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Rising wages squeeze Bangladesh garment makers as factories await upgrades

By Serajul Quadir DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh garment factory owners say they are soaking up much of the cost of nearly doubling wages as some global retailers balk at price hikes, leaving less money for safety improvements urged by apparel chains after last year's Rana Plaza disaster.

Uniqlo steps up Europe push with stores in Berlin and Paris

By Dominique Vidalon, Pascale Denis and Emma Thomasson PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) - Japanese casual wear chain Uniqlo opens its first store in Germany on Friday, as it accelerates expansion in Europe in a bid by its parent company Fast Retailing Co Ltd <9983.T> to become the world's top fashion retailer by 2020. Fast Retailing wants to open more stores abroad as it sees turnover growth slow in its home market, where the population is ageing and declining and where it lowered forecasts for Uniqlo's sales on Thursday.

Esprit swings back to profit in first half

Esprit said Friday it had swung back to profit in the first half of the fiscal year after cutting costs, but warned of challenges ahead as it strives to revive its struggling brand amid global competition. The clothing giant reported earning HK$95 million ($12.2 million) in the six months ended December, after last year posting its first full-year net loss since being listed on the Hong Kong bourse in 1993.

Esprit swings back to profit in first half

Esprit said Friday it had swung back to profit in the first half of the fiscal year after cutting costs, but warned of challenges ahead as it strives to revive its struggling brand amid global competition. The clothing giant reported earning HK$95 million ($12.2 million) in the six months ended December, after last year posting its first full-year net loss since being listed on the Hong Kong bourse in 1993.

Uniqlo operator says planning HK listing in China drive

The operator of Japanese cheap-chic clothing chain Uniqlo said Monday it was planning a secondary share listing in Hong Kong, as the company expands its brand across Asia and beyond. Fast Retailing said that it was on track to issue depositary receipts on the southern Chinese city's bourse on March 5, pending approval from the exchange. Depositary receipts are a mechanism frequently used by firms to let investors trade their shares on a foreign exchange.

Huge Bangladesh fire destroys key garments factory

By Serajul Quadir DHAKA (Reuters) - A huge fire on Friday destroyed a Bangladesh garment factory supplying key Western brands, authorities said, in a blaze touched off by workers angered over rumors of a colleague's death in police firing. Garments are a vital sector for the South Asian nation, whose low wages and duty-free access to Western markets have helped make it the world's second-largest apparel exporter after China.

Primark pays out again to Bangladesh factory victims

By Emma Thomasson and Ruma Paul DHAKA (Reuters) - Clothing chain Primark laid out plans on Thursday to pay more compensation for the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh as victims and their families demanded other western brands follow suit. The collapse on April 24 that killed 1,129 people has galvanized some of the clothing industry's big names to try to improve safety standards at suppliers but they have failed to agree on a compensation fund for victims despite months of wrangling.

H&M joins battle for U.S. e-shoppers

By Anna Ringstrom STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Budget fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz launched an e-commerce operation in the United States on Thursday, taking on rivals in the world's biggest online market. The launch is highly anticipated and follows successive delays. But retail experts say H&M may struggle to make the kind of profits from U.S. e-commerce enjoyed by pricier rivals.

Winter weather puts damper on H

Swedish fashion giant H&M posted a steeper than expected fall in quarterly profit on Wednesday, citing currency headwinds and a challenging retail climate but said June sales were "off to a good start." The brand, known for cheap and cheerful fashion clothing for young women, is in neck-and-neck global competition with Spanish group Zara.

H&M's monthly sales fall in February

By Mia Shanley STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Hennes & Mauritz <HMb.ST> reported a bigger than expected fall in underlying sales last month, the fifth straight month of year-on-year declines, as the world's second largest fashion retailer lags behind larger rival Inditex <ITX.MC>. The Swedish firm has struggled with weak consumer spending in Europe, where it has the bulk of its business, and with a strong rise in the value of the Swedish crown.
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