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Guess’s second report stresses upon supply chain sustainability

Guess has released its second sustainability report highlighting the company's development towards a higher standard for social and environmental performance. This year, Guess assessed the water footprint of its denim, and mapped its denim production by global water availability, as an important first step to better manage its impacts. The company is currently working on a comprehensive water action management plan to address these impacts that will be released next year.

"Through my experience leading this truly global company, I see one constant across borders: people, particularly the younger generation, are deeply concerned about the future of this planet," said Victor Herrero, Chief Executive Officer, Guess in a statement, adding, "At Guess, we understand that we must continue to grow and contribute to the global community with increasing care for people and the environment; we aim to embrace existing solutions as well as try new ones to address the social and environmental challenges of our time."

Guess’s second report stresses upon supply chain sustainability

Guess releases its second sustainability report

Since the release of its first sustainability report in 2015, the brand has developed its first formal sustainability strategy and commitments, and established new goals and initiatives that will play a large role in the future business of Guess. The company added that these goals will motivate the company's efforts over the next five years to enhance the sustainability of both its global operations and local communities, and connect customers with more sustainable fashion choices.

The company said, as a member of the Global Reporting Initiative's Standards Pioneers Program, Guess is one of the first organizations to implement GRI's rigorous international sustainability reporting standards. Guess has also joined a global industry pledge to advance a circular fashion system – the idea that fashion should last, and be continuously repurposed, reused and recycled. The company will also be announcing a product take back program later this year.

The report also updates other areas of progress, including successfully reducing its carbon footprint across its stores, distribution centers and headquarters in Los Angeles, California. In FY 2015, Guess reported its efforts to improve store energy efficiency by replacing existing lighting systems with more efficient LED lighting. As part of the company’s recent commitment to the science based target initiative, the company will also be transitioning its current emission reduction goal to create more aggressive carbon emission reduction goals within the next two years as its contribution to help limit global warming.

Pictures:Guess website

A stronger euro plays against Inditex over first half of 2017

ANALYSISThe Spanish textile giant grew 11.5 percent in the first half of 2017, closing the first semester of its fiscal year with 11.671 million euros. The results of the as Zara or Massimo Dutti parent group have accused "the strong appreciation of the euro against most currencies".

Profit has also taken a hit, closing the period at 1,366 million euros, which includes an increase of 9 percent over a year earlier. Inditex has therefore presented a profit slightly below market forecasts for the period comprehended between February,1 to July, 31 July.

Comparable sales have been the biggest blow, growing 6 percent in the first six months of the year, almost half of the 11 percent growth recorded in the same period last year.

The euro’s appreciation weights Inditex’s H1 results

The company's profit rose 9 percent to 1,366 million euros. The currency effect has meant a considerable slowdown for the world’s largest fashion retailer’s profit growth, which came in at 18 percent more.

Thus, although Inditex's revenues in the semester improved by 11.5 percent over the same period in 2016, this rate reflected a decline from the 14 percent that increased in the first quarter. The reason? The rally of the European currency, which accumulates increases of 14 percent against the dollar so far this year and more than 4 percent against the pound.

Bankinter experts precisely call out the deceleration of comparable sales for the textile giant, saying that "Although the results of the first half of the year have been presented in line with the estimated, the slowdown in comparable sales (up 6 percent in the first semester compared to 10 percent in 2016 and 11 percent in the first half of 2016) and the narrowing of the gross margin (54.8 percent compared to 58.2 percent in the first quarter and 55.7 percent of the second quarter of 2016) are the most worrisome aspects.”

"The negative impact of the euro appreciation on sales was an expected effect but we preliminarily believe that the impact suffered is not only justified by this," they added.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut target price for Inditex from 38 to 30 euros

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley’s analysts have cut their valuation on Inditex stock by 21 percent, recommending to pay 30 euros per share - previously held a target price of 38 euros per share.

Following the financial release and various analysts’ commentary, Inditex shares fell on Wednesday, closing down 0.84 percent to 32.41 euros. However, the company’s shares have kept a positive balance of 0.92 percent so far this year, according to the Spanish financial newspaper 'Expansion'. At the close of trading Wednesday, the market capitalisation of the textile giant is slightly above 101,000 million euros.

The graph shows Inditex financial performance in H1FY17 by revenue and net income. All in euros.

Image:Zara, Official Web

Inditex H1 net profit up 9 percent, touches 1.37 bn euros

Inditex Group said that revenue rose by 11.5 percent in the first half of 2017 to 11.7 billion euros (14 billion dollars), underpinned by growth across all markets and brands. First-half net profit amounted to 1.37 billion dollars, a year-on-year growth of 9 percent, while like-for-like sales growth was 6 percent. The company added that between August 1 and September 17, 2017, sales in local currencies in stores and online have increased 12 percent. The company will pay a final ordinary and bonus dividend of 0.34 euro (0.41 dollars) per share, completing the 0.68 euros (0.82 dollar) per share dividend declared against 2016 earnings.

