ASOS Reports First Half Loss as Shoppers Cut Back 

The ASOS logo is seen in a smartphone in front of a displayed TopShop logo in this illustration taken January 25, 2021. (Reuters)
The ASOS logo is seen in a smartphone in front of a displayed TopShop logo in this illustration taken January 25, 2021. (Reuters)
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ASOS Reports First Half Loss as Shoppers Cut Back 

The ASOS logo is seen in a smartphone in front of a displayed TopShop logo in this illustration taken January 25, 2021. (Reuters)
The ASOS logo is seen in a smartphone in front of a displayed TopShop logo in this illustration taken January 25, 2021. (Reuters)

ASOS, Britain's one-time poster child for the shift to online fashion retailing, swung to a first half loss, hurt by a squeeze on household budgets and elevated product returns but said it was confident of a return to profit in the second half.

The group, which announced a major restructuring last October, said on Wednesday it made an adjusted loss before tax of 87.4 million pounds ($110.3 million) in the six months to Feb. 28, versus a profit of 14.8 million pounds in the same period last year.

Revenue of 1.84 billion pounds was down 10% on a constant currency basis.

ASOS and rival Boohoo grew rapidly in recent years as 20-somethings around the world snapped up their fast fashions, and demand surged again during the pandemic when high street rivals were closed.

But supply chain issues, a cost-of-living crisis and competition from rivals like Shein have weighed on their business models.

Shares in ASOS have halved over the last year, with some analysts fearing it may need to raise further equity.

ASOS ended the half with cash and undrawn facilities of 408.6 million pounds.

Assuming no improvement to the external trading environment, it forecast a "low double-digit" decline in second half sales but with core earnings of 40-60 million pounds, reflecting its focus on profitable sales.



Luxury Group Richemont Makes Van Cleef Jewellery Boss New CEO

The logo of the luxury goods company Richemont is pictured at its headquarters in Bellevue near Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Purchase Licensing Rights
The logo of the luxury goods company Richemont is pictured at its headquarters in Bellevue near Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Purchase Licensing Rights
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Luxury Group Richemont Makes Van Cleef Jewellery Boss New CEO

The logo of the luxury goods company Richemont is pictured at its headquarters in Bellevue near Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Purchase Licensing Rights
The logo of the luxury goods company Richemont is pictured at its headquarters in Bellevue near Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Purchase Licensing Rights

Luxury group Cartier-owner Richemont announced a rejig of its top management on Friday, promoting the head of its Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery brand to group chief executive, saying it was returning to a more traditional management set-up.

Nicolas Bos, who has led a sales surge at Van Cleef, will take over from Jerome Lambert, who will stay on at Richemont as Chief Operating Officer.

The Swiss-listed company made the announcement as it reported a smaller than expected fall in fourth quarter sales. It shares rose 6% on the Zurich exchange.

Chairman Johann Rupert said that the company was reinstating the traditional CEO role, folding the jewellery brands into the rest of the role's responsibilities, which also covers high-end Swiss watches, fashion and accessories, Reuters reported.

He noted it was important to be led by an executive from the "client-facing side”.

"If you’re going to run Richemont you’d better understand the consumer" Rupert told analysts, who were enthusiastic about the promotion.

"Nicolas has developed Van Cleef & Arpels into a power house, and, in our view, is entirely credible as the future leader of the Group," said Bernstein analyst Luca Solca.

The announcement came as Richemont, whose Swiss watch brands include Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre, said sales fell 1% to 4.80 billion euros ($5.21 billion) in the three months to the end of March.

In constant currencies, sales rose 2%,which was a slowdown from the 8% rate in the previous quarter but was slightly ahead of a consensus forecast for 4.78 billion euros cited by RBC.

The performance confirmed a downward trend in the luxury sector which has been buffeted by tepid Chinese demand and comparisons with last year, when the lifting of COVID-19 curbs in China supercharged sales.

Globally, customers have also become more selective about expensive purchases as the costs of living rises.

"Overall a decent set of numbers and final quarter constant currency growth is reassuring given the souring sentiment among luxury goods buyers and a difficult comparable," said Jon Cox at Kepler Cheuvreux.

