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News in brief from Drapers the week ending November 3, 2007

News is brief from Drapers the week ending November 3, 2007.

Former HoF buyer to join Moss Bros team
Ex-House of Fraser menswear buying manager Julie Woodhead is set to join Moss Bros. She will take a buying and merchandising role with remits across the menswear firm’s Cecil Gee chain and its Hugo Boss, Canali, and Simon Carter franchises. Woodhead left HoF in September after six months as a womenswear buying manager. She will replace Matt McCormack, who left Moss Bros last month to join HoF.

Retailers unite to back traffic-free Christmas
Retailers from London’s West End gathered this week to support a traffic-free Christmas shopping day in the West End on December 1. Hobbs’ Nick Samuel, James Bidwell of Visit London, M&S’s Stuart Rose, Charlie Mayfield from John Lewis, Ian Henderson of the New West End Company and Sir Philip Green joined mayor Ken Livingstone to back the event, organised by New West End Company.

Stead & Simpson in the red after shake-up
Footwear chain Stead & Simpson swung to a pre-tax loss of £3.3 million for the year to December 30 2006, against a £5.8m profit the year before. Sales fell from £141.5m to £138.1m. Chairman Barry Stevenson said that after a year of change, he was focusing on reinvigorating the Stead & Simpson chain and rebranding Shoe Express to Pose.

Supermarkets could be forced into land sales
Supermarkets may have to sell land they own in areas where there is not a sufficient number of different retailers, according to a preliminary report published by the Competition Commission this week. The commission also called for further measures to protect suppliers, saying it was concerned that retailers could pass on unexpected costs to suppliers. But the commission said that in most cases the UK groceries market delivered a good deal for customers.

Wrangler rounds up new commercial boss
Jason Eames Illingworth, formerly of Hilfiger Denim, has joined Wrangler UK as commercial director. He reports to Andy Knowles, UK and Republic of Ireland managing director of Wrangler and Lee Cooper. Eames will focus on growing the company’s retail business. Wrangler supplies Urban Outfitters, Selfridges, John Lewis, and independents such as Psyche in Middlesbrough.

Esprit found guilty of copying G-Star designs
Casualwear brand Esprit has been found guilty of copying four garments from G-Star’s autumn 07 range. Esprit has been forced to immediately stop selling the products in the European Union after a court ruling in The Hague in the Netherlands. Esprit must also pay compensation to G-Star.

Halloween brings a sales treat for Woolworths
Clothing sales at Woolworths have risen by almost 5% for the 38 weeks to October 27 compared with the same period last year. Chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones said like-for-like sales of Halloween costumes were up by double digits, adding that Woolworths’ Ladybird kidswear range continued to be a key performer. Group sales rose 16.6% for the period, with retail like-for-like sales down 0.4%. Ladybird has signed a retail deal with RPG in India, where it will open concessions next year.

Selfridges gears up for accessories room
Selfridges will open an accessories room in its London Oxford Street store next week, which will showcase new brands. The hall, which opens on November 10, will feature shop-in-shops for accessories and diffusion lines from Marc by Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture and Michael by Michael Kors. The accessories room will also sell belts, bags and handbags from brands including DKNY, Guess, Johnstons, D&G, Diesel, Jas MB, Botkier and ToyWatch.

Austin Reed unveils menswear sub-brand
Austin Reed is launching a new menswear sub-brand as it embarks on an expansion plan. AR Red will launch in 10 key stores in December and is targeted at men aged 30-plus. The range will include formalwear and casualwear, priced from £40 to £400. Austin Reed also plans to open up to 100 shops and concessions over the next three years. The group has 92 Austin Reed outlets and 217 CC shops in the UK.

Sportswear brand Columbia’s UK boss exits
Simon Roberts, the UK managing director of US sportswear brand Columbia, has left the business in the past month. The company was yet to appoint a replacement as Drapers went to press.

