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Matt Hudson to leave Monsoon

Monsoon managing director Matt Hudson is to leave the retailer at the end of the month. Hudson joined Monsoon as managing director in April last year after leaving Marks & Spencer where he was trading director for womenswear, lingerie and girlswear.

Peter Ridler, managing director worldwide at Monsoon sister chain Accessorize, will now head up both businesses.

The retailer said in a statement: “As a result of this [Hudson’s departure], the company will be reorganising its management structure and consolidating both brands under the leadership of Peter Ridler.”

A new buying and design director is also being recruited for Monsoon.

See also Retail Week

Christopher Kane’s autumn collection at Topshop

A crowd of over 100 shoppers queued outside Topshop’s flagship store today as the third High Street collection by, one of my favourite designers, Christopher Kane went on sale. Some had been waiting for over an hour and a half, desperate to get their hands on the young British designer’s third line for the store, available at a fraction of the price of his mainline collection. In scenes reminiscent of the launch of Stella McCartney’s collection for H&M, customers gathered piles of embellished neon dresses, printed T-shirts and platform boots – although, like the first Kate Moss collection, the store imposed a five-item-per-customer limit to ensure stock did not sell out too fast.

The 39-piece womenswear collection went into 39 Topshop stores at 9am and on the chain’s website from 6am. This is the largest designer collaboration that the young fashion group has commissioned.

I haven’t had a chance to see any of the pieces yet but I’m sure I’ll be buying a signature crocodile print dress for £60 (pictured) which I love because it’s reminiscent of Kane’s famous gorilla print dress from the spring 09 ready-to-wear collection (which will set you back around £220). Other key pieces from the range include black, pink and lime bodycon mini-dresses with eyelet embellishment for £125, a “hard handbag” with rivet and fringing detail for £65 and a one-shoulder lace mini dress for £75.

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.”

Beth Ditto designs for Evans

I don’t really listen to popular music, or think much to the artists, but I find Beth Ditto quite amazing. I’ve seen her perform several times now and I just think her voice is astounding.

Recently she has become something of a fashion icon, especially amongst larger women, by stripping off for Love and NME, doing various photo shoots and now designing her own range for Evans. (more…)