Designer Brands Has More Work to Do

Often, companies that are going through major transformations change their names to give themselves identities that match up more accurately with their new strategic directions. That was the case for Designer Brands (NYSE:DBI), which formerly carried the name of its DSW Shoe Warehouse unit, but which has made significant acquisitions in order to expand its market and pursue new opportunities in the footwear and accessories space.

Coming into Designer Brands’ fiscal first-quarter report, shareholders had hoped for signs that the company’s recent moves were beginning to bear fruit, and signal that the business was headed toward a full recovery. The retailer did indeed generate some enthusiasm with its report, but a closer look at the numbers shows that it has a long way to go before it can claim complete success in its restructuring efforts.

How Designer Brands started off 2019

Designer Brands’ Q1 results clearly reflected the impact of the acquisitions on the company’s overall business. The retailer posted revenue of $870 million, up 22.5% from year-ago levels. Adjusted net income of $33.6 million was up a more modest 7% over the same period, and adjusted earnings of $0.43 per share were in line with the consensus forecast among analysts following the stock.

Mosaic-designed wall with Vince Camuto sign on it.

THE VINCE CAMUTO CONCEPT IS NEW TO DESIGNER BRANDS. IMAGE SOURCE: DESIGNER BRANDS.

Overall, Designer Brands had some good things to say about its performance. Comparable sales rose 3%, and although that wasn’t as strong a gain as it reported three months ago, it was also being measured against a solid year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, its new Canada retail and brand portfolio segments contributed roughly $91 million in sales to external customers — a small, but meaningful, portion of Designer Brands’ total revenue.

The footwear and accessories retailer delivered a more mixed message on the fundamental front. On one hand, gross margin climbed by half a percentage point to 29.4% as it improved its U.S. retail unit’s efficiency. That was a nice rebound from last quarter’s gross margin decline. However, costs associated with Designer Brands’ acquisitions significantly weighed on operating profit, causing operating margin to drop to just about 5%.

CEO Roger Rawlins said he was happy with all three of Designer Brands’ key businesses. “Our DSW banner, the Shoe Company banner, and Camuto Group all performed at or above our expectations,” he said, “with the U.S. retail and [Affiliated Business Group] segments delivering positive comparable sales.” The CEO also pointed to good progress in Canada and the recent Camuto Group acquisition as encouraging signs for further growth.

Looking ahead

Designer Brands has high hopes for the future. In Rawlins’ words, “The infrastructure we have created, combined with the talent of our teams, has elevated our operating model, giving us the platform to accelerate market share growth in North America.”

The retailer let that optimism work its way into its earnings guidance: It boosted its full-year projections to a new EPS range of $1.87 to $1.97, which was $0.07 higher than its previous forecast. Elsewhere, the company didn’t make any major changes to guidance, keeping its projections for low double-digit percentage growth in revenue and low single-digit comparable sales gains.

Investors were initially quite pleased with the report, sending the stock sharply higher on Thursday following the announcement. Yet by Friday, shares had settled back down toward their recent lows. The market seemed gratified to see some progress, but at the same time, investors want more concrete signs of Designer Brands’ ability to produce lasting growth from Camuto and its Canadian operations, as well as good results domestically.

[“source=fool”]

Sustainable students: How easy is it to be more environmentally-friendly?

Helen and Will

Plastics challenge

The students were challenged to reduce their plastic use by 75%, which they found difficult.

“It’s hard when you’re on a student budget, getting anything not wrapped in plastic is so much more expensive,” Amy explained.

Plastics guru Lucy Siegle gave them a helping hand, swapping their countless shower bottles for sustainable versions of shampoo, toothpaste and soap bars.

She also gave them reusable items like coffee cups and cutlery and told them to change their shopping habits.

Image caption Amy Fitzgerald and Jay Maheswaran were tasked with reducing their use of plastics

But Amy said they found supermarkets a particular problem as “everything was wrapped in plastic”.

“And going to the butcher’s was more expensive than getting pre-packaged stuff,” she added.

