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News in brief

News in brief for the week ending February 23, 2008.

Principles has appointed former House of Fraser head of homewares Simon Gaffey as merchandise director, to replace Neil Davis, who is taking a sabbatical. Gaffey will take up his position on March 3. Similarly, Principles’ owner Mosaic Fashions is looking for a retail director for its Oasis chain, after the departure of Jackie Nolan in January.

Staff International, the distribution company behind designer brands DSquared and Maison Martin Margiela in the UK, is moving its sales office from London to Paris in time for the spring 09 selling season. Two people from the sales team will move to France, but the PR team will stay in the UK.

House of Fraser has appointed Jim Gerety as its head of merchandising for womenswear. Gerety was previously operations director at Aquascutum.

People Tree, the ethical fashion label that shows at London Fashion Week, has secured a £1 million financing package from financier Oikocredit. The cash will be used to make more advance payments to the label’s suppliers, after People Tree doubled its wholesale business last year. Founder Safia Minney said it had taken three years to find suitable investment, adding that venture capitalists wanted an unrealistic return on the business.

Peacocks has recruited former Miss Selfridge footwear buyer Louise Withers as senior footwear buyer. She will start at the value chain next week.

Oliver Spencer, the menswear designer, is opening a store on Lamb’s Conduit Street in London at the end of this month. Spencer, founder of formalwear label Favourbrook, will sell his eponymous collection in store, alongside Linda Farrow sunglasses, bags by Bill Amberg and footwear by moccasin brand Quoddy Trail.

Prima magazine has launched its 14th Comfort Prima High Street Fashion Awards and is calling for shoppers to cast their votes in the 22 categories. The event takes place on September 11 at Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, south-west London.

The KPMG/SPSL Retail Think Tank has warned that the current retail culture of constant discounting, Sales and promotions is unsustainable. According to a new white paper, based on retailers’ Christmas trading and predictions for the first quarter of the year, the Retail Think Tank said this is likely to lead to an increasing number of insolvencies.

Arnotts, the Dublin department store, is to shed 580 jobs during the construction phase of its new store as part of a revamp of the city’s Northern Quarter. Arnotts will relocate its fashion, cosmetics, accessories and homewares departments to the former Debenhams store in the Jervis Centre this summer, when it will kick-start the revamp of its Henry Street site.

Coutts London Jewellery Week will take place on June 11-15, with more than 200 exhibitors expected to take part. The event, organised by City Fringe Partnership and funded by the London Development Agency, will take place at locations across London, including the Tower of London and Cockpit Arts in Holborn. For more details, visit www.londonjewelleryweek.co.uk

H&M’s like-for-like sales rose 3% in January. Total sales at the Swedish young fashion chain were up 17% during the month. The figures compare with a total sales rise of 10% for the previous month, which equated to a like-for-like decline of 1% in December.

Hugo Boss chairman Bruno Salzer is to step down from the company, following a clash with the board over future strategy. Salzer, who has been on the board since 1995, will leave his post at the end of the month. Hugo Boss said it would begin the search for his replacement immediately.

Macy’s Inc will open a store in Phoenix in the US under its Bloomingdale’s fascia in autumn 2009. This will be Bloomingdale’s first shop in Arizona, taking the total to 40 in the US. The new, 180,000sq ft store will have three floors and construction is expected to begin this autumn.

The Christian Dior Group said sales in 2007 rose 13% to €17.2 billion (£12.8bn) compared with 2006, while net profit for the period was up €2.3bn (£1.7bn), from €2.1bn (£1.5bn). Sales at the Christian Dior brand rose 12% like-for-like to €787 million (£588m) for the year, with clothing and jewellery the strongest performers. LVMH’s sales increased to €16.4bn (£12.2bn) during the period.

The US Commerce Department said US retail sales in January rose 0.3% seasonably adjusted from the previous month, and 4.6% unadjusted year-on-year. Clothing and accessories sales rose 1.4% against December, but fell 0.1% compared with last year. Department stores reported a 1.1% decline in sales compared with the previous month and a 4.8% decline against last year.

A trio of lingerie retailers are set to launch transactional websites this year. Silks in Glasgow will unveil its online store in August, while Lace in Bray in the Republic of Ireland and Bare Necessities in Marple in Cheshire will launch their sites later this year.

Empty shops in Colne, Lancashire, will be used to display works of art in a bid to reduce vandalism in the town. Pendle Leisure Trust has been given £1,500 by Pendle council to produce poster boards of scenes from the area to display in the shop windows. The former Remy clothing shop on Albert Road will host one of the posters.

Rough Sleepers, a designer and young fashion independent and charity shop based in Camden, north London, is closing after trading for just a year. The store failed to attract enough customers, which a spokesman blamed on its Chalk Farm Road location.

Calling all footwear indies – step up and enter the Drapers Footwear Awards 2008. This year we have refreshed some of the categories and reviewed our judging process. With new dedicated categories for independent retailers, plus new awards for ethical footwear retailers and trend-setting brands, there is an award for every segment of the market. See www.drapersfootwearawards.co.uk for more information, or call 020 7728 5290.

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