However, weakness in the Asia Pacific in the final quarter, down 12%, is worrying, he added noting that unless the China consumer comes back, demand for luxury goods is going to be more muted for the industry than otherwise expected.


Adidas Plans Cheaper Versions of Popular Shoes

Adidas sneakers and other shoes for sale are pictured at a shop in Berlin, Germany, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Adidas sneakers and other shoes for sale are pictured at a shop in Berlin, Germany, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
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Adidas Plans Cheaper Versions of Popular Shoes

Adidas sneakers and other shoes for sale are pictured at a shop in Berlin, Germany, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Adidas sneakers and other shoes for sale are pictured at a shop in Berlin, Germany, May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Adidas is launching cheaper versions of its three-striped shoes like the white and black suede Samba as it aims to spread the trend, CEO Bjorn Gulden said on Thursday at the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Germany.
"It's important to understand that not everyone can afford to buy a shoe for 120 or 150, but everyone wants to take part in the same trends," Gulden told investors in a presentation in Furth, near Adidas' headquarters in Herzogenaurach.
Adidas will offer similar versions of the Samba and other shoes for $60 to $80, more affordable entry points than the $100 to $150 price tag for the main shoe lines, according to a presentation slide shown by Gulden.
"What we do at the top, 100 and higher, we're bringing that down. So, for Foot Locker, for Intersport, and for Deichmann, we've also got something to offer," Reuters quoted Gulden as saying.


Burberry's Profit Slumps 34% as Luxury Demand Slows

A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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Burberry's Profit Slumps 34% as Luxury Demand Slows

A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
A person walks past a Burberry store undergoing refurbishment on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Britain's Burberry reported a 34% drop in annual operating profit on Wednesday after it faced the challenge of repositioning its brand to take it more upmarket against a backdrop of slowing luxury demand.
It said its like-for-like sales fell 12% in the final quarter, wiping out gains made earlier in the year, Reuters said.
Chief Executive Jonathan Akeroyd said that while the financial results underperformed the company's original expectations, it had made good progress refocusing its brand.
"We are using what we have learned over the past year to fine tune our approach, while adapting to the external environment," he said, adding that he remained confident Burberry could be the "Modern British Luxury" brand.
He said Burberry expected the first half of its current financial year to remain challenging, but it expected to see the benefit of the actions it was taking from the second half.


Gucci Hosts Star-Studded Cruise Collection Fashion Show in London’s Tate Modern 

A model wears an outfit for the Gucci Cruise fashion show in London, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP)
A model wears an outfit for the Gucci Cruise fashion show in London, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP)
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Gucci Hosts Star-Studded Cruise Collection Fashion Show in London’s Tate Modern 

A model wears an outfit for the Gucci Cruise fashion show in London, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP)
A model wears an outfit for the Gucci Cruise fashion show in London, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP)

For one night only, the utilitarian, concrete basement of London's Tate Modern museum was transformed into a lush green jungle Monday — and it was the hottest fashion ticket in town.

Luxury Italian fashion house Gucci hosted its star-studded cruise collection catwalk at the Thames-side modern art museum, showing a series of delicate sheer outfits, relaxed denim and daywear, all adorned with the brand's coveted leather bags and other accessories with the double-G logo.

Actors Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott and singers Dua Lipa and Solange Knowles were among celebrities perched on the front row. Also in attendance were Salma Hayek and her husband, Francois-Henri Pinault, who is chair and CEO of Kering, Gucci’s parent company.

The big-budget event displayed the first cruise collection by Sabato De Sarno, who was named Gucci's creative director last year and debuted his womenswear designs in September.

Gucci normally stages its shows in Milan, but like other fashion powerhouses it chooses locations around the world to show off its cruise collections — the shows in between the main spring and autumn displays.

On Monday, models meandered down a runway that wound its way around hundreds of ferns, overhanging plants and mossy paths, the mass of green a contrast to the grey, industrial show space. De Sarno said that contrast extends to his latest designs, which paired luxurious evening looks and floral embroidery with casual jackets and slouchy denim.

