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This week in history...

Arcadia planned to retain key Sears’ staff if its bid for the group succeeded, footballer Bobby Moore promoted his own label, and a retailer called on manufacturers to stop bribing buyers.

10 years ago…

The Arcadia Group signalled its intention to retain key staff at Sears if its bid to buy the business succeeded, reported the June 26 1999 issue of Drapers.

Top of the list to be kept on were the managing directors of the Wallis and Warehouse chains, Pat Burnett and Yasmin Yusuf respectively. 

According to Arcadia chief executive John Hoerner, the two were key to the individual product handwriting and brand identities at the chains. He added: “As far as the product is concerned we are not looking to change anything in Sears’ businesses that is successful. We value the management teams highly.”

Also in the news this week, rents were soaring in London driven by an influx of international retailers. The arrival of retailers such as Camper and La Perla pushed rent prices on streets including Brompton Road and Sloane Street up to £500 per sq ft, knocking Oxford Street off its perch as the area with the highest rents in the UK at £475 per sq ft.

40 years ago…

Shirt manufacturer Ben Sherman announced plans to diversify into trousers, knitwear and casual jackets, wrote Menswear (later incorporated into Drapers) on June 26 1969.

The brand said: “It looks like we have a chance of becoming a brand name, and when that happens it is quite likely that people will buy other things with that name, provided they have the same appeal.”

A range of close-fitting and slightly flared trousers in a terylene/wool mix was planned in 10 colours, sweaters would be in shirt form and jackets informal, with zips. The brand was aiming to deliver the range to shops for spring 1970.

Staying with Menswear, footballer Bobby Moore was pictured modelling a double-breasted coat. Nothing unusual about that, seeing as Moore was a regular face on posters around London for menswear retailer Horne Brothers, despite being “not exactly a sexy George Best as a model.”

However, this time Moore was promoting a piece from his own brand, Harrison Moore, of which he was a director. The range included belted studded textured leather coats, Regency-style three-quarter coats, shiny rocker jackets and classic suede hacking jackets.

65 years ago…

Predicting post-war womenswear styles was the mission for Drapers on June 24 1944, and as a change from views given by the usual suspects such as famous dress designers, the magazine asked the manufacturers to gaze into the future.

According to Mr H Bernstein, owner of the company of the same name, good quality would be demanded by women shoppers. He said: “I do not think the women coming out of the Forces will fancy very feminine wear, but will first want plain clothes without ‘bits and pieces’ – not a stodgy garment, but plain with a good line.”

However, Mr H.L Khan of Rembrandt Dresses said: “There will be a definite feeling for soft dresses as opposed to the shirt-waist type,” and backed the dressmaker suit as a surefire winner.  

Miss V Turland of D Ritter & Son predicted a post-war reaction from the severity of Forces uniforms, while Mr J Dent of Debenhams said post-war styles would depend “100%” on Paris.

120 years ago…

Drapers reported that “one of the large stores” had recently called on manufacturers with whom they have accounts to declare they “have not, or will not in future” give bribes to buyers.

According to the June 29 1889 issue, in many cases such an assurance was given, but “some of the houses, as a matter of principle, refused to subscribe to the declaration”.

While Drapers applauded the firms who stated their innocence, it criticised those who refused, saying it layed them “open to the suggestion of guilt”. However, the effectiveness of the store’s ploy was also called into question, as any manufacturer desperate for orders “would swear any affidavit that could be placed before them”.

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