MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC RELEASES ITS QUARTER 1 2014/15 TRADING STATEMENT
MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC
QUARTER 1 2014/15 TRADING STATEMENT
13 WEEKS TO 28 JUNE 2014
LONDON, 2014-8-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — ‘Womenswear in growth’
• Group sales 1 +2.3%
• UK: total sales +2.0%, like-for-like +0.3%
• GM: total sales -0.8%, like-for-like -1.5%
• Clothing: total sales +0.1%, like-for-like -0.6%
• Food 2: total sales +4.2%, like-for-like +1.7%
• M&S.com -8.1%
• International sales1 +4.7%
¹Stated on ex-VAT and constant currency basis. International sales at actual currency were +0.1% on the year for the quarter.
² Adjusting for impact of later Easter timing, total Food sales were +2.6%, like-for like +0.1%
Marc Bolland, Chief Executive said:
“We have seen a continued improvement in Clothing, although as anticipated the settling in of the new M&S.com site has had an impact on sales. We are pleased that the Womenswear business was in growth, driven by full price sales, in line with our increased focus on margin. Our Food business had another great quarter, continuing to outperform the market, through our focus on differentiation through quality and innovation.”
Womenswear sales were up as a result of stronger full price sales and uplift from seasonal and fashionable products. In General Merchandise, we are continuing to see progress in our Clothing business with customers increasingly buying into the improvements we have made to quality and style. In line with our increased focus on margin, we were less promotional, both online and in stores. While this has affected the sales performance, particularly online, we are on track to deliver our full year gross margin guidance.
As anticipated, General Merchandise sales were impacted by the settling in of the new .com site. The new web platform has been technically resilient and we have received positive customer feedback on the website’s enhanced fashion and style content. As previously indicated, we are now focussed on optimising the website commercially, with updates made on a regular basis. We have recently seen a gradual improvement in sales performance, despite a lower level of promotional activity. We expect to return to growth ahead of our peak trading period.
Our Food business had a great quarter with our strategy to be more specialist setting us apart from the competition. We continue to outperform the market as customers continue to come to us for unrivalled quality and innovation, whether for their special events or great everyday value. With value top of mind for customers, we remained price competitive while protecting our gross margin. We launched some 700 new products giving customers more choice than ever. We are on track with the pipeline of 150 new Simply Food stores opening over the next three years.
Our International business continued to perform well, with particularly strong performance in our priority markets. Trading conditions in the Republic of Ireland continue to be challenging. Sales performance in the Middle East was impacted by the timing of shipments to our franchise partners.
Guidance and outlook
Our full year guidance remains unchanged. Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, market conditions remain challenging. Our focus is on delivery in order to make M&S a stronger and more profitable business.
Marks and Spencer Group plc will report its second quarter trading and half year results on 5 November 2014.
Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management’s beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer’s current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of customer traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer’s brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets.
– Ends –
For further information, please contact:
Majda Rainer +44 (0)20 8718 1563
Helen Cox +44 (0)20 8718 8491
Corporate Press Office: +44 (0)20 8718 1919
Out of hours calls: +44 (0)20 8718 2000
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FlowerAura Started Raksha Bandhan Prep Early, Says “Wants To Go Beyond Expectations”
Gururgram, Haryana, India, 2022-Jul-01 — /EPR Network/ — Even though the occasion of Raksha Bandhan is more than three months away, the Indian gifting giant, FlowerAura, has started its preparations with an official announcement right away.
The gifting brand makes Raksha Bandhan shopping easy for the customers as it serves gifts, return gifts, different types of rakhis, sweets, designer rakhi thalis, and combos through its online portal. There are brothers and sisters who don’t get to meet each other in person on the special festive occasion, and that’s when FlowerAura makes things easy for them. Not just one can buy Floweraura rakhi but can also choose from the plethora of rakhi varieties which are hard to find in the market elsewhere. From exploring rakhis and gifts to sending them to the preferred address, everything is taken care of by FlowerAura’s team.
Early preparations are a part of the business strategy that aims to go beyond the expectations of the customers. All the Raksha Bandhan products get delivered through prompt delivery services. “The team is getting connected with local artisans around the nation to get the new and unique rakhi designs and, in return, to help local artisans grow. A lot of focus from the early preparations is laid upon the deliveries and to expand the limit of delivery as many orders around the occasion.”, as per the official announcement.
FlowerAura is also adding more foreign countries where the deliveries can be made of Raksha Bandhan. Ordering rakhi gifts for brother gets easier being miles apart through online gifting options.
In a media conversation, Mr Himanshu Chawal, CEO of FA Gifts Pvt Ltd, said, “We are getting ready early this year as we want to go beyond expectations and want to go above the business numbers of all the previous years. Keeping customer satisfaction on top and making it possible to express emotions perfectly are the key-driven elements.”
SOURCE: EPR Network
Are Affordable watches from China Any Good? Yes, And Here’s Why
NEW YORK, 2022-Apr-01 — /EPR Network/ — There are many, many watches around that, besides having a smooth design, also carry a high, high price tag. As a consequence, people are wary. Are all great-looking watches so pricey? Well, no. The great-looking, affordable watches from China are definitely not as pricey but just as stylish.
