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Shandong Ruyi extends fashion portfolio with acquisition of Bally

London - Chinese textile and apparel giant Shandong Ruyi Group has acquired a controlling stake in luxury accessories and footwear label Bally International AG from JAB-Holding, as the company continues to build up its portfolio of fashion brands.

Shandong Ruyi signed an agreement to purchase a majority stake in the Swiss label for an undisclosed sum from its parent company, which is set to retain a minority stake in Bally, said the company in a statement on Friday. The agreement comes as Bally reports “strong, continuous” growth for its business, especially in Asia. China currently accounts for nearly half of the luxury brand’s global revenues, with the majority of its revenues stemming from Asia.

“This is an important milestone for Shandong Ruyi Group in our enterprise to become a global leader in the fashion apparel sector,” said Yafu Qiu, Chairman of Shandong Ruyi Group, in a statement. “We look forward to supporting Bally in achieving its continued growth and enhancing its brand globally.” He added that the new acquisition will help strengthen its ready-to-wear apparel business in China.

Shandong Ruyi has been expanding its network of luxury fashion and accessories brands over the recent years, previously acquiring a majority stake in SMCP, the company behind leading French affordable luxury brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot in 2016. In 2017, the Chinese group acquired British heritage label Aquascutum as well as Invest, the owner of Lycra and a subsidiary of Kansas-based Koch Industries as well as menswear group Trinity.

Bally, which was founded in 1851 in Switzerland, has been working hard to increase its annual sales to 1 billion USD dollars under Chief Executive Officer Frederic de Narp. Following the investment from Shandong Ruyi, the Swiss brand is keen to accelerate its growth in key product areas and markets.

Photos: Bally SS18, website

Sosander exceeds season trading expectations

Sosandar, the newly listed online fashion brand, has reported a “strong performance” for its sales over December and January, with net revenues exceeding management expectations.

In a statement, Sosander said that the strong trading follows its successful floatation on AIM last November, which enabled the company to acquire larger and wider ranges of product and to accelerate its media and marketing activities.

Strong seasonal sales were driven by both new customer acquisition and increased repeat purchase, explains the online fashion label, with basket size, conversion rate and traffic to the website all ahead of target. This was driven by investment in new marketing channels, such as promotional brochures showcasing, partywear, dresses, knitwear, outerwear, luxury leather and footwear categories, which drove both new customer acquisition and repeat purchases during the festive period.

Julie Lavington and Ali Hall, joint chief executive officers, said: “During the busiest and most fiercely competitive online trading period of the year, we are delighted with our Christmas and New Year sales results. We achieved multiple sell-outs of a number of products, highlighting huge demand from both existing and newly acquired customers.

Demand was so high that we have generated large waiting lists that we have fulfilled with repeat orders. Strong results from marketing activity, especially brochures, has given us the confidence to increase investment in this area, ahead of plan, to sustain and accelerate growth in trading results.”

The Company expects to publish unaudited interim accounts for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2017, by March 31, 2018.

Image: Sosandar Facebook

Fosun International to invest over 100 mn euros in Lanvin

China’s Fosun International has won the race against Qatar’s Mayhoola for troubled French fashion brand Lanvin, which would see the former invest over 100 million euros (122.8 million dollars) in the label, reports Style Network, quoting sources familiar with the development.

The agreement that got inked later on Friday will see Lanvin issuing shares to its new controlling shareholder. Chinese-born businesswoman Shaw-Lan Wang, who helds 75 percent stake in Lanvin will lose her stake and have a minority stake along with Swiss businessman Ralph Bartel, who resigned from the company’s board in July 2016.

Fosun International gains control over Lanvin

In July last year, Reuters reported that auditors for the French fashion house filed a warning with the Commercial Court in Paris regarding financial crisis at the label. The company founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, had predicted a 30 percent drop in sales for 2017 following a 23 percent sales decline witnessed by the firm in 2016.

