H&M’s new 57,000-sq.-ft. Manhattan flagship is brand’s largest store yet
New York — Fast-fashion giant H&M on Thursday celebrated the opening of its flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. At 57,000 sq. ft., it is the retailer’s largest store in the world and 13th location in Manhattan. It also is the first H&M in the United States to offer a full concierge service, and to carry the full H&M Home collection.
The interior features a four-story atrium with clusters of mannequin groupings and a 740-sq.-ft. LED screen. It is H&M’s most upscale store to date, featuring chandeliers, leather seating, green and white marble tiles, an opulent wall of mirrors, and distinct herringbone wood work. Fitting rooms are outfitted with tufted-fabric walls.
H&M collaborated with American artist Jeff Koons on the opening. (The company is sponsoring the artist’s ongoing retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art.) Koons designed a limited-edition handbag featuring his iconic Balloon Dog. The façade of the store also featured two huge images of the dog, expected to remain in place for about a week after the opening.
H&M currently operates 318 stores in the United States, and approximately 3,200 stores in 54 markets worldwide.
Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs; focus on smartphone work capabilities
Redmond, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. is enacting a restructuring plan to simplify its organization and align the recently acquired Nokia mobile devices and services business with the company’s overall strategy. These steps will result in the elimination of up to 18,000 positions in the next year.
Of the total, about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia devices and services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25. The actions associated with the plan are expected to be substantially complete by Dec. 31, 2014, and fully completed by June 30, 2015.
In an email to employees explaining the move, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the job cuts are part of an effort to “drive greater accountability, become more agile and move faster.” This will include fewer layers of management, a flattened organization and greater control span for managers who remain.
In addition, Nadella said Microsoft will “focus on breakthrough innovation that expresses and enlivens Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences” in its smartphone segment. Given the recent announcement that Apple will soon offer IBM analytical technology on its iPhones to make them more substantial work devices, it should be interesting to watch what Microsoft does in the burgeoning market for smartphones as professional tools.
The company expects to incur pre-tax charges of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion during the next four quarters, including $750 million to $800 million for severance and related benefit costs, and $350 million to $800 million of asset-related charges.
American Apparel update: The drama continues
New York — American Apparel shareholders Bigger Capital Fund, Bachelier LLC and the Bigger Family, have sent a letter to the company’s board seeking the resignation of co-chairmen David Danziger and Allan Mayer as board members.
The letter criticized the board’s "stealthily and abruptly ousting American Apparel’s long-standing CEO and largest shareholder knowing that their actions will cause a near-imminent default under important contractual obligations of the company and cause it to default on nearly $10 million in loans."
The letter accused the two board members of making “seemingly arbitrary decisions taking reckless risks with our capital and jeopardizing our business with little regard for shareholder interests or the future of our company.”
Danziger and Mayer are expected to continue with their terms in the reconstituted American Apparel board. The new board is part of an agreement with Standard General whereby the investment firm would give the retailer up to $25 million in funding. Under the terms of the deal, founder and former CEO Dov Charney would have the temporary title of strategic consultant.
According to Reuters, Standard General, which owns an approximate 44% stake in the company, is leaving the decision of whether to allow Charney to return to the company up to the American Apparel board, following a third-party investigation by FTI Consulting.
Charney was dismissed as CEO on June 18 due to allegations of misconduct, which he has denied. Charney voluntarily stepped down from the company’s board as part of an agreement with Standard General where the firm will provide up to $25 million that will enable American Apparel to pay off a nearly $10 million loan from its longtime lender Lion Capital. Charney will remain as a strategic consultant with the company until an investigation into his alleged misconduct is concluded.