British Retailer JD Sports to Buy US Rival Hibbett for $1.08 Billion

FILE PHOTO: JD Sports logo is seen on the exterior of a store in London, Britain, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/May James/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: JD Sports logo is seen on the exterior of a store in London, Britain, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/May James/File Photo
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British Retailer JD Sports to Buy US Rival Hibbett for $1.08 Billion

FILE PHOTO: JD Sports logo is seen on the exterior of a store in London, Britain, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/May James/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: JD Sports logo is seen on the exterior of a store in London, Britain, November 17, 2021. REUTERS/May James/File Photo

JD Sports Fashion has proposed to buy American athletic-fashion retailer Hibbett Inc for about $1.08 billion, the companies said on Tuesday, as the British sportswear retailer expands across the southeastern US.
JD Sports, Britain's largest sportswear retailer, will pay $87.50 per Hibbett share in cash, representing a premium of about 20% to the US firm's last closing price.
The Bury, Greater Manchester-based company said it expects to fund the deal and refinance Hibbett's existing debt through its existing US cash resources of $300 million and a $1 billion extension to its existing bank facilities.
The enlarged group would have combined revenues of about 4.7 billion pounds ($5.80 billion) in North America, JD Sports said, adding that the region's contribution to total sales would increase to about 40% from the current 32%.



Sabato De Sarno Unveils Gucci Precision Saturated in Color to Close Milan Fashion Week

 A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)
A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)
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Sabato De Sarno Unveils Gucci Precision Saturated in Color to Close Milan Fashion Week

 A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)
A model wears a creation as part of the Gucci men's Spring Summer 2025 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP)

It’s been creative director musical chairs at some of Italy’s top fashion houses, and the pressure is showing, at least on social media.

Gucci’s Sabato De Sarno presented his third collection in Milan on Monday, still the most highly anticipated runway show of the week as Gucci undergoes a major style transition.

Hours earlier, Valentino, the fashion house that snapped up his predecessor Alessandro Michele, launched images on social media of Michele’s first resort collection for Rome-based Valentino, which previews its collections in Paris. Commentators couldn’t help but notice the similarities to his Gucci years.

Anyone with complicated family dynamics can understand just how fraught the timing was. Gucci is owned by the French conglomerate Kering, which has a 30-percent stake in Valentino, an important but not determinant share. Add to that, De Sarno is a Valentino alum, whose recent resort collection included a pussy bow that was one of the codes Michele brought to Gucci.

Michele's runway debut for Valentino is expected in Paris for womenswear previews in September.

Some highlights from the fourth and final day of Milan Fashion Week, mostly menswear previews for Spring-Summer 2025:

Gucci saturates precise silhouette Sabato De Sarno’s sophomore menswear collection for Gucci was all about precise silhouettes saturated in color. A long, acid-green bonded leather coat over thigh-baring shorts and a netted shirt set the tone for an outing that was both rigorous and edgy.

Models strode through the atrium of Milan’s Triennale design museum, in tribute to De Sarno’s view of museums as "nourishing" spaces. In that vein, he invited 400 fashion students to watch the show, and was meeting with them afterward. Part of the brand’s relaunch has been moving to spaces away from the sprawling Gucci Hub on Milan’s outskirts, as De Sarno lays claim to Italy’s fashion capital one venue at a time.

His Spring-Summer 2025 collection featured wearable elements easily composed to one’s desire, reflecting De Sarno’s wish "that people feel free and welcomed in my clothes."

Amid the structure of the bonded leather jackets and crisp poplin suits, there was a lot of movement, in undulating, vivid repeating prints of surfers and dolphins on boxy bowling shirts, shimmering beaded fringe jackets in shades of lemon or lime, and long-sleeve hand-knit polo shirts sparkling with embedded sequins. A subtle jacquard was a rare sign of the Gucci logo.

Fresh styling conceits included chunky sunglasses that, when not worn, could be strapped backward around the neck with a brightly colored Gucci cord. Highly constructed bags were inspired by archival luggage, and include detachable pieces. Sneakers and scuba slip-ons featured molded soles.

Media-shy De Sarno said in press notes that the collection "speaks about freedom."

"I feel free when there is no distance between my words and my thoughts, between my actions and my heart,” he wrote.

Serena and Venus Williams serve up some Gucci De Sarno has the full endorsement of Serena Williams, who sat in the front row between Kering boss Francois-Henri Pinault and her sister Venus.

“It was a beautiful collection. I think Sabato is a great designer,” Serena Williams said backstage. “Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Williams, dressed in a pretty peach suit with a sparkly knit top, was joined by sister Venus, wearing a Gucci Pantone red leather coat. Venus also showed up at JW Anderson's show Sunday night. Also on hand was Irish actor Paul Mescal, keeping cool in striped shorts and a GG monogrammed blue dress shirt.

Giorgio Armani's North Star There has been one constant at the Giorgio Armani fashion house for the last 49 years, and that’s Giorgio Armani.

His looks are a steady evolution of the relaxed tailoring that has characterized his fashion empire.

Soothing hues set the mood for the Spring-Summer 2024 collection, where the loose, often pleated, trousers were the star. Jackets were worn open, and shirts were often collarless or with casual shawl collars. Silken trousers featured big side pleats, billowing with each step. Small slit pockets provided utility. Vests added a ruffian flair, with or without shirts. Scrunchy sun hats were packable.

Models walked slowly, deliberately, on a runway surrounded by video images of tropical plants — a motif of the season. Some smiled, as the designer has urged in recent seasons.

Turning 90 next month, Armani remains firmly at the center of his fashion group, launched in 1975, and is always on hand to take a bow after his shows.

This round, he was joined by his long-time right-hand-man Leo Dell’Orco, who heads the group's men's style office, and Gianluca Dell’Orco, head of Giorgio Armani men's styling office.

Russell Crowe was front row for the show at Armani’s Milan theater. Clad in jeans, the actor said he was jet-lagged and wanted to be comfortable. He may well have spotted something from the runway that fits that bill.