In fact, if you are looking to add one or several great-looking affordable watches from China to your collection, then look no further than Megalith. Our curated selection of only the most stylish yet, affordable timepieces is ideal for the fashion-savvy young man of today.
Rest assured that there are a lot of stylish watches out there, and you don’t have to go broke in order to get one. However, you might ask yourself: are affordable watches from China really any good? Well, yes, and allow us to tell you why:
The Switzerland-China Watch Connection
Unbeknown to most, the cheap labor costs China is known for can make for some pretty awesome watches. See, it’s an open secret that most of the Swiss watchmakers get some key parts from Asia, mostly China, for cost-efficiency.
However, the fact that they do so does not prevent them from slapping the ‘Swiss-made’ label into the finished product. Why? Simply because a Swiss law mandates that industrial products, which watches are, need to be 60% Swiss.
To be more specific, 60% of the total cost and assembly of them need to happen within Switzerland. That means that manufacturers can get some parts from elsewhere and assemble them in-house just fine. Said law, however, is not all-encompassing and leaves plenty of room to wiggle.
For example, some manufacturers do outsource as much of the manufacturing process as they can to China when demand is high. They need only to fulfill the key in-house requirement for the final assembly, and they will still retain the right to say the product is ‘Swiss-made.’
On the Chinese side of the question, however, things are more interesting. Since brands regularly outsource to China and outsource larger and larger amounts of work pretty often, Chinese watchmakers are learning.
Just like with electronics, Chinese watches have, over time, been getting better and better. This is how the industry got quality, stylish and affordable watches from China.
Affordable watches from China
Let’s say that you are a young man who is very fashion conscious. You know that clothes do not make the man, but they can surely make the man stand out. There are few things that can make a great first impression or command respect from onlookers than dressing fine.
One problem, though: dressing fine does cost a bit, and if you are just starting out in the real world, chances are, you can’t afford it yet. Or can you? At least when it comes to watches, you need not break the bank in order to add something stylish to your outfit.
A well-dressed man is a man that commands respect from those around him; people tend to take them more seriously. That is something you can use for when you are just starting out.
Traditionally, high-end watches were the go-to for young men wanting to look great. However, their soaring prices might have you putting off buying one until much later in life. Luckily there’s an extensive selection of affordable watches from China that are just as stylish.
The fact is that Swiss watchmakers have been gradually outsourcing for decades to Chinese factories. So, Chinese factories now know how to make watches just stylish and, conveniently, less pricey.
While they might lack the precious stones and rare metals that make high-end watches fetch obscene prices, they make for it in style.
As such, no matter which kind of outfit you are choosing for the day, there’s more than one nice-looking Chinese timepiece to go with it. And, again, you won’t even remotely have to go broke to purchase several of them for each occasion.
The Made in China Label
In the west particularly, there has been a stigma written largely around the made-in-China label. Namely, that its synonym of shoddy quality. Not without its reasons, Asia and China specifically used to have a bad reputation for counterfeiting.
Often, the western market would flood with large quantities of goods that were suspiciously cheap. The reason for that was that their quality was questionable at best. Among those goods were, yes, watches. By the later 20th century, however, that began to change.
Due to the sweeping economic reforms taking place around the country, China gave its first step into becoming the manufacturing center of the world. In hindsight, it might seem like an obvious thing to happen but not so much at the time.
It was a bold gamble that paid off, and it took the untold amounts of sweat and hard work of millions upon millions. Fast forward to today, and you will be hard-pressed to find one item, either mechanical or electronic, that does not feature some parts made in China.
Seriously, do a little digging around your favorite brands, and it’s bound to turn up that at least two of their suppliers are from China. And, yes, that does include watchmaking brands. Famous Swiss watchmaking brands are also in on it. Their participation also plays a large role in making affordable watches from China possible.
Swiss Watchmaking Before and After
The Swiss watchmaker industry has long been pretty much a national source of pride. Exactly around 481 years long tradition at this time and a source of pride probably for that much longer as well.
When the industry began, and for most of its existence, it was a craftmanship-based occupation. Meaning the craft master built himself the parts that went into the watch. They would occasionally take in apprentices and teach them the ropes to have them become assistants.
Such it happens with all craftmanship-based industry around the time; it was an in-house national industry pretty much completely. A Swiss watchmaker made the parts and assembled the watch, which they could later commercialize.
The fact of the matter is that producing a single timepiece was a very labor-intensive, time-consuming, and demanding job, as well. That remained the case until the industrial revolution introduced machinery into the mix.
Factories could help mass produce timepieces on the scale at previously unimaginable speed. Of course, it came with a trade-off. Not all workers would develop a Swiss watchmaker level of skill. Nor did they need to since machinery produced functional, good enough watch parts easily.
As watches became more common, enthusiasts were no longer content with just any run-of-the-mill watch. They wanted something unique, and thus, the luxury watch industry came to be.
