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News is brief for the week ending January 14, 2008

News is brief for the week ending January 14, 2008

Dolcis owner John Kinnaird remained confident that the footwear business would secure a rescue deal from an unnamed private equity firm as Drapers went to press. The entrepreneur said he expected a deal to be finalised at the end of next week. Kinnaird stressed that closing the chain was the last option.

McArthurGlen’s designer outlets benefited from strong festive footfall, with a 60% like-for-like increase at its Cheshire Oaks outlet in South Wirral in the four days before Christmas. Its outlet in Bridgend, south Wales, reported a 33% rise during the same period, while footfall at the Swindon outlet in Wiltshire was up 10.5% in the 10 weeks to Christmas against the same period in 2006.

Boxfresh will take its distribution in Ireland in-house from January 18. Distributors McCartan & Macartan will no longer look after the brand and Boxfresh will take temporary showrooms in the Republic of Ireland to serve its 40 Irish customers. New head of sales Mark Underwood will oversee the strategy.

Matthew Williamson has appointed Marianne Vidoni as commercial director for accessories. Vidoni previously worked at luxury brands Burberry and Mulberry and has been charged with expanding the brand’s accessories business. She was placed by recruitment agency Hudson Walker.

JJB Sports will pay out at least £10,000 in refunds to fans who bought replica shirts during 2000 and 2001, after consumer group Which? took legal action against the sports retailer for price-fixing certain products. JJB will pay £20 to consumers who took part in Which?’s action. Customers who can provide proof of purchase of the particular shirts will receive a £10 refund.

Pepe Jeans London has signed actor Ashton Kutcher as the face of the denim brand for the next two seasons, replacing Sienna Miller, whose two-year contract has expired. It follows the departure of Pepe UK sales manager Terry Pearman, who resigned in December. Andrew Townsin has joined Pepe Jeans London as UK commercial director with immediate effect. Townsin is understood to have joined from Dockers.

Abercrombie & Fitch is to relaunch its controversial A&F Quarterly book exclusively in the UK on April 5. The book, which was axed in the US after complaints it was too racy, will feature sexy photos shot by photographer Bruce Weber, and will retail at £50. Only 2,500 copies will be available in store to over 18s.

Hawkshead, the outdoor brand, has appointed Richard Utting as brand director. Utting joins Hawkshead from footwear brand Rohan, where he was retail and marketing director. Hawkshead went into administration last year after tough trading, but was rescued by outdoorwear brand Craghoppers.

Fashion & Retail Personnel, the fashion recruitment firm,has appointed Silvia Simon as senior consultant. Simon, who has worked as a consultant at CVUK Executive and Success Appointments, will be responsible for executive roles in buying and merchandising. Simon has also worked at womenswear chain East as head of buying for non-clothing.

Moda Footwear will take place on February 17-19 and the Turkish Fashion Fabric Exhibition will take place on February 5-6, and not as stated in the Drapers wall planner (December 22).

Tommy Hilfiger has agreed to buy a majority stake in its Japanese licensee. Tommy Hilfiger Japan Corporation, owned by the Itochu Corporation, operates 105 standalone stores and 60 department store concessions in Japan, with a turnover of ¥15.1 billion (£70m). Tommy Hilfiger Group will acquire majority control as part of a strategy to buy back licensees.

Macintosh Retail Group is close to taking control of Belgian footwear chain Brantano after winning shareholder approval for its bid. The Dutch non-food retail group launched a bid for Brantano in October last year, offering €55 (£41) per share.

Celine has appointed Simona Zerchi as US president to expand its wholesale business in the US. Zerchi joins the designer label from Prada, where she was vice president of Miu Miu footwear, handbags and accessories.

Gap has named Simon Kneen as vice president of design and creative director for its Banana Republic chain. Kneen was previously creative design director at Retail Brand Alliance, which owns tailoring business Brooks Brothers and accessories brand Adrienne Vittadini.

Dolce & Gabbana has recruited Christophe Albarran as president of its US subsidiary, replacing Glenn McMahon, who left the designer brandin August. Albarran was previously vice president of global sales at casualwear brand Victorinox Swiss Army.

Marmalade Cashmere, the UK knitwear brand, has introduced a range of sheepskin boots and leather bags called Marmalade England for autumn 08. The brand is also launching a sub-brand that will focus on day-to-day knits and has pledged to unveil menswear, babywear and homewares ranges in the near future.

Cut4Cloth, the kidswear brand, has changed its name to Frugi, with the new branding due to be launched at Premier Kids at the NEC in Birmingham on January 27-29. The brand is also launching Frugi Mother, a range of organic clothing designed for breastfeeding mums. The Cut4Cloth label will remain as a sub-brand for babies. Call 01326 221930 for details.

Dawson Agencies has been appointed as the UK distributor for Italian men’s outerwear brand Park House. The range includes jackets, parkas and outerwear in a variety of lengths and styles. The autumn 08 collection is available to view in Dawson Agencies’ London showroom and at Pitti Uomo in Florence from January 18-20. Prices start at about £60. Call 0207 341 9850 for details.

Luella Bartley has designed an autumn 08 capsule collection for boardsports brand O’Neill. The designer first collaborated with O’Neill for spring 08 and the range was picked up by 29 UK stockists, including and Harrods, and is also stocked in all 15 O’Neill stores in the UK. Call 08445 452 030 for info.

Tatami, the comfort footwear brand owned by Birkenstock, has teamed up with US designer Phillip Lim to produce a range of sandals for spring 08. Comprising 13 women’s and seven men’s styles, the sandals will feature Birkenstock’s classic deep footbed teamed with upper designs by Lim, including cheetah print, pony fur and scarlet suede.

Chateau Roux has opened its first bricks-and-mortar store on London’s Newburgh street after launching an etail site last year. The young fashion brand, which also operates a wholesale arm and has 50 independent stockists, is eyeing Leeds for its next target location.

Stuarts London, based in Shepherd’s Bush in west London, is to launch a new branded website next month. The branded fashion independent will unveil its second etail site, at, to target the directional end of the market and will offer club and restaurant booking services online. The company also runs

9London, the London maternity retailer, will add non-maternity womenswear to its offer this year. The store in Chelsea, which boasts celebrities Gwen Stefani and Madonna among its past customers, will stock spring 08 mainline womenswear collections from Paul & Joe and By Malene Birger.

Hugo Hogs, the east London menswear independent, has rebranded to Dreamweaver after more than 10 years of trading. The Puri family, who own the store, started trading in the 1960s as fashion wholesalers. They subsequently developed an own-label collection called Dreamweaver and have decided to bring the brand and the store under the same name.

Gran Moda, the Essex-based young fashion business, has opened a shop in Southend-on-Sea selling vintage fashion. The new 600sq ft shop, called Ragged Priest, stocks vintage sports brands including Lacoste, Adidas and Members Only. The retailer’s existing store in Leigh-on-Sea sells men’s and women’s brands including Baracuta, Gio-Goi, Replay and Fullcircle.

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