WWD Week in Review: 1/22/2010

The top stories for the week ending January 22, 2010.

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Julia Roberts

Photo By Stephane Feugere

The show floor at NRF this year.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

David Jackson

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Julia Roberts: The Lady of Lancôme

“It’s kind of like every girl’s dream, really,” said Julia Roberts, referring to her new role as Lancôme’s global ambassador. Roberts said she was attracted to Lancôme in part because of its French je ne sais quoi. Roberts is hardly the only celebrity cashing in on her famous face. From the design atelier to the executive suite, celebrities are sweeping into the beauty and fashion world. Sarah Jessica Parker, for one, is joining Halston with far more responsibility — as the company’s president and chief creative officer. Jessica Simpson, no stranger to the apparel licensing business, is collaborating with Camuto Group, which holds the master license for Simpson’s brand. The two have signed a long-term licensing deal with Jones Apparel Group Inc. to develop, design, produce and distribute a full jeanswear collection under the Jessica Simpson name. Fashion newbie and former MTV veejay, Alexa Chung, has been tapped to create a fall collection by Madewell, which is a first for both the brand and the starlet. Chung said of the teaming, “I love how their vibe is a mix of vintage and new — it completely clicked with me.”

Retail’s Technological Revolution Takes Off

In the retail world, the technological revolution has only just begun. Retailers envision a world where everything will be knitted together by social media and accessible from any mobile device anywhere. Should this promotion come true, the result could be new competitors, and a blurring of the distinctions between customers, designers and retailers. At present, Procter & Gamble and PFSweb have taken baby steps into the online sphere, partnering to launch an e-commerce site featuring P&G’s different brands. According to a statement from P&G, the store, called eStore, will test e-commerce concepts and launch in the spring. The Web has become a particularly popular safe haven for beauty brands as traditional retail avenues struggle. Some, like Smashbox, Pop Beauty and Fusion Beauty, are flocking to an emerging distribution channel: private online sample sale sites.

Bloomingdale's Readying Outlets

Bloomingdale’s announced it is taking the outlet plunge, with plans to open four units on the East Coast by fall with more to come across the country next year. Macy’s might follow Bloomingdale’s example in an industry-wide push to open outlets. Not all major retailers are embracing the movement to mass, however. Liz Claiborne is retreating from its outlets outside of the U.S., and has sold its 38 Liz Claiborne outlet stores in Canada to Laura Canada, a privately held specialty retailer based in Montreal.

Istithmar's CEO Switch Ignites Speculation About Barneys

Chief executive officer of Istithmar World, David Jackson, is out of the job as of Tuesday, as the Dubai-based investment company appears intent on accelerating restructuring efforts for its various operations, including its U.S. retail holdings, Barneys New York and Loehmann’s. Andy Watson will be interim ceo. “His experience will be vital in actively managing the portfolio of assets held by Istithmar World,” said Aidan Birkett, who is chief restructuring officer and is leading the moves by Dubai World to renegotiate $27 billion in debt.

Burberry Sales Rise 15 Percent

Sales of outerwear and nonapparel items, coupled with strong demand from Europe and Asia-Pacific, drove third-quarter revenue at Burberry Group plc up 15.5 percent to 380 million pounds, or $619.4 million. Also on the upswing, Compagnie Financière Richemont outshone market expectations with a 2.4 percent spike in third-quarter sales to 1.59 billion euros, or $2.35 billion, from 1.55 billion euros, or $2.29 billion, thanks to top-performing brands Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels and to strong demand in Asia. Alas, not all luxury brands were as fortunate in the previous quarter, as shares of Coach Inc. fell more than 5 percent Wednesday. Despite gains in overall sales and profits, the company’s numbers ultimately fell below analysts’ expectations.


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