Blog: Leonie BarrieHudson's Bay heads upscale with Saks

Leonie Barrie | 5 August 2013

A $2.9bn deal that brings together the Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue brands into a combined company with 320 stores in the US and Canada was finally confirmed last week after months of speculation. 

But the acquisition of US luxury retailer Saks by Canadian department store retailer Hudson's Bay Company garnered a mixed reaction from analysts - with one saying it "undervalues" the shares while another describing it as a "compelling" offer.

Change is also afoot at apparel giant PVH Corp, which has set out a transition process that will see two of its top executives - Fred Gehring and Paul Murry - step into reduced roles in around three years' time. Gehring is currently CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Group and CEO of international operations at PVH, while Murry is CEO of the Calvin Klein business.

Around 80 mainly European brands and retailers who have signed up to the Accord on Fire and Safety in Bangladesh are now starting to look at the scale of the issues they face in rolling out the scheme. Meetings with Bangladeshi stakeholders last week focused on the practicalities of improving safety in the country's ready-made garment industry.

The use of mobile phones to monitor labour abuses in apparel-making countries - including Bangladesh - is emerging as an accelerating trend this year, as brands and retailers come under increasing pressure to be more accountable for their supply chains. We look at two programmes being used by Marks & Spencer and Wal-Mart.

And new figures suggest cotton prices will rise in 2013/14, due to the expected tightening of stocks outside of China. The forecast comes despite predictions that cotton stocks are set to reach a new high at the end of the season.

In its drive to become more ethical and environmentally-friendly, the fashion and textile industry is facing numerous challenges and opportunities. In this month's management briefing, just-style looks at how firms are seeking sustainable options such as eco-labels and closed loop supply chains, as well as acting to reduce their toxic chemical use.

Meanwhile, Eastern Europe was one of the world's biggest opportunities for apparel retailers in 2012. But despite the region's overall glowing prospects compared to its Western European counterpart, there is a marked contrast between fast-growing Russia and Ukraine and all other markets.

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