Monday, April 28, 2008

Seriously?: Brooks Brothers Edition

The Brooks Brothers cotton plaid madras suit, presented without comment. Please do give us yours, however.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lululemon Packs Its Bags

Lululemon (NASDAQ: LULU, TSX:LLL), the Vancouver-based yoga-wear retailer reported earnings today and announced some surprising news: they're shutting the doors of their Japanese stores. Their first store opened in Japan in 2005 and operated through a joint venture with Japanese apparel company, Descente, Ltd. There are currently 4 stores, which will be shuttered before the end of the second quarter. Lulu CEO Robert Meers has filled us in on the reasons, noting that Japan represents less than 1.5% of revenues, yet "[takes up] a disproportionate amount of management time/attention" to warrant its existence. Lulu management is going to continue on with their strong US expansion, and they're rolling out their e-commerce platform, which they have high hopes for. Lululemon plans on opening 35 stores in the US next year.

Also of note, Lulu's sales more than doubled in the last 14 months due to strong same-store sales and a healthy addition of new stores in North America. Margins inched higher, to 54.1% from 51.4 a year ago.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Children's Apparel: No longer just for young ones

As recession fears draw near, fashion weeks all over the world have looked to children's clothing for more inspiration. Today we salute you, Mr. stay-at-home father who apparently has spent hours teeming over the newest issues of Men's Vogue, Details, and GQ to find the hottest summer trends. Industry sources apparently are in the process of designing full S/S '09 lines of baby-inspired couture including bibs, booties and pacifiers. V.F. Corp's Mackey J. McDonald announced yesterday that they are integrating these emerging trends.

J.C. Penny Cuts Economic Outlook

Some unsurprising news today, apparently J.C. Penny (NYSE:JCP) CEO Mike Ullman is predicting a slowdown in the retail sector due to the recent economic downturn.

"J.C. Penney Co. Inc.'s slashing of its first-quarter profit projections by a third after a disappointing Easter could be a warning for the overall retail sector that the proverbial wall is just ahead. While retailers have been dancing around the impact of the economic slowdown for the last few months, evidence is mounting that the second half might not be pretty." -WWD
It must be an easy job running a crappy department store chain (see futile attempt American Living) and blaming the store's inadequate measures to join us in the 21st century solely on macroeconomic events... I think your product buyers and brand strategists belong in the proverbial 'fail' dumpster directly up against that proverbial economic wall.
"Consumer confidence is at a multiyear low... J.C. Penney counts half of American families as its customers and they are feeling macroeconomic pressures from many areas, including higher energy costs, deteriorating employment trends and significant issues in the housing and credit markets." JC Penny's CEO Mike Ullman
Keep on trucking J.C. Penny, we are always amazed by your utter incompetence and and inability to run a successful, modern retail firm.