Before Christmas, the report added, creative director Alber Elbaz who was fired from the company after fourteen years of service, won his claim against Lanvin’s parent company, Jeanne Lanvin SA for removing him from the position before his contract ended. Out-of-court settlement saw Elbaz getting over 10 million euros (12.2 million dollars) in compensation, further putting a dent in Lanvin’s finances. After Elbaz’s exit, the label has seen change in artistic director’s role twice. Bouchra Jarrar joined the label in 2016, followed by the current artistic director Olivier Lapidus.

Fosun International is controlled by Shanghai billionaire Guo Guangchang having stake in insurance and trading among others including knitwear band St. John in the United States.

Picture:Facebook/Lanvin

Guess Inc’s shares lost 15 percent after harassment allegations on brand’s co-founder

ANALYSISGuess Inc (GES) announced on Friday that its board had formed a special committee to oversee an ongoing investigation into allegations of improper conduct by co-founder Paul Marciano. Earlier in February, model and actress Kate Upton went to Twitter to accuse Marciano of using his power to harass women.

Right after the tweet went public, the fashion retailer’s stock lost over 17 percent. Guess shares are down 15 percent since Upton went public with her allegations.

Guess’ board of directors forms special committee to oversee investigation on Marciano

Guess’ board of directors has convened a special committee of two independent directors to conduct “an extensive and impartial investigation” into sexual misconduct allegations against Paul Marciano. The Californian retailer announced the investigatory committee days after fashion model Kate Upton accused Marciano of sexual harassment and detailed an encounter with him in an interview with ‘Time’ magazine.

“As a leader in the fashion industry, Guess Inc. takes seriously any allegation of sexual harassment. The company does not condone such misconduct in any form,” Guess said in a statement.

The company had already denied any misconduct on the part of its co-founder in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in early February. Guess however said it would investigate Upton's concerns "once they are known to determine if they have any merit."

Marciano also separately denied the claims, recalled Reuters. He went on and told ‘Time’ that Upton’s allegations were “absolutely false.”

Photo:Jennifer Lopez for Guess, Guess Official Web

ANALYSISMacy’s is launching a “modest” clothing line targeted at Muslim fashionistas. The U.S. upscale department stores operator’s move comes in at a time when spending in the Islamic “modest fashion” market to increase by more than 7 percent by 2021.

Macy's "modest" fashion line will debut on February 15 on Macy’s website - the company´s spokesperson said the collection will only be sold online, for the time being. The new line, branded the Verona Collection, was founded by Lisa Vogl, a fashion photographer and convert to Islam who graduated from Macy's development program for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Vogl's pieces for Macy's range in price from 13 to 85 dollars and include ruffled high-neck tunics, flowy jumpsuits and bell-sleeve ankle-length cardigans.

Muslim modest clothing, a 230 billion dollars opportunity for retailers

Muslims spend about 230 billion dollars a year on modest clothing, and estimates predict that figure will reach 327 billion dollars by 2019 – the global apparel market is valued at 3 trillion dollars, according to data accessed by the ‘Los Angeles Times’.

Indeed, Muslim consumers are projected to spend more than 368 billion dollars on fashion by 2021, according to the latest State of the Global Islamic Economy Report by Thomson Reuters. The Muslim market for clothing ranks third behind the United States and China.

Wanting to get a piece of the cake, anyone in the industry, from high-end labels such as Dolce & Gabanna or Gucci, to Nike and American Eagle Outfitters, is paying special attention to Muslim fashionistas these days. In 2016 Dolce & Gabbana released a collection of headscarves and coordinated abayas made of their signature fabrics. The collection was a sold-out at London’s Harrods.

Macy's is the latest U.S. brand to tap into the growing Islamic clothing market, following into Nike’s steps, which some months ago debuted a hijab designed for female Muslim athletes. DKNY led the chrge back in 2014 when it debuted its Ramadan collection.

This interest in Muslim fashion is here to stay, point out market experts, calling out recent forays into this niche by fast fashion chains ranging from Uniqlo to H&M. Boutique businesses featuring modest fashion such as Louella, founded by U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, have also recently emerged in this country, highlights the ‘New York Times’.