Commenting on the group’s performance, Inditex´s Chairman and CEO, Pablo Isla, said in a statement, "Strength and sustainability of the company´s integrated offline-online store model, which year after year continues to demonstrate its ability to deliver growth, while emphasising the creation of value for society and the environment, as evidenced by the notable creation of jobs, particularly in Spain, thanks to the headquarters effect".

Retail expansion and job creation continues at Inditex

The group also continued to generate jobs and created 11,043 new positions in the last 12 months. Of these, 2,933 jobs are located in Spain, resulting from growing teams at the headquarters.

All of the group’s brands expanded their international footprint, adding stores in 35 countries, so the group’s global store count rose to 7,405, 113 more than at the start of the year. Following the introduction of seven of the group’s retail concepts in Belarus in August, and with the www.zara.com platform scheduled to launch in India on October 4, the group now operates in 94 markets, 46 of which have an online presence.

The company said, in June, work began on the construction of a new logistics centre in A Laracha (Galicia, Spain), and in September construction started on the logistics hub planned for Lelystad (Netherlands), which will complement and support the existing central logistics platforms in Spain. The group continued to roll out its used clothing collection programme in collaboration with a number of international NGOs in 532 stores in seven countries including Spain, Portugal, the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark and China. The company aims to implement the scheme in another 25 countries including Sweden (one store in Stockholm) and Austria (one store in Vienna).

During the first six months of the year, all of the Inditex´s brands moved forward with the group strategy of expanding, perfecting and refreshing the integrated offline-online store model. Zara opened flagship stores in Mumbai (India) during the second quarter, Castellana 79, located in one of Madrid’s (Spain) busiest shopping hubs and Silk Way shopping centre in Astana (Kazakhstan). Pull&Bear, meanwhile, opened its first flagship store in Paris (France) in May, on Rue de Rivoli and Bershka relocated its central Paris flagship store to Rue de Rivoli.

In June, all the group’s brands (Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe) opened stores in the Puerto Cancún shopping centre in Quintana Roo (Mexico).

Picture:Massimo Dutti website

Aerosoles files for bankruptcy protection

The U.S. footwear company has filed for Chapter 11 seeking for bankruptcy protection and aiming to gain some time to implement operational and financial restructuring.

Aerosoles announced last week it had voluntarily filed petitions to reorganize under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The filing is dated on September, 15 and indicates that the footwear retailer will continue to manage its stores and operate its businesses as "debtors in possession" under the jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court.

Sources close to the matter explain that this “reorganization” enables the implementation of the company's strategic plan to revitalize the brand and focus on growing the e-commerce, wholesale and international channels.

Aerosoles toclose 74 stores and focus on online and flagship stores

Following the filing, the retail group will close up to 74 of its stores. Aerosoles plans however to maintain four flagship stores in New York and New Jersey. “Customers may also continue to shop online, as the company continues to enhance its strong digital platform, and at leading retailers throughout North America,” added the shoe label in a statement.

Denise Incandela, the Company's Interim Chief Executive Officer, commented the reasons that have led company to make such a difficult decision: "For nearly 30 years, Aerosoles has proudly offered consumers stylish and comfortable footwear at a great value. This restructuring will enable Aerosoles to become a stronger, more vibrant brand, and position the Company for future growth."

"Incandela added that "by improving our financial structure and right-sizing our retail footprint, we will be able to refocus our business efforts on the execution of our turnaround strategy. We will continue to create product that leads the market in comfort and fashion, grow our ecommerce, wholesale and international businesses, and promote innovative new marketing campaigns that will drive our business forward."

The company expects to complete the restructuring within approximately four months. After such an overhaul, The reorganized business will focus its efforts on the ecommerce, wholesale and international businesses that have continued to gain strength in recent years.

"We sincerely appreciate the tremendous efforts of our employees and our partners as we work through the restructuring. We recognize that our success is dependent on the ongoing support of our employees and value the collective efforts of our field and corporate team members. We also appreciate the loyalty and support of our customers. This process will allow us to emerge as a stronger brand and company and reinforces our commitment to providing a superior shopping experience in stores and online," said Incandela.

Aerosoles' legal advisor in connection with the restructuring is Ropes & Gray LLP. Berkeley Research Group, LLC serves as its restructuring advisor and Piper Jaffray & Co. serves as its investment banker for the restructuring. Hilco Merchant Resources is assisting on store closings.

Image:Aerosoles, Collection A/W2017

Gap Inc’s new strategy: less Gap & Banana Republic, more Old Navy & Athleta

ANALYSISThe iconic U.S. apparel group has come to terms with the fact that, in order to prevail in an ever-challenging environment, it needs to shift the focus from namesake brand and upper scale Banana Republic to a more affordable Old Navy and trendy athleisure flagship label Athleta.

