Investors in Tokyo reacted postively to news of a potential J.Crew deal. Shares Fast Retailing, Asia's largest clothing retailer, gained 1.23 percent to end the day Monday at 35,480 yen, or $348.46 at current exchange, as the Nikkei 225 shed 1.27 percent.
Macquarie Equities Research analysts Toby Williams and Takako Wenisch expressed a very favorable view of a potential Fast Retailing and J. Crew deal.
"We believe this would be a powerful combination of possibly the two most successful — and still active — apparel merchandisers in the world, Mr. Tadashi Yanai and Mr. Millard "Mickey" Drexler. In our opinion, this transaction would have the potential to dramatically transform Fast Retailing," the two analysts said a report published Monday.
Williams and Wenisch highlighted a number of potential synergies that could come of the deal, were it to go through. These include sourcing, organic growth, the expansion of J. Crew in Asia, and faster growth of Fast Retailing's online business worldwide. But the two analysts said the biggest upside to a potential deal would be if Drexler could spearhead Uniqlo's U.S. expansion drive.
"We believe there are few — if any — people who understand the U.S. consumer, U.S. logistics and U.S. retail space as well as Mr. Drexler. If anyone could push Uniqlo out across the U.S., it is him, but it is unclear whether he could do this whilst maintaining J. Crew's success," the report said. "If Mr. Drexler and Mr. Yanai were able together to achieve a rapid rollout of Uniqlo in the U.S., it could put substantial pressure on other major apparel retailers in that country."
Over the weekend, Reuters reported that South Korean fashion company E-Land Group was also interested in buying J.Crew but a spokesman for E-Land has since issued a denial. He said Monday that the report was untrue and the company has "no plans" to buy J.Crew. E-Land's assets include K-Swiss, Coccinelle and Mandarina Duck.
Meanwhile, Uniqlo and other Japanese retailers saw stronger sales in February despite two major snowstorms that blocked roads and disrupted public transportation for two consecutive weekends.
Fast Retailing said same-store sales at its Uniqlo stores in Japan increased 0.8 percent in February, with cold weather boosting sales of winter apparel. There are currently 831 Uniqlo stores in Japan.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, the country's largest department store operator, said February sales at its nine main stores in Japan increased four percent over last year. The company continued to see particularly strong performance at its Isetan Shinjuku and Ginza Mitsukoshi stores in Tokyo. Both of these stores underwent renovations in recent years, and both posted yearly sales gains of over 10 percent last month.
Takashimaya said that sales at its 18 department stores in Japan increased 4 percent in February. In addition to continued strong sales of imported brand goods, jewelry and watches, the company said that interior products and fashion items such as men's clothing and women's accessories also performed well. February marks the fourth straight month of year-on-year sales increases for the retailer.
H2O Retailing, which operates the Hankyu and Hanshin chains of department stores, saw its February sales increase by 3.5 percent. The company has seen its sales grow each month for over a year, due largely to a recent large-scale renovation and expansion project at its flagship store in the western city of Osaka.
J. Front Retailing said that sales at its Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores were up 6.9 percent year-on-year in February. The company currently has 18 stores across Japan.
"Although the number of customers decreased, particularly in the Tokyo area, due to heavy snowfalls and stormy weather, [sales of] luxury brand goods, watches and jewelry increased greatly," J. Front Retailing said. "We also saw favorable results of Valentine's Day items, as well as movement of cold weather goods and spring coats."
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)