Blog: M&A speculation continues

Petah Marian | 3 April 2012

The M&A rumour mill continued apace last week, with suggestions that department store operator Sears has been in discussions with a number of private-equity firms to sell its Lands' End brand, and speculation that South Korean conglomerate E-Land is preparing a US$1.8bn bid for footwear company Collective Brands.

Meanwhile, there have been reports over the weekend that Liz Claiborne Inc has been in talks with private-equity firms over taking the company private.

A deal that was not mere speculation was Wacoal's acquisition of UK lingerie firm Eveden. Wacoal announced the acquisition of the Northamptonshire-based owner of the Fantasie, Freya, Huit, Fauve, Elomi and Godess brands for GBP148m on Friday.

One company looking to deflect attention last week was H&M. While the retailer plans to launch a new chain during 2013, it remained coy about the details of the new brand, aside from the fact that it will open in a European city, and will sit in a higher price segment than its current labels. The announcement came as the world's second largest clothing retailer reported an increase in net profit and sales over the fourth quarter, but admitted that margins fell as the company maintained its prices despite rising input costs.

Meanwhile, just-style's managing editor, Leonie Barrie, attended the Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong last week. Rising costs, finding capable capacity, new sourcing locations and collaboration across the supply chain were key topics at the event. just-style has pulled together some of the best quotes from Prime Source in two articles, but there will be more on the site from this event later in the week.

In the UK, the government launched the "Portas-Plus" plan, in response to retail guru Mary Portas' high street review. The plan will see a series of funds opened to regenerate high streets. The response to the plan was mixed, with the British Retail Consortium's director of business, Tom Ironside, saying he was concerned the government "hasn't yet matched her level of ambition with its response".

This article was originally published on 2 April. 


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