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Daily Round Up: Marc Jacobs, Tesco, Mothercare, French Connection, Ted Baker, Abercrombie and a new underclass

From around the web and the nationals

MARC JACOBS, the designer label, samples from its spring collection stolen in London yesterday as the company was preparing for a press day. Thieves made off with ready-to-wear garments and accessories in the incident, which is now under investigation. The company is understood to have duplicates of the stolen looks.

TESCO customers can now how view products will look in their homes with a new feature online and in store. In a bid to reduce the amount of returns from online purchases customers can now hold up Tesco catalogues to a to see the actual size and proportions of a product before they buy. The technology was developed by Kishino.

MOTHERCARE, the ailing retailer, is reviewing its UK business after posting half-year losses of more than £80m. The group, which already announced it would be closing 110 UK stores, has said it will adjust the size and shape of its business to account for current trading conditions.

FRENCH CONNECTION, the premium fashion retailer, has suffered a 9.5% like-for-like drop in sales as shoppers turn away from winter clothing in the unseasonably warm weather. Wary shopping amid the uncertain economy also contributed to a slowdown in trade, resulting in a year-on-year plunge of £1.8m in pre-tax profits for the quarter to November 16.

TED BAKER has defied unseasonably warm autumn weather to report a 7.8% rise in group sales. Retail sales at the quirky retailer and brand rose 12.3% in the 13 weeks to November 12 compared to the equivalent period last year. Wholesale revenues fell 4.7% due to the phasing of sales between the first and second half of the financial year, but are expected to be 12% up for the full year.

THE UK is at risk of spawning an underclass of citizens who are forever unemployed, a survey published today warns. The poll of 1,000 UK workers and 500 employers shows that 73% of businesses and 84% of employees believe there is a permanent underclass emerging.

ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA, the Italian menswear label, is the latest to introduce virtual fitting room to its online stores. The bio-robotic feature renders garments onto a mannequin mimicking a person’s shape, giving them a realistic impression of how clothes will fit. British heritage label Barbour and young fashion brand Pretty Green are among a growing group of UK companies already using the technology to boost online sales.

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, the American casualwear retailer, suffered a tumble in its share price on Wednesday after failing to meet profit forecasts and disappointing sales in its European flagships. Third quarter sales at the retailer rose 21% to $1.07bn ($677m) and profits rose by 1.8% to $50.9m (£32.3) over the same period in 2010, but this did not meet market expectations, the FT reported. Abercrombie shares fell 13% to $48.3 yesterday.

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