Earlier this week, the Californian group announced it will be shifting its strategy to focus on its two "growth brands" — family-oriented Old Navy and its Athleta’s sportswear lines.

The decision goes back to earlier this year when Gap Inc. Chief Executive Officer Art Peck evaluated the extensive chain's network, reaching the conclusion that hundreds of them were “terminally ill.” Gap and Banana Republic locations were the worst affected, languishing with same-store sales that have fallen 13 of the past 14 quarters at its namesake chain, and they've tumbled the past 10 straight quarters at Banana Republic, recalls ‘Business Insider’.

Gap Inc to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores to shift focus on Old Navy

In an attempt to accelerate the group’s turnaround, Peck will close about 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores and refocus on Old Navy and Athleta brands. To this point, Gap’s CEO Art Peck said last week the company expects net sales at Old Navy to exceed 10 billion dollars, with Athleta’s sales topping 1 billion dollars during the next "few years."

We're certainly not giving up on Gap or Banana, but we're acknowledging the world continues to change," Peck, 62, said in a recent interview. "And those are the two most mature brands in the portfolio."

Old Navy makes three-fourths of Gap Inc’s profits

This move has been very much anticipated by the market, as Old Navy has been the company's biggest division for the past three fiscal years, and it's estimated to account for about a third of the corporate parent's value. Additionally, Old Navy is contributing about three-fourths of the group’s total profits. With that growth, noted Jefferies’ analyst Randal Konik, Old Navy is well on its way to hitting 80 percent of earnings in a few years.

Konik has been one of the first analysts to comment on this decision, sustaining that Wall Street largely underestimates Gap's growth potential. Furthermore, he claims that Old Navy offers enough of a reason to bet big on the apparel retailer. In fact, Jefferies has named Gap one of its top "Franchise Picks," recommending to buy the stock at a target price of 39 dollars per share, up from previous 35 dollars.

"Old Navy continues to exhibit positive data results from our webscrapes," explained Konik in a note to market last week. "This makes us incrementally more confident about top-line trends. We believe this data, coupled with our store checks, suggests continued momentum for Old Navy ahead."

Athetica is growing its market share at fast pace

Meantime, Athleta is gaining a larger share of the athletic apparel market, Konik said, applauding Gap's push in this separate division. Peers in the athletic space include Lululemon, Nike and Adidas.

Konik added that Old Navy's fleet of stores is especially appealing since they're typically detached from malls. In Athleta, Konik expects the brand to continue to be a "share gainer in an attractive athletic apparel category."

Photo:Old Navy Web

Hermes posts 11 percent profit growth in H1

The Hermes Group’s consolidated revenue amounted to 2,713 million euros (3,227 million dollars) in the first half of 2017, up 11 percent at current and up 10 percent at constant exchange rates. Operating income rose 13 percent to 931 million euros (1,107 million dollars) and profit reached 605 million euros (719 million dollars), up 11 percent. The company said, currency fluctuations were favourable in the six months to end-June, representing a positive impact of 35 million euros (41 million dollars) on revenue.

In the medium term, despite growing economic, geopolitical and monetary uncertainties around the world, the company said that it confirms an ambitious goal for revenue growth at constant exchange rates.

Hermes reports growth across core markets

During the first six months 2017, the company reported revenue growth in all the geographical areas worldwide. Asia excluding Japan saw sales rise of 14 percent, driven by continental China, which gained from positive momentum. The company added that sales in Japan increased 3 percent, despite the strengthening of the yen and America posted 9 percent revenue development in a contrasting environment, and with a particularly high comparison basis in the second quarter.

Revenues in Europe increased 7 percent and were benefitted from store openings and extensions in Rome in October, and London and Munich in March. France in particular posted a good increase in group stores.

Hermes further said that the performance in the first half confirmed the positive momentum of the ready-to-wear and accessories and the silk and textiles business lines. Growth in leather goods and saddlery of 12 percent was led by the success of the collections and the diversity of models. The development was supported by the sustained pace of production and the increase in capacities at the three new sites in Charente, Isère and Franche-Comté. In June, the Group opened two new production sites, the Maroquinerie de Normandie and the Ganterie-Maroquinerie in Saint-Junien.

The ready-to-wear and accessories division’s 10 percent growth was driven by the success of the ready-to-wear collections as well as jewellery accessories and shoes. The silk and textiles business line saw 6 percent sales rise. The perfumes division posted 8 percent sales increase, while the watches business line declined 1% percent, penalised by a still challenging market, showed a slight upturn in the second quarter. Other Hermès business lines, which encompass jewellery, Art of Living and Hermès table arts, continued their development.

