Blog: Leonie BarrieGap upbeat on Q2 results

Leonie Barrie | 20 August 2012

A 29% surge in second quarter profit, driven by across-the-board comparable store sales increases for its main brands, has prompted fashion retailer Gap Inc to raise its full-year guidance. The headlines from the three months' trading saw a particularly strong performance in North America, where Gap and Banana Republic each saw gains of 7%, while Old Navy was up 3%.

It's the second quarter in a row where comps were driven almost equally across all three of its brands - and the company believes growth has been helped by product teams responding to "seasonality" and making sure the correct items are in its stores.

US department store operator JC Penney has stressed its transformation plans remain on track - despite changing its pricing model for a second time after it swung to a second quarter loss and admitting it won't meet full-year forecasts. The retailer's CEO says it is making "extraordinary progress" even though it booked a loss of US$147m in the three months to 28 July as comparable sales tumbled 21.7%.

But cashmere and knitwear specialist Dawson International has finally put its UK business into administration after failing to resolve its pension problems. The move puts the jobs of around 180 staff at risk and follows a warning last month that such a step might be imminent. Administrators are seeking a buyer for the Barrie knitwear operation.

As the new cotton season gets underway, the latest forecasts suggest international prices in the year ahead are likely to continue to remain low - but that much will depend on how the Chinese government handles its national reserve and on the timing and amount of additional import quotas.

And if Bangladesh wants to stop Western clothing brands and retailers from shifting their sourcing elsewhere, factory owners must improve productivity so they can afford higher wages and bring an end to recurrent labour unrest, industry experts have told just-style.

The latest figures show Bangladesh's woven garment exports grew by nearly 12% in July despite the economic meltdown in the United States and the European Union, although there was little change in knitwear shipments.


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