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Review of the year: 2013’s hot stories

From high-profile launches to headline-grabbing job moves, it has been a year to remember

January

In January, French luxury group PPR - now called Kering - acquired a 51% stake in UK designer brand Christopher Kane (spring 13 pictured). At the time the group said the partnership aimed to take the brand “to the next level”.

John Lewis announced it would launch a new own-label lifestyle range called Kin. The range spans womenswear, menswear and kidswear and premiered in February.

At accessories brand Radley, Xavier Simonet joined as chief executive a year after the departure of former boss Sven Gaede.

February

JD Sports Fashion emerged triumphant in the bidding war for footwear etailer Cloggs, which it returned to the high street with a store in Shrewsbury in December, with plans to grow its estate to 20 over five years.

Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenetlaunched her first London Fashion Week as chairman of the British Fashion Council by unveiling an ambitiousplan to boost the UK’s fashion sector, focused onfive pillars: investment, education, innovation, digital and reputation.

Young fashion chain Republic collapsed into administration and was bought out by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal Ashley gained 116 Republic stores, all of its stock, its website and own-brands including SoulCal and Fabric.

March

Former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose joined Fat Face as chairman, taking over from Alan Giles, who left the business in July.March saw womenswear group Aurora Fashions restructure, splitting Coast from Oasis (pictured) and Warehouse and housing the pair under new name Fresh Channel, with former Oasis boss Liz Evans at the helm as chief executive.
Land Securities’ 1 million sq ft shopping centre Trinity Leeds opened on March 21.

April

Footwear retailer Schuh (pictured) beat rivals Aldo and Clarks to the top gong at the Drapers Footwear and Accessories Awards, taking home the Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year award.On April 24 the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which housed clothing factories supplying Primark and Mango among others, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people. Primark later became one of the first retailers to sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, as well as paying compensation to victims’ families.

May

York independent Coggles (above)entered administration at the beginning of May after talks to secure further investment fell through. Etailer The Hut Group bought Coggles in June, purchasing assets including stock and intellectual property, but closing its shops and making staff redundant.

Marks & Spencer’s make-or-break autumn 13 collection - the first under style director Belinda Earl - received positive reviews from the fashion press and bought chief executive Marc Bolland some time for a turnaround.

June

In June, Topshop opened a 14,000 sq ft flagship in Hong Kong. Further locations are planned in mainland China, with managing director Mary Homer citing Beijing and Shanghai. New Look announced plans to axe 90 stores to focus on larger sites as part of a turnaround plan. Burberry’s menswear show returned to London for London Collections: Men after 10 years in Milan. John Lewis made its debut at the show.Primark launched on Asos with a selection of product but ended the partnership in September.

July
Luxury label Nicole Farhi (pictured right) went into administration, only to be bought later in the month by fashion entrepreneur Maxine Hargreaves-Adams, daughter of Matalan founder John Hargreaves. John Lewis buying and brand director Peter Ruisannounced he would leave the store group after nine years to join womenswear chain Jigsaw as chief executive
in September.

August
Primark announced plans to take more than 233,000 sq ft of retail space in France over the following 12 months, identifying five stores that will open between this December and next June. The value retailer made its French debut in Marseille just before Christmas with a 62,800 sq ft flagship in the Grand Littoral shopping centre.
Marks & Spencer’s autumn 13 ‘Leading Ladies’ campaign (below) - shot by US photographer Annie Leibovitz and featuring actress Helen Mirren and US Vogue creative director Grace Coddington among others - was unveiled to a mixed response from the industry.

September

Mary Portas (pictured) was grilled at a select committee hearing where she admitted frustration with the Government and a sense that the future of the high street is not a top priority.

September saw arguably the biggest job move of the year when it was announced Marigay McKee would leave her role as chief merchant at Harrods to join New York department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue as president in January. Her role has since been split into two, with Helen David as fashion director of womenswear, accessories, fine jewellery and kidswear, while Jason Broderick holds the same role for menswear, sports and watches.

October

Designer Marc Jacobs left Louis Vuitton after 16 years at the brand to focus on his own label as it heads towards an IPO.Kate Moss (above) returned to Topshop for her first collection in three years, which is due to be unveiled next April.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a pilot scheme in which visa applications for Chinese visitors entering the UK would be simplified, much to the delight of UK retailers. US brand J Crew arrived in the UK with its first store, a men’s shop on Lambs Conduit Street in central London. A women’s store followed three weeks later, and a Regent Street flagship opened on November 8 (pictured below). Harvey Nichols fashion director Paula Reed departed after just one year in her role.

Burberry announced that chief executive Angela Ahrendts is to step down next year to join technology firm Apple as senior vice president, with chief creative officer Christopher Baileytaking over the reins at Burberry. Shop Direct, parent company of Very, Littlewoods and Isme, among others, reported its first pre-tax profit in 10 years, netting £6.6m over the 12 months to June 30, up from a £57.7m loss last year.

 

November

Asos launched its Chinese site Asos.com/cn, taking the etail giant to its eighth local-language site.

Marks & Spencer revealed half-year results that showed a 1.5% drop in general merchandise like-for-likes in the 26 weeks to September 28 - its ninth consecutive quarter of decline. The retailer has since unveiled a colourful spring 14 line (left and below).

Bonmarché launched on the London stock exchange on November 20 with a £40m share issue, while department store House of Fraser appointed investment bank Rothschild to advise on its impending IPO, due to take place next spring.

Primark and John Lewis were both double winners at the Drapers Awards 2013. Primark scooped Fashion Retail Business of the Year (over £125m turnover) and International Fashion Retailer of the Year, while John Lewis won the Department Store Business of the Year category and also took the Best Store Design trophy for its Exeter branch.

My-Wardrobe.com chief executive David Worby left the business in the wake of a pre-pack administration.Footwear retailer Barratts also entered administration, blaming “difficult trading conditions” in the sector for its demise.

 

December

Primark chief executive Paul Marchant (left) was named as the UK fashion industry’s most influential person in Drapers’ annual Top 100 list. My-Wardrobe.com co-founder Sarah Curran resurfaced at Shop Direct as a director, where she will woo luxury brands to work with the business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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