Arcadia Group

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All change for European apparel retailers Retail Intelligence | 21 Jul 00

Marks & Spencer is still Europe's leading clothing retailer, just ahead of C&A, but a new report on "Clothing Retailing in Europe" from Retail Intelligence concludes that it is unlikely ever to return to its halcyon days when operating margins exceeded 13 per cent and its UK market share in clothing topped 16 per cent. This is not only as a result of its own difficulties and failings, but also because consumers are looking for greater diversity and a host of rivals (from the US and Europe as well as from the UK) are rushing to satisfy this need.

C&A: the UK's latest fashion victim | 19 Jun 00

Last week's announcement that European fashion retailer C&A is to pack its bags, shut up its 109 UK and Irish shops after more than 75 years, and disappear completely from these high streets by the beginning of next year comes as yet another devastating blow to the British clothing industry. In fact its timing couldn't have been worse, coming as it did less than ten days after the government unveiled details of a £15 million rescue package aimed at stemming the clothing industry's massive job losses, and revitalizing a sector that has been decimated by poor sales and falling prices over the past couple of years.

UK: M&S To Dismiss £54 million Claim Company Press Release | 19 Jun 00

Marks & Spencer will today launch a legal bid to have a £54 million compensation claim against the company thrown out of court.The clothing retailer is facing the claim from textile firm William Baird, which is laying off more than 4,000 staff after losing a lucrative contract to supply the high street chain.In January, Baird launched a claim for compensation alleging M&S had breached its contract. But M&S's now hopes to see the claim dismissed as having no legal grounds.A result on the application is not expected until early July.A spokeswoman for M&S said today said the company was confident of its case."We do sympathise with the plight of the Baird workers, but we believe we have fulfilled all our obligations," she said.M&S has seen its business squeezed on one side by discount competitors such as Matalan and on the other by branded clothing stores such as Next.Earlier this year M&S reported pre-tax profits had fallen to £417.5 million from £546.1 million the previous year.As part of its recovery plans it decided to buy more of its clothes from lower cost overseas manufacturers and drop Baird.M&S will cease taking any products from Baird later this year, but the textile firm argues that after a 30-year relationship with M&S it is entitled to a longer notice period.M&S's difficulties in the clothing market have been reflected at other middle-market clothes chains.Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins group Arcadia has also seen its sales and profits squeezed.And just last week C&A announced it was pulling out of the UK and Irish markets altogether in a move which will see 109 C&A stores close and 4,800 jobs lost.The knock on effect of the troubled British clothing market has left the UK's textile companies reeling.Baird was driven deep into the red last year with losses of £93.5 million.Earlier this month Trade and Industry Secretary announced a £15 million aid package for Britain's textile industry.

UK: Arcadia's Sears Clothing Sets Up New Datacenter | 30 May 00

Sears Clothing, which is now part of the Arcadia Group, has successfully moved its datacenter from Leicester to London in an exercise aimed at streamlining operations and improving service.Arcadia, which owns major high street chains such as Top Shop, Principles and Wallis, acquired Sears Clothing from Philip Green last year, and the new datacenter is part of the reorganization started by the Sears Group to facilitate the sale of Sears Clothing.Retail IT consultant Nemea Consulting was appointed to oversee the move and setting up of the new facility in Cricklewood, north London and, working to a three month deadline, assited with the recruitment of new staff, documentation and training, in addition to the IT planning and implementation.The datacenter provides all the IT service for the Sears Clothing business, supporting the high street brands (Richards, Wallis, Warehouse, Miss Selfridge and Outfit) as well as providing services under an outsourcing contract to Adams Childrenswear. It houses seven IBM A/400s with a total of nearly half a terabyte of storage, an IBM SP2 parallel processing system for planning and reporting, and a collection of servers supporting users in the head offices and distribution centers. To successfully manage the project, Nemea utilized a product-based methodology. This ensured management focused on deliverable 'products' rather than activities and to-do lists. In addition, there was a broad involvement of senior stakeholders that allowed the project board to intervene at planned times, giving the project manager clear delegated limits of responsibility for day-to-day management.

UK: Supply Chain Issues To Be Addressed By Industry Seminar | 8 May 00

The issues facing everyone in the supply chain and the ways in which the Internet can make a difference come under the spotlight later this week at a supply chain solutions seminar hosted by Loughborough-based Prima Solutions. The company, which is itself a leading supplier of computer-based business solutions for the clothing and footwear industries, has invited key industry figures to speak at the 'Together we can make it happen' event on Thursday 11 May, 2000. Gaining proper control of the product development process is a vital step towards reaping the benefits of successful supply chain partnerships and, used properly, the Internet provides the ideal medium to make supply chain integration a reality.Prima Solutions has worked with leading clothing and footwear companies to develop a powerful, simple-to-use, software solution to help streamline the in-house process and the communication process across retailers, sourcing and manufacturing businesses. The resulting tool, which is one of the modules within the PrimaNet e-business solution, can reduce the product development life cycle from initial concept through to in-store delivery.Paul Fabian, managing director at Fifth Avenue, a key supplier to high street retail group Arcadia, comments: "We are far more efficient, communication has improved considerably, we make far fewer mistakes, we can give much more accurate delivery dates and we have been given more tools to take the business forward."For more information, or to register at the seminar, contact Elaine Knight on: +44 (0)1509 232200 or e-mail:

Fashion retailing at a crossroads | 3 May 00

The UK high street in the year 2000 is a microcosm of trends which will impact retailing worldwide. Middle market retailers are being squeezed at both ends by designer labels from above and value for money operators from below. Retail is changing painfully because of the increasing sophistication of the consumer; the self created problems of retail space and profitability; and the globalization of retailers and their suppliers.

UK: Arcadia axes 400 stores to save £160m | 14 Apr 00

Arcadia, the troubled Top Shop-to-Miss Selfridge clothing chain, yesterday took drastic action to improve its fortunes by axing almost a quarter of its trading sites with the loss of 3,500 jobs.In the shake-up, dubbed BrandMAX by John Hoerner, chief executive, Arcadia is closing 400 stores, at an estimated cost of £90m, including the whole of its 99-store Principles for Men chain.

UK: Arcadia losses lead to 3,500 job cuts | 13 Apr 00

The shake-up on the British high street continues with the announcement by struggling retail group Arcadia that it is to sell its Principles for Men chain and cut 3,500 jobs after plunging into loss. Arcadia, the UK's second largest retailing group, today posted annual results that showed a pre-tax pre-exceptional loss of £8.6 million at the half-year stage compared with a profit of £26.3 million a year ago.The current price deflation across the UK's middle market is said to have contributed to the fall in Arcadia's revenues, whilst Principles for Men has also fallen victim to the rapidly growing trend towards dressed down casualwear. The chain currently trades through a total of 80 standalone shops and about 70 franchises in Arcadia outlets and Debenhams department stores. Principles' shops for women will remain open.

UK: Advert boost for Debenhams | 12 Apr 00

A £10m advertising campaign is producing benefits for sales at department store chain Debenhams, the group has said. Following the launch in October of its first TV commercials for 10 years, like-for-like sales, excluding new store space, are now running more than 1.8% above last year. Sales levels had been down 3.4% last autumn. "Initial customer feedback has been very encouraging", said finance director Matthew Roberts. Due to the lateness of Easter and the mid season sale, Debenhams declined to give exact like-for-like sales figures for the period since the half-year. However, Mr Roberts said the underlying growth trend was above the 1.8% figure seen in January and February. The group also reported that pre-tax profits fell to £73.8m in the six months to the end of February from £79.4m in the previous year. Mr Roberts said Debenhams was succeeding in a harsh market place. "We are doing well but the high street is having quite a tough time," he said. "I think things will remain competitive - we expect to see growth but pricing will continue to be important," he added. Debenhams shares rose 7.7% or 12p to 168p in early trading. Analysts said the performance was a good one in the current retail environment

Home Shopping Key Note | 10 Apr 00

Home shopping in one form or another was rarely out of the news in 1999. However, the vast majority of interest was in the Internet. While the Internet is clearly paramount in the minds of UK retailers - not least the traditional mail order houses - it remains a channel of the future and has yet to impact on the revenues of the traditional players to a significant extent.

3D Body Scanning - A fitting service Company Clothing | 25 Feb 00

Mission: to produce better fitting clothes; to exploit Internet shopping; to increase sales; to reduce returns; to automate measurement and pattern development of made-to-measure clothing . . . Much hype has been given to 3D body scanning, but how does the current situation stand, and what are its potential uses? Niki Tait visits a major researcher in the field - Professor Stephen Gray, head of Computer Clothing Research Ltd in Nottingham - to find out.

Halcyon Days Are Over for M&S Retail Intelligence | 11 Feb 00

Marks & Spencer is still Europe'sleading clothing retailer, just ahead of C&A (see Appendix), but a new report on" Clothing Retailing in Europe " from Retail Intelligence concludes that it is unlikely ever to return to its halcyon days when operating marginsexceeded 13% and its UK market share in clothing topped 16%. This is not only as a resultof its own difficulties and failings, but also because consumers are looking for greaterdiversity and a host of rivals (from the USA and Europe as well as from the UK) arerushing to satisfy this need.

Clothing manufacturers and retailers must change if they are to secure a future for the UK industry Company Clothing | 13 Aug 99

Leading retailers and manufacturers,including the chief executives of high street giants Next and New Look, recently took partin an industry-wide debate on the future of UK manufacturing. And the over-riding messageto come out of the day-long discussion was clear: there can be a successful future for theindustry but only if immediate changes to many areas of business are made.





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