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Daily Round Up: Vera Wang moves into menswear; H&M November sales rise; Curvy Kate launches Smoothie Bra and ONS figures

From around the web and the nationals

SPORTS DIRECT has reported flat pre-tax profits at £100.3m, as sales grew in the first half of the year. Underlying pretax profit declined 1.7% to £99m in the 26 weeks to October 23. In its UK retail arm, underlying EBITDA shot up 7.9% to £122.8m. The retailer is confident it will reach its full year target of £215m EBITDA, with the London Olympics ahead next summer.

VERA WANG, the designer label, is reported to be entering the menswear market for the first time. The designer will announce today a licensing deal for tuxedos with the menswear retailer Men’s Warehouse. The garments are expected to be produced by Flow Formalwear, which also manufactures tuxedos under license for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.

H&M, the Swedish fast fashion chain, has reported total group sales increased 9% in the month of November, although like-for-like sales were down 1% compared to the same month the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2011 to November 30, sales including VAT increased by 6% compared to last year, while like-for-like sales dipped by 3%. Total sales excluding VAT in the fourth quarter were SEK 30.921m (£2.85m).

RETAIL sales volumes dipped 0.7% in November from the previous month according to the Office of National Statistics despite the Christmas shopping season kicking off. Sales values also fell 0.5% from October. Year-on-year retail sales rose 0.7% in volume and jumped 4.6% in value however prices increased by 3.6% over the period. Online sales continued to soar with average weekly spend rocketed to £787.9m in November from £546.4m last month. Textiles, clothing and footwear remained flat, up 0.1% in volume and 2.9% in sales value.

MOSS BROS, the menswear retailer and hire business, has reported an increase in like-for-likes sales of 10.5% in a trading update for the 19 weeks to December 10. In the 45 weeks to December 10, like-for-likes were up 13.4%. The retailer said it has “continued to trade well, in line with market expectations”. It said it is “on course to deliver the anticipated levels of growth”. Total sales for the 45 week period rocketed 18.5%.

CURVY KATE, the plus-size lingerie brand, has launched the Smoothie Bra, what it claims is the world’s first J cup moulded bra for autumn 12. Charlotte Davies, head designer at Curvy Kate, said: “After two years of development we have produced what we believe is the world’s first J cup moulded bra offering an incredible shape and smooth cut.

EASTPAK, the US-based luggage brand, has announced it is to work with menswear designer Kris Van Assche for a second season to create a range of bags for spring 12. The collection, which will be available from January 2012, comprises of 11 bag designs available in four combinations of fabrics and colours. Prices range from between €55 and €225 (£46 and £189).

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