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Editors' Top Reads: News from M&S, JD Sports, Matches and more... Team
28 March 2024

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

Marks & Spencer design

M&S to launch TV series to find UK’s "next top designer"

Straight off the back of the release of its uplifting new SS24 TV ad campaign last week, this week M&S revealed plans for a competitive new TV series called ‘M&S: Dress The Nation’ – to air in the autumn on ITV1 and ITVX.

Ten budding designers, who don’t need to have any fashion design training or formal qualification, will battle it out over the course of six episodes with the chance of winning a job at the end of it as a junior designer on the M&S team.

We are told that "people of all walks of life" will be put through various design challenges to showcase their creative flair and passion for design. They will also have to have "a willingness to learn" in order to design garments "that will resonate with the Marks & Spencer customer".

Each week a judging panel, made up of senior leaders at M&S alongside a rotation of celebrity guests and designers – as yet to be revealed - will select which of the designers move forward to the next round, and one step closer to being crowned the winner. It should be a decent watch.

Tom Bottomley, Contributing Editor.

JD Sports

JD Sports outperforms "challenging market" and looks forward to busy sporting summer

A couple of things jumped out at me from JD Sports latest trading update on its year-end performance to February 2024 and they had nothing to do with the numbers. Though achieving like-for-like growth of 4% in a tough market is creditable indeed.

What struck me were the comments from CEO Régis Schultz, who said that a lack of product innovation from its brand partners had dragged on sales this year. I realise product innovation is particularly key to sports, but it's important for all of the fashion market. I've asked myself many times, when seeing more and more depressing trading updates and the travails of major luxury players like Matches, is boring product partly to blame? In tough times, playing too safe on product is not giving those consumers with the ability to spend enough of an incentive to do so. It was interesting to see Schultz highlight this. Creativity is going to be a key factor in releasing the industry from its current doldrums.

Secondly, and more optimistically, he said he expected the group to get a boost from the Olympics and the Euro 2024 championships this summer, and, again, this is particularly relevant to sport. But, these sporting spectacles, are in neighbouring countries and will be televised throughout the summer at opportune times for UK consumers to watch and many may well be travelling to be there in person - and if there's one thing that stimulates fashion spend, it's a trip abroad.

Assuming our athletes and football team do well, it could inject some much-needed feel-good back into the nation's psyche and, I hope, kickstart more optimistic times to come.

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

ASOS Circular 2022

ASOS, Boohoo and Asda sign agreement after greenwashing concerns

ASOS, Boohoo and Asda have all promised to ensure customers are given accurate information about how environmentally friendly their clothes are after a 20-month probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The regulator said that it had secured agreements from the three brands, which commits them to informing their customers properly in the future.

The news follows an investigation into potential greenwashing at the firms in the summer of 2022, with CMA saying it was worried that some clothes in the companies’ ranges did in fact not meet green criteria. However, the British organisation has now come to an agreement where none of the brands admit any wrongdoing but promise to follow a set of rules.

Sophie Smith, News Editor & Senior Writer.

France French Fast Fashion


French fast fashion ban: Could the UK follow suit and how would it work?

France, the home of haute couture, is getting tough on fast fashion. Its lower house of parliament voted earlier this month to ban fast fashion advertising and tax fast fashion items. Additionally, by 2030, fast fashion brands will need to declare the environmental impact of their products. France is said to have the likes of Shein and Temu firmly in its sights.

Could the UK follow suit? At the moment it seems unlikely given the impending general election, but experts agree some legislation is required. So, what might that look like and when might we see it? Contributor Katie Ross investigates in this in-depth feature. It's well worth a read.

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

Matches: What went wrong for the luxury retailer and what does the future hold?

As the Matches debacle unfolds, after Frasers appointed administrators to take leadership of its recent acquisition, set out to find out what retail experts thought about this blow to British retail.

Some industry insiders were "unsurprised", while others were "shocked" and "gutted". But whether the move came as a surprise or not, the overall sense is one of deflation and concern about the future of luxury multi-brand retail.

The fact that luxury worldwide has been challenging lately is widely known. Farfetch all but collapsed before Christmas and had to be rescued by a $500 million deal by Korea's Coupang. But the fall of Matches hit hard. We await to see if the multi-brand retailer has a future.

Chloé Burney, Senior News & Features Writer.

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