NEW AUSTIN POWER: Austin Reed, the classic British men’s and women’s wear retailer, announced the appointment of Nick Hollingworth last week as the group’s chief executive. Following the departure of Roger Jennings in January, Hollingworth, who started last Wednesday, comes from Arcadia Group plc, where he was managing director of the mainstream division, responsible for Dorothy Perkins and Burton. “His extensive retail experience in managing major men’s wear and women’s wear High Street brands will be of immense value to the group,” said John Robins, Austin Reed chairman, in a statement.
The appointment came as the retailer reported a 4.9 percent slump in group sales for the year ended Jan. 31. Sales fell to $205.9 million, or 111.9 million pounds, from $214.9 million, or 116.8 million pounds, in the same period last year. Dollar figures have been converted from the pound at current exchange.
The group’s net profit excluding exceptional items — generated primarily from a property disposal — fell by 86 percent to $1.4 million, or 767,000 pounds, from $10.1million, or 5.5 million pounds, in the same period last year. — Nina Jones
PRINTEMPS IN PARIS: Printemps, the Paris department store, is adding spring to its step with the overhaul of its third-floor designer sportswear department. It has added a slew of in-store shops, including Dries Van Noten, Isabelle Marant and Marni, and overhauled and expanded existing stands from such brands as Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. Cedric Charbit, who oversees merchandising for women’s at the Boulevard Haussmann giant, said the so-called “young designer” selection has been refined and concentrated on names like Véronique Branquinho, Hussein Chalayan and Marani. “Renovations are slated to continue throughout the store over the next few years,” said Charbit, adding that the aim was to “increase visibility” and to develop a concise and efficient merchandising strategy. — Robert Murphy
KNIT BIT: Rodier, the French knitwear brand, last week was acquired by French knitwear manufacturer Folia for $7.3 million, or 6 million euros at current exchange. Rodier, which has 22 company-owned stores worldwide, was formerly owned by Paris-based Vev SA, a textile conglomerate that filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 in January. Vev also sold its Boussac Fadini textile business to the French textile group Pierre Frey. — Emilie Marsh
FAST FORWARD: Vivarte, the embattled French fast-fashion conglomerate, last week was acquired by Financiere 2 PAI. The European investment fund paid $48.35, or 40 euros, a share for a 55.4 percent controlling stake in Vivarte, which runs the Kookai, Caroll, Liberto and Minelli chains, among others. Meanwhile, in a related transaction, investment concerns Descours Group and FCPR Sagard also took 22.9 and 10.3 percent stakes in Vivarte, respectively. Last year, Vivarte had annual revenue of $2.29 billion, or 1.9 billion euros. — E.M.