SEGREGATING SARS: Jewelry manufacturers in countries with outbreaks of SARS are once again being targeted by international exhibition organizers. Citing worries over the spread of SARS, organizers of the JCK Show in Las Vegas ordered that exhibitors from countries with SARS outbreaks would be required to show in a venue separate from the main hall.
The Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (HKJMA) reacted with outrage to the demand, as did Henry Tang, commerce, industry and technology secretary for Hong Kong. Said Tang, “We think this is unnecessary as well as unreasonable.”
About 112 Hong Kong companies were originally slated to attend the show, which runs from May 30 to June 3. Patrick Luk, chairman of HKJMA, warned that Hong Kong might pull out of the show completely if not enough exhibitors agreed to the organizer’s demand. As of May 9, however, 71 companies had agreed to the terms, while 40 firms withdrew from the event and will be reimbursed.
Those Hong Kong companies that do attend will be isolated in a tent in the event’s car park. Under the terms, attendees from Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada will also have to arrive 10 days before the show and undergo health checks.
The JCK Show upheaval follows last week’s turmoil over Vicenzaoro2 at the Vincenza Fair in Italy June 7-12. Hong Kong’s exhibitors were forced to pull out of that jewelry show when hotel, bus and restaurant operators sent a letter informing them they were not welcome.— Constance Haisma-Kwok
SLOWER GROWTH: From the impact of SARS, the economicgrowth in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to slow down, according to the latest forecast by Asia Development Bank. The growth in gross domestic product of the Asian region, not including Japan and other industrially advanced countries, is likely to fall by 0.4 percentage point to 5.3 percent from the previous forecast of 5.7 percent made in September last year, ADB said.
The GDP growth in China is expected to slow to 7.3 percent (compared with 7.5 percent previously predicted); South Korea, 4 percent (5.8 percent); Taiwan 3.7 percent (4 percent), and Hong Kong 2 percent (3.5 percent), according to ADB.— Tsukasa Furukawa
JOINING FORCES: Seibu Department Stores and Sogo, two retailers that have been experiencing difficulties, will integrate their managements under the holding company Millennium Retailing as of June 1 in order to cut costs. The marriage will result in Japan’s second-largest department store group with sales of more than $8.6 billion. The largest group is Takashimaya, which generated $10.3 billion in consolidated sales for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28. Dollar figures were converted at current exchange rates.
The Millennium Retailing Group will have about 30 stores.
Sogo went bankrupt in 2000 with debts of $16.1 billion and is in the process of regenerating its business under the protection of bankruptcy law.
Seibu Department Store, the core retailer of the Saison Group that has been struggling with huge losses for 10 years, announced expanded net losses from the previous year's $92.8 million to $2.1 billion for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28, while its operating profits dropped 23.5 percent to $83.8 million. Sales were down 3.5 percent to $4.6 billion. The extraordinary losses included a provision for losses from its restructuring plan of $1.9 billion.
In January, Seibu gathered 43 creditors to explain its restructuring plan and in February all the creditors agreed to the plan.— Koji Hirano
SNAPPING UP LACOSTE: Marubeni Corp., a major Japanese trading firm, is buying into the French sports casualwear brand ofLacoste in Japan.
Marubeni said it has purchased a 33.4 percent stake in Fabricant Co., a Japanese agent that owns manufacturing and sales rights for Lacoste branded apparel in Japan, from Seibu Department Stores Ltd., which had owned 50 percent of Fabricant’s equity. Seibu is selling the remaining 16.4 percent to Paris-based Devanlay S.A., which has the worldwide manufacturing and sales rights for Lacoste branded apparel.
The French company already owns slightly more than 50 percent of Fabricant’s equity, and the purchase brings Devanlay's part ownership in Fabricant to 66.6 percent. Marubeni said the company has been supplying polo shirts, T-shirts and other apparel to Fabricant, noting it will provide its support to further promote the Lacoste brand in the Japanese market.
Fabricant's sales, which are mostly to department stores and boutiques, are expected to reach $75 million in the current business year to February 2004, Marubeni said.— T.F.
CASHING IN: Major players in Hong Kong’s fashion industry sold their shares last week. Michael Ying, chief executive of Esprit Holdings, sold a 3 percent stake in the retailer, netting at least $47.6 million.
According to a Merrill Lynch memo to brokers, Ying offered 40.5 million shares for between $1.18 and $1.20 each. Prior to the placement, Ying owned 42 percent of Esprit Holdings shares. Two months ago, he sold 2.23 million shares of the company for $2.7 million.
Similarly, major shareholders in Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, the giant contract footwear maker, placed 40 million existing shares with institutional investors last week. The placement was an effort to take advantage of the company’s upcoming entry in Morgan Stanley Capital International’s Hong Kong index.
The 40 million shares account for about 2.5 percent of the company’s existing share capital. About 30 million of the shares were sold by the Tsai family, the single second-largest company shareholder.— C.H.K.
FULLER FIBERS: Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. last month acquired the proprietary technology relating to acrylic filaments belonging to Asahi Kasei Corp., in addition to a portion of Asahi Kasei's production facilities for the filaments. An agreement also has been reached to acquire Asahi Kasei's related trademark rights for Pewlong, Tactus and Reecas, effective in July.
Mitsubishi Rayon is the largest manufacturer of acrylic products in Japan, ranging from wet- and dry-spun staple through filament to synthetic leather. It is currently constructing a production plant at Ningbo in China’s Zhejiang Province, scheduled to start operation in July 2005.
As part of a reorganization of its fiber operations, Asahi Kasei withdrew from manufacturing acrylic filaments at the end of March, leaving Mitsubishi Rayon as the world's sole producer, according to Mitsubishi Rayon. "The acquisition of the know-how in question from Asahi Kasei will enable Mitsubishi Rayon to more firmly reinforce the technology that underpins its acrylic filament Silpalon, and prepares the way for a full-scale expansion of the company's acrylic filament business, including the development of high-quality, high-performance products with a view to the eventual construction of additional production facilities," said the firm.
Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. reported net profits of $51.7 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, against net losses of $8.3 million a year earlier. Operating profits increased 2.8 percent to $170.3 million, while sales dropped 1.9 percent to $2.6 billion. All figures were on a consolidated basis and converted from the yen at current exchange rates.Sales from fibers, mainly acrylics, which represents 31.4 percent of the group, dropped 2.7 percent to $813.5 million.“In the domestic market, demand for the acrylic fibers stayed slow and imports of the finished products increased, which caused a drop in sales volume,” said the firm.
For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004, the firm projects net profits of $86.2 million, operating profits of $206.9 million and sales of $2.6 billion dollars.— K.H.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)