Nothing left in the bag for Oroton boss Ross Lane after latest downgrade

Australian lifestyle brand Oroton has opened its new boutique at Sydney Airport??????s T1 International terminal.


Ross Lane’s return to the top role at Aussie handbag maker, Oroton – after a decade-long gap – has not been particularly triumphant.

Lane – whose family still owns a controlling stake in the group – watched the share price plunge again on Tuesday after yet another profit downgrade from the luxury group which can no longer afford the services of actor Rose Byrne.

The stock fell as low as $1 compared to a high of $2.80 in November last year.

To be fair to Ross, he has been left holding the bag for his predecessor, Mark Newman, whose excellent growth strategy for the luxury brand is now looking like a cheap Chinese knock-off.

After returning the group to earnings growth last year, Newman hit upon the brilliant idea of getting Oroton out of women’s apparel and footwear and returning it to luxury categories like jewellery and fragrances.

“We’ve been in these categories in the past but we stopped because we believed at the time that the design and positioning wasn’t in keeping with the rest of the collection,” Newman told Fairfax Media last year.

Oroton’s GAP stores franchise was the other growth lever expected to drive the group forward.

Lane’s ASX update on Wednesday said that GAP losses have risen, and Oroton brand sales have weakened – which has “magnified” the impact of the $2 million hole from discontinued categories like women’s apparel, shoes and lingerie.

“Since commencing as interim CEO, my team and I are very focused on improving the overall business performance,” said Lane.

He added that the board has engaged Moelis & Co to conduct a “strategic review to assess our various options”.

Maybe Oroton is looking to attract a private equity takeover offer to match the $2.50 a share bid that Lane and his board rejected in 2005.

A year later, Oroton shares were trading at around half those levels following a profit downgrade. Oroton’s response was to appoint Carnegie Wylie to “assess the strategic and financial impact of the various options and to advise on a course of action”. Bell Tolls

There’s nothing like family.

Celebrity accountant, Anthony Bell, has announced that his high-flying sister, Karen Bell, is joining Bell partners as its new chairman as he weathers a marriage bust and an apprehended violence order (AVO) involving his estranged wife, Kelly Landry.

“Karen then spent 21 years at Deutsche Bank in various senior roles in Australia, Singapore and London, with 16 of those years as a managing director. Karen will be a valuable addition to the team,” said Bell in an email to clients on Wednesday. Aldi fun

Those fun-loving people from Australia’s quirkiest grocer, Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Compagnie, oHG, have been so busy making funny commercials to prop up our ailing television industry that they haven’t been able to address another important issue.

Aldi still haven’t got around to deciding whether to sign up a code that requires it to release detailed information about the tax it pays in Australia.

For the third time in nine months, publicity shy Aldi – via its public relations firm Creation – has said it is “still assessing the impact of implementing the Voluntary Tax Transparency Code on its Australian operations.”

The German supermarket chain first said it was making up its mind on the code in August last year, and then again in November.

Aldi’s supermarket rivals Woolworths and Wesfarmers, the owner of Coles, have joined the code.

The code targets more than 1500 businesses with turnover of more than $100 million and follows public anger over large multinationals engaging in aggressive tax avoidance.

The government said last year it was “encouraging” all companies to adopt the code, and would make it mandatory if too few companies sign up.

Wesfarmers chairman, Michael Chaney, said last year he “would encourage all supermarket operators” to join.

Wesfarmer’s departing CEO, Richard Goyder, was more forthright in 2015 when he suggested Aldi might not be paying its fair share of tax.

“I think someone should go and have a good look at how much tax Aldi pays in this country because I suspect they’re very profitable,” Goyder told said in an address to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia in Melbourne.

Aldi this week revealed it had increased annual sales to $7.5 billion.

Aldi is one of the world’s largest retailers. Unusually, it has registered its Australia business as a limited partnership, one of just 3800 limited partnerships registered in this country as at August 2016.

Limited partnerships are not required to be audited nor to disclose their accounts to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

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