OPERATIONS

Zara uses social media to apologize for big fashion gaffe

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Fashion powerhouse Zara, owned by Spain’s Inditex, used social media to apologize after complaints poured in via Twitter that the retailer was selling a piece of clothing that closely resembled a uniform worn in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The item in question, called the “Sheriff,” was a children’s blue-and-white striped top with a prominent six-pointed yellow star.

The top was featured on the retailer’s online site in a select number of countries, including Sweden, France and Israel. It was removed on Wednesday hours after it went on sale. Zara turned to Twitter, issuing apologies in a number of different languages, and said the design of the shirt was styled after shirts worn in Old Western movies.

The company wrote on its Twitter feed:

“We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western firms and is no longer in our stores.”

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FINANCE

Tiffany Q2 profit and sales top estimates; to open 10 stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Profit and revenue for Tiffany & Co. exceeded Wall Street predictions during the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Net earnings rose 16% to $124 million from $107 million in the second quarter of the previous fiscal year, which the retailer attributed to worldwide net sales growth and gross margin improvements.

Worldwide net sales increased 7% to $992.9 million, from $925.9 million. Strong performance in the colored diamond and statement jewelry categories helped drive sales.

During the rest of the fiscal year, Tiffany plans to open 10 company-operated stores and close three existing stores: opening four in the Americas, two in Asia-Pacific, two in Japan, and one each in Europe and Russia, while closing one each in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the United Arab Emirates. Tiffany also increased its net earnings forecast for the fiscal year and expects worldwide net sales growth.

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FINANCE

Chico’s Q2 profit disappoints amid price cuts

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Myers, Fla. – Chico’s FAS Inc. reported net income of $30.1 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, down 31% from $43.6 million in the year-ago period. Price cuts needed to clear seasonal merchandise were a primary driver of Chico’s lower net income. Its results missed Wall Street expectations.

Net sales for the quarter ended August 2, 2014, were $671.1 million, up 3.3% from $649.5 million in the previous year, primarily reflecting the addition of 98 net new stores.

Total same-store sales rose 0.3%.

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