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Editors' Top Reads: News from Chanel, John Lewis and more...

TheIndustry.fashion Team
24 May 2024

Here are some of this week’s news and features highlights handpicked by TheIndustry.fashion team.

Chanel reveals “exceptional growth” with sales boosted by 16%

With the luxury sector facing trials and tribulations - for example, we recently witnessed the downfall of Matches, Christopher Kane and more - it seems as those the most luxurious of all is on the up. Chanel, known for its steeply-priced quilted bags, has reported a "strong financial performance" for the third year in a row with double-digit growth across all categories.

For the year ending 31 December 2023, revenues were up by 16% to £15.5 billion ($19.7 billion) and operating profit was up by 10.9% to £5.04 million ($6.407 million). EBITDA was up by 9.4% to £5.42 million ($6.89 million).

Fashion collections saw "exceptional growth across all categories", particularly in Ready-to-Wear, Leather Goods and Shoes. This demonstrates the brand’s unwavering desirability despite constant criticism for its giant yearly price increases.

Similarly, its ultra-luxury rival, Hermès, also saw increased sales by 17% to £3.2 billion during the same period. Though the luxury market is facing hardship, these financial results prove that ultra-luxury is on the up and up. Will Hermès and Chanel continue to reign supreme? Only time will tell.

Chloé Burney, Senior News & Features Writer.

The Vampire's Wife

The Vampire's Wife to cease trading due to wholesale market upheaval

Tuesday marked a sad, sad day for any aspiring owners of The Vampire’s Wife Falconetti dress.
The brand was founded a decade ago by former model Susie Cave, who announced via Instagram that she would be shuttering the brand, after one final sale this bank holiday weekend.

As is perfectly outlined in this article, the gothic-inspired atelier was issued with a winding-up petition from HMRC in 2023 due to unpaid taxes. It sustained that HMRC had rejected its request for a Time To Pay Arrangement, and the tax debts had been built up during the pandemic.

I am saddened for Cave, who thanked colleagues and followers for their support in creating “such beautiful things”, but look forward to seeing what the Queen of Cool will put her mind to next.

Katie Ross, Contributing Writer.

John Lewis launches menswear rental to meet demand

It will be interesting to see the customer take on John Lewis’s new men’s occasion wear for rental. Apparently ‘men’s rental’ was consistently in the top 30 searches on the John Lewis website for the past 18 months, so launching it makes sense. Especially given the success John Lewis has had with its womenswear rental service which launched in 2022, though that won’t necessarily translate to men in the same way.

Men’s formalwear seems to be a big focus for the big high-street retailers once again. As we reported last week, you only have to look at how M&S is going all out to win a bigger market share (it already has 18%) of the category, with a wider selection, new colourways and fits and a dedicated in-store tailoring team to help customers find the right size and fit to suit their shape and style.

Trying on a suit to ensure the right fit is so important, especially when it’s off the peg and will often need alterations to the sleeves and leg length, so renting one from a website seems a bit risky. Especially when you look at the prices John Lewis is charging. A double-breasted John Lewis own-brand dinner jacket, for example, is £37.48 for four days, and an additional £23.77 for the matching trousers. That’s a total of £61.25 for a suit for one event. To buy, M&S’s tuxedo suits start at £95. Okay, the M&S Sartorial version goes up to £249, but still.

Why not go and get fitted properly and have it in your wardrobe for the next time you may need it? Saves worrying about ripping or staining a rental piece too. Anyway, we shall see how John Lewis’s menswear customers take to the new service. It may well prove to be a decent new revenue earner.

Tom Bottomley, Contributing Editor.

Rishi Sunak

(Alamy)

What does the general election mean for fashion?

Our contributor Katie Ross has this week spoken to fashion and retail trade bodies about what the announcement of a general election means for the industry this week. It makes for interesting reading, of course, and whatever the outcome of the vote, it will herald a new era which will hopefully usher in some positive action and positive consumer sentiment with it.

For my own part what I'm hoping to see is the reinstatement of tax-free shopping in the UK, something Rishi Sunak has so stubbornly failed to do since he axed the scheme, for reasons best known to himself, while he was Chancellor. The knock-on effect for British retail, hospitality and tourism (as well as jobs) has been terrible. I'd also like the arcane business rates system to be overhauled to make having a physical retail presence a more attractive and practical proposition.

In recognition that the fashion industry needs to remodel itself for a circular future, I'd like to see some positive initiatives around support for UK manufacturing and the implementation of a coherent nationwide textiles recycling scheme among other things.

In the short term though, I hope, after what has felt like a turgid decade for the UK, we will see a bounce in consumer confidence and the economy as a whole. As well as the election we have the Olympics and the Euros football tournament to look forward to as well. Could summer 2024 be the turning point we desperately need?

Lauretta Roberts, Co-founder, CEO and Editor in Chief.

 

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