Need to know: Jigsaw for sale? Lidl’s £6 jeans, UK’s boardroom inequality & more equality in India

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Jigsaw SS16

Jigsaw on the block

First it was Whistles, now Jigsaw. I understand that the fashion chain has held talks with advisors about possibly selling the mid-market business. That could mean the founders offloading a minority or majority stake or even floating the 70-store retailer. A possible price hasn’t yet been mentioned but the company sold nearly £90m-worth of goods last year (up 18.5%) and made £5.4m in profits (up 187%).

Foschini to add Whistles to Phase Eight?

Meanwhile, back with Whistles, South Africa’s Foschini has been suggested as a possible buyer following Friday;s report that the business could be up for sale. The company bought Phase Eight last year.

Bargain basement denim at Lidl

How low can the price of jeans go? Less than £6? Lidl is launching its We Love Denim line this Thursday and it’ll include jeggings as cheap at £5.99 and boyfriend jeans at £7.99. Men’s jeans will also be £7.99. Data trends website Editd said last month that the value jeans market in Britain rose 52% last year as the luxury market dropped 24%. Lidl says the cheap prices are all about buying power and not about skimping on quality. Is there a downside? Yes, they don’t do size 8! The company is launching its budget denim across its key markets so check out the French commercial for the line.

Women in boardrooms: Bad news

Moves to improve the number of women in senior positions don’t seem to be working in the retail industry. The Independent said today that the number of female chief executives appointed at UK retailers fell by 40% last year, and it was a year that saw a 41% increase in new bosses arriving, from 32 in 2014 to 45 in 2015. While there’s been a significant increase in women on boards of listed companies, most have been non-exec appointments.

Beth Butterwick

Bon Marche’s Beth Butterwick is heading Karen Millen this year

Women at Amazon India: good news

Meanwhile in India, Amazon is piloting women-only deliveries in Chennai and Kerala to create more jobs for women in a male-dominated segment. One head of a delivery station said the company had noticed that “women are more patient and dedicated when it comes to delivering goods compared with men.” Importantly, the delivery staff draw the same salary, whatever their gender.

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