And what of the footwear? Comfort comes first, with all outfits, even the most glamorous evening gowns, paired with Mary Jane shoes, ballet flats or platform loafers worn with little white socks.

“Rigor and extravagance, strength in delicacy, Englishness with an Italian accent,” the show notes read.

De Sarno featured a few checked jackets in a nod to British style, though some other designs were a much more subtle tribute. Dresses and coats covered with squares made of a shimmering bead fringe were a reference to Scottish plaids.

The fashion house has a little-known historical link to the UK. Its founder, Guccio Gucci, had a stint working as a bellhop in the Savoy, the luxury London hotel, more than a century ago.

The brand says Guccio took inspiration from that experience when he opened his first store in Florence in 1921 to sell luggage. The rest, as they say, is history.


Nigeria's Fashion and Dancing Styles are In The Spotlight as Harry and Meghan Visit Lagos

Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, right, holding hands upon arrival at the government house in Lagos Nigeria, Sunday, May 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, right, holding hands upon arrival at the government house in Lagos Nigeria, Sunday, May 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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Nigeria's Fashion and Dancing Styles are In The Spotlight as Harry and Meghan Visit Lagos

Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, right, holding hands upon arrival at the government house in Lagos Nigeria, Sunday, May 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, right, holding hands upon arrival at the government house in Lagos Nigeria, Sunday, May 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Nigeria’s fashion and traditional dances were at full display on Sunday as Prince Harry and Meghan arrived in its largest city, Lagos, as part of their three-day visit to the country to promote mental health for soldiers and empower young people.
The couple, invited to the West African nation by its military, were treated to different bouts of dancing, starting from the Lagos airport where a troupe's acrobatic moves left both applauding and grinning. One of the dancers, who looked younger than 5 years old, exchanged salutes with Harry from high up in the air, standing on firm shoulders, The Associated Press said.
Going with Meghan’s white top was the traditional Nigerian aso oke, a patterned handwoven fabric wrapped around the waist and often reserved for special occasions. It was a gift from a group of women a day earlier.
The couple visited a local charity – Giants of Africa — which uses basketball to empower young people. There, they were treated to another round of dancing before unveiling a partnership between the organization and their Archewell Foundation.
“What you guys are doing here at Giants of Africa is truly amazing,” Harry said of the group. “The power of sport can change lives. It brings people together and creates community and there are no barriers, which is the most important thing.”
Masai Ujiri, the charity’s president and an ex-NBA star, wished Meghan a happy Mother’s Day and acknowledged how hard it can be “for us to be away from our kids and family to make things like this happen.”
“To do so shows dedication (and) we truly appreciate it,” he told the couple.
Meghan and Harry later attended a fundraiser for Nigeria’s soldiers wounded in the country’s fight against extremists and other armed groups in the country’s conflict-battered north. The event was related to Harry's Invictus Games, which Nigeria is seeking to host in the future.
The couple were also hosted at the Lagos State Government House, where Meghan received another handwoven Nigerian fabric.
“We’ve extended an additional invitation to them that they can always come back when they want to,” Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu told reporters.


Saudi Fashion Commission Hosts Virtual Panel on 'The Future of Fashion: It’s All About Digital Reality'

Saudi Fashion Commission Hosts Virtual Panel on 'The Future of Fashion: It’s All About Digital Reality'
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Saudi Fashion Commission Hosts Virtual Panel on 'The Future of Fashion: It’s All About Digital Reality'

Saudi Fashion Commission Hosts Virtual Panel on 'The Future of Fashion: It’s All About Digital Reality'

The Saudi Fashion Commission announced the success of its recent virtual panel discussion titled "The Future of Fashion: It’s All About Digital Reality."

