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What Fashion Retail Professionals Need to Know Today

BoF Careers provides essential sector insights for fashion professionals in retail this month, to help you decode fashion’s retail landscape.
Merchandising team creating a store floor plan.
Merchandising team creating a store floor plan. (Pexels)

Discover the most relevant industry news and insights for fashion professionals working in retail, updated each month to enable you to excel in job interviews, promotion conversations or perform better in the workplace by increasing your market awareness and emulating market leaders.

BoF Careers distills business intelligence from across the breadth of our content — editorial briefings, newsletters, case studies, podcasts and events — to deliver key takeaways and learnings tailored to your job function, listed alongside a selection of the most exciting live jobs advertised by BoF Careers partners.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for retail professionals today:


1. Why the Retail Renaissance Can’t Last Forever

Busy streets in New York City's Soho neighbourhood.

Retailers are rapidly expanding their physical footprints, defying predictions early in the pandemic that Covid-19 would hasten the decline of brick-and-mortar retail. The number of store openings in the US and UK is double that of store closings this year, according to Coresight Research, in a reversal of the past decade’s so-called retail apocalypse.

But the conditions that helped spark the retail revival are starting to dissipate. Rents are stabilising; in the second quarter of 2022, Manhattan retail rents were flat, after over four consecutive years of declines, according to the brokerage CBRE. On the most competitive blocks, tenants can forget about financial incentives from landlords, brokers say. Coveted spots now garner full-out bidding wars. Landlords are looking for more long-term leases, and are less inclined to host pop-ups or one-year trials.

Related Jobs:

Area Manager, Claudie Pierlot — Germany and Netherlands

VP Global Real Estate Strategy, PVH — New York, Unites States

Assistant Manager Store Operations, Burberry — Dubai, United Arab Emirates


2. Is Jacquemus Ready for Retail?

Jacquemus used a 24-hour vending machine concept for temporary boutiques in Paris and Milan.

Jacquemus is [...] set to open a 3,200 square-foot, two-level space on Avenue Montaigne on September 27 during Paris Fashion Week. Establishing a presence in luxury retail would mark a strategy shift for [the brand], which has built a substantial business selling mostly through wholesalers and its online store.

A focus on retail and other directly-controlled channels has been central to the strategies of high-end fashion brands as they seek to create immersive customer experiences, crack down on discounting and boost operating margins. But the investment required to open stores in prime locations remains a significant obstacle for many designers.

Related Jobs:

Head of Retail, Stine Goya — Copenhagen, Denmark

Store Manager, Zimmermann — New York, Unites States

Retail Performance and Store Operations Manager, Neiman Marcus — Dallas, United States


3. Why European Brands Are Still Betting on America

Four women with their backs to the camera showcasing different colours of Fendi Baguette bags in white and pinks.

In a somewhat surprising turn, New York Fashion Week has become a key staging ground for European labels looking to capitalise on recent momentum in America. Doubling down on America makes sense, when economists are predicting runaway inflation in other parts of the world, like the UK and the euro zone. Including traditionally resilient Germany, which is expected to slide into recession if Russia follows through on threats to cut off natural gas supplies this winter. Meanwhile, China’s zero-Covid policy is holding back the country’s recovery.

The America-focused strategy only works for certain brands though: Zegna, Lululemon and Nordstrom are among the companies reporting that their high-net-worth customers continue to spend, but mass retailers are seeing US demand start to buckle. The dollar’s strength against the pound and euro is also a factor — Americans haven’t had this kind of spending power when it comes to European luxury goods in decades.

Related Jobs:

Studio Associate, Totême — New York, United States

Store Manager, Hugo Boss — Boston, United States

Operations Associate, Ermenegildo Zegna Group — Beverly Hills, United States


4. Richemont, Farfetch and YNAP: Understanding a Transformational E-Commerce Deal

Three jigsaw puzzle pieces representing Farfetch, Yoox Net-a-Porter and Richemont.

The deal is broken down into two phases. The first phase will see Farfetch acquire a 47.5 percent stake in YNAP from Richemont, while the Emirati business mogul Mohamed Alabbar will acquire a 3.2 percent stake, helping to bring Richemont’s stake below 50 percent so it can deconsolidate the unit in its financial reporting. Richemont will [then] receive shares in Farfetch, valued at around $440 million at the time of the deal, which it has agreed to hold as an investment; in five years, it will receive another $250 million in Farfetch shares.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed before the end of 2023, leaves YNAP without a controlling shareholder. But the tie-up lays a path for Farfetch to acquire the rest of YNAP, with options in place for Richemont to sell Farfetch the remaining shares if YNAP achieves profitability (measured by adjusted EBITDA) within three to five years.

