Annual pre-tax profits at online fashion retailer Boohoo have almost doubled to £31m - up from just under £16m last year. Its sales have jumped by 51% to almost £300m, thanks to new overseas markets. The Manchester-based firm puts its success down to "combining cutting-edge, aspirational design with an affordable price tag". Its booming sales growth has also been reflected in its share price, which has more than trebled in the past year. On its stock market flotation in 2014, it was valued at £560m.
Women's fashion retailer Coast has gone into administration, putting 300 jobs at risk, in a sign of continuing pain on the High Street. The collapse means the immediate closure of its 24 stores at locations including Oxford Street in London. Karen Millen has bought some parts of Coast, whose website and department store concessions will keep trading. About 600 staff will transfer to Karen Millen, but the remaining 300 workers now face an uncertain future. Coast was owned by Aurora Fashions, which also owns retailers Oasis and Warehouse.
It was with some trepidation that I stripped down to my underwear and stepped into the booth. The Size-Stream Scanner, as it's known, is currently just a prototype and is merely a space with a curtain pulled around it, fitted with 10 sensors, all trained on different parts of me. The music starts up, I place my feet on the marked spot, and grab a pair of handles. Within seconds the machine has my precise dimensions after taking three scans of my body. On a screen outside I get to see myself modelled in 3D.
Whether we're receiving coupons based on our spending, or product suggestions based on other people's spending, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming how consumers shop and experience brands. For retailers, meanwhile, AI could increase profits by almost 60%1. It could be a game-changer in this labor-intensive sector, augmenting the workforce and enabling employees to become more productive. Some retailers already recognize ways for AI to complement their human workforce and boost profits. Stitch Fix is a clothing retailer that combines the expertise of fashion stylists with algorithms that analyze unstructured consumer data to deliver hand-picked items based on their preferences2.
Scrolling through Instagram, you're bound to come across an influencer wearing an outfit from one of the internet's many fast fashion retailers. Pretty Little Thing and Missguided offer loads of clothes at really low prices - and they update much quicker than the high street. But how are these online retailers impacting the environment? And what role does social media play in the "wear it once" trend? MPs released a report last week outlining their worries about fast fashion's effect on the environment.