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The week that was

Diana Ferrari has opted to step online

Despite 2018 being only young, retail is well and truly into the swing of things. Here’s what made headlines this week in retail.

Rough start

The start of the week saw footwear, clothing and accessories label Diana Ferrari announce it is closing all of its branded stores, to focus on its online channel, with the retailers consolidation following hot on the heels of Maggie T entering administration.

Early in the week also saw the ACCC voice concerns over the rising trend of consumer guarantee complaints, with over 29,000 people reporting issues. Over half noted problems getting remedies for faulty automotive, whitegoods and electronics products.

Festive glee

Pleasingly for retailers, festive season glee trickled through to consumers in the New Year, with confidence climbing to a more than four-year-high.

The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index showeda 4.7 per cent rise from mid-December to 122 points – its highest since November 2013 – thanks to significant increases in all sub components.

Notably, consumers remained optimistic about financial conditions, with sentiment towards both current and future financial conditions up 5.8 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively.

The latest spending figures put out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics also indicated spending was strong during Christmas. With 2.87 per cent total growth year-on-year, the ARA and Roy Morgan said they were confident that the industry will reach close to their predicted $50 billion figure.

Review_new_storeSales updates

Women’s fashion retailer Noni B signalled a jump in first-half earnings on the back of strong Christmas trading.

In a trading update delivered prior to its full half-year result, the retailer said like-for-like sales for the six months ended 31 December increased by 3 per cent, with total sales growing to around $190 million.

Bedding retailer Adairs is confident of avoiding a repeat of its horror first-half result in FY17, advising the market that sales and earnings are well up on the prior period.

Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing saw international market sales eclipse its domestic revenue for the first time.

Meanwhile Retail Food Group Limited warned it expects statutory net profit after tax for its first half to be less than the already downgraded $22m it advised in December last year.

Review, JETS and Designworks owner PAS Group also downgraded its earnings guidance, citing a continuation of difficult trading conditions over Christmas and delays to wholesale orders. The dual wholesaler/retailer now expects first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of between $8 and $8.5 million, around 28 per cent lower than the $11.6 million in earnings it booked for the first-half of FY17.

Jewellery chain Michael Hill booked modest sales growth for the first-half of fiscal 18, but continues to be weighed down by the performance of operations in the US and trial venture Emma & Roe.

Ikea-store-brand-logoAcross the waters

Luxury fashion and retail veteran Geoffroy van Raemdonck was appointed as the CEO of US giant Neiman Marcus, following the retirement of incumbent chief Karen Katz.

Katz will step down from the role of president and chief executive officer in February but will  continue to serve on the company’s board of directors.

Elsewhere, Chinese textile producer Shandong Ruyi Group is emerging as leading bidder for Swiss luxury brand Bally International.

Swedish fast fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) was forced into an apology for featuring a black child modelling a garment with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle”, also removing the advertisement and item from stores.

Also from Sweden, furniture giant Ikea called on customers who might be pregnant to wee on their new catalogue.

Broadening horizons

CKE Restaurants Holdings (CKE), parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Bansal Group, a family-owned retailer, have earmarked 20 Carl’s Jr. restaurants for Queensland, after opening its first freestanding drive-through restaurant in the state.

AuMake, the Australian retailer that sells local goods aimed at the Chinese, will expand its retail network to nine stores, with new locations set to launch in 2018 at Market City Chinatown, Auburn and Burwood in Sydney.

Global fashion chain Uniqlo also announced the next phase of its Australian expansion, today confirming the opening of its first store in Western Australia at Murray Street Mall.

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