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News in brief

News in brief for the week ending October 6, 2007.

Sales and profits on the rise at Fenwick
Department store chain Fenwick posted a rise in annual sales and profits for the year to January 27, according to accounts filed at Companies House this week. Gross sales were up 3.6% to £397.8 million, from £384.1m, and profit before tax rose 7.2% to £35.9m, from £33.5m the previous year.

HoF hosts Gap men’s and women’s concession
Gap will open its first UK concession for menswear and womenswear next year. The US casualwear retailer, which has one concession in Arnotts in the Republic of Ireland, will open the concession in House of Fraser’s London Victoria store. It will also sell kidswear. A Gap kidswear concession will also open in HoF’s London Oxford Street store.

Former Debenhams buying boss to join Asos
Stefan Pesticcio, ex-head of buying for menswear at Debenhams, is to join online retailer Asos.com as buying director for menswear. Pesticcio left the department store in March. Asos declined to confirm his start date.

Vivienne Westwood gets politicalfor Paris catwalks
Paris Fashion Week got under way last weekend, with a politically charged presentation from Vivienne Westwood. Her collection fused rock ‘n’ roll and 1950s glamour, with T-shirts emblazoned with the number 56 in protest against the government’s 56-day holding-without-trial policy. Meanwhile, John Galliano offered a less contentious collection to mark his 10 years at the helm of Christian Dior, mixing masculine tailoring with wispy pastel slip dresses and animal print trenches. For more on Paris Fashion Week, see next week’s issue.

Mosaic launches legal action against Dunnes
Mosaic Fashions launched a landmark legal case against Dunnes Stores in the Republic of Ireland as Drapers went to press. Mosaic has accused the value chain of copying some of its designs, and is taking action against Dunnes in the High Court’s Commercial Court under a 2002 European Union regulation that protects new and individual designs. It alleges that Dunnes copied a Karen Millen shirt and sweater, a bow-tie top from Coast and a Whistles top. It is the first case of its kind in Ireland.

Debenhams signs anchor at Nottingham mall
Debenhams has taken a 155,000sq ft anchor store at Nottingham’s Broadmarsh shopping centre, to replace its 101,911sq ft store in the city’s Market Square. The new store is part of a £700 million redevelopment of the mall, which is jointly owned by property developers Westfield and Hermès. Debenhams will join fellow anchors Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s.

Stella McCartney makes first profit
Designer label Stella McCartney has made a profit for the first time this year, 12 months ahead of the deadline imposed by parent company Gucci Group. Sales at the brand’s London store in Mayfair were also up 50% on last year. The designer returned to London Fashion Week this season with her tie-up with Adidas.

Americana beefs up its management
Americana, which owns streetwear brands Bench and Hooch, has strengthened its management team. Mike Metcalf, former chief operating officer of Burberry, has been appointed as chairman. Rob Griffiths and Phil Emmerson, both from Umbro, have joined as head of product and marketing and head of operations respectively, and Patrick Nebiolo has been named international director. He was previously managing director of Jam Session, which owns Italian brand Guru.

Clothing takes a hit at Tesco after cold summer
Clothing sales at Tesco suffered during the unseasonably cold summer, but non-food sales still rose 9.9% for the 26 weeks to August 25. Tesco said general clothing sales were “subdued”, but that its F&F and Cherokee brands had done well. Total non-food sales grew to £3.9 billion, with total UK sales up 5.4% to £18.3bn for the period.

BRC says minimum wage hike cost £1.7m
As the new minimum wage came into force this week, the British Retail Consortium said that last year’s hike cost retailers £1.7 million – 13% more than expected. The adult wage rose by 3.2% to £5.52 this week. The BRC has called for a “more measured framework for future increases” to enable retailers to better manage their wage bills.

Topshop signs new face of autumn campaign
Topshop has named 18-year-old Chloe Hayward as the new face of its autumn advertising campaign. Agency Select Model Management first spotted the model three years ago. Hayward will appear on billboards and magazines across the globe starting from this month. It is the model’s first major contract with Select.

The Outlet welcomes Staccato and Almaplena
Footwear retailer Staccato and Italian accessories brand Almaplena have signed stores at The Outlet retail park in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. Staccato, which is owned by footwear chain Pavers, will open a 1,300sq ft unit offering men’s and women’s footwear. Almaplena has taken an 800sq ft unit. The retailers join the likes of Gap, Marks & Spencer, Joseph and Ghost at the development.

