🇨🇳 Shanghai Fashion Week leader takes on new role. The Autumn/Winter 2024 season of Shanghai Fashion Week took place between Mar. 25 and Apr. 1 in Shanghai, China. The event kicked off with the Le Fame show, which lured actresses Angelababy, Yang Chaoyue and Hu Lianxin to the front row. Buzzy designer names such as Louis Shengtao Chen and Shushu/Tong took to the runway alongside stalwarts like Xander Zhou and Comme Moi as buyers flocked to trade shows, showrooms and showcases including Mode, Ontimeshow, Tube Showroom, Dadashow, Not Showroom and Tasha Liu’s Labelhood. This season also saw the return of The Next platform, featuring graduate shows from Donghua University, the Fashion Design Institute of China Academy of Art and Soochow University. One talking point this season was the future role of fashion week’s general-secretary Lv Xiaolei, also known as Madame Lu, who has steered the event for more than a decade. Lv was recently named executive vice chairman of the Shanghai Fashion Designer Association, a parallel initiative revived to help promote local designers overseas. [China Daily, Shanghai Daily/Shine, SHFW]

🇵🇱 Poland’s LPP bounces back from Russia divestment allegations. LPP Group, one of Eastern Europe’s largest fashion manufacturers and retailers selling brands Mohito, Reserved, House, Cropp and Sinsay to 39 countries, has seen its shares recover on the Warsaw Stock Exchange after a US short seller characterised the company’s withdrawal from the Russia market as a “sham.” Last month, Hindenburg Research claimed LPP used Kazakhstan as a backdoor to transit goods, but LPP executives dismissed the allegations, asserting that part of the 2022 transitional arrangement to divest from Russia it announced in the wake of the war in Ukraine included supplying clothes to agents that resold the merchandise in Russia. The Gdansk-based apparel giant then vowed to terminate sales to Russia before the end of the current fiscal year on Jan. 31, 2025. Co-founder and CEO Marek Piechocki sounded bullish last week when reporting an 85.5 percent surge in 2023 full year profits to 1.61 billion zlotys ($403 million) and a 9.3 percent rise in revenues to 17.41 billion zlotys ($4.3 billion). “In the next three years, we plan to double our traditional [store] network and, in the meantime, generate twice as much sales volume as we do today,” he said. [Bloomberg, Reuters]

🇲🇾 Malaysian retailer charged and bombed over blasphemous socks. Socks with the word ‘Allah’, Arabic for ‘God’, were found in a KK Super Mart convenience store in the Muslim-majority nation, prompting online outrage because “putting Allah at our feet is an insult,” explained the country’s religious affairs minister. A court has charged five company executives at both the retailer and its supplier Xin Jian Chang in China (the former has accused the latter of “sabotage”) for hurting religious feelings, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. Facing jail, a fine or both, all parties apologised and pleaded not guilty, but anger still simmered on Tuesday when a petrol bomb was thrown into a branch of the same retail chain, causing a fire but no injuries. [Al Jazeera]

🇦🇪 Profits up 12% at Emirati mall operator Majid Al Futtaim. The Dubai-based conglomerate with a portfolio of dozens of major shopping malls across the Middle East and North Africa region including the Mall of the Emirates, the Mall of Oman and the Mall of Egypt, has reported full year net profit in 2023 of 2.7 billion dirhams ($740 million) and revenue of 34.5 billion dirhams, up 1 percent over the previous year. [The National]

🇨🇳 China’s s-commerce giant Xiaohongshu is finally profitable. The social media app with shopping and livestream commerce features, sometimes dubbed ‘China’s Instagram’, has earned $500 million in net profit in 2023 on revenues of $3.7 billion, according to people briefed on the figures at the Shanghai-based company founded in 2013. It’s a turn of fortune for the platform popular with beauty and fashion brands, having reportedly generated a $200 million loss in 2022, against strong competition from the likes of Douyin and Kuaishou. [Financial Times]

🇮🇳 India’s fashion e-commerce giant Myntra is operationally profitable. The platform owned by Walmart’s Flipkart has reported that its marketplace unit has been “EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) positive” since October 2023, for two consecutive quarters, a milestone the company has never achieved before. Founded in 2007, Myntra sells major fashion and lifestyle brands including H&M, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Mango. [Business Standard, Mint]

🇬🇹 US launches initiative to boost textile and apparel trade with Guatemala. American trade and customs agencies have announced a capacity building programme to advance secure trade between the US and the Central American nation. Guatemala’s apparel and textile sector, increasingly important for American firms’ nearshoring efforts, is a major contributor to the country’s economy, constituting 14 percent of total exports and 8.9 percent of GDP, generating 180,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to USAID. [Fibre2Fashion, USAID]

🇨🇳 More Chinese companies to be added to US import ban list. The number of Chinese companies banned by the US Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List is expected to grow in the next few months, said a Homeland Security adviser. Since 2022 the US has barred most imports with links to China’s Xinjiang region, including textile and apparel products, over concerns of forced labour in the cotton supply chain, claims which China denies. [Wall Street Journal]

🇰🇪 Kenya’s used clothes traders lobby against EU export restrictions. A proposal by France, Denmark and Sweden to restrict second-hand clothing exports from the European Union could hurt Kenya’s clothing resale industry, which employs two million people, said a representative of sellers in the east African nation. [Reuters]

🇨🇳 Chinese mall owner Hang Lung Properties reports tenant sales rebound. The Hong Kong-based property developer, which owns major fashion malls selling global luxury brands including Shanghai’s Plaza 66, posted a 42 percent rise in tenant sales in the first half of 2023, albeit from a low base during an initial post-pandemic reopening rebound. [China Daily]

🇨🇳 Douyin launches standalone shopping app in China. The ByteDance-owned social media platform with shopping features has released Douyin Mall, in a bid to compete further with Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao, and PDD Holdings’ Pinduoduo. [South China Morning Post]

🇮🇳 Kamal Lath appointed CFO of Indian beauty major Good Glamm Group. The Harvard Business School alumnus brings over two decades of finance and management experience to the Mumbai-based content-to-commerce unicorn which began as DTC makeup brand MyGlamm before acquiring a stable of beauty and personal care products. [Economic Times]

🇰🇷 Tumi names South Korean actress Mun Kayoung as brand ambassador. The American bag and luggage maker tapped the German-born, South Korean-raised actress, also known as Moon Ga-young, famous for her roles in popular television series. [BoF Inbox]

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