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No gain, more pain for UK clothing retailers | 23 Apr 01

Is clothing going out of fashion? With the well-publicised problems of M&S, the sale at a knock-down price of Bhs and the dramatic exit from the UK of C&A it is clear that the clothing sector has been among the hardest hit in Britain’s beleaguered retail industry. Nevertheless, even worse news is on the horizon. The latest five year forecast from retail consultancy Verdict says that life will get considerably tougher over the next few years.

UK: Bhs Revamp To Focus On Key Basics | 21 Feb 01

Department store chain, Bhs, is set for a major shake-up in a bid to reinvent the famous high street name. Bhs, bought by tycoon Philip Green in March last year, is to revamp its 160 or so stores and concentrate on "key basics" as part of a new strategy. A spokesperson said the changes will "kick in" by the end of August/September, but shoppers will start to see a new fresher, clearer look any time now.

Ready, willing and able | 5 Feb 01

Disabled people are used to being overlooked, but in an industry that has hit hard times ignoring this huge potential market - 8.5 million people in the UK and 54 million in the US - just doesn't make sense. But while disabled customers do not enter the equation for most retailers and manufacturers, some imaginative companies are more than ready to work with them says Tania Casselle.

UK: Prologic Expands Consultancy Team | 2 Feb 01

Prologic, the UK-based fashion IT specialist, has expanded its consultancy team with the appointment of John Ricketts to the position of senior consultant. Mr Ricketts joins Prologic from Transatlantic Software Corporation where he was responsible for pre- and post-retail sales consultancy. He has worked in the retail sector for the past 16 years in various planning, store operations, buying and merchandising roles at retailers Country Casuals, Mothercare and British Home Stores.

Football sees a future in fashion | 31 Jan 01

Fashion and football may seem an unlikely mix, but as the power of the brand continues to grow, clubs are learning to play a new game and a new breed of buyers, well-versed in the fashion trade, is helping clubs turn a sideline into a goldmine. Liz Bolt reports.

Made In Mauritius | 23 Jan 01

In part two of her series on the Mauritian textile and apparel trade, Niki Tait takes an in depth look at the island's economy, government incentives and local textile companies.

E-procurement in Europe | 5 Dec 00

The Internet has slowly but surely made an impact on Europe's fashion retailers over the last couple of years - whether through extranet relationships with suppliers, or e-commerce links to consumers. But there is still one area where the march of technology is taking a little longer to change the retail landscape, and this is in online B2B e-commerce.

UK: Mothercare To Drop Clothing, Expands New Format | 24 Nov 00

Mothercare is to pull out of selling clothing for older children, The Times reported today. Chris Martin, chief executive, said that from next Autumn, the company would focus on clothes for babies and children up to age five, including premium brands. Mothercare's clothing sales have been poor for three years and the decision to narrow the range is part of Mr Martin's attempt to revive the fortunes of the company, demerged from Bhs earlier this year.

UK: In-Depth Market For Wide Fitting Shoes | 10 Nov 00

This month sees a new shoe brand launched into the mail order market aimed at bringing greater comfort to an ageing population. First test-marketed in l996, the Natureform range from the Lancashire-based Bacup Shoe Co Ltd is targeted at the increasing number of UK consumers who have difficulty finding comfortable footwear in conventional mass-produced ranges.

UK: BhS Brings In Ex-Asda Chief Jane Mallin | 7 Nov 00

Former Wal-Mart Europe chief Allan Leighton has been appointed second-in-command at BhS, the retail chain that was acquired by entrepreneur Philip Green from Storehouse earlier this year.Leighton will work part-time with Terry Green, the Debenhams supremo who was poached by Philip Green in September.

SRI LANKA: Companies Invest $5m In Bra Production World Clothing Manufacturer | 9 Oct 00

Two companies have invested in the manufacture of bras in Sri Lanka, following the advice of Peter Wolf, former chairman of SR Gent, who has been working with the country's textile industry since 1988.Fregasam Garment Industries and its sister company, Timex Garment, have begun production at a factory in the Wathupitiwela Export Zone in the north of Colombo.

