The week that was
Getting bad news outta the way first
Earlier this week saw the receivers of failed electronics chain, Dick Smith, take legal action on behalf of creditors against the company’s ex-CEO Nick Abboud, ex-CFO Michael Potts, and former directors Bill Wavish, Phil Cave, Rob Murray, Jamie Tomlinson, Robert Ishak and Lorna Raine in the NSW Supreme Court.
The executives and directors have been accused of breaching their duty to exercise reasonable care ahead of the company’s financial collapse in January, 2016.
Another household Aussie name, Harvey Norman, has also been in the media with co-founder and executive chairman Gerry Harvey believing he’s in a state of “war” with journalists making “absolutely untrue” assertions about his company’s financial accounts, following a market announcement last night that the corporate regulator is looking into the company’s finances.
Meanwhile, US department store Sears has finally admitted its ongoing survival is unlikely.
After six consecutive years of losses – and widespread predictions from virtually every retail analyst in the world – Sears Holdings finally dropped any pretense of controlling its own future, warning in a legal filing overnight that it faces “substantial doubt” it can continue to trade.
On the Amazon front, Myer boss Richard Umbers believes the ball rests firmly in the court of Australian retailers when it comes to Amazon’s prospective entry down under, telling investors that the forthcoming battle for consumers is “our game to lose”.
It’s not all woe and misery
In more positive news, Premier Investments has bucked the trend of tepid retail first-halves and lifted its underlying first-half profits 9.7 per cent to reach 100.6 million.
The owner of several retail brands including Smiggle, Peter Alexander, and Just Jeans reported record underlying EBIT of $93.0 million, up 10.6 per cent on the comparable 26 week period last year ($84.1 million). Underlying net profit before tax increased 10.8 per cent to $90.9 million.
Elsewhere, Catch Group owners Gaby and Hezi Leibovich have pulled Pumpkin Patch from the retail graveyard, with the company announcing its acquisition of the insolvent childrenswear brand for an undisclosed sum.
The pure-play retailer has acquired the Pumpkin Patch brand and associated intellectual property, including database, trademarks and product designs and will relaunch the company with an online only offering in the coming months.
The new, the refurbished and the convenient
Calvin Klein Underwear has opened a new 71sqm store in Westfield Bondi Junction late last week.
It’s the first standalone Calvin Klein store in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs and follows the global concept design for the underwear brand.
Speaking to Inside Retail, Craig Barnett, CEO, PVH Brands Australia, said the store will stock the brand’s full range of men’s and women’s contemporary underwear and sleepwear, as well as the new swimwear offering that launched in Australia this February.
International apparel brand Rag & Bone has now opened its first Australian store at The Strand on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne.
Launched late last week, the 106sqm store has been dubbed the ‘outpost’ and has been designed in line with its American stores, featuring industrial designs, concrete flooring and high ceilings.
QSR chain, Red Rooster, has begun rolling out stores with a small shop front format as part of a strategy to move into more urban areas.
The chicken chain said the design of each new shop front is contemporary and modern, with some stores as small as 42m2 – looking to shift the focus to delivery and pick-up.
Elsewhere, fashion and accessories retailers, Coach and Burberry, have reopened new modern luxury concept store designs at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne.
Speed the key
From fast fashion to faster fashion: speed is seen as the key by Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing in its bid to outrace apparel powerhouse Zara.
Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai says Fast Retailing plans to shorten the time it takes from design to delivery to about 13 days, roughly the same as Zara, owned by clothes retailer Inditex.
He says the company’s new design and delivery centre in Tokyo will also help Uniqlo expand direct-to-consumer, custom-clothing sales and improve the efficiency of its same-day delivery in the city.
“We need to be fast,” he says. “We need to deliver products customers want quickly.”
The week rounded out with global brands Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger among the first names to use Facebook’s newly launched shopping ad format, which incorporates creative media into product pages when selling.
The social media giant said the new platform, dubbed ‘collection’, increases the “likelihood of discovery and a purchase” by featuring a primary creative video or image above relevant product images.