Moderated by the esteemed Shahinaz Alotaishan, the dialogue took place on Thursday, April 25th, aimed at exploring the innovative intersections between digital technology and fashion, according to a press release reported by SPA.
The engaging virtual event featured prominent figures from the fashion and tech industries, including Alexander Jorias, Co-founder and CEO of Club Cooee, and Noura Alghilaisi, celebrated fashion designer and founder of her eponymous brand. The conversation unfolded across three pivotal segments: the enabler, represented by the Fashion Commission; the facilitator, embodied by Alexander Jorias; and the utilizer, exemplified by Noura Alghilaisi.
As the enabler, the Saudi Fashion Commission set the stage by detailing its initiatives to integrate cutting-edge technologies into the kingdom’s burgeoning fashion scene, thus fostering an environment ripe for digital transformation. Shahinaz Alotaishan, panel moderator and a visionary in her own right, articulated the commission’s commitment to nurturing talent and innovation in Saudi Arabia's fashion industry.
Alexander Jorias, stepping in as the facilitator, shared invaluable insights on the potential of digital platforms like Club Cooee in revolutionizing fashion consumption and interaction. His expertise highlighted how virtual environments can create immersive and inclusive experiences, expanding the traditional boundaries of the fashion industry.
Finally, as the utilizer, Noura Alghilaisi discussed the real-world applications of digital advancements in fashion design and retail. She shared her experiences in leveraging technology to enhance her brand’s offerings, from virtual samples to digital 3D design technologies, illustrating the tangible benefits of embracing a digital-first approach.
The panel discussion was not only a deep dive into the evolving dynamics of fashion in the digital age but also a spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s role as a burgeoning hub for fashion technology. It offered attendees a unique perspective on the seamless integration of technology into fashion, providing a glimpse into a future where fashion and digital reality are intricately linked.
About the Fashion Commission: Founded in 2020, the Fashion Commission is leading the development of the Kingdom’s fashion sector. By driving investment and building robust regulatory frameworks, the commission is supporting the next generation of Saudi fashion talent as they aspire to reach their full potential. The commission is enabling the sector while preserving the Kingdom’s vast heritage in fashion and empowering Saudi fashion designers. Together with the Ministry of Culture, the commission is working to unlock a thriving cultural sector to preserve and elevate the traditions that make the Kingdom unique.


Sales at Ferragamo Down 17% in First Quarter

A view of Italian luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo's logo at a store in Milan, Italy, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
A view of Italian luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo's logo at a store in Milan, Italy, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
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Sales at Ferragamo Down 17% in First Quarter

A view of Italian luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo's logo at a store in Milan, Italy, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco
A view of Italian luxury fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo's logo at a store in Milan, Italy, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Claudia Greco

Sales at Italian luxury group Salvatore Ferragamo fell 16.6% at constant exchange rates in the first quarter, the company said on Thursday.
"Over the quarter, our performance was impacted by continued volatility in the Chinese market, as well as a persisting weakness in wholesale and travel retail, further compounded by an unfavorable comparison", Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti said in a statement.

Revenues totaled 227 million euros ($244.5 million), below analyst expectations of 237 million euros according a LSEG consensus.


Saudi Fashion Commission Launches ‘The Lab’ Fashion Industry Studio in Riyadh 

Officials are seen at the launch event in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Officials are seen at the launch event in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Fashion Commission Launches ‘The Lab’ Fashion Industry Studio in Riyadh 

Officials are seen at the launch event in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Officials are seen at the launch event in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)

The Saudi Fashion Commission launched on Tuesday “The Lab,” Saudi Arabia’s first-of-its-kind studio for fashion product development.

The launch event was attended by officials, industry specialists, media representatives, and government entities at The Lab's headquarters in the Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City, “Misk City,” in Riyadh.

Fashion Commission CEO Burak Cakmak said The Lab sheds light on the progress and prosperity of the fashion industry in the Kingdom, serving as the first studio of its kind in the region, situated in the heart of Riyadh.

He noted that the studio facilitates the fashion manufacturing process, enabling local designers and brands to easily achieve their creative visions.

The Lab enhances innovation and provides essential support throughout the fashion cycle, Cakmak added.

Cakmak said The Lab not only focuses on promoting creativity, but also supports sustainable practices within the industry, embodying a deep commitment to developing a thriving fashion ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, the Lab represents a qualitative leap and an unprecedented initiative in the fashion industry in the Kingdom, he stated.

