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Argos to sell branded clothing

Retail giant Argos has announced that it wants to start selling branded clothing, however, the announcement has been met with a cool reception from the branded fashion sector.

Selling everything, from electrical items to furniture, Argos is the UK’s biggest general merchandise retailer and it is understood to be eyeing major fashion brands. Its hit list is expected to include streetwear brands, such as Gio-Goi and Ringspun.

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John Lewis forecasts less discounting at Christmas

The effect of the recession on Britain is set to continue over the Christmas period with less discounting and festive sales on the high street. This week Drapers reported that John Lewis managing director Andy Street has forecast that there will be less high street discounting during the crucial festive period as the department store said that sales fell by 2.9% to £1.21bn over the first half.

In this report Street said like-for-like sales at the retailer fell 4.7% in the first half to August 1. Operating profit, excluding property profit, was down 49% to £20.1m. He went on to say that the performance was better than expected and that the department store was bullish about the prospects for Christmas.

However, it seems that it is the fashion part of the department store has been continuously doing well as sales rose 2.2% over the first half. Total online sales rose 11.6% to £151.5m over the half and the retailer has re-launched its fashion website with 200 brands. It will open its 28th store in Cardiff on September 24. It shows that even during the recession, when people are cutting back on luxuries, customers are still willing to spend on clothing on looking good.

See also Retail Week

Selfridges Christmas sales soar

Don’t worry, you haven’t just lost 3 months of your life, it is still September, but Selfridges had this great idea to start releasing Christmas items in the middle of summer, August 8th; to be precise.

Selfridges has revealed to Drapers soaring sales in its Christmas and toy departments in the run up to the festive period.

The department store group said sales in its Panto themed Christmas shop, which opened on August 8th, have jumped 52% year-on-year, with the average transaction value rising 33%. Sales in its Toy Shop leapt 45% on its first day of trading – Monday – compared with last year.

In its Christmas shop, Selfridge’s Union Jack bauble sold out within the first week, selling more than 2,000.

Selfridges Christmas Shop Head Buyer Geraldine James said: “Our Christmas shop has become a tourist attraction in itself with tourists buying our Union Jack bauble as a souvenir of their time in London and local customers cheering themselves up with our Panto themed Christmas decorations. With Christmas arriving earlier each year, I can see a time when we’ll offer a capsule Christmas collection throughout the year.”

New York Fashion Week

Reading the reviews from this years’ New York Fashion Week (unfortunately students can’t afford the jet-setting lifestyle) there doesn’t seem to be much in terms of inspiration or excitement. I’m not that surprised, honestly there is not a single American designer who wows me. With only two more days of New York Fashion Week left, yesterday it was Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa, Anna Sui, Proenza Schouler, Peter Som and 3.1 Phillip Lim who were showing.

Oscar De La Renta might not be one of the most inspiring designers, never straying far from his luxury cocoon, but despite recessional headaches he remains true to form for spring 2010. In general, De la Renta seems to have received positive reviews by “embracing fresh and contrasting colour combinations with blue and orange, the aforementioned on elegant dresses cinched by scarlet belts, and recalled the Twenties with cloche hats completing the look,” according to Vogue.

Safari suits in teal satin, embroidered three-quarter length jackets teeming with sequins, and brightly coloured cardigans edged in golden beads all spoke a luxe language and younger customers will enjoy the spotty tutu skirts, cropped chambray jackets, doily effect playsuits and brocade purple houndstooth dresses with puffed sleeves, as well as the frothy tulle ruffles on the finishing evening gowns. According to Vogue, The Oscar de la Renta woman this season mixes her textures with crochet and tweed combined. In general, I do like this collection, I think it’s one of the better ones from this week (this may be because it reminds me of Luella’s spring 2009 collection though).

However, it’s Prosenza Schouler who Drapers appear to be supporting. Sportier aesthetics took to the catwalk at Proenza Schouler, where skirts were seemingly constructed from a shirt or jumper tied around the waist, and where little dresses came in shiny shocking shades. Drapers wrote : “After a number of New York designers failed to ignite imaginations over the pond this week, the cool which oozed from Proenza Schouler’s spring offering made up for some lost ground in the innovation stakes. Designed – it appeared – purely with the rock chick in mind, the duo opted for less ladylike refinery than in previous seasons. A young take on the wraparound shape saw deconstructed tie-dyed shirt dresses cris-cross along the front, and wet look fabrics fold and fall around the hips.

Rounding off the first week of four in a month of collections is Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Threeasfour and Isaac Mizrahi tomorrow.