Macy's, though, is the first major U.S. retailer to offer a wide variety of modest clothing at a more affordable price point, said Sabiha Ansari, co-founder of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium. "It's about time that this happened in the U.S.," Ansari said, noting that the outreach towards Muslim women is occurring after Macy's stock prices have plummeted for years. "I hope that Macy's sees an influx in its bottom line, and that it encourages other retailers to start paying attention to this demographic."

Kinnevik raises dividend by 3.1 percent

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, Kinnevik AB said in a statement that Zalando had profitable growth in the fourth quarter and delivered on its full-year guidance. Preliminary fourth quarter revenue growth was 21.2-23.2 percent and EBIT margin was 8.1-8.9 percent. Millicom, the company added, reported continued positive growth in Latin America driven by the transition to high-speed data services with organic fourth quarter service revenue growth of 2 percent and an EBITDA margin of 36 percent.

Tele2, Kinnevik said, ended the year with strong organic business momentum, delivering on or exceeding full-year guidance with fourth quarter revenue growth of 5 percent and an EBITDA margin of 23 percent. Com Hem had another quarter of strong volume growth in the Com Hem Segment with fourth quarter revenue growth of 1.4 percent and an organic underlying EBITDA margin of 40 percent. MTG organic fourth quarter revenue growth was 10 percent and an EBIT margin of 9 percent.

Kinnevik operating companies’ performance in FY17

For fiscal year 2017, Zalando had preliminary full-year revenue growth of 23.1-23.7 percent and an EBIT margin of 4.7-4.9 percent, Millicom had organic full-year service revenue growth of 0.2 percent and an EBITDA margin of 36 percent, Tele2 had full-year revenue growth of 18 percent and an EBITDA margin of 26 percent, Com Hem had full-year revenue growth of 26 percent and an underlying organic EBITDA margin of 41 percent and MTG had full-year revenue growth of 8 percent and an EBIT margin of 7 percent.

Kinnevik's board of directors has recommended an ordinary dividend of 8.25 Swedish krone (1.02 dollars) per share for 2017, yearly increase of 3.1 percent and equivalent to a dividend yield of 3 percent.

Picture:Zalando UK website

One of London's most exciting retail regeneration projects has just been sold to British Land for 103 million pounds. Known as the Woolwich Estate, a retail mecca spanning 56 units with an annual footfall of 6 million visitors, it covers 360,000 sq ft of mostly retail pace in central Woolwich.

The company said it "benefits from an improving local demographic with over 40 per cent of residents falling within the top three most affluent groups". The estate is currently 95 per cent occupied, with an average lease length of under four years, and average rent of 17 pounds per square foot.

Greenwich Council are investing 31 million pounds to coincide with the arrival of Crossrail to deliver a new "creative district" which will transform five historic buildings into theatre and concert space, with offices and restaurants.

British Land said the deal is in line with its "strategy of focusing on well-connected, mixed use assets which meet the evolving needs of our occupiers and their customers" and builds on a portfolio of places benefitting from the Elizabeth Line, including Broadgate, Paddington Central and Ealing Broadway.

According to the group, the Woolwich Estate is "already benefitting from significant regeneration", led by the Elizabeth Line which launches from Woolwich in December 2018. To coincide with this, 6,000 new homes have been built or are in the pipeline.

"This acquisition provides a unique opportunity to create a thriving retail-anchored centre, benefitting from a mix of uses in an exciting, increasingly well connected and rapidly regenerating part of London. We have a long term vision for the estate which will deliver space that works for retailers and their customers; which generates clear benefits for local communities and drives value for British Land," said Charles Maudsley, head of retail, leisure & residential at British Land.

"Across our London campuses and our multi-let retail properties, we have developed a clear and distinct advantage in managing mixed use environments with development potential, and in enhancing and enlivening our space through placemaking. This acquisition plays very well to those skills."

Canada Goose Q3 revenues increase 27.2 percent

Canada Goose Holdings Inc. reported total revenue increase of 56.8 million Canadian dollars (45 million dollars) to 265.8 million Canadian dollars (211 million dollars) in the third quarter of fiscal 2017, representing year-over-year growth of 27.2 percent. Net income for the third quarter was 62.9 million Canadian dollars (49.9 million dollars) or 0.56 Canadian dollar (0.44 dollar) per diluted share, compared to 39.1 million Canadian dollars (31 million dollars) or 0.38 Canadian dollar (0.30 dollar) per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2017.

