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TODAY'S TOP NEWS STORY: Oxford Industries puts “For Sale” sign on Ben Sherman

Oxford Industries has put  loss making British brand Ben Sherman up for sale. At its full year results yesterday it announced it has appointed Financo as its financial adviser to manage a sale and seek a buyer, it expects to do a deal this year.

The business bought Ben Sherman for $146m in 2014 since then it has struggled to stay in profit. Sales at the brand were up 26.6% to $25.4m in Q4 and full-year revenues grew 15.3% to $77.5m. Operating losses were reduced to $861,000 in the fourth quarter, versus $2.6m last year. Full-year losses declined to $10.8 million from $13.1 million.

Thomas Chubb III, president and CEO of Oxford Industries, said that that Ben Sherman was now a good acquisition prospect having made solid progress in 2014 with positive sales momentum.

“With the aim of achieving long-term value for our shareholders, we have concluded that the sale of Ben Sherman is the right course of action. We have initiated a sale process and expect a timely conclusion,” he said.

Group revenues at Oxford Industries rose 9.6% to $274.5m from $250.4m. Extended discounting led to gross margin slipping to 54.3%of sales from 55.1% last year.

In the three months ending February 2, group net income was up 5.5 % to $15.8m, or 96 cents a diluted share, from $15m, or 91 cents, in Q3 2013. Earnings per share were $1.08.

Strong performers in Q4 were Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer . Same store sales at Tommy Bahama were up 8% and 10.9% to $186m, operating income grew 12% to $29.1m. At Lilly Pulitzer’s same store sales saw a 9% boost in lifting total sales to $34.8m, operating income grew 47 % to $2.1m.

Oxford’s full-year profits were up 1% to $45.8 million, or $2.79 a diluted share, while revenues hit $997.8 million, 8.8% above their 2013 level.

Shares rallied 10.1 % to $65.61 in after-hours trading following the release of results.
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Denim Street-style is never a disappointment in Tokyo. This amazing guy was spotted near the infamous Berberjin store in Harajuku by Denim Director, Amy Leverton yesterday 
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Signpainting inspired motifs for Deus Ex Machina on authentic MotoX jerseys. Hand-illustrated artwork by Ornamental Conifer.
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We’re excited to be launching WGSN Portuguese in 5 days! From March 30th WGSN will be available in our 6th language, on top of English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Find out more here http://bit.ly/1FV2p4o
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Treasures in Berberjin - double cuff, thorn prints bomber 
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Interesting layering denim flare skirt over pencil skirt, spotted at Seoul Fashion Week - WGSN street shot by Allen Jun Kim
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Korean model Soo Joo Park makes history today as the first Asian-American spokes-model for L’Oreal Paris. She announced her appointment on Instagram, wearing a #worthit t-shirt. 
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Psychedelic pineapples stand out on neutral grounds by Aimee Wilder. Homebuildlife subscribers click here to see the full report on Pineapple Power http://bit.ly/1bxRaUm
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TODAY'S TOP NEWS STORY: Amazon ‘in talks’ to buy Net-a-Porter

Amazon is understood to be in “ongoing talks” to buy luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter from Richemont, reports WWD.

Net-a-Porter could fetch a price of €2bn ($2.19bn) if sold although no deal has yet been confirmed. Amazon is known to be on the search for an online luxury business and continues its efforts to establish a credible fashion retail offer and presence in the industry.

In February, Amazon was announced as the presenting sponsor for the first edition of New York Fashion Week: Men’s in July, with a focus on raising the profile of its fashion sites Amazon Fashion, East Dane and MyHabit.

The company this month expanded in China via a virtual store front on Alibaba-owned Tmall.com with a limited clothing offer, a move already made by fashion retailers including Inditex, Burberry and Asos.com.

Both Amazon and Richemont declined to comment on a potential deal although analysts believe Net-a-Porter sits uneasily among the French luxury group’s portfolio of businesses, which includes Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chloé and Dunhill.

Luca Solca, managing director at Exane BNP Paribas, said the luxury group could look to monetize the value of Net-a-Porter, and sell to a company interested in long-term online luxury retail, such as Amazon. “There is no obvious strategic fit [to Richemont’s core business] in my mind,” he said.

Another option could be to an initial public offering, which is viewed by analysts as a potentially “positive move” for Richemont.

Richemont completed its acquisition in Net-a-Porter in 2010 and has repeatedly denied reports that it intends to sell the UK-based business.
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Hand-painted packaging designs by Anna Trympali - for fictional brand Corrine Cosmetics - brings natural textures to the fore with a minimal colour palette and subtle differentiations. 
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TODAY'S TOP NEWS STORY: Hermès profits up 9%, but sales growth to slow in 2015

French luxury goods maker Hermès’ warned its sales growth will slow this year as it reported a 9% rise in profits for 2014.The brand's strategy of focusing on higher end exclusive product stood it in good stead  in 2014 with net profit up 9% to €859m ($938.5 million) and full-year operating profits up 7% to €1.3bn. But currency effects related to the yen saw operating margins fall to 31.5%, down from the record high in 2013 of 32.4%.

Despite double-digit growth in Asia, the company cited the impact of “recent events in Hong Kong and the general slowdown in China’s market”.

It warned that it expects lower annual sales growth of 8% in 2015 as luxury sales slow in Chinacontinues to  impact, along with currency and geopolitical uncertainties.

Full-year sales at the company rose 11% in 2014 to €4.12bn, driven by a 15% increase in sales in the Americas.

Hermès said it would pay investors a dividend of €2.95 a share, along with an exceptional dividend of €5 a share.

Shares in the company fell in early trading as investors reacted to the results and fears over Hermès’ exposure to the Japanese market.
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Amazing grey toned DTTK look found on the street on Toyko! 
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