It’s the start of a whole new year and fashion brands and retailers are keen to get their houses in order as evidenced by the raft of acquisition and divestment announcements in the last week of 2023.

As we shut up shop for 2023, Sri Lankan clothing manufacturer PDS’ subsidiary Norlanka announced it was taking a 26% stake in kidswear maker Noblewear as it looks to broaden its manufacturing footprint in key locations.

And around the same time, Wolverine Worldwide announced the sale of its minority ownership in Merrell and Saucony which owns the Saucony intellectual property in China, to Chinese sportswear manufacturer Xtep for $61m. Wolverine’s plans are part of a wider initiative to restructure the company, following a 23.7% decline in revenue in Q3.

Meanwhile, Frasers Group continued its aggressive expansion with the addition of Matches to its portfolio in a £52m ($65.82m) deal.

While acquisitions appear to be the flavour of the month as companies aim to grow their presence globally, we return to the age-old adage of there being more than one way to skin a cat (not literally, of course, because we love our furry friends!) But it is clear fashion brands and retailers are eager to start 2024 with streamlined organisations and create more efficient and nimble operations, whether via leadership shakeups or tweaks to how their supply chains function.

Nike Inc for example warned jobs are set to go in the new year as it looks to realise $2bn in cumulative cost savings over the next three years.

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Meanwhile, Gildan is coming under significant pressure from shareholders after it moved to replace CEO Glenn Chamandy with Vince Tyra. While Gildan is defending its position, shareholders are pushing for a “significant reconstitution of the board,” warning that the move is value-destructive.

Fashion brands should be reviewing their operations regularly to determine how they can function most effectively, both from a profitability and sustainability standpoint. And what better time to do that than now – new year, new start and all that.

As has been expressed frequently during the last quarter, it is likely to be an incredibly turbulent year for the fashion sector (again). It will continue to feel the repercussions of natural disasters impacting the supply chain as well as the geopolitical issues that have led to a cooling in spending by consumers desperately battling rising energy and essentials costs.

On that basis, there is likely significantly more change on the horizon as fashion makers, brands and retailers look to insulate themselves from the effects and remain – or become – profitable.

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Euratex calls for smart policies to propel the EU textile, clothing industry
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Tough times for Türkiye garment exporters but recovery on the horizon
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Mango FY23 turnover to reach €3bn, Washington D.C, Pennsylvania expansion planned for 2024
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How suppliers, brands should handle transparency, accountability in 2024
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Renewcell secures short-term liquidity boost
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