Retail Roundup: Monthly sales, H&M's latest collaboration, Borders partners with Build-A-Bear, Costco condemns veal supplier
Retailers posted surprisingly solid August sales numbers thanks to heavy discounts during the back-to-school season, which drove healthy levels of traffic and sales. Tax-free holidays that were held in several states in August provided an additional boost.
Major chain stores reported a 3.3% sales gain compared with a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters' tally of 27 retailers. Analysts had expected a more modest 2.5% rise. Sales rose in all categories including discounters, department stores and apparel chains. Two-thirds of retailers met or beat expectations.
That was a relief after two years of sluggish back-to-school sales, but retail analysts and economists say retailers should prepare for what's expected to be a highly competitive fall and another tough holiday season.
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Fast-fashion retailer H&M is collaborating with fashion house Lanvin for a fall collection. Designed by Lanvin’s artistic director Alber Elbaz and menswear designer Lucas Ossendrijver, the collection will go on sale in about 200 H&M stores, launching Nov. 20 in North America and Nov. 23 elsewhere.
“H&M approached us to collaborate and see if we could translate the dream we created at Lanvin to a wider audience, not just a dress for less. I have said in the past that I would never do a mass-market collection, but what intrigued me was the idea of H&M going luxury rather than Lanvin going public,” Elbaz said.
The collection of womenswear and menswear will “bring to H&M a luxurious French tradition that is also modern and playful,” said Margareta van den Bosch, creative advisor at H&M. “It is very much a Lanvin collection, using their cut and tailoring, with lots of focus on form and details for both women and men.”
Lanvin is the latest brand to collaborate with H&M, with previous collections designed by Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Comme des Garçons.
The Lanvin for H&M collection will be revealed through a film that will be launched Nov. 2 at www.hm.com.
Borders to bring Build-A-Bear products to stores
Borders announced it is teaming with Build-A-Bear Workshop to bring the teddy bear maker’s branded products to 500 bookstores nationwide.
The stores will carry a Build-A-Bear book, DVD, plush toy and play kit, which “will encourage creativity and imaginative play for kids of all ages,” said Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Borders will host a free Build-A-Bear Workshop themed party Nov. 13 in stores nationwide to celebrate the partnership. Activities will include singing, dancing and coloring.
Costco condemns treatment of calves at veal farm
Costco Wholesale Corp. released a statement saying it was developing a more definitive written policy for its suppliers after a video filmed at a veal farm showed inhumane treatment of baby calves. The animals were reportedly kept in tiny spaces and were covered in their own feces.
"We are extremely disappointed, not only with the performance of our supplier in this instance, but with our own performance as well,” Costco Chief Executive Jim Sinegal said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard, and in this case, we plainly did not perform to that standard."
-- Andrea Chang