Need to know: Russian e-tail, Maria Sharapova, Yoox Net-A-Porter and Burberry takeover?


Maia Sharapova, Nike

The news flow is coming thick and fast today with clarification about those burberry takeover rumours, plus 2015 results from struggling Hugo Boss and not-struggling Yoox Net-A-Porter. Maria Sharapova is still trying to rescue her brand. And we’ve heard about Vera Bradley’s resurgence and how the Russian e-tail market is getting bigger but still has some way to go.

Burberry NOT a takeover target!

Burberry is NOT about to be taken over. I repeat NOT! Rumours surfaced this week after it seemed a “mystery buyer’ had acquired a chunk of its shares via HSBC, triggering a 5% threshold and prompting Burberry to speak to its bankers. Now it turns out that Burberry speaks to its bankers quite a lot and that the 5% stake was actually acquired by several unrelated institutional investors through HSBC. So that share price that had started rising dropped again. Maybe it’s time to buy Burberry shares as it does seem the brand is on a recovery curve and the share price is 26% lower than a year ago.

Burberry runway show

Burberry runway show, courtesy

Sharapova, fallout continues but Head gives her the thumbs-up

Maria Sharapova continues to carefully manage her failed drug test admission with the news flow from her camp being a Facebook post saying she woke up yesterday with “an inbox full of love and compassion”. Not that the love seemed to be flowing from some sponsors Tag Heuer, Nike or Porsche, who’ve either dropped her or are keeping her at arm’s length (at least for now). But her racket maker Head is sticking by her and even wants to extend her contract. I loved this BBC story on the subject.

Nike Sharapova

Nike Maria Sharapova

Yoox Net-A-Porter profits from merger

Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) said adjusted core profit rose 26% last year (largely powered by my own Yoox buying habit, I suspect).  Actually, the truth is that sales surged driven by the merged luxury Net-A-Porter business and I certainly don’t spend much money there (well, maybe on the discount Outnet site). The company made €133.1m as revenues soared 31%.

Bossless Hugo Boss takes action

Hugo Boss may be rudderless following the abrupt departure of CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs due to mounting problems with its its US and China businesses, but it’s not taking things lying down. The company said yesterday it would close around 20 lossmaking Chinese stores and work on improving brand perception. It sales rose to a record last year but its gross profit margin dropped and net income fell 4% to €319m.

hugo boss

Russian e-tail up but still has massive room to grow

Russia’s e-commerce market is growing but it’s still got a way to go before it rivals more developed markets. It rose 7% and that e-tail up to 4% of total retail sales last year, the Association of Internet Trading Companies (AITC) said on Wednesday. As a comparison, in the UK e-tail accounts for 12% of all sales and only around 68% of Russian households have internet access compared to 90% in the US. In financial terms, Russian e-tail was worth R760bn ($10.6bn) in 2015. Russians are increasingly ordering from abroad with 90% of parcels by volume coming from China and 49% by value. China’s AliExpress is the most popular e-shop, followed by the Russia’s and US-based eBay.

Vera Bradley: Can consultant make it cool?

Vera Bradley’s on the comeback trail. The bag brand that was once a byword for frumpy said sales have edged up and it’s upbeat about this year. Apparently it’s been working with an outside consultant to pep up the brand and it seems to be working, with “a clearer direction and road map” for modernising the label and attracting those new customers it has found so elusive. It’s due to open a new store in SoHo, Manhattan, this autumn so the outside consultant’s arrival should have a big impact on that.

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