April 21, 2024

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What Fashion Retail Professionals Need to Know Today

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Discover the most relevant industry news and insights for fashion professionals working in retail, updated each month to enable you to excel in job interviews, promotion conversations or perform better in the workplace by increasing your market awareness and emulating market leaders.

BoF Careers distills business intelligence from across the breadth of our content — editorial briefings, newsletters, case studies, podcasts and events — to deliver key takeaways and learnings tailored to your job function, listed alongside a selection of the most exciting live jobs advertised by BoF Careers partners.

Explore global job opportunities in retail on BoF Careers today, from an associate store director at Gucci in Dubai and a director in local business optimisation at Bloomingdale’s in New Jersey to a VIP sales executive at Dover Street Market in London, a department manager on Rodeo Drive at Burberry, a store leader for On in Melbourne and as a sales assistant for Fred Perry in New York.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for retail professionals today:

1. How Nike Ran Off Course


In December, Nike slashed the outlook for its fiscal year ending in May, predicting sales would grow 1 percent. That would mark the company’s worst performance since the late 1990s, other than the pandemic year of 2020 and the 2009 recession. Sales have disappointed quarter after quarter in the US and China, Nike’s two most important markets.

It’s hard to pin Nike’s problems on any one cause. But sneaker industry insiders trace many of the brand’s shortcomings to decisions made early in the tenure of John Donahoe, who was named chief executive in January 2020. His arrival came amid an exodus of veteran designers, marketing gurus and executives. Decisions once left to the heads of categories such as basketball or running were centralised.

2. How Luxury Players Are Reviving New York’s Real Estate Market

The sudden surge of interest from the luxury brands in recent months shows the rapid recovery for a lofty segment of Manhattan’s retail real estate. The luxury conglomerates, backed by billionaire families with long-term horizons and coming off a post-pandemic boom, are seizing a moment — both in New York and globally — at a time when many traditional real estate investors have been sidelined as rates surged.

“These are tenants that are iconic, enmeshed and entrenched in these particular pockets” of New York, said Michael Marks, an executive director at Cushman & Wakefield. “They’ve been there, or envision themselves being there, for decades to come and this gives them an opportunity to control their destiny, to minimise rent fluctuation or spikes.”

3. The New H&M CEO’s Challenges: Wrong Product, Pricing and Channels

All brands with revenues of greater than $100 million that transact in New York State are covered by the Act, which effectively means all major fashion brands, from Louis Vuitton to H&M.

H&M named a new chief executive last week — Daniel Ervér, an 18-year veteran of the business who most recently helmed its marquee brand. Ervér has his work cut out for him. The Swedish chain pioneered the fast fashion model decades ago, but is now caught in a Goldilocks dilemma with its two biggest competitors, Inditex-owned Zara, which has captured the upper end of the category, and Shein, the Chinese behemoth that specialises in ultra-fast, ultra-cheap trendy ware.

The move was not viewed favourably in the market. H&M shares fell 11 percent on Wednesday. “H&M has the wrong products with the wrong pricing in the wrong channels,” said William Woods, an analyst at Bernstein. “They should’ve looked for an external candidate for this role, given that H&M needs fresh ideas.”

4. Gap Inc. Names Zac Posen Creative Director

Zac Posen will join Gap Inc.'s executive leadership team and serve as the “cultural curator and creative partner” to CEO Richard Dickson.

Gap Inc. has put its creative destiny in the hands of Zac Posen, who has been named executive vice president, creative director of the American retail chain that also owns Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic. Posen, 43, will join the American retailer’s executive leadership team and serve as the “cultural curator and creative partner” to CEO Richard Dickson, the company said Monday. He will also serve as chief creative officer of Old Navy, where he will lead design, merchandising and marketing.

“Zac’s combination of technical design, creativity, as well as an awareness of pop culture will really lend well to the future endeavours of Gap Inc.,” Dickson told BoF in an exclusive interview ahead of the announcement. […] To observers in the fashion industry, however, Posen could be a puzzling choice. Much like Gap itself, it has been years since the former wunderkind inhabited the cultural zeitgeist.

5. What Chanel’s Resale Win Means for the Market

Chanel was awarded $4 million in statutory damages this week in a closely watched case against resale site What Goes Around Comes Around.

Some (more aspirational) luxury labels, from Burberry to Balenciaga, have made tentative inroads into the resale space, testing its potential to engage entry-level customers and generate good PR. But “true luxury” brands like Chanel and Hermès have been more cautious, concerned that the secondary market encourages counterfeiting and hurts brand image.

Chanel has emerged as the luxury sector’s most aggressive challenger to the fast-growing resale space. After six years of legal wrangling, in February a New York jury sided with Chanel in a landmark case against resale business What Goes Around Comes Around, which included complaints of trademark infringement, the sale of counterfeit goods and false advertising. Chanel was awarded $4 million in statutory damages.

6. Why Salomon-Owner Amer Sports’ IPO Fell Short

Amer Sports has experienced rapid growth in recent years, buoyed by the emergence of brands like Salomon and Arc'teryx as coveted fashion names.

Amer Sports’ much-hyped US IPO — the fashion industry’s largest listing since Birkenstock in October — got off to a disappointing start before shares even began trading on February 1. The sportswear group, which owns brands such as Salomon, Arc’teryx and sports-equipment company Wilson, sold 105 million shares at $13 each to institutional investors on Wednesday, raising $1.6 billion at a valuation of $6.3 billion.

The IPO’s pricing came in well below the expected range of $16 to $18 per share, which would have valued the company around $8 billion at the lower end. The tepid reaction to the company’s debut was less a reflection of Amer Sports as much as market conditions on the whole, similar to the environment in which Birkenstock’s underwhelming IPO occurred, said Jessica Ramirez, senior research analyst at Jane Hali & Associates. Some factors, however, were specific to Amer Sports.

7. Tiger Woods Debuts New Lifestyle Brand Sun Day Red

Tiger Woods in a black hat with the tiger logo of his new brand in white, wearing a red polo shirt from the brand.

The golf legend’s new apparel and footwear brand created with golf equipment brand TaylorMade was unveiled February 12 at a press conference in Pacific Palisades, California. Called Sun Day Red, the “active premium lifestyle brand” includes apparel, shoes and accessories that will go on sale via the brand’s DTC site on May 1.

“My lifestyle is this. This is what I wear day in and day out,” said Woods onstage at the press conference while wearing the new brand’s 3D Knit cashmere hoodie. He described Sun Day Red as “modern, contemporary and premium,” emphasising it as something to be worn both on the golf course and at the clubhouse after a round of holes.

8. Pangaia’s Net Losses Surpassed $50 Million in 2022

A woman wears a bright green Pangai tracksuit with a grey coat and pink purse.

Pangaia, once one of fashion’s hottest start-ups, saw its net loss mount to $50.4 million in 2022, according to public filings. Sales at the company, whose brightly coloured tracksuits surged in popularity during the pandemic, fell 42 percent year-on-year to $37.1 million, extending a slide from a 2020 peak of $76 million.

Amongst other measures, it laid off a third of its workforce last May and shuttered its warehouse in the Netherlands in October. Efforts to streamline its focus were already paying off in the second half of 2022 with a marked reduction in losses, according to Pangaia’s public filings.

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