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FB Roundup: Lidl, EasyJet, and Ralph Lauren

Lidl new catwalk for Heidi Klum; EasyJet founder pledges half his fortune; and Ralph Lauren appoints new chief executive

Lidl new catwalk for Heidi Klum

Model Heidi Klum has chosen the aisles of Lidl as her next catwalk, launching a fashion line in conjunction with the discount supermarket.

The range will be released in the chain’s 650 UK and 9000-plus European stores this autumn.

Klum said in a statement that “fashion should be fun” and affordable for everyone. Until now the former Victoria’s Secret model’s best-known designs were through Heidi Klum Intimates, in conjunction with New Zealand lingerie maker Bendon.

Lidl was the fastest-growing UK supermarket last quarter, and along with Aldi was clawing market share from the “big four”.

Lidl, owned by family business Schwarz Gruppe, is preparing to expand into the US, with the first stores set to open this month.

The German company is looking to step into the territory dominated by fellow family chain Walmart, selling customers the majority of what they need in one big box shop.

Schwarz Gruppe, owned by the Schwarz family, had a turnover of more than $95 billion in the financial year ending 2016. The majority of its revenue comes from Lidl, though it also owns more than 1100 Kaufland supermarkets.

EasyJet founder pledges half his fortune

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-loannou has joined a pledge to donate more than half his $1.4 billion fortune to charity.

The Giving Pledge was set up by Bill and Melinda Gates and is a commitment by a group of the world’s wealthiest individuals to give away most of their money. It has 169 disciples, with Cyprus-born British entrepreneur Haji-Ioannou joining in May.

Haji-Ioannou would give half his estate to the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, benefittingthe UK, Cyprus, Greece and Monaco – places he had lived and worked.

Stelios already gave away a portion of his income to the foundation and devoted a third of his 60-hour work week to manging its charitable projects.

Haji-Ioannou said he had joined the pledge after Gates called him to ask.

“I am not sure I am a worthy member of this group of extraordinary individuals,” Haji-Ioannou said. “When compared to the businesses created by most of the other pledgers in this group, mine is nothing special.”

He said he had been lucky, inheriting money from his father then starting EasyJet in the “right place, at the right time”.

While no longer on the board, he owned a controlling stake in EasyJet along with his brother and sister. EasyJet’s revenue was $5.2 billion in 2016.

Ralph Lauren appoints new chief executive

The man tasked with turning around the fortunes of fashion house Ralph Lauren has a background in Pantene, rather than polo shirts.

Ralph Lauren’s new chief executive is former Proctor & Gamble president Patrice Louvet, appointed as the label reported its 10th consecutive quarter of declining sales.

Year-on-year-revenue decline 16% to $1.6 billion in the fourth corner of 2016, but founder and executive chairman Ralph Lauren said within a “dynamic” retail environment, his brand was still one of the most “recognised and beloved”.

“I am confident that the actions we are taking, combined with our strong heritage, position us well to succeed. I am very excited to partner with Patrice Louvet, who will join as our CEO in July, as we continue our evolution,” Lauren said.

Louvet replaces Steffan Larsson, who left Ralph Lauren in February after less than two years in the job. He reportedly had a personality clash with Lauren.

Ralph Lauren – best known for its polo shirts, denim and fragrances – was started 50 years ago, with one of Lauren’s three children now involved in its management.

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