Puma Sees Softer First Half as Currency Effects Weigh 

The logo of German sports goods firm Puma is seen at the entrance of one of its stores in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. (Reuters)
The logo of German sports goods firm Puma is seen at the entrance of one of its stores in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. (Reuters)
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Puma Sees Softer First Half as Currency Effects Weigh 

The logo of German sports goods firm Puma is seen at the entrance of one of its stores in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. (Reuters)
The logo of German sports goods firm Puma is seen at the entrance of one of its stores in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. (Reuters)

Puma on Tuesday said it expects a soft first half of 2024 as negative currency effects continue to put pressure on the German sportswear company, but stuck to the annual targets it gave in January.

"Going into 2024, we see that the market environment remains challenging," CEO Arne Freundt said in a statement.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Puma's currency-adjusted sales in the Americas fell by 6.4% to 846 million euros ($918.5 million), hit by a slump in the value of the Argentine peso, the sportswear maker said.

Revenue in the Asia-Pacific rose 2.8% on a currency-adjusted basis to 468.3 million euros in the quarter, helped by strong growth in the Greater China region and India, Puma said.

However, it flagged sales in the rest of Asia were softer, impacted by consumer sentiment and warm weather conditions.

The group reiterated its 2024 projection for mid-single-digit percentage growth in currency-adjusted sales, and earnings before interest and tax of 620 million to 700 million euros.



Italy’s Benetton Plans Restructuring as Losses Mount, Sources Say

A logo of United Colors of Benetton is seen in front of a store in Rome, Italy, July 21, 2020. (Reuters)
A logo of United Colors of Benetton is seen in front of a store in Rome, Italy, July 21, 2020. (Reuters)
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Italy’s Benetton Plans Restructuring as Losses Mount, Sources Say

A logo of United Colors of Benetton is seen in front of a store in Rome, Italy, July 21, 2020. (Reuters)
A logo of United Colors of Benetton is seen in front of a store in Rome, Italy, July 21, 2020. (Reuters)

Italy's Benetton family is readying plans to address mounting losses at its eponymous clothing retailer, including parting ways with CEO Massimo Renon after four years, two people close to the group said on Monday.

The board of the clothing group is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss a net loss of around 230 million euros ($250 million) for 2023 which includes impairments, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

That compares with a net loss of 81 million euros in 2022, when revenues totaled 1 billion euros.

Benetton shareholders are then scheduled to meet on June 18, at which time Renon's CEO mandate will not be renewed, the two sources said.

Renon, who built his career in the eyewear industry working at Luxottica, Safilo and Marcolin, declined to comment.

The Benettons own the clothing group made famous by its colorful jumpers and provocative advertising campaigns through their Edizione holding company.

Edizione is preparing to back a restructuring of the clothing retailer and to inject 260 million euros, one of the sources said, adding that Edizione would exert closer control over the group.

Benetton has struggled to withstand growing competition from fast-fashion giants such as Zara owner Inditex which have developed a nimbler production and distribution model, able to more quickly respond to consumers' changing tastes.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Saturday, Chairman Luciano Benetton, one of its founders, said the group had been expected to break even in 2023 under a three-year strategic plan, but a worse than expected financial situation had emerged in recent months.

Luciano Benetton told Corriere that current management, led by Renon, had surprised the board by unveiling a "dramatic" shortfall.

Founded in 1965 by Italy's Benetton family as a clothing manufacturer, Benetton expanded to trade through around 4,000 shops globally, according to its website. After listing the group in Milan in 1986, the Benettons took it private in 2012, the last year in which it made a profit.


Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Industry Valued at $24 Billion in Q1 2024

Visitors are seen at an exhibition organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission in Riyadh in March. (SPA)
Visitors are seen at an exhibition organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission in Riyadh in March. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Industry Valued at $24 Billion in Q1 2024

Visitors are seen at an exhibition organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission in Riyadh in March. (SPA)
Visitors are seen at an exhibition organized by the Saudi Fashion Commission in Riyadh in March. (SPA)

The total value of the fashion industry in Saudi Arabia reached SAR 92.3 billion ($24.6 billion) during the first quarter of 2024, with local fashion accounting for SAR 46.9 billion ($12.5 billion), according to a report by the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at).