Playtex bigs up its latest advertising push
Lingerie brand Playtex unveiled its biggest-ever advertising campaign this week to promote its new half-cup range, called MySize. The £1.6 million spend across TV, print and online launched on October 1, with the TV campaign – the brand’s first since 2003 – airing on October 15. It will run across ITV1, GMTV, Sky, Five, Living and ITV3, and features the Shirley Bassey song Where Do I Begin.

Bonmarché steps ahead with footwear range
Bonmarché is to launch a footwear collection next year, to go into 200 of its stores. The value retailer will unveil between 20 and 30 styles, and expects footwear sales to reach £10 million. Bonmarché, which has more than 360 UK stores, trialled footwear in a few of its branches 18 months ago.

Duty Free Clothing recruits sales manager
Beverley Jackson, a former national account manager at supplier Fashion UK, joined supplier Duty Free Clothing as sales manager this week. Jackson, who will oversee distribution of men’s and women’s young fashion, including sales of its Streetcode brand, to independent retailers, aims to increase Duty Free Clothing’s customer base to top-end indies and department stores.

Soaring sales at Gerry Weber
Group sales at Gerry Weber International rose 12.5% for the 13 weeks to July 31, with net profit up 17.8% to €13.3 million (£9.22m) during the period. The strongest growth was in its retail arm, where sales rose 35.8%, with double-digit growth predicted for the full financial year. The company expects to double its sales over the next five years and open more stores and shop-in-shops internationally, including in the UK.

Lann Consulting’s website quizzes HR bosses
Retail recruitment firm Lann Consulting has unveiled its new website this week. The site, at www.lann.co.uk, features interviews with HR experts from across the fashion industry, the first of which is New Look HR director Robin Lewis. Mosaic Fashions’ Liz Jewitt-Cross, DSGi’s Ben Bengougan and Selfridges’ Maria Stanford are also lined up to take part.

Trinny and Susannah party with Littlewoods
Style experts Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine have expanded their clothing range at home shopping retailer Littlewoods with a partywear line. The new collection is available in the Littlewoods Direct Christmas book and on its website. It includes cashmere, party dresses and sequin and faux fur shrugs, all designed by the duo.

Mini steers into Onitsuka Tiger collaboration
Footwear brand Onitsuka Tiger has teamed up with car manufacturer Mini to design a range of footwear inspired by the car firm’s latest model, the Mini Clubman. The limited edition trainers will come in three colourways, including British racing green and cream, and are expected to hit accounts such as Kurt Geiger, Harrods and Ryouki in Oxford in December. Prices start from £36.

Jaeger signs up to Ethical Trading Initiative
Womenswear retailer Jaeger has joined the Ethical Trading Initiative, after the organisation revealed five key ways in which retailers can improve the ethics of their supply chains. At a conference for retailers, brands, trade unions and campaigners in London earlier this month, the ETI made ethical buying suggestions regarding retailers’ lead times and a minimum living wage.

Steinberg & Tolkien sunk by rates and rents
Independent vintage clothing retailer Steinberg & Tolkien closed down last week after 14 years. The London King’s Road store, founded by mother and daughter Anne Steinberg and Tracy Tolkien, blamed its demise on rate rises, higher rents, the congestion charge and a fall in tourist numbers.

Marmalade spreads out with a revamp
Contemporary womenswear independent Marmalade has revamped its store in Axminster, Devon, to mark its second anniversary. The shop has grown in size from just 300sq ft to more than 2,000sq ft, and stocks brands including Sandwich, Great Plains, Aftershock, Bellissima, Hunters & Gatherers and CCDK. Owner Lisa Fifer has added a lingerie and hosiery area, and also plans to open a shop in Santa Monica, California.

FashionExpo in association with Profile awards
Designer Wayne Hemingway will host Fashion Expo in association with Profile’s gala event on November 5, with designer Maria Grachvogel holding a series of workshops at the event. Retailers Debenhams, Hobbs and Whistles will each present an award for best new menswear, womenswear and general designer respectively. The event is also funded by Newham College’s Cutting IT programme. Visit www.fashion-expo.com for more information.

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