Blog: Michelle RussellAcquisitive Boohoo eyeing up Arcadia brands

Michelle Russell | 1 February 2021

UK online fast fashion retailer Boohoo Group has confirmed it is in talks with the administrators of Arcadia to potentially snap up the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, and Burton brands, less than a week after inking a deal to acquire the global rights to the Debenhams brands and websites for GBP55m (US$75.2m).

The deal to buy Debenhams will further Boohoo’s ambition to create the UK's largest marketplace and grow into new categories including beauty, sport, and homeware, but it also raises the question of the relevance of traditional department stores in a post-pandemic environment.

Meanwhile, UK online fast-fashion retailer Asos has secured a deal to acquire the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands from Arcadia for GBP295m.

Also in the UK, sports retailer JD Sports has confirmed it is exploring additional funding options to allow it to invest in future strategic opportunities. The company, which recently bought up US footwear retailer Shoe Palace Corporation, and UK menswear independent retailer Wellgosh, is considering launching an equity placing.

In the US, apparel brand American Eagle Outfitters Inc has outlined plans to close more than 200 of its namesake branded stores, while growing its Aerie brand in order to hit revenues of US$2bn.

Future-proofing sporting goods supply chains requires bold strategies, with a raised bar on agility, stronger supply chain partnerships, and near-shoring among top options being considered by industry executives.

It appears that most garment professionals believe that once we are past the virus pandemic, our industry will return to business as usual. That belief is based on the assumption that the current problems are based on the pandemic. However, what if rather than causing the current problems, the pandemic is but an event, at most a catalyst that has exacerbated pre-existing downward trends.

New research, meanwhile, suggests garment manufacturing continues to be the industry most severely affected by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, with 86% of businesses having seen a drop in orders.

A study from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has suggested Cambodia should consider developing industry transformation maps in key sectors to enable the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) with adequate investment in skills development for new and repositioned jobs.

And in Romania, hit hard by Covid-19 and short of government help, the country’s clothing manufacturers are pessimistic about their prospects. Textile and clothing companies in the Southeast European country fear it might take a long time to recover from the pandemic, after eight months of restricted business and falling incomes.

In other news, Kering and Adidas have been named among the most sustainable companies in the world; Serai has launched a traceability solution to track cotton; and H&M has partnered with Lee to launch the next generation of more sustainable denim.

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