At the start of the week, Ms Siegle weighed the plastic in the students’ home, which totalled 2.8lb (1.3kg) – a figure she described as “rather a lot”.

With her advice, the students reduced it to 1.5lb.

Image caption Ms Siegle was not pleased with the house’s reliance on clingfilm, and confiscated their roll

“I’m still really pleased with them,” she said. “Especially as when I saw all the bottles they [initially] had in their bathroom, I nearly gave up.”

Ms Siegle said she thought the group had adopted the mindset shift really quickly, experiencing outrage over everything being plastic.

She urged them to be more militant by unwrapping products at the supermarket checkout and leaving the plastic behind to make the point.

“We need to take a stand,” she said.

Fashion challenge

Marcus Rudd, one of the housemates, had hoped that his shopping habits – buying 10 to 15 T-shirts a year, combined with some designer pieces – were environmentally friendly.

Then he learned that it took 3,000 litres of water on average to make only one T-shirt.

The fashion industry – which makes 100 billion garments each year – is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, water pollution, air pollution and the overuse of water.

Image caption Marcus was won over by charity and vintage shops, picking out this striking jacket

It is exacerbated, MPs say, by so-called “fast fashion” – inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers.

Sustainable stylist Alice Wilby taught the students to reuse, repair and recycle, encouraging them to swap fast fashion for second-hand.

She challenged Marcus and his housemate Goby Chan, who regularly buys clothes she does not wear, to make a new outfit from old clothes to model at London Fashion Week.

“We buy so much stuff and half of it sits unworn in the back of the wardrobe,” Ms Wilby said.

“Before we buy anything else it’s great to see what you’ve already got, and fall back in love with your things.”

Image caption Marcus and Goby modelled recycled clothes for a Mother of Pearl show at London Fashion Week

Goby enjoyed the challenge. “I was shocked by what you can do by reusing a garment and making it into something new which is actually really fashionable. I actually love it.”

  • The students modelling recycled clothes
  • Quiz: Are your clothes damaging the environment?
  • The students with a food waste problem

And Ms Wilby said they did well.

“Considering Marcus had never set foot in a second-hand shop before – and thought they were smelly places with clothes you would never want to buy – by the end of the week he was finding pieces he really loved. That was a really great victory.

“These two shop a lot, and over the past month [since the challenge] he has only bought one item.”

Energy challenge

The students took dramatic action to reduce their energy usage – and it worked.

They used much less heating – switching it off at night; wearing jumpers, coats and blankets; and generally keeping the house a little bit cooler.

It made a huge difference to their gas usage – cutting it by a whopping 48%.

They also lowered their electricity usage by 15%. This added up to a 44% carbon saving – around a tonne of carbon in all.

“It was a massive effort – it was freezing in our house,” said Marcus Golby.

Image caption The students were able to drastically cut their home’s energy bills

“[Before] we weren’t communicating when things were going on and going off, so you ended up with the heating on the majority of the time,” explained Amy.

“This month we’re having more of a balance of keeping warm and keeping the heating off when we’re out.”

Dr Rosie Robison, an energy expert from Anglia Ruskin University, said it raised wider questions on whether the focus should be on individuals using less energy or the “wider responsibilities for landlords or homeowners, housebuilders and government for thinking about how our homes can require less fossil fuel in the first place”.

Food challenge

A third of all food made for human consumption is wasted every year – costing the average UK family £700 each year, estimates suggest.

The students were challenged to cut their food waste by 50% and move to the planetary health diet – a plant-based diet with small amounts of meat and fish.

Image caption Helen and Will cooked vegetable bolognese for the house, as part of adopting the planetary health diet for a week

Dr Elliot Woolley, a senior lecturer in sustainable manufacturing at Loughborough University, encouraged them to store their food more carefully to stop it becoming spoiled, plan their meals and prepare the right amount of food for the people eating.

He said that they found the challenge hard, but had reduced their food waste from 8.1lb to 6.8lb, which he described as “a fairly small reduction”.

