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RB fashion dispatch: Canada Goose lays off 17% of its workforce, H&M upscales, and UK goes green

Our weekly roundup of what you need to know in fashion.
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Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

By now, you know our weekly roundup brings you the absolute need-to-knows in fashion. This week, one retailer wants to give its customers premium products at fast fashion prices, while another luxury brand scales down its global workforce.

Canada Goose layoffs

Luxury outerwear retailer Canada Goose will lay off lay off 17% of its corporate employees around the world, as it tries to achieve long-term growth in the face of a sales slump. The layoffs follow a 75% drop in the share price over the last year. “We are focused on achieving efficiency and margin expansion, while investing in key initiatives,” CEO Dani Reiss said in a statement.

Why this matters: Inflation and a consumer spending pullback have impacted luxury as a whole. Last month, “Kering’s share price took a hit after the company reported that Gucci sales were likely to decline 20% in Q1” Retail Brew recently reported.

UK retailers must clarify green claims

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has made major fashion retailers including Asos, Boohoo, and Asda clothing brand George sign formal agreements that they’ll only use “accurate and clear” green claims moving forward. This means no ambiguous language to describe recycled or organic materials, no use of misleading images “such as green leaves to suggest a product is more environmentally friendly than it is,” and displaying clear information to consumers, Bloomberg reported.

Why this matters: Fashion brands have come under scrutiny for greenwashing as consumers increasingly demand sustainability from them. A 2020 survey from McKinsey & Co. and Business of Fashion found that 66% of US shoppers and 75% of millennial shoppers consider sustainability before making a luxury purchase.

H&M shakes things up

While Q1 sales at H&M were down 2% YoY, CEO Daniel Ervér presented it as an “exciting friction” opportunity for the fast fashion retailers. That's what he called “the predicament of pleasing both customers’ premiumization desires and their pocketbooks,” especially in the US, according to WWD. Sales were up 2% in the first three weeks of March, suggesting a stronger Q2.

Why this matters: As WWD noted, H&M has faced competition both from higher-end fast fashion competitors like Zara, and “ultra-fast-fashion players” like Shein, whose low prices are hard to beat.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.