The reasoning behind it was simple: use the best available materials and craftsmanship to create distinctive and pricier timepieces. For that, they needed rarer materials which, thanks to the soaring international trading of the 20th century, they could get easily.
This was the start of globalization and, in a way, the birth of the industry that is the affordable watches from China.
How Swiss Watches Paved the Way for Affordable watches from China
The opening of the Chinese economy was a success because of something called the cost of labor. See, developed countries have a higher standard of living, which means, among other things, that things like utilities and basic services tend to be pricier. That it’s the cost of living and in order for a worker to keep up with it salaries need be higher.
That it’s not an issue for developing countries which China pretty much was back in 1989. Basic services in China could not be as pricier as, say, the United States. The economy was not there yet. What China had in spades was a massive pool of working-age population that, again, did not need yet to command high wages.
That means that Chinese labor was far cheaper than most western labor. Thus, it was a no-brainer decision for brands to take advantage of the opening of the Chinese economy. Setting up shop in China for manufacturing or relying on Chinese factories to source from fast became the norm.
It ultimately meant a welcomed cost reduction for businesses. Something which in an ever-expanding global economy it’s something all brands aspire to. Even Swiss watchmaking brands.
See, ‘Swiss watches’ have long been the gold standard in quality for the watchmaking industry. But what makes a watch Swiss? More specifically, how much of it need to actually come from Switzerland?
According to an ordinance by Switzerland’s Federal Council dated 29 December, 1971 they needed to be 60% Swiss. To expound: for industrial goods, 60% of the manufacturing costs and important manufacturing steps must happen inside Switzerland. That was the minimum requirement for a watch, which is an industrial product, to be ‘Swiss-made.’ This ordinance, however, it’s a bit lax.
Swiss Watches (partially) Made in China
The fact of the matter is that the demands of the 60% ordinance no longer required all parts to be Swiss produced. That, realistically speaking, would be impossible for most brands and cost-prohibitive for even the biggest brands. Thus, it gives leeway to manufacturers to source some key parts from elsewhere.
One of the favorite parts of the world for Swiss manufacturers to source from just so happens to be, you guessed it, China. Since the 1970s, the Swiss watchmaking industry’s biggest open secret has been its sourcing of parts from Asia.
Cases, crowns, hands, dials, and even watchbands and covering glass. Swiss watchmakers can legally get those parts from China and elsewhere in Asia. Given that they still take care of providing the watch movements and assembling in-house, they can still pretty much call the final product ‘Swiss-made.’
Although a few lawmakers and even fewer watchmakers call into question the alleged loopholes of the law, the industry is not stopping. Watchmakers from the top brands still source key parts of their product from the outside.
Competitive Swiss watchmaking brands take it one step further. In order to remain competitive as a budget brand, they seek to source and outsource to and from China as much as possible.
From getting most finished part from there and/or getting components of important parts to Switzerland to later assemble there. This kind of complex manufacturing schedule it’s what allows Swiss budget brands to remain in business without dropping the ‘Swiss-made’ label.
Finally, at times of high demand, some big brands pretty much outsource most of the manufacturing work to Chinese factories. Those Chinese factories have been getting better and better at it due to the vast amount of work said Swiss brands heap upon them.
What The Future Holds for The Swiss and Chinese Watchmaking Industries
An interesting situation unfolded in 2020. Due to the restrictive measures required in Switzerland due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of Swiss manufacturers stopped or deescalated operations. But that was not the case in China.
Several factories remained open by adopting protective sanitary measures, and the Swiss brands took notice of it in two ways. First, they either outsourced, increased manufacturing to China, and/or shifted to opening more stores in mainland China.
The second represents an interesting choice. See, Chinese consumers love to do purchase tourism. They go abroad and buy non-essential things like watches. However, most of the global tourism saw a downturn during 2020. Chinese buyers, a significant source of revenue for said brands, were not able to buy from them. As such, they opened stores in mainland China to make it easy for them to buy.
Both actions were favorable for the affordable watches from China part of the industry:
- They had access to the latest models.
- An ever-growing digital economy allowed them to sell their affordable brands at home and abroad to the enthusiast that wanted in on the fashion but were conscious about their wallets.
In short, despite the obstacles, the watchmaking industry remains in business, and the stylish, affordable watches from China are just getting started.
Speaking of affordable watches from China, there are few brands that can do better for you than Megalith.
As a brand, we proudly focus on providing for the young man of today that is just making his way into the world. We know just how difficult it is to make an impression these days, but we are sure that looking fine it’s a big step to it.
Since most starting young men tend to lack the funds to match their lofty ambitions, we proudly put forward for them stylish yet, affordable watches. We showcase the kind of curated selection of affordable watches from China that, no matter your style, has something for you.
All of our watches come with a warranty, and our expansive selection allows us to humbly call ourselves ‘the mature men’s first watch.’
Suppose you are a man of today looking to turn heads with your style without breaking the bank; Megalith, it’s here for you. You can swing by our shop to see which of our watches will compliment your style. https://www.megalithwatch.com/
SOURCE: EPR Network
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