It provides advanced infrastructure equipped with cutting-edge technologies to boost manufacturing capabilities and foster innovation within the Kingdom.

The studio also offers local designers and businesses the opportunity to showcase their creativity under the “Made in Riyadh” label, Cakmak said.

Misk City CEO David Henry said The Lab aims to develop fashion products in the city, serving as a distinctive mark that will elevate the fashion industry in the Kingdom.

The studio will also allow local designers and businesses to showcase their creations at both the local and global levels, Henry added.

He highlighted Misk City’s contribution to promoting national retail brands in the fashion sector and supporting and developing small and medium-sized local companies.

The Lab highlights the broad support for the development of the fashion sector and aims to enhance the partnership between the Fashion Commission and Misk City.

Additionally, the studio seeks to support cooperation in the development of education and training programs for young Saudi designers and open new avenues for investment in the fashion sector in Saudi Arabia.

This positions The Lab as the starting point for hosting fashion events and festivals in Misk City.

The launch event was attended by Misk Foundation CEO Badr Al-Badr and the foundation’s deputy CEO Omar Najjar.


Hummingbirds and Hooves Take over the Red Carpet at Met Gala 

US actress Zendaya arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024, in New York. The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. The Gala's 2024 theme is “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” (AFP)
US actress Zendaya arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024, in New York. The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. The Gala's 2024 theme is “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” (AFP)
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Hummingbirds and Hooves Take over the Red Carpet at Met Gala 

US actress Zendaya arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024, in New York. The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. The Gala's 2024 theme is “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” (AFP)
US actress Zendaya arrives for the 2024 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2024, in New York. The Gala raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. The Gala's 2024 theme is “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” (AFP)

From Bad Bunny's Tudor-inspired hat and shoes resembling cloven hooves to the hummingbird perched delicately on Zendaya's neck, the hosts set the tone at fashion's biggest night -- the annual Met Gala in New York.

Florals, animals and vintage couture abounded at the so-called Oscars of the East Coast, a mammoth fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

The extravaganza's dress code this year is "The Garden of Time" -- which draws inspiration from the 1962 short story of the same name, written by English writer J.G. Ballard.

In essence, it is about the ephemeral nature of beauty -- perhaps a weighty theme to press on the luminaries attending this year's gala.

For sheer drama, co-host Zendaya dominated the green and cream carpet in her first appearance at the Met Gala since 2019.

The 27-year-old star made a highly-anticipated appearance early on wreathed in jewel-toned lame, organza and satin designed by John Galliano, with vines crawling up her duchess corset and arms -- and what appeared to be a hummingbird nestled into her neck.

Hours later she made a surprise second appearance -- this time in dramatic, Mexican Gothic-inspired black, her two outfits bookending the fashion parade and underscoring the transience of beauty.

Most attendees chose to evoke awakenings and life -- and perhaps defied the theme by demonstrating the immortality of fashion through the centuries, with many 17th and 18th century flourishes.

Some -- such as singer Lana del Rey -- emphasized decay, with stark sculptural twigs rising from her gown to hold a veil of tulle like a canopy over her head.

South African singer Tyla's strapless Balmain gown evoking the sands of time -- right down to the hourglass purse -- was sculpted so tightly to her body that she had to be carried up the steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny evoked a kind of Tudor matador with a sweeping hat and a black bouquet, with the only pop of color his bright red inseam and the patent shine of his cloven shoes.

Cardi B was resplendent in funereal black, with a train so expansive it required nine tuxedoed men to lift it up the stairs.

"It's a black rose," she told journalists.

- 'Mysterious and unexpected' -

Celebrity interpretation of Met Gala themes have been wide-ranging and often sparked social media debate -- but attendees this year appeared to shrug off the pressure.

"I don't even think there's pressure at all, I think it's more of an opportunity," actor Colman Domingo, who carried a bouquet in a lily-colored caped jacket and wide-leg trousers, told journalists.

The theme parallels the exhibit "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," which focuses on the most fragile pieces of the Costume Institute's vast collection.

The show, which will be on view for the public from May 10 through September 2, features clothing so delicate it cannot be displayed on mannequins.