The value of spending on imported brands amounted to SAR 27.4 billion ($7.3 billion), increasing the expected cumulative growth of the fashion sector by 48 percent between 2021 and 2025.

In its report for the first quarter of 2024, Monsha’at highlighted the importance of the fashion sector in the Kingdom and the great investment opportunities available to entrepreneurs.

In his opening letter of the report, CEO of the Fashion Commission Burak Cakmak said the future of fashion in Saudi Arabia will witness further progress and prosperity thanks to the Kingdom’s designers and the visions of its entrepreneurs that will leave an impact on the global fashion scene.

The report featured an interview with Saud Al-Sabhan, Deputy Governor for Entrepreneurship at Monsha’at, who emphasized the Authority’s role in supporting entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs through various programs and initiatives.

CEO and Founder of MAGNiTT Philip Bahoshy said the Kingdom continued to excel in the volume of venture capital investments at the beginning of 2024, with investments worth a total of SAR 900 million ($240 million).

He added that Saudi Arabia has the largest share of the volume of venture capital investments in the Middle East and North Africa region, at 65 percent.

The report reviewed success stories of male and female entrepreneurs in the field, including Princess Deemah bint Mansour bin Saud al-Saud, the founder of Personage, designer Mohammed Khoja, co-founder of Hindamme, and others.


Louis Vuitton Pays Homage to Barcelona Architect Antoni Gaudí in 2025 Cruise Collection 

A model wears a creation by Louis Vuitton during a fashion show for the Cruise 2025 collection in the Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP)
A model wears a creation by Louis Vuitton during a fashion show for the Cruise 2025 collection in the Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP)
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Louis Vuitton Pays Homage to Barcelona Architect Antoni Gaudí in 2025 Cruise Collection 

A model wears a creation by Louis Vuitton during a fashion show for the Cruise 2025 collection in the Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP)
A model wears a creation by Louis Vuitton during a fashion show for the Cruise 2025 collection in the Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP)

Louis Vuitton unveiled its latest fashion designs at Barcelona’s Park Güell on Thursday, providing the clothes with drama to finally match Antoni Gaudí’s architectural masterpiece.

Nicolas Ghesquiere’s ambitions for the Parisian house’s 2025 Cruise collection were unveiled before an A-list crowd, including actresses Ana de Armas, Jennifer Connelly and Saoirse Ronan.

Louis Vuitton usually unveils its ready-to-wear collections in the French capital, while choosing exotic and attention-grabbing locations for its destination cruise collections.

Where tourists tread daily in tank tops, shorts and flip flops, this UNESCO World Heritage Site for one night was home to cutting-edge garments that blended with its earthly tones that are at once organic and yet seemingly ethereal.

The models weaved their way through the 86 Doric columns that hold up a vaulted square in the center of the park that overlooks Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

The show notes said Ghesquiere had been inspired by Gaudí’s “legacy in constant mutation” and Spain’s rich artistic heritage.

“As if in homage to such opulent purity, the Maison’s rigorous spirit embraces the country’s passionate character,” the notes read. “The fervor of its colors, its loyalty to tradition elevated into artistic expression, dark and light that never appear contradictory.”

Dramatic silhouettes contrasted with the soft curves of Gaudí’s organic structures, which were then reflected in the dresses that draped and folded into volumes that defied gravity.

And then there were flashes that delighted: a pair of equestrian boots that finished in a bunch of tassels.

The fashion show, however, was not celebrated by all. A group of a few hundred residents protested the event for what they said were the inconveniences it had caused, including reduced parking in the area. The protest also included animal right activists.

The group of protesters located a few streets down the hill from the park’s outer wall could be heard beating drums, blowing air horns and setting off firecrackers before the show kicked off. Catalan police said they arrested one person for resisting violently to their decision to remove the protesters from a street to let traffic through.

Park Güell, pronounced “gu-ay” was started in 1900 as a planned upscale residential development designed by Gaudí, whose other works include the still-in-progress La Sagrada Familia Basilica. But a lack of buyers led to it being ditched in favor of a park that eventually passed into the hands of the Barcelona townhall.

It now receives 4.4 million visitors a year, mostly from the US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, with Barcelona residents only representing 0.3% of the visitors, according to the park.