Image caption The contents of the students’ food waste bin, before the challenge

Dr Woolley added: “One of the things it shows is even when you’re aware of the problem and you’re trying to reduce waste, it’s so ingrained into how we waste and use food that actually we continue with these large amounts.”

Housemate Will Smith said their waste totals were boosted by food bought before the challenge which had started to go off, but admitted: “I don’t think we did too well.”

But he said it had changed his mindset and he would continue trying not to waste food in future.

The Sustainable Students series was produced and directed by Owen Kean and Tom Yeates, with research by Curtis Gallant and Simon O’Leary.

[“source-“bbc”]

2018 Maruti Ertiga Official Accessories Includes Black Alloy Wheels, Touchscreen Infotainment System & More

 

2018 Maruti Ertiga Official Accessories Includes Black Alloy Wheels, Touchscreen Infotainment System & More

  • The 2018 Ertiga can be had with blacked out alloy wheels or stylised wheel covers
  • Maruti is offering chrome finished exterior accents and PU seat covers for a more upmarket feel
  • Those who want a predefined package can choose either the ‘Ambitious’ or ‘Indulge’ package

Although the new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga gets a decent amount of features right from the base variants, it misses out on some feel-good features like artificial leather seat covers for the sake of competitive pricing. But fret not, here’s a list of official accessories that Maruti is offering with the second-gen Ertiga. These include styling packages which cover both the exterior and interior of the MPV along with a variety of car cleaning products that can be bought separately.

2018 Maruti Ertiga Official Accessories Includes Black Alloy Wheels, Touchscreen Infotainment System & More

  • If you want your new Ertiga to look sporty, you can choose from front and rear lip spoilers, a roof mounted spoiler (Rs 4499) and side skirts (Rs 3199 to Rs 3799).
  • Other exterior updates include blacked out alloy wheels with pitchfork-shaped spokes for Rs 22,000 and wheel covers for Rs 1,600. These, paired with the above-mentioned exterior kit, can make the Ertiga look sporty. Although a blacked out grille would have complemented this body kit well, only the base variant of the Ertiga gets it. Prices of all the body kits are pegged at Rs 25,990.
  • If the above accessories don’t suit your taste, you can opt from a list of chrome finished accessories like garnishes for the headlamp, fog lamp, tail lamp, rear bumper and the number plate. These bits and pieces are priced in the range of Rs 750 to Rs 3,799, which is quite acceptable for the added bling they offer.

2018 Maruti Ertiga Official Accessories Includes Black Alloy Wheels, Touchscreen Infotainment System & More 2018 Maruti Ertiga Official Accessories Includes Black Alloy Wheels, Touchscreen Infotainment System & More

Interiors

  • None of the variants of the 2018 Ertiga are available with leather upholstery. However, you can have the seat covers finished in PU leather, Premium PU leather or PU and fabric upholstery. These range from Rs 8,870 to Rs 10,490, which is a good deal when you consider the fact that it covers all three rows.

2018 Maruti Ertiga Official Accessories Includes Black Alloy Wheels, Touchscreen Infotainment System & More

[“source=ndtv”]

See Kate Middleton’s Best Hair Accessories: Headbands, Clips, Bows and More

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Sure, Kate Middleton Opens a New Window. will likely one day be Queen of England, but, in the meantime, she is proving to be the undisputed queen of the hair accessory. The Duchess of Cambridge is known for her ultra-glossy locks Opens a New Window. , and, while we’re used to seeing the mom of three in sophisticated hats and fascinators, she’s been switching up her hair piece game as of late with trendier bows, headbands and more.

Earlier this year, hair net sales spiked in the U.K. after eagle-eyed royal watchers realized the Duchess has been using the chef staple to help secure some of her most intricate chignons and updos. And there’s a lot more where that came from! Whether it’s drugstore jaw clips or high-fashion headbands, Middleton clearly knows that it’s the extras that make an outfit.

Keep scrolling to see her best royal hair accessories moments!