UK: Times Are Tough For Clothing Retailers Confirms Report Company Press Release | 4 Oct 00

A slow decline in consumer expenditure on both clothing and footwear, the rise in popularity of buying clothes from grocery superstores, and the introduction of new, lower budget clothing stores, have all taken their toll on the profitability of clothing retailers as a whole. So says a new report that analyses and compares the financial performance of 104 leading apparel retailers in Great Britain.

ISRAEL: Tefron Announces Revenue Expectations Company Press Release | 2 Oct 00

Tefron Ltd (NYSE:TFR), a producer of seamless intimate apparel, today announced that due to softness in demand from several of its US customers and the weakness of the Euro, the company expects revenues for the third and fourth quarters to range between $54m and $60m for each quarter. On a preliminary basis, the company expects earnings for the third quarter to be significantly affected by the revenue reduction and could result in earnings for the third quarter in the area of breakeven.

Retail Sans Frontières Retail Intelligence | 29 Sep 00

Retail is becoming an international operation with the process speeding up dramatically in the 90s, despite difficult economic conditions. Retail Intelligence looks at the top international players and sectors most likely to succeed.

UK: Littlewoods Predicts Higher Sales From New Strategy | 22 Sep 00

UK retailer Littlewoods is predicting a brighter future after announcing that sales in the first nineteen weeks of the 2000/01 financial year were 2 per cent down on last year. The store, which revealed earlier this month that it was cutting prices and shedding 250 jobs, has forecast that figures for the second half of the year will improve. James Ross, chairman of Littlewoods, told yesterday's annual general meeting that trading profits in the first half of 2000/01 will be below those achieved last year. But he added that with the benefits of a more competitively priced product and higher stock availability, it is anticipated that the situation will improve in the second half of the year. In a statement released after yesterday's meeting, Mr Ross said: "Our shareholders noted the very difficult market conditions in which Littlewoods Plc is trading. They reaffirmed their strong support for the Board and management in the execution of the business strategy and the programme of change." Shareholders were told that during the first nineteen weeks of the 2000/01 financial year, high street sales increased by 3 per cent. Sales per customer in home shopping were ahead by 2 per cent but lower customer numbers as a result of a more focused recruitment policy meant that overall home shopping sales were 5 per cent below last year. Shareholders approved a change of the company's name from The Littlewoods Organisation Plc to Littlewoods Plc at the AGM. Littlewoods recently announced that it was repositioning itself as a "better value" retailer, offering a `value' range to compete with the likes of Matalan and Bhs. It also revealed at the same time that it was investing £300 million over the next three years in infrastructure improvements, including the refurbishment of its chain of 120-plus stores and upgrading its call centres. But it said the changes would involve saving £30m over the next 18 months, through job losses at head office and improved processes.

UK: Storms Ahead For Littlewoods Management | 21 Sep 00

Retail experts were eagerly awaiting the outcome of today's annual general meeting of Littlewoods. Industry sources fear senior management may face a tough time from shareholders after speculation that August sales for the retailer were disappointing. Littlewoods declined to comment prior to today's meeting, because it is held in private, but industry sources fear Littlewoods may be another victim of tough times on the high street.The chain recently announced that it was cutting prices and shedding 250 head office jobs in a major shake-up that will also involve it leasing six new stores from C&A.It said it was repositioning its home shopping and high street business as a "better value" retailer, moving into the discount retail market, offering a `value' range to compete with the likes of Matalan and Bhs.Retail analysts, Verdict Research, said earlier this month that the UK's five big catalogue retailers including Littlewoods, were suffering because of online retailers and so-called direct order catalogue retailers such as Tesco and Next.