Swedish Textile Recycler Syre Raises $100 Million

Representation photo: Garment employees work in a sewing section of the Fakhruddin Textile Mills Limited in Gazipur, Bangladesh, February 7, 2021. Picture taken February 7, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Representation photo: Garment employees work in a sewing section of the Fakhruddin Textile Mills Limited in Gazipur, Bangladesh, February 7, 2021. Picture taken February 7, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
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Swedish Textile Recycler Syre Raises $100 Million

Representation photo: Garment employees work in a sewing section of the Fakhruddin Textile Mills Limited in Gazipur, Bangladesh, February 7, 2021. Picture taken February 7, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Representation photo: Garment employees work in a sewing section of the Fakhruddin Textile Mills Limited in Gazipur, Bangladesh, February 7, 2021. Picture taken February 7, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Textile recycling firm Syre said on Thursday it had raised $100 million to fund the building of its first plant in the United States and preparations for two more, the construction of which will start in 2025.
The funding round was led by founding investor TPG Rise Climate, with investments also from fashion retailer H&M , IMAS Foundation, Volvo Cars and others, Syre said, not specifying how much each had invested, Reuters said.
The Swedish venture said in a statement its US polyester recycling plant would be up and running this year and it had short-listed Vietnam and either Spain or Portugal as sites for two further plants.
"Both regions are strategically positioned within the textile supply chain and have a long history of a vibrant textile industry, with access to know-how, feedstock and logistics, as well as green energy," the company said.
Syre plans to produce more than 3 million metric tons of polyester - enough for two tee-shirts for every person on Earth - in 2032 by recycling used garments.
Around 5.8 million tonnes of textile products are discarded every year in the European Union, equivalent to 11 kg (24 lb) per person.
A truckload of textile products is land-filled or incinerated somewhere in the world every second, according to EU figures.


Chanel to Open More Stores in China Even as Growth Shifts Abroad

Chanel plans to invest in opening more stores in mainland China. (AFP)
Chanel plans to invest in opening more stores in mainland China. (AFP)
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Chanel to Open More Stores in China Even as Growth Shifts Abroad

Chanel plans to invest in opening more stores in mainland China. (AFP)
Chanel plans to invest in opening more stores in mainland China. (AFP)

Chanel plans to invest in opening more stores in mainland China despite a shift of spending by Chinese shoppers to other markets as they resume travelling, the French label said on Tuesday.

"The ability to scale is really important," said Leena Nair, chief executive of the privately-owned label, known for its tweed suits, quilted handbags and No. 5 perfume.

On a recent trip to China, she said she noticed young shoppers were interested in luxury purchases as longer term financial investments.

First quarter sales updates from luxury brands showed contrasting results in mainland China, offering little reassurance that Chinese demand for high end fashion is bouncing back quickly.

This has cast a cloud over the outlook for the industry, which had high hopes that the key market would provide a boost as the post-pandemic splurge in the United States and Europe abated.

"China is still a place where we are, I would say, under distributed," said Chanel chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux, citing the label's 18 fashion boutiques compared to competing brands that have around 40 to 50 stores.


Cartier, LVMH Look to Stores Outside Paris for Olympic Retail Boost

FILE PHOTO: The logo of luxury goods group Richemont's flagship brand Cartier is seen at a branch in Zurich, Switzerland, January 12, 2017.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of luxury goods group Richemont's flagship brand Cartier is seen at a branch in Zurich, Switzerland, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
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Cartier, LVMH Look to Stores Outside Paris for Olympic Retail Boost

