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In the loop: High-street crisis continues, fashiontech startup Thread secures $22m and Brits’ entrepreneurial spirit surge

Written by Varsha Saraogi on Friday, 19 October 2018. Posted in Insight, Analysis

While you might be busy basking in autumn beauty, we bring you the weekly round-up. Superdry’s profits plummet, Brexit is causing UK competitiveness to slip and more workers long to become entrepreneurs

In the loop: High-street crisis continues, fashiontech startup Thread secures $22m and Brits’ entrepreneurial spirit surge

The retail apocalypse continues with Superdry seeing huge losses


2018 has witnessed not only the epitome of e-tail success with Amazon becoming a $1tn company but also staggering losses for high street stalwarts like Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

The latest causality is Superdry, The brand has issued a profit warning in the wake of the sweltering heatwave this summer. Since the business is reliant on heavy winterwear for 45% of its annual sales, the company’s profits may drop by £10m. An additional £8m loss can be expected due to foreign exchange costs.

Looking at the decline of bricks and mortar stores, it’s fair to say many retailers face a choice between salvaging their brand by boosting their e-tail services or eventually announcing more store closures.

Britain booming with business aspiration

Being one’s own boss is indeed the dream as it comes with a slew of advantages. Earning millions of pounds sans a nine to five job is what many millennials aspire to.

Indeed, research done by PeoplePerHour, the freelance marketplace, said 71% of the total employed workforce in Blighty want to start their own business due to lack of fulfilment at their workplace. Having surveyed 1,000 professionals, the research also mentioned 62% had no passion for their jobs and 68% had no access to flexible working.

Putting in the money and hours needed to establish your own company is massive but so are the rewards of being your own boss.

Menswear fashion tech firm Thread bags $22m in Series B

Technology is taking over every industry and those who desire profits need to keep pace with the fast evolving sector. And Kieran O’Neill, CEO and co-founder of the UK-based fashiontech startup Thread, is definite proof of that.

The scaleup has made a success of slashing hours off the time wasted browsing stores without finding anything that fits. Thread enables users to get a personal stylist service through an algorithm.

This is clearly a great idea as the company announced it had secured a $22m series B round on Tuesday October 16, growing the total invested in the company so far to $40m. The list of investors include the VC firms Balderton Capital, Beringea and Forward Partners as well as H&M’s investment arm H&M CO:LAB.

Clearly, fashion and tech is a perfect fit.

UK ranked eighth in WEF’s latest Global Competitiveness Index Report

Britain has a thriving and growing business community. However, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest report only ranks the UK as the eighth most competitive nation out of 140 countries.

While Blighty is included in the top ten, it has slipped down two positions from 2017. The top three positions were taken by the US, Singapore and Germany respectively. The WEF said macroeconomic environment and inefficient tax regulations are the UK’s main problematic areas, with Brexit being a huge drawback for the country. The calculation is assessed across various indicators like the quality of infrastructure, the jobs market and workforce diversity.

So while Theresa May still claims to be bullish about the negotiations with the EU, the breakup from the trading block is already damaging Britain’s international standing.

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About the Author

Varsha Saraogi

Varsha Saraogi

As feature writer and a recent MA Journalism graduate, Varsha has joined the Elite team to fuel her passion. Along with being immersed in the money making sector and ranting about women’s rights, she will be hunting for news about everything business related. And burying her head in economic magazines. Follow her on twitter at @msvarshasaraogi for her mundane musings.

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