UK: Marks & Spencer Leadership Rumours Gather Force Jane Mallin | 15 Sep 00

Roger Holmes, head of Kingfisher's electricals division and former chief of Comet, is rumoured to be joining M&S as chief executive of UK retailing, the implication being that he is to take over from current CEO, Peter Salsbury. The rumours, which started in the Financial Times this morning, have not been confirmed by Marks & Spencer. "It is unconfirmed speculation and we have no comment to make at this stage," said a Marks & Spencer spokesman. However, the source would not deny the story either.Reports of Peter Salsbury's departure from the troubled retailer have been growing over the past few months, but analysts feel that he is unlikely to last much longer, despite Luc Vandevelde's professed loyalty for his CEO."The axe has been looming over Salbury's head for some time," said Bryan Roberts of Retail Intelligence. "The only question is whether he resigns or whether he waits until he is pushed."This theory gains credibility from reports that Allan Leighton, former head of Wal-Mart's European arm, had been approached with view to taking on the chief's post. Both Leighton and M&S have been at pains to point out that he is not prepared to take the position.Mr Holmes's lack of clothes retailing experience will cause raised eyebrows in the City, although he is well regarded at Kingfisher. "Roger Holmes has good retail experience, but in completely the wrong product area. I am confused by his appointment and don't see how he can turn M&S' fortunes around," Roberts commented.Many pundits say that Marks & Spencer's poor sales have made it vulnerable to takeover. Some are even speculating that Bhs, which today announced the appointment of Terry Green as its new chief, could be used as a vehicle for acquiring M&S. "There is no doubt that Philip Green would love to get his hands on M&S and, if the new CEO gets Bhs on its feet, it could become the way for Philip Green to achieve just that," said Retail Intelligence's Bryan Roberts.

UK: Terry Green Takes Top Job At Bhs Jane Mallin | 15 Sep 00

Speculation about Terry Green, Debenham's former chief ended today when Bhs announced that he is to take the top job at the troubled retailer's.Philip Green, who bought Bhs in March for £200m, said Mr Green's appointment would help to make his pledge to turn the ailing retailer around a reality. "I am absolutely delighted that Bhs has attracted someone of the calibre of Terry Green as chief executive. His track record is outstanding," he said.Terry Green said: "I am very much looking forward to joining the Bhs team and the prospect of working with Philip Green, one of Britain's leading entrepreneurs." The new chief executive said he was excited by the Bhs brand and the strength of its customer loyalty. However, there was much work to be done: "Bhs has been snoozing and [the job] represents one of the most rewarding challenges in retail today," he concluded.Analysts believe that Terry Green can only have a positive impact on Bhs. Bryan Roberts, a retail analyst with Retail Intelligence, said: "Terry Green is a talented retailer and the combination of someone with his skills and Philip Green's aspirations must have a significant impact on Bhs, which was a dismal business when Philip Green bought it in March."Bhs has been having something of a torrid time and it is definitely in need of a complete makeover. While it cannot compete against the likes of Gap or Marks & Spencer, it could do very well if it repositioned itself as a discount retailer," he concluded.It had been rumoured that Terry Green was in talks with Marks & Spencer, but it was announced today that M&S has taken a Kingfisher executive on to its board. Bhs owns 154 stores and employs around 14,000 staff. It is the fifth largest clothes retailer in the UK and, like the rest of the industry, has been hard hit by changing retail trends.

UK: The UK Retail Rankings 2000 Company Press Release | 14 Sep 00

Retail Intelligence's annual survey of the UK retail scene, The UK Retail Rankings, published today, shows 1999 was a record year for retail acquisitions in the UK, with the £6.7bn ASDA/Wal-Mart deal easily the largest ever in the sector. This pushed the total value of deals within the sector up to £8.6bn, an increase

UK: Littlewoods Repositions Itself As 'Value' Retailer | 7 Sep 00

UK retailer, Littlewoods, is cutting prices and shedding 250 head office jobs in a major shake-up which will also see it leasing six new stores from C&A. The chain has announced it is moving into the discount retail market, offering a `value' range to compete with the likes of Matalan and Bhs. Littlewoods says it is re-positioning its home shopping and high street business as a "better value" retailer. The company says it is investing £300m over the next three years in infrastructure improvements, including refurbishing its chain of 120-plus stores and upgrading its call centre systems. But the move will also involve saving £30m over the next 18 months, through job reductions at head office and improved processes. Five members of the executive management team are also leaving the company, as part of the cost-cutting move. Littlewoods Group chief executive, J. M. Barry Gibson, said: "Our markets have changed dramatically and it is time for Littlewoods to restore its position as the company which provides outstanding prices allied to outstanding service. "Streamlining our management and our costs is a necessary element of positioning the company for the future." Customers will be able to choose at what level they shop at in Littlewoods. They will be able to buy a shirt, for example, at £8 in the value range, one for between £10 and £12 in the middle range or one priced between £25 and £30 in the branded top range. Littlewoods is also adding more stores to its portfolio of shops. The company has signed legal agreements to lease six stores and agreed terms for a further two from C&A. The six new stores will be in Leeds, Carlisle, Darlington, Brighton, Altrincham and Telford and are due to join Littlewoods' existing portfolio from January next year.