FILE PHOTO: The logo of luxury goods group Richemont's flagship brand Cartier is seen at a branch in Zurich, Switzerland, January 12, 2017.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of luxury goods group Richemont's flagship brand Cartier is seen at a branch in Zurich, Switzerland, January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Luxury retailers in European cities outside France are jockeying for business from deep pocketed tourists this summer, betting on a surge in visitors avoiding crowds and street closures in Paris during the Olympic Games.
"Paris will probably be slow," with cities like London, Milan or Barcelona likely seeing a lift in traffic during the event, Cartier CEO Cyril Vigneron said on Friday.
The Summer Games, which run from July 26 to Aug. 11, are probably "not the right time to organize a very important high jewelry celebration in Paris", said Van Cleef & Arpels CEO Nicolas Bos. "But we will keep the stores open and be very happy to welcome sports amateurs," he added.
The executives of the Richemont-owned jewelry brands speak from experience. The 2012 Olympics, held in London, drove some serious shoppers to their boutiques in Paris, they said, although it was "neutral" overall for their businesses. Expecting a similar trend this year, they will focus on meeting their wealthy customers where they turn up.
LVMH, the world's largest luxury group and an Olympic sponsor, is also basing its expectations on its experience during previous events in London and Beijing.
"It's usually quite neutral - although it makes our life a little bit more complicated when it comes to supplying products into our stores," said LVMH Chief Financial Officer Jean Jacques Guiony.
According to Reuters, a report commissioned by Paris 2024 last week flagged a possible "crowding out" effect whereby tourists that had planned to come to Paris go elsewhere, but said that it is hard to measure and to predict.
France's governing fashion body, The Federation de la Haute Couture et la Mode, has moved the autumn 2024 haute couture fashion shows forward a week to June 24, straight after the menswear spring 2025 ready-to-wear events. Organizers are also doubling shuttle services between shows as final Olympic preparations are expected to snarl city traffic.
Still, some fashion labels will only hold showroom presentations in Milan this season, due to "logistical difficulties because of the Olympics", Carlo Capasa, chairman of Italy's National Fashion Chamber, said.
London retailers, which have suffered from a drop in tourist traffic with the end of UK tax-free shopping, are hoping to capture business from Paris, with preparations well underway at iconic stores Harrods and Selfridges.
"Paris has already been taken off the Chinese tour guide lists for this summer," said Harrods' managing director Michael Ward, who is expecting a significant boost. "We've got to curate the product, we've got to be absolutely on our game to handle it," said Ward.
The department store hopes to draw in shoppers with celebrations of its new Tiffany & Co. high jewelry boutique, designer pop-ups and exclusive products including two new 175th anniversary teddy bears designed by Italian jewelry label Bulgari and makeup label Charlotte Tilbury.
Selfridges plans to attract locals as well as international visitors with sporting events such as a running club and is beefing up its offer of sportswear products.
"We are getting ready for a huge celebration of sport," said CEO Andrew Keith.
Barcelona, meanwhile, is pitching itself as a laid-back alternative to the frenzied Olympic atmosphere in Paris.
"Spain can offer a more relaxed leisure and consumer experience than that which, for weeks, the host city and country of the Games will have," Spanish retail and food industry association AECOC told Reuters.
Some tourists, including from the United States, who do visit the Games, which will mostly be held in venues throughout the French capital, are planning to extend their trips to visit other European countries.
"US travel data appears to imply a halo effect, as in addition to an increase in bookings in France for the Olympics, our data reflects an amplification of intra-European travel by Americans in Europe to certain destinations, such as Spain, Germany and Italy," travel agency eDreams told Reuters.


Prada Not Looking at M&A, Sees 'Positive Surprise' from US

The logo of fashion house Prada is seen outside a shop in Milan, Italy, April 8, 2024. (Reuters)
The logo of fashion house Prada is seen outside a shop in Milan, Italy, April 8, 2024. (Reuters)
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Prada Not Looking at M&A, Sees 'Positive Surprise' from US

The logo of fashion house Prada is seen outside a shop in Milan, Italy, April 8, 2024. (Reuters)
The logo of fashion house Prada is seen outside a shop in Milan, Italy, April 8, 2024. (Reuters)

Italian luxury group Prada is not looking at big acquisitions as it is focused on the brands it already owns, its Chief Executive Andrea Guerra said on Monday.
Speaking at the FT Luxury Summit in Venice, Guerra added that he expected a positive surprise this year from the US market for the luxury sector, Reuters reported.
"I'm cautiously positive about the US. I think that Prada has a relationship with the American consumer, but maybe we have been a little bit under represented as a business there. So we've got homework to do," he added.
The CEO - appointed in January 2023 to lead the company as the next generation of its founding family gets ready to pick up the reins - said he did not know when the change at the helm would take place.
Lorenzo Bertelli, one of the two sons of Prada's founders Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, is expected to be appointed CEO after Guerra.
In first quarter results published last month, Prada defied a slowdown across the luxury sector, reporting booming demand for its high fashion brand Miu Miu and continued growth in Asia.


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.