Blog: Leonie BarrieOnline fashion's winning ways

Leonie Barrie | 5 May 2009

The compelling combination of young fashion and internet shopping continues to boost results at online retailer Asos, which last week said it expects full-year profits to be ahead of expectations after sales jumped 104% to GBP165m (US$240.6m). And its soaraway success seems set to continue in the current year, after sales in the four weeks to 24 April rose 80% year-on-year.

But Asos is not resting on its laurels. It recently launched Little Asos, a branded kids’ wear offer and Designers at Asos, a premium and luxury branded range. And it has signed a number of new brands for summer 2009 including Mango, Hackett, Gant and Mini Boden.

From August, it will also carry Gap apparel and accessories for women, men, kids and babies – marking the first time the US fashion chain will sell its clothing online to UK consumers.

There was also good news from UK retailer JJB Sports, which has been saved from a possible collapse by a vote in favour of company voluntary arrangements (CVA) proposals by creditors. It means the sporting goods chain avoids going into administration, and will pay landlords of closed stores with one-off payments instead of ongoing rent.

But for the US’ Jones Apparel Group, charges and lower sales have resulted in a 98.5% slump in first quarter profit, with the retailer now planning to shut 225 stores in the next few years as it ‘right-sizes’ its retail portfolio. Quarterly profit tumbled to US$0.3m from $19.5m, and revenues were down 8.6% to $891m.

Underwear specialist Hanesbrands, meanwhile, is cutting 250 management posts after unveiling a slump in first quarter profits and a double-digit sales decline. The company posted a US$19.3m loss for the period, as sales of its innerwear, outerwear and hosiery fell 13% to $857.8m after retailers tightened their inventories.

And just days after hailing the apparent success of the latest IMB - World of Textile Processing trade show in Cologne, Germany, organisers say its future is now in doubt after a major sponsor decided to back a rival new fair being launched in two years' time. In a surprise announcement, the German Garment and Leather Technology Association of the Federation of German Machine and Plant Manufacturers (VDMA) says it intends to partner Texprocess, an event being launched in Frankfurt in May 2011 alongside Techtextil, the international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens.



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