UK: Bhs Chief Takes Job At New Look Jane Mallin | 4 Aug 00

New Look Group, the specialist womenswear retailer, has appointed Philip Wrigley as managing director, operations for the board. He will take up his position at the end of September.Reporting to group chief executive, Stephen Sunnucks, Mr Wrigley will be responsible for all of New Look's retail operations, logistics, human resources and marketing. Mr Wrigley's appointment to the main board replaces thee xecutive position arising from Stephen's promotion to chief executive.With over eighteen years in retailing, Philip, aged 47, joins New Look from Bhs where, upon joining he was operations director, becoming its buying and merchandising director in November 1999 responsible for the trading strategy of the company. He joined Bhs from Dorothy Perkins where he was retail operations director with responsibility for all retail activity including store operations, visual merchandising and logistics. Between 1989 and 1993 he was finance director of Debenhams.Commenting on his appointment, Stephen Sunnucks, chief executive of New Look, said: "I am delighted to welcome Philip to New Look. He brings a wealth of fashion retailing expertise and knowledge to New Look."

USA: Ames Chooses Retek to Help Manage Sales Growth Company Press Release | 25 Jul 00

Ames Department Stores has selected Retek (Nasdaq: RETK) Data Warehouse (RDW) software for retailing and merchandising operations management. Connecticut-based Ames, the US regional, full-line discount retailer, will use RDW to integrate and streamline the information systems for its 460 retail stores into a cohesive, easy-to-access environment.

USA: Tefron Ltd To Explore Strategic Alternatives Company Press Release | 21 Jun 00

Tefron Ltd (NYSE: TFR), one of the world's leading producers of seamless intimate apparel, today announced that, as a result of the receipt by its principal shareholders of indications of interest to explore possibilities of acquiring their shares in Tefron, Tefron's Board of Directors has retained the investment banking firm of Credit Suisse First Boston to assist the company in exploring strategic alternatives.

Verdict On Clothing Discounters 2000 Verdict Research Ltd | 10 May 00

British consumers have traditionally been significantly less price conscious than their equivalents in either Continental Europe or America. In years past discounters generally only thrived in the UK in times of recession. Now, however, it is all different, with clothing discounters' sales growth being lifestyle driven rather than recession driven as was the case in the past. So says the latest report from retail consultancy Verdict. Its consumer research shows that 15 per cent of ABC1s are shopping for clothes more at clothing discounters now than a year ago, and that 23 per cent of them are more likely to consider clothing shopping from supermarkets.

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 Lingerie Industry Report Key Note | 19 Apr 00

Key Note estimates the total retail sale of women's lingerie, corsetry and hosiery to be £1.55bn in 1999, with sales of brassières accounting for around a third of the value. The UK clothing industry has struggled for some years against a downturn in demand and an increase in value, and an improvement in the quality of imported goods. The lingerie sector has been no exception. Between 1996 and 1998, imports of lingerie rose by almost a third, while exports fell by 6.6% in a trend unlikely to be reversed, especially with rises in the interest rates strengthening the pound still further.

M&S leaves its mark on the UK's apparel industry | 12 Apr 00

Much has been written in both the national and international press about the decision taken by Marks and Spencer, Britain's largest apparel retailer, to increasingly source its clothing from lower cost countries. This change in buying policy has resulted in a number of well-known suppliers being axed from the M&S supply base, as well as major job losses across the UK, and has left the industry reeling from the severity and suddenness of its move. But is the criticism that has been levelled at the company a fair reflection of the true story? has asked Niki Tait to find out what all the fuss is about, and her conclusions show that the real issue that needs to be examined here is the true nature of overseas purchasing.

Setting store by design Company Clothing | 13 Mar 00

Heightened competition between the retailers is putting greater pressure than ever on all those within the clothing industry - not least the designers, retailers, store designers and merchandisers who are increasingly turning to 3D visual merchandising, store layout and communication systems. Consumers are getting more demanding. No longer is it enough to have the right mix of designs and co-ordinated ranges in the right place, at the right time and at the right price, but the garments must be displayed to make the most efficient and attractive use of space within the retail store.







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