Gross margin in the first half improved 1.7 points

The gross margin was 70.1 percent, an increase of 1.7 points compared with the first half of 2016, attributable chiefly to the favourable impact of foreign exchange hedges contracted in the first months of the year.

Recurring operating income rose 13 percent to 931.3 million euros (1,107 million dollars). The operating margin represented 34.3 percent of revenue, up from 33.9 percent at the end of June 2016. Net income attributable to non-controlling interests totalled 1.4 million euros (1.6 million dollars).

Picture:Hermes website

Nordstrom’s owners reportedly choosing Leonard Green as financial partner

The family-run department store chain would be close to choosing private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners as their financial partner.

People familiar with the matter quoted by the CNBC said Tuesday that Leonard Green would provide the Nordstrom family members with circa 1 billion dollars in equity to help fund the company’s privatization.

The family group, which owns 31.2 percent of the retailer, said in June it was looking to take Nordstrom private and has since then been understood to have been looking for a private equity partner to help support the deal and also held talks with KKR and Apollo. The Nordstrom family members — company Co-Presidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom and Erik Nordstrom; President of Stores James Nordstrom; Chairman Emeritus Bruce Nordstrom; and Anne Gittinger, granddaughter of Nordstrom co-founder John Nordstrom — had not made any proposal yet, the company said then.

“We’re cautious about a department store’s ability to secure a bid of this magnitude given the structural headwinds facing the sector today,” UBS analysts wrote in a research note issued on June, 8. “Five years ago, Best Buy went down a similar path looking for 2.5-3.0 billion dollars and was unable to secure the full funding.”

Nordstrom thought to be in talks with banks to raise 7-8 billion dollars in debt to finance deal

The terms of the agreement remained private, according to the same sources, which also pointed out that the Nordstrom family is in conversations with financial institutions to raise between 7 billion and 8 billion dollars in debt to finance the deal.

It’s worth recalling that this wouldn’t be the first collaboration between Nordstrom and Leonard Green, as the private equity firm holds a stake in Topshop, which has a partnership with the Seattle-based department store.

A group of analysts led by Michael Binetti at UBS Investment Bank estimated when Nordstrom’s seek for a financial partner was made public in June that the family would need to raise 4-4.5 billion dollars in external capital, assuming a final stock price of 50 dollars a share and backers from the private equity world contributing 1.5 billion dollars of the total buyout.

Market experts point out that regardless the outcome of these negotiations, a leveraged buyout of a department store remains a challenging option. The same sources highlight how private equity backed-retailers such as Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree have struggled despite the cash injections, having to file for bankruptcy earlier this year. Meanwhile, upscale department store operator Neiman Marcus is working with restructuring advisors.

Nordstrom’s stock has been on a valuation roller coaster this week, sliding as much as 5.4 percent to 43.59 dollars on the news.

Nordstrom operates 356 stores, including 121 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Out of those, 221 are Nordstrom Rack stores.

At the close of this edition, Nordstrom has not commented on these reports.

Image credits:Nordstrom Corporate Web

New Look changes mind over new Chief Creative Officer

London - British fashion retailer New Look continues to shuffle its senior management team, as retail Group has decided to retain its current Chief Creative Officer in a sudden shift. The Board of New Look announced on Monday afternoon that it had decided that Paula Dumont López ‘will no longer join the company.’

“To ensure continuity, Roger Wightman will continue in his current role as Chief Creative Officer,” said the board in a statement. New Look previously announced it had appointed López as its new CCO late this June. She had been tasked with renewing New Look’s current product offering and was set to replace Wightman this autumn, who was to remain on board as a part0time consultant.

New Look back tracks on its appointment of Paula Dumont López as CCO

The sudden announcement comes as the company continues to review its buying, merchandising and design teams following the exit of New Look former CEO Anders Kristiansen. His sudden exit from New Look was confirmed ten days ago, as the company continues to restructured its senior management team. New Look previously said goodbye to its former menswear director Christopher Englinde and accessories and beauty director Amanda Wain earlier this year, as the high street retailer seeks to turn over a new leaf following disappointing financial results. New Look changes mind over new Chief Creative Officer

New Look recently reported a 60.3 percent dip in its first quarter operating profits and aims to refocus its product offering. “They have spoken about expanding their price architecture with a more premium product offer,” said Francesca Muston, Head of Retail & Product Analysis at WGSN to FashionUnited last month. “The ability to sell through at those higher price points hinges on quality and brand image.” In order to help boost its brand image with consumers across the nation, New Look has signed on as London Fashion Week Official partner for Spring/Summer 2018.

“The LFW sponsorship offers them the ideal platform to build a premium association and bolster their brand image,” added Muston. With London Fashion Week set to kick off Thursday evening, with an event by New Look, only time will tell if the British retailer new sponsorship will help New Look’s long-term survival.

Photos: New Look x LFW, website