Converse continues partnership with rapper Whiz Khalifa
Fans of rapper Wiz Khalifa’s line of Converse shoes will have more to choose from this fall.
The shoemaker announced that it would unveil a collection of shoes inspired and designed by the rapper for the upcoming season. The new line is Kahlifa’s second collaboration with Converse, and will feature a new twist on the classic Chuck Taylor shoe — the All Star ILL.
“I am very excited about continuing my relationship with Converse and releasing this new sneaker collection,” Khalifa said. “We spent a lot of time designing each part of the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star ILL and the end result is exactly what I wanted."
The shoe comes in black and white, and features leather uppers and an enlarged version of the Chuck Taylor Logo. It also comes with branded Whiz Kahlifa eyelets and logos, and the black version has a gold-flecked, translucent outsole. The shoe will retail for $70 and start being sold at Footaction, Eastbay and Foot Locker stores
Khalifa, since he released his debut album “Rolling Papers” in 2011, has partnered with various brands including apparel brand Neff for his Blacc Hollywood line of hats, T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. He has also partnered with hat designer Flat Fitty and Raw Rolling Papers for his own line smoking accessories.
Kirkland’s promotes from within, has ‘solid’ second quarter
Kirkland's SVP and CFO W. Michael Madden has been promoted to president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. Madden will remain the company’s principal financial officer pursuant to S.E.C requirements.
The company also promoted SVP of stores/human resources Michelle R. Graul to EVP of stores and merchandising, and VP of finance Adam C. Holland to chief accounting officer.
News of the promotions was concurrent with the company’s second quarter results. Net sales for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 2 increased 6.6% to $103.5 million compared with $97.1 million for the prior-year quarter. Comparable store sales, including e-commerce sales, increased 3.6%, compared with a decrease of 0.2% in the prior-year quarter.
Kirkland’s opened 6 stores and closed 2 during the quarter, bringing the total number of stores to 328.
The company reported a net loss of $1.1 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $0.6 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 3.
“We experienced a strong start and a strong finish to the quarter with comparable sales and margins in line with our expectations,” Robert Alderson, Kirkland's CEO, said. “Slower traffic experienced in June and some delays in new store openings related to the timing of space availability affected an otherwise solid second quarter. Early sales and margin trends in August are encouraging, and we will look to build on that momentum through the second half of the year. Seasonal product has also been introduced in the stores and has been well received.”
Looking ahead to the third quarter, the company anticipates net income of $0.02 to $0.04 per diluted share. Net sales are expected to be in the range of $113 million to $115 million with a comparable store sales increase in the range of 3% to 4.5%. The company expects to open approximately 13 stores and close approximately 2 stores during the quarter. Costs associated with the company’s move to a replacement headquarters building will amount to approximately $0.02 per diluted share in the third quarter.
Asia is the New Land of Opportunity for U.S. Retailers
By Michael Hirschfeld, senior VP of JLL’s National Retail Tenant Services
Will Asian shoppers buy into the classic all-American look? Mid-level, U.S.-based casual apparel brands are hedging their bets that “preppy” rugby polos and chic velour track suits will entice Asia’s rapidly growing middle class to buy U.S. goods.
Newly released research from JLL shows that U.S.-based brands are flocking to Asia faster than any other, knowing an untapped market awaits. Approximately 21% of retailers expanding into Asia are U.S.-based, followed by Italy and the United Kingdom, North Asia and Greater China stand out as the markets for greatest returns for retailers.
Rising income levels in Asia mean that an all-new consumer base can afford to purchase fashion and luxury items for the first time. Middle-class buyers are rapidly turning to the urban core, creating dense areas with top-shelf demographics – a perfect entry point for international retailers.
In the coming decade, urbanization will drive wealth creation and mold consumer buying habits in the Asia Pacific region. Established U.S. mid-tier brands are expected to grow in peripheral Asian markets, while luxury retailers are anticipated to focus on the core markets, like Hong Kong, as many brands view it as a stepping stone to enter Mainland China. Shanghai and Beijing will also remain top targets, as the markets’ retail sales grew an average of 15% to 17% during the last three years.
“While the growth of luxury goods sales in China has cooled since 2013, it hasn’t been across the board,” Jane Murry, head of Asia Pacific research for JLL. “Light luxury U.S. retailers are performing with strong same-store sales growth in China. There are strong growth prospects in the market, and though expansion will be very methodical and selective, we expect U.S. brands to continue to develop their footprint in the region. One of the major drivers is increased Chinese tourism, with the Chinese estimated to be the largest luxury spenders worldwide.”
While gateway U.S. cities remain top targets for growing retailers, major U.S.-based brands have simply run out of locations to expand at home without over-saturating their presence. Asia is set to account for 40% of the world’s economy by 2020, growing twice as fast as the rest of the globe and JLL anticipates that established brands will begin to target outlying tier two and tier three cities. The region’s rapid growth and the purchasing power of its emerging 1.3 billion middle-class consumer base during the next six years is expected to continue to pique the interest of U.S. retailers.
Michael Hirschfeld is senior VP of JLL’s National Retail Tenant Services (JLLretail.com).