Related Jobs:

Retail and E-Commerce Intern, Dice Kayek — Paris, France

E-Commerce Manager, Zalando — Berlin, Germany

Digital Selling Expert, Bloomingdale’s — New York, United States


5. What Europe’s Energy Crisis Means for Fashion

Store sales

The energy crisis in Europe comes on top of broader pressures hammering the global fashion industry. Inflation is climbing around the world, fuelled by sanctions and disruptions related to the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, regional political upheavals, Covid-19 and climate change-related disruptions are causing huge volatility.

Retailers are being squeezed between rising operating costs and softening demand, especially at the lower end of the market. The pain is equally intense on the supply side. [...] The long-term impact could be even more dramatic than the pandemic.

Related Jobs:

Store Manager, Highsnobiety — Berlin, Germany

Flagship Operations Director, Tiffany & Co. — New York, United States

Operations Associate, SMCP — Costa Mesa, United States


6. Why Digital Brands Are Lukewarm on Social Commerce

Social commerce, a shopping tool popular in Asia, has struggled to take off in the US to the frustration of many digitally native brands.

Though popular in Asia, [social commerce] struggled to take off in the US, to the frustration of digital brands that must acquire customers on one platform and sell to them on another.

In the absence of a so-called super app that combines product discovery and transactions, brands are using social commerce tools to drive up engagement on their posts in the hopes it will translate to higher traffic on their sites, where the bulk of their transactions still take place. [So while Instagram] may not live up to the idea of an all in one e-commerce tool, it can be useful as part of a broader toolbox.

Related Jobs:

Digital Media Manager, Maison Margiela — Paris, France

Personal Shopping and Client Relations Manager, Mytheresa — Munich, Germany

CRM Manager, Prada Group — Miami, United States


7. The Ye and Adidas Conflict, Explained

Kanye West arrives at the Balenciaga show in New York. The musician recently aired grievances with his Yeezy brand's partners, Adidas and Gap.

Little could have prepared Adidas for the social media onslaught instigated by their top celebrity collaborator: Ye, the artist and designer formerly known as Kanye West, who has accused the company of effectively shutting him out of his namesake sneaker line. It’s hard to overstate how important the Yeezy brand is to Adidas. Since 2015, Ye has given the brand access to an audience it has struggled to engage on its own. The line, which runs until 2026, is no celebrity vanity project either, with nearly $2 billion in annual sales.

The damage control options for Adidas are limited because of Ye’s considerable bargaining power, experts said. Adidas could seek to terminate the Yeezy agreement if he is deemed to be in breach of his contractual obligations, respond to his allegations by publicly presenting its own version of the dispute, or appease Ye by giving him greater creative control, and work toward an extension of the valuable Yeezy deal beyond 2026.

Related Jobs:

Sales Assistant, Carhartt — Florence, Italy

Retail Designer, Gant — Stockholm, Sweden

Keyholder, Veja — New York, United States


8. How Banana Republic Became a Bright Spot in Gap Inc.’s Portfolio

Woman in a zebra suit sitting on a yellow couch in yellow tent.

Rebounding sales are the payoff to a grand reinvention of the Banana Republic look that began a year ago, under chief executive Sandra Stangl and then-chief brand officer Ana Andjelic. The idea was to eschew the brand’s inoffensive offering and replace it with an undeniable point-of-view. The result was “Imagined Worlds,” an adventure-themed campaign that re-introduced Banana Republic’s origins as a safari apparel maker with sharply styled and tailored products like utility jackets, cargo pants and wide-leg trousers.

Some say Banana Republic has only accomplished the easy part of a turnaround. Maintaining its momentum now will be much more difficult than refreshing its assortment, said Andjelic, who left the company to pursue other opportunities after only nine months with the brand. “Changing the brand creative without changing the underlying marketing, business, and operational approach is just putting lipstick on a pig,” she said.

Related Jobs:

Store Manager, Scotch & Soda — Rotterdam, Netherlands

Visual Merchandising Manager, Tommy Hilfiger — Hong Kong

Assistant Store Manager, Acne Studios — Sydney, Australia

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