Need to know: Moncler’s hot… Samsonite bags Tumi… Zara goes eco… & Whistles for sale?

moncler aw15 ads

Picture courtesy Moncler

Moncler is hot, even when the weather’s wrong

My favourite puffer jacket brand Moncler is going from strength-to-strength. Pre-tax profit was €300m last year and currency-neutral revenue rose 19%, although sales growth did slow as the weather stayed warm at year-end.  Sales at the brand’s own stores surged 33%. So it’s no surprise that the firm wants to open more of its own stores and to diversify its product, making it less vulnerable to the weather.

Whistles for Sale?

It’s a busy end-of-week with rumours that the Whistles business, run by fashion queen Jane Shepherdson could be up for sale. The business made a loss last year as it expanded in the US but it’s still seen as one of the key brands in the mid-market.

whistles AW16

Whistles AW16

Brits want bargains

Bargain hunting is still big news in the UK and it’s hurting retail sales. Accountancy firm BDO’s monthly high street tracker showed sales down 1.7% year-on-year last month as we were all faced with paying full price for new-season stock. Fashion led the move downwards with a 2.9% drop. But there was some good news. In February, non-store sales (ie the internet) rose a strong 18.3%.

Samsonites loves Tumi

Tumi SS16Samsonite has snapped up high-end peer Tumi for an eye-watering $1.8bn, making the world’s biggest luggage group even bigger. Samsonite’s shares rose on the news even though the purchase price was a 38% price premium on Tumi’s shares.

Zara gets eco-friendly in NYC

Zara opened a 47,361 sq ft flagship store at 503-511 Broadway yesterday. In the heart of Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood, it has three floors of retail space and a big sustainability proposition with the store using 30% less energy and 50% less water compared to a conventional store.

Victoria’s Secret is up but Gap still struggles

Key US retailers have turned in mixed same-store sales in February. Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands rose 5%, but teen retailer Buckle fell 8.9% and Gap fell 2%. Comp sales were flat at the Gap brand but Old Navy plunged 11% and Banana Republic dropped 5%. The company did say it’s been encouraged by reaction to its new spring offer though.

BHS goes to war on rents

BHS looks like it might shed 2,000 jobs as it plans to close up to a quarter of its stores around Britain. My mum’s favourite store wants to put its 164 shops into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) so it can quit around 40 lossmaking sites and get rent reductions as it believes it’s paying rents that are too high given the current state of the market.

Sainsbury’s still wants Argos

argos saleSainsbury’s still seems to want to buy Home Retail and get its hand on the Argos chain. Despite a £1.42bn rival all-cash bid from Steinhoff that trumped its £1.4bn cash-and-shares offer, it says it could go hostile. Watch this space.

Adidas goes all out in China

Adidas plans to open 3,000 Chinese stores by 2020 for a total of 12,000 stores in 2,200 cities. The company’s China head Colin Currie said the brand will expand in smaller cities that are still growing, despite the economic slowdown. The plans are no surprise as the company’s sales rose 18% in China last year, it said Friday.

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