UK retail theft and violence hits 10-year high
Retail theft and violence against shop staff have risen to a 10-year high, according to the British Retail Consortium. The 2007 Retail Crime Survey says that detected theft, where the offender is prosecuted, rose 8.5% to £205 million this year compared with last year. Incidents of physical violence against shop staff rose 50%. The BRC says that undetected customer theft is likely to have risen by a similar proportion, bringing the total value of stolen goods to £830m.

Ethical brands launch design competition
A group of ethical fashion labels has launched a competition to give young designers the chance to develop a sustainable fashion range. Run by not-for-profit group Make Your Mark and supported by the Ethical Fashion Forum, it is aimed at 14- to 30-year-olds. Entrants must submit a proposal to one of nine ethical brands, including Ciel, Terra Plana and From Somewhere. The winner will work with the brand to design a spring 09 range. To enter, visit www.makeyourmarkinfashion.org.

Mothercare lingerie tie-up for Panache
Lingerie brand Panache, which specialises in bigger cup-size bras, is to produce an exclusive range of maternity and nursing bras for retailer Mothercare. The Panache collection for Moda Mothercare will comprise three collections and will go into stores from December 10. Sizes will range from 32C to 42G, with prices from £8 for briefs to £22 for a maternity support bra.

Festival Place hosts Green Week eco scheme
Festival Place shopping centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire launched an environmentally-friendly initiative called Green Week last week. The event runs until November 5 and includes green initiatives such as giving shoppers the chance to ask retailers about their ethical plans. There is also a craft workshop to teach children how to recycle rubbish into something more practical.

Plus-size women offered Pink Marzipan
A new website has been launched to offer plus-size collections from designer brands. Pink Marzipan, at www.pinkmarzipan.com, stocks sizes 16 to 26 and has exclusive rights for the plus-size ranges from Rocawear, Loungefly, Soundgirl and Baby Phat. Managing director Lynn Meadows said she launched the site to cater for an under-represented plus-size market. It also sells accessories and footwear.

Locally sourced catwalk show at FashionExpo
London design exhibition FashionExpo will host a catwalk show called Platform to celebrate fashion manufacturing and design this weekend. Cut, make and trim manufacturers have teamed up with designers to create collections for the catwalks, which will take place on November 5-6 and will promote UK and London-based sourcing.

Storm blows into Bromley with latest shopfit
Accessories retailer Storm will unveil a new storefit when it opens its shop at The Glades shopping centre in Bromley, Kent on December 1. The new look will feature black fixtures instead of Storm’s usual white design. The 370sq ft shop will sell Storm’s full range, including jewellery, bags, watches, wallets and eyewear. Storm has 11 stores in the UK including shops in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton.

Hi-Tec chief executive given European role
Sports brand Hi-Tec has promoted chief executive Martin Binnendijk to president of Hi-Tec Europe. Binnendijk, who joined the company in 2002, will focus on further integrating the Hi-Tec and Magnum brands in Europe, and driving their growth. He spearheaded the brand’s presence in China, signing a 30-year licensing agreement in the territory.

Jaeger on the hunt for new creative director
Sandy Verdon, creative director at upmarket retailer Jaeger, has resigned after four years with the business. Prior to her role as creative director, she was also womenswear design director. She is yet to replaced.

Pretty Polly stops traffic with live billboard
Hosiery brand Pretty Polly launched the UK’s first live billboard advertising campaign this week to push its autumn 07 collection. Japanese kuroko dancers donned eye-catching legwear to perform for passing motorists on Great West Road, west London, on Tuesday.

Westfield Derby shopfit is rolled out at Zara
Zara is to roll out a new upmarket shopfit with darker furniture, flooring and walls, after its debut in the Westfield Derby shopping centre last month. The design has already gone into shops in Exeter, Windsor in Berkshire, Hull, and Swords near Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

Suits You scours city centres for store sites
Speciality Retail Group is looking for up to 10 new stores in the next 12 months for its Suits You men’s formalwear chain. It is seeking sites of about 2,500sq ft in high-profile city centre locations. The business currently has 65 shops. SRG recently completed a refinancing deal and took on Steve Gipson as chief executive in June.

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