“In our peak selling season, we delivered strong performance across geographies, channels and categories this quarter, reflecting the continued demand for the Canada Goose brand around the world. Year to date, we added e-commerce sites in seven new markets, opened five new stores across three continents, including our partner operated store in Tokyo, and we successfully added more than 700 employees,” stated Dani Reiss, President & Chief Executive Officer of Canada Goose in a statement.

Canada Goose Q3 highlights

Wholesale revenue for the quarter was 134.2 million Canadian dollars (106.6 million dollars) compared to 137 million Canadian dollars (108.8 million dollars) in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Direct-to-consumer revenue was 131.6 million Canadian dollars (104.5 million dollars) compared to 72 million Canadian dollars (57 million dollars) in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 driven by incremental revenue from four new company operated retail stores and additional seven new e-commerce sites which opened in fiscal 2018.

Gross profit increased to 169 million Canadian dollars (134 million dollars) from 120.3 million Canadian dollars (95.5 million dollars) in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. As a percentage of total revenue, gross profit was 63.6 percent compared to 57.5 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Adjusted EBITDA was 94.7 million Canadian dollars (75.2 million dollars) compared to 66.1 million Canadian dollars (52.5 million dollars) in the prior year, representing year-over-year growth of 43.2 percent.

Adjusted net income per diluted share was 0.58 Canadian dollar (0.46 dollar), based on 111.6 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to 0.44 Canadian dollar (0.35 dollar), based on 101.8 million diluted shares outstanding in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

Picture:Canada Goose

Skechers Q4 sales jump 27 percent

Fourth quarter sales at Skechers USA Inc. grew 27 percent to 970.6 million dollars as a result of a 40.2 percent increase in the company’s international wholesale business, an 11.6 percent increase in the domestic wholesale business, and a 25.8 percent increase in its company-owned global retail business. Comparable same store sales increased 12 percent, including a domestic increase of 10.5 percent and an international increase of 16.5 percent. Full-year sales grew 16.9 percent to 4,164 million dollars, driven by a 24.3 percent increase in the international wholesale business, a 21.9 percent increase in the global retail business, and a 4.1 percent increase in the domestic wholesale business. Comparable same store sales increased 7.2 percent, including a domestic increase of 6.4 percent and an international increase of 10.1 percent.

“2017 was a monumental year for Skechers as we achieved sales of more than 4 billion dollars for the first time in our 25-year history,” said Robert Greenberg, Skechers CEO in a statement, adding, “Furthermore, we grew our Skechers store base to 2,570 locations at year-end and saw impressive growth across the globe—including record sales on Single’s Day in China.”

Review of Skechers’ Q4 and full year performance

Fourth quarter gross margins increased due to strength in the company’s international retail business and increased sales in the international subsidiary business. Earnings from operations increased 96.9 percent primarily due to sales growth. Net loss was 66.7 million dollars and diluted loss per share was 0.43 dollar per share. However, after adjusting for the impact of Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, adjusted net earnings were 33.3 million dollars and adjusted diluted earnings per share were 0.21 dollar.

Gross margins for the year, Skechers said, improved due to the sale of more in-line product in 2017 and a stronger company-owned retail and international business. Earnings from operations increased 3.3 percent primarily from increased sales growth. Net earnings were 179.2 million dollars and diluted earnings per share were 1.14 dollars per share. However, after adjusting for the impact of TCJA, adjusted net earnings were 279.1 million dollars and adjusted diluted earnings per share were 1.78 dollars.

For the first quarter of 2018, the company believes it will achieve sales in the range of 1.175 billion dollars to 1.200 billion dollars and diluted earnings per share of 0.70 dollar to 0.75 dollar.

