Food

Victoria's real secret: child labour in Burkina Faso

Food

Victoria's real secret: child labour in Burkina Faso

Victoria's Secret has been in the centre of a storm of criticism since Bloomberg reported about its involvement in child labour in Burkina Faso. The luxury lingerie brand has some of its fair trade cotton picked by children, as the news agency reported. Parent company Limited Brands is “concerned” and promises to “fully investigate this matter”.

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Food

Inditex's profit and turnover up 10% after impressive expansion

Spanish fashion group Inditex has witnessed a 10% turnover growth during the first three quarters of its financial year 2011, and 9.5% during the third quarter. Although the group did not release like-for-like figures, it is very likely that most of the growth comes from Inditex's fast expansion, adding over 350 new stores to its existing 5000+ store network.

Major growth in turnover and profit 

The retail giant from A Coruña has had an excellent sales record from February to October: turnover rose to €9.71 billion (+10%), EBITDA went up to €2.22 billion (+8%) and net profit reached €1.3 billion (+10%). Despite the difficult circumstances, like rocketing prices for raw materials, Inditex's margin stayed almost stable at 59.6% (down from 59.9%).

 

The only downside to the third quarter figures was that turnover grew 'only' 9.5%, slightly lower than the 11% in the first and second quarter. The Galician company blames the beautiful autumn in Europe, but says the sales have recovered again in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The holiday season will be hugely important for Inditex, as stocks are growing faster than sales can follow.

Online and offline expansion

Expansion remains paramount for the Spanish group: since February the group has opened 79 new stores in China alone and 358 worldwide. On top of that, Inditex also launched webshops for all its brands. The most remarkable offline achievement was the Rotterdam store of the Pull&Bear chain, a highly ecological design that is – according to the group – a landmark of sustainable and ecological retail.

 

At the end of October, Inditex had 5,402 stores in 78 countries and 106,251 employees. In the fourth quarter, the group is aiming to open another 142 stores (including a first one in Taiwan, South Africa and Azerbaijan).

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Food

House of Fraser opens physical stores for online shoppers

British retailer House of Fraser is experimenting with a 'buy and collect' format, a place where customers can try on the clothes they ordered online before taking them home. The chain has two such stores so far, in Liverpool and Aberdeen.

Physical services for web customers

The choice for these cities came after a surge in online orders - especially from Liverpool, where the department store chain had no physical branch. From now on, customers can not only collect their orders at a convenient moment, they can also check if their size and colour are correct. If this is not the case, they can either change sizes if necessary or even get an instant refund.

The new 'buy and collect'-concept is aimed at cities where House of Fraser is not yet present with a 'real' store. The chain does not intend to turn the new branches into 'normal' stores, but still aims to give a “personal touch” there through personal style advice, places to sit and even touch screens so customers can shop online in the store itself – quite a unique feat. “This is a personal service”, says CEO John King. “We are bringing the services of a flagship store to the smaller high streets”.

Breaking the £100 million barrier

The group hopes this move will lift them over the £100 million milestone (€115 million) for web sales revenue in 2011 – that would be twice the amount of last year; though still just a small part of the chain's total turnover that was just over 1 billion pounds for 2010. 

House of Fraser is not the first chain to look for more “bricks” - even for their “clicks”-activities. The Belgian postal services bpost, the London branch of Amazon.co.uk and also Tesco are looking for, or have already realised, similar 'click and collect'-stores.

 

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