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In Brief: Avon Revenue Up…Upscale Look At Paris Trade

Avon Products Inc. ended the first year of its multiyear restructuring effort on a high note, delivering a 9 percent increase in revenue in its fourth quarter.

<strong>Avon Revenue Up 9% for 4Q</strong>
Avon Products Inc. ended the first year of its multiyear restructuring effort on a high note, delivering a 9 percent increase in revenue in its fourth quarter.<BR><BR>A hefty increase in advertising spending fueled revenue growth in the quarter ended Dec. 31 to $2.62 billion from $2.40 billion in the year-ago period. Net income remained flat at $184.1 million, or 41 cents a diluted share, from $183.2 million, or 40 cents a share. <BR><BR>
For the year, net income slid 44 percent to $477.6 million, or $1.06 a diluted share, from $847.6 million, or $1.81 a share, on revenue that gained 8 percent to $8.76 billion from $8.15 billion in the year-ago period. In 2006, Avon increased
its advertising spending by 83 percent to $249 million over the prior year, outpacing original plans to increase levels by 50 percent.<BR>
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<BR><strong>Upscale Look at Paris Trade Shows</strong><BR><BR>PARIS – European sportswear is having a luxury makeover.<BR><BR>To better face fierce competition from fast-fashion chains and an increasingly brand-conscious clientele, contemporary brands at the recent round of apparel trade shows here were upping the luxury quotient, adding more runway-inspired styles and upscale detailing to traditional sportswear.<BR><BR>
The Prata Porter and Who’s Next events at the Porte de Versailles exhibit halls, which wrapped up a four-day run on Sunday, featured a plethora of trendy sportswear and contemporary brands eager to smooth out boundaries between designer labels and sportswear brands. Ultrafeminine silhouettes and styles, especially dresses,
dominated the fashion message.<BR>
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“Brands are offering a new ‘high street deluxe’ category with trendy yet affordable styles that provide a bit of the luxury dream and offer an alternative to shopping at Zara and H&M,” said Cedric Charbit, general merchandise manager of women’s fashion at Printemps. “Streetwear and denim are becoming more feminine. Denim is sliding into the contemporary category and is targeting a more feminine clientele.”<BR>
<BR><BR><BR><strong>Lambertson Truex Aiming High</strong><BR><BR>Never mind accessible luxury – Lambertson Truex is aiming for the somewhat inaccessible.<BR><BR>The U.S. luxury accessories firm, which Samsonite acquired in July, is rolling out its first freestanding stores. The target customer is clearly defined with handbag prices averaging at $3,000 to $5,000 and exotic skin pieces that can climb upwards of $16,000.<BR><BR>”There’s always aspiration,” said David Lamer, who came on board as Lambertson’s president of sales, merchandising and marketing, a new role, in October after a stint at Kate Spade. “There is always going to be the customer who is going to want something that is out of their reach. We want to be the one everyone wants to aspires to. Our specific target is that affluent woman. She’s not driven by trend. She knows exactly what she wants.”<BR><BR>
The nine-year-old firm, founded by designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex, is opening two stores soon. The first, in April, is a 2,200-square-foot shop at 8457 Melrose Place in Los Angeles, with valet parking and custom Tibetan carpets to open. The second will debut early this summer at 692 Madison Avenue in New York. The 1,800-square-foot store is spread over two floors, and like the Los Angeles unit will carry all of the brand’s categories, including women’s and men’s shoes, bags, belts, gloves and other accessories.