Picture:Skechers website

Columbia Sportswear posts 4 percent revenue growth in FY17

Columbia Sportswear Company announced fourth quarter net sales of 776 million dollars, an 8 percent increase, compared with net sales of 717.4 million dollars for the fourth quarter of 2016. Fourth quarter 2017 net loss was 7.1 million dollars or 0.10 dollar per share, and non-GAAP net income was 92.5 million dollars or diluted earnings per share of 1.31 dollars compared with fourth quarter 2016 net income of 84.7 million dollars or diluted earnings per share of 1.20 dollars. Full year 2017 net sales increased 4 percent, to a re2.47 billion dollars compared with 2.38 billion dollars in 2016, while net income for the year was 105.1 million dollars or 1.49 dollars per diluted share, and non-GAAP net income was 210.1 million dollars or 2.98 dollars per diluted share, compared with full year 2016 net income of 191.9 million dollars or 2.72 dollars per diluted share.

Commenting on the results, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Boyle said in a media statement: "We are pleased to report better than expected fourth quarter results, including continued growth in Europe, North America, and with our distributor partners around the world. Our 2018 outlook anticipates revenue growth of 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent, and non-GAAP revenue growth of 4 percent to 6 percent. We anticipate diluted earnings per share of 2.88 dollars to 2.98 dollars and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of 3.17 dollars to 3.27 dollars, driven by growth in the Columbia, Sorel, and Prana brands, and in all four of our geographic regions.”

Highlights of Columbia’s Q4 and FY17 results

Fourth quarter 2017 operating income was 109.4 million dollars and non-GAAP operating income was 115.6 million dollars compared to 100.4 million dollars in the prior year. Operating margin was 14.1 percent, and non-GAAP operating margin was 14.9 percent, compared with 14.0 percent in the prior year. Full year operating income was 263 million dollars and non-GAAP operating income was 277.8 million dollars compared with 256.5 million dollars in the prior year. Operating margin was 10.7 percent and non-GAAP operating margin was 11.3 percent, compared with 10.8 percent in the prior year.

Consolidated fourth quarter net sales increased 8 percent to 776 million dollars with growth in all regions. US net sales increased 8 percent to 492.6 million dollars, Latin America/Asia Pacific (LAAP) net sales increased 2 percent or 3 percent constant currency to 154.3 million dollars, including net sales growth with LAAP distributors, in China, in Japan, and essentially flat net sales in Korea. Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) net sales increased 19 percent or 14 percent to 83.5 million dollars, including an increase in net sales in Europe-direct and to EMEA distributors. Canada net sales increased 14 percent or 9 percent to 45.6 million dollars.

Consolidated 2017 net sales increased 4 percent to 2.47 billion dollars compared with 2016 net sales of 2.38 billion dollars. US net sales during the year increased 1 percent to 1.52 billion dollars, reflecting growth in DTC, partially offset by declines in wholesale. LAAP net sales increased 5 percent or 6 percent to 475.1 million dollars, reflecting net sales growth with LAAP distributors, in China, in Japan, and essentially flat net sales in Korea. EMEA net sales increased 16 percent or 14 percent to 293.7 million dollars, reflecting an increase in net sales in Europe-direct and to EMEA distributors. Canada net sales increased 8 percent or 4 percent to 177.3 million dollars.

Global Columbia brand net sales during the fourth quarter increased 9 percent to 602.4 million dollars, global Sorel brand net sales increased 10 percent or 8 percent to 113.9 million dollars and global Prana brand net sales increased 8 percent to 30.4 million dollars. Global Mountain Hardwear brand net sales decreased 9 percent or 10 percent to 28.4 million dollars. Global apparel, accessories & equipment net sales increased 8 percent or 7 percent to 578.3 million dollars and footwear net sales increased 9 percent or 8 percent to 197.7 million dollars.

Global Columbia brand for the year net sales increased 4 percent to 1.99 billion dollars, global Sorel brand net sales increased 7 percent or 6 percent to 228.8 million dollars, global Prana brand net sales increased 1 percent to 140.9 million dollars and global Mountain Hardwear brand net sales declined 2 percent or 3 percent to 101.6 million dollars. Global apparel, accessories & equipment net sales increased 3 percent to 1.93 billion dollars, while global footwear net sales increased 5 percent to 538.1 million dollars.

Picture:Facebook/Columbia