The Costume Institute relies on the blockbuster Met Gala to fund its work, including exhibitions and acquisitions.

The gala was first held in 1948 and for decades was reserved for New York high society. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, the high priestess of US fashion, took over the show in the 1990s, transforming the party into a catwalk for the rich and famous.

This year, a ticket cost a cool $75,000, with tables starting at $350,000. The 2023 gala -- which celebrated the late designer Karl Lagerfeld -- raised nearly $22 million, a record sum.

But what exactly goes on inside is an enduring mystery.

"Something mysterious, I'm sure, and unexpected," actor Jeff Goldblum told journalists on the red carpet, dressed as a count swathed in Tiffany jewels.

Guests are likely to peruse the exhibit, and stars such as Rihanna -- whose command of the red carpet is usually unparalleled, but who did not appear at this year's gala -- have performed in the past.

- Social media frenzy -

The spectacle is social media catnip for celebrity watchers -- and once again this year, both the gala and the exhibit are co-sponsored by TikTok.

The tech world joined luminaries of music, film, politics and sports on the carpet, with TikTok CEO Shou Chew, also an honorary co-chair, in attendance.

Outside the event, several hundred protesters against the war in Gaza demonstrated nearby, with security tight and several arrests made as stars walked the red carpet.


Online Retailer Zalando Grows Marketplace, Customer Numbers Fall

FILED - 03 March 2021, Berlin: The logo of online retailer Zalando is pictured on the Zalando Campus at Mercedes-Platz in Berlin. Photo: Jens Kalaene/ZB/dpa
FILED - 03 March 2021, Berlin: The logo of online retailer Zalando is pictured on the Zalando Campus at Mercedes-Platz in Berlin. Photo: Jens Kalaene/ZB/dpa
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Online Retailer Zalando Grows Marketplace, Customer Numbers Fall

FILED - 03 March 2021, Berlin: The logo of online retailer Zalando is pictured on the Zalando Campus at Mercedes-Platz in Berlin. Photo: Jens Kalaene/ZB/dpa
FILED - 03 March 2021, Berlin: The logo of online retailer Zalando is pictured on the Zalando Campus at Mercedes-Platz in Berlin. Photo: Jens Kalaene/ZB/dpa

Zalando swung to growth in the first quarter after three consecutive declines in gross merchandise volume, the online retailer said on Tuesday, but a decline in active customers and orders dampened the online retailer's results.
Quarterly gross merchandise volume (GMV) - a key revenue metric measuring the total value of all goods sold - rose 1.3% to 3.27 billion euros ($3.52 billion) from 3.23 billion in the year-earlier period, the German online fashion retailer said.
But analysts focused on a decline in active customers to 49.5 million from 51.2 million a year prior, and a 0.6% dip in quarterly revenue, Reuters reported.
As inflation has dented consumers' appetite to buy clothes, Zalando has sought new revenue drivers and started offering its platform and logistics network as a service to other retailers and brands. Revenue from this business-to-business (B2B) service was up 13% at 215 million euros.
"As we are executing our ecosystem strategy, we are excited by the positive response from customers and partners in the first quarter. We are returning to growth," said Dr. Sandra Dembeck, Zalando's chief financial officer.
Along with weaker demand, increased competition by fast fashion rivals such as Shein have weighed on Zalando's revenue. In response, Zalando is adding more premium brands to pursue a bigger share of customers' wallets, rather than trying to compete on price with Shein, which sells $5 T-shirts and $10 shoes.
Zalando said its average basket size increased to 60.4 euros, from 57.3 euros a year earlier.
Zalando has also developed a tool to predict sizing based on photos submitted by customers, and said it launched the service in Spain, France and Italy in the first quarter. The tool aims to ensure customers order items in the correct size, to reduce the amount of returns, a key threat to profit for Zalando and other online retailers.
Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) swung to a profit of 28.3 million euros from a loss of 0.7 million euros a year earlier.
The company confirmed its outlook for GMV and revenue to grow as much as 5% in 2024, and adjusted EBIT to be 380 million to 450 million euros.