There’s at least one retail sector bucking the recessionary headwinds: fast fashion.
On Thursday, Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz and Spain’s Mango reported strong growth in 2008 — and bullish plans for expansion this year. H&M remains committed to opening 225 stores worldwide, adding 7,000 jobs. Mango, meanwhile, plans to unveil 150 stores.
The openings continue aggressive expansion plans by all the major fast-fashion retailers, from Zara to Uniqlo. With competition in more mature American and European markets stiffening and economies in recession, fast fashion is looking to expand in new growth markets around the world, from China to the Middle East.
And these store openings already are contributing to growth. H&M on Thursday reported a 13 percent increase in aftertax profits for 2008 to 15.29 billion Swedish kronor, or $1.89 billion at average exchange, beating most analysts’ expectations. Sales for the year reached 88.53 billion kronor, or $10.94 billion, up 13 percent.
Also on Thursday, Mango revealed an 8 percent increase in sales last year to 1.4 billion euros, or $1.87 billion, at current exchange rates.
But the recession is having some impact. Sales in the fourth quarter hit 26.31 billion kronor, or $3.25 billion, up 15 percent, boosted by store openings around the world, including H&M’s first stores in Tokyo. On a like-for-like basis, however, sales in the three-month period shrank 3 percent, underscoring the challenging holiday season for retail across Europe and America. Like-for-like sales for the year fell 1 percent.
H&M said sales in December rose 3 percent, and that it expects sales in January to increase 8 percent.
“It goes without saying that H&M has been affected by the global business cycle,” Nils Vinge, H&M investor relations manager, said on a conference call.
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.