.

Photo: Lazada
Author: Simone Preuss
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

Tom Tailor Holding SE has reaffirmed its medium-term growth targets in a continuously challenging market environment and said that it will focus on continuing the successful growth strategy of the Tom Tailor core brand. The company added that weaker than expected operational performance of Bonita will lower the EBITDA of the group. Biggest shareholder Fosun Group, with 28.89 percent stake, as well as the financing banks have supported further development of Tom Tailor and the restructuring plans for Bonita. In addition, the supervisory board will appoint Karsten Oberheide, managing director of Bonita GmbH since September 2018, to the Tom Tailor board as of January 1, 2019.

"The measures we have introduced are the right steps at the right time for strengthening the group in the current market environment", said Dr Heiko Schäfer, CEO of Tom Tailor Holding in a statement, adding, “We give the new management team of Bonita the space it needs to keep following the restructuring course for the future and this may also entail a sale of Bonita."

Tom Tailor lowers full year EBITDA target

Focusing on growth of its core Tom Tailor business, the company said, strategic priorities in this context include profitable growth in the existing core business, online in the B2C and B2B segments, in the ladies' outerwear segment, by further internationalising the brand and though the "younger" line Tom Tailor Denim.

The company further added that in order to be able to manage implementing the program more stringently and to reflect the future status of BONITA as an independent business unit, the new Bonita department has been created on the management board of the Tom Tailor Group, with full responsibility for the results of the subsidiary. Based on the new multi-year-plan reflecting the weaker development of the Bonita, the group will write down 120-130 million euros against the value of the BONITA brand.

While the group's annual sales targets remain unchanged between 840 and 860 million euros, Tom Tailor now expects to generate an EBITDA margin of 6-6.5 per cent for the financial year 2018. The management board expects the business unit Tom Tailor to reach an EBITDA-margin of >10 per cent, while Bonita is expected to finish the business year with a negative EBITDA-margin.

For 2021 the group expects Tom Tailor to deliver a moderate single-digit compound annual growth rate in sales and an EBITDA-margin of 11 to 13 per cent. In the same time the group expects the business unit Bonita to remain flat in terms of sales and to deliver an EBITDA-margin of 4 to 6 per cent.

Picture:Tom Tailor media centre

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

L Brands, Inc., has announced that following its previously disclosed comprehensive review process, it has signed a definitive agreement to transfer ownership and operating control of La Senza – inclusive of the home office organization, North American stores and e-commerce and international partnerships – to an affiliate of Regent LP, a global private equity firm.

The company said in a statement that it will sell 100 percent of its assets in La Senza in exchange for the buyer’s agreement to assume La Senza’s operating liabilities and to provide L Brands potential future consideration upon the sale or other monetization of La Senza, as defined in the agreement. The company expects to complete the transaction and transfer ownership in January.

L Brands, which bought the Canadian chain La Senza for about 700 million dollars in early 2007, estimates that La Senza’s 2018 revenues and operating loss will be approximately 250 million dollars and 40 million dollars or approximately 12 cents per share, respectively.

Picture:Facebook/La Senza

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”

Third quarter revenues at Cherokee Global Brands decreased 25 percent to 5.8 million dollars in the third quarter, as the company said, it continues to transition from its DTR licenses to new wholesale licensing partners in the United States, which was partially offset by revenues from the company’s new product development and design agreement. Revenue generated from the Hi-Tec brand portfolio grew 1.6 million dollars to 8.6 million dollars for the nine-month period, an increase of 22 percent compared to the first nine months of the prior year.

“Although it’s early, our licensees and retail partners are seeing a significant revenue opportunity for the Hi-Tec portfolio of brands as they introduce new categories into new distribution channels on a global scale,” said Henry Stupp, the company’s CEO in a statement, adding, “Looking to the remainder of fiscal 2019 and beyond, we intend to expand the reach of our brand portfolio through category growth, new territories, new design partnerships and new licensees.”

Cherokee Q3 revenues decline

The company added that year-over-year decline in revenue largely reflects the transition of the company’s Tony Hawk, Cherokee, and the Liz Lange brands in the US from a direct-to-retail model to new wholesale licensing partners. Revenues in the prior year quarter included 2.4 million dollars from non-renewed licenses and Flip Flop Shops, which was divested in June 2018. These declines were partially offset by revenues from the company’s new multi-year product development and design agreement in China. Revenues from relationships that existed in the third quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 0.4 million dollars or 8 percent year over year.

Revenues for the first nine months were 18.3 million dollars, a decrease of 4.2 million dollars or 19 percent. Non-renewed licenses and Flip Flop Shops represented 8 million dollars of revenues in the first nine months of the prior year. These declines were partially offset by revenue increases for the Cherokee and Hi-Tec portfolio of brands along with revenues from the new product development and design agreement. Revenues from relationships that existed in the first nine months of the year increased 3.8 million dollars or 26 percent.

Net income from continuing operations was 0.1 million dollars or zero cents per diluted share in the third quarter of the current year, as compared to a net loss of 2.4 million dollars or 17 cents per diluted share in the prior year. The net loss from continuing operations for the first nine months was 11.7 million dollars or 83 cents per diluted share, compared to net loss of 10.7 million dollars or 81 cents per diluted share in the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 1.1 million dollars or 68 percent to 2.6 million dollars for the third quarter compared to 1.6 million dollars in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA during the first nine months increased 2.8 million dollars or 69 percent to 6.7 million dollars compared to 4 million dollars in the first nine months of the prior year.

The company is narrowing its guidance for the fiscal year ending February 2, 2019 and expects revenues to be in the range of 25 to 26 million dollars and adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of 9 to 10 million dollars.

Picture:Facebook/Cherokee USA

Author: Prachi Singh
Posted: ”14-12-2018”