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News in brief for the week ending December 22, 2007

News in brief for the week ending December 22, 2007 from Drapers.

Pepe UK head of sales Terry Pearman has resigned from the business with immediate effect. Pearman had been at the brand for more than four years and was unavailable for comment as Drapers went to press.

Matalan said pre-tax profits rose 8.5% to £28.1 million for the year to February 1, a period which included the first two months of trading as a private company. However, sales fell by 2.6% to £1.03 billion over the period.

Beales non-executive director Alison Richards has died after a long battle with cancer. Richards also founded homewares chain The Pier and was widely known in the retail sector for her charity work.

Vivienne Westwood is to return to London Fashion Week as predicted by Drapers (December 15). Westwood will return to LFW in February after a nine-year absence to show her autumn 08 Red Label collection. She will continue to show her Gold Label at Paris Fashion Week.

H&M reported a 1% rise in like-for-like sales in November. Total sales rose 14% at the Swedish young fashion chain, which has about 1,520 stores. Like-for-like sales for the calendar year are up 5% to date.

Laura Ashley reported like-for-like sales down 10.8% for the 19 weeks from July 28, but said full-year profit would be in line with market expectations. Total retail sales for the period were up 3.1%, driven by an increase in selling space, including the opening of 26 Laura Ashley stores in the UK.

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