Last week, HanesBrands considered selling off Champion, H&M began charging for returns, and the Glossy Podcast covered Milan Fashion Week. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Glossy Podcast for interviews with fashion industry leaders and Week in Review episodes, and the Glossy Beauty Podcast for interviews from the beauty industry. –Danny Parisi, sr. fashion reporter
HanesBrands considers selling Champion
HanesBrands is reportedly mulling the sale of Champion, its activewear brand, after continued flagging sales for the brand and pressure from an activist investor.
Champion sales fell by 14% in the first half of the year globally and 25% in HanesBrands’ main market of the U.S. At the same time, investor Barrington Capital Group has been putting public pressure on HanesBrands to increase revenues and reduce debt. Barrington’s chairman, James Mitarotonda, said HanesBrands has been largely ineffective at responding to Champion’s continued disappointing results.
It’s a rapid fall for Champion, which was revived by the 2010s streetwear boom as street fashion heads began to pick up both vintage and new Champion sweatshirts. In 2019, fresh off of collaborations with streetwear brands like Supreme, its sales grew by 22%, which the company attributed to a “strong millennial consumer base.”
But now, it seems that reputation is fading. HanesBrands said in its most recent earnings report that Champion is “not where we expected it to be.” The lowered sales combined with HanesBrands’ $4.2 billion of debt have led the company to consider selling off Champion to lighten its debt burden.
H&M begins charging for returns
H&M followed through on an idea it floated last year to begin charging customers for returns. As of now, customers in the U.K. will have to pay £1.99 (around $2.44) to return an item.
One caveat is that members of H&M’s online customer platform don’t have to pay, and there’s no fee to become a member. Essentially, customers have to either pay the return fee or give up their email address and some other information to avoid it.
Returns have continued to be a headache for retailers on both sides of the pond in recent years. Along with the price of goods on the consumer end, brands and retailers are paying more to maintain the operational side of their businesses. UPS raised its prices by more than 5% this year. While that’s not a lot for the average person shipping things on occasion, many brands that ship hundreds of items a day now have a significantly larger cost affecting their bottom line.
Charging for returns may not be the most popular idea with customers, but with shipping costs surging and the percentage of products being returned to e-commerce brands reaching around 30%, it may be the best way to address those costs.
The Glossy Podcast at Milan Fashion Week
Last week, for Milan Fashion Week, we recorded two special episodes of the Glossy Podcast. The first was with Antidote’s Lauren Amos and Karlo Steel, buyers and regulars at Milan Fashion Week who spoke about the changing trends they were seeing during the week. Second, we spoke with Francesca Monaco, the co-founder of the sustainable brand Themoirè, which had just shown its collection on the runway. Both guests gave glimpses at some of the behind-the-scenes action of MFW, as well as testaments to why the week is still important to brands, buyers and consumers.
Next week, for Paris Fashion Week, we’ll have two episodes dedicated to all the excitement happening on-site. Stay tuned!