Monthly Archives: June 2013

UAE retail giant to invest Dhs3bn to aid tourism boom

The expansion plan includes a Dhs930 million extension for Mall of the Emirates, including a new Dhs100 million fashion district.

The firm says the investment is aimed at helping Dubai’s vision of 20 million tourists a year by 2020.


UAE retail giant Majid Al Futtaim is to splash out Dhs3 billion on cinemas, supermarkets, malls and hotels in Dubai over the next five years.

“All the economic indicators and our own experience are telling us that the Dubai market is entering a new phase of dynamic growth and development,” said Iyad Malas, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding.

Other projects include Dhs96 million on two new Carrefour hypermarkets and four new supermarkets, a new 14-screen cinema complex and improvements to existing theatres.

A 50-store ‘community mall’ will also be constructed, while luxury hotels will be built at Deira City Centre and Mall of the Emirates and the Pullman Deira City Centre and Kempinski Mall of the Emirates hotels will be refurbished.

Murray Strang, head of investment and agency at Cluttons, said the move from “such a big player” was “encouraging for the market”. He added, though, that with so many new developments in the retail sector, saturation was possible “at some point”.

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American Eagle in hunt for UK store

American Eagle, which has more than 1,000 stores in the US, has hired property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs to find a store in central London and met with key landlords last week.

The retailer is the latest in a growing line of youth US fashion brands to target the UK. Hollister, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 already have a collection of stores, while J Crew is due to open on Regent Street later this year.

American Eagle initially looked at entering the UK two years ago but shelved the plans.

The company targets 15 to 25-year-olds with affordable fashion.

The number of international retailers looking at London highlights the continuing attractiveness of the city for businesses. London has become the first destination for international retailers looking to launch across Europe.

Other overseas retailers with plans to open in London include Brazilian brand Melissa Shoes.

Property agents Knight Frank said the international demand is driving up rents on retail properties in the West End.

Darren Yates, research partner at Knight Frank, said: “Generally, demand for good-quality space exceeds supply and recent months have seen numerous new international entrants to the London market, with more expected to open in the coming months.

“The capital’s restaurant sector is particularly buoyant and continues to see an influx of diverse catering concepts from abroad, as well as expanding domestic operators,” he continued.

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Roots Canada Opens L.A. Store

Roots Canada has put down retail roots in Los Angeles with a new concept store that is destined to sprout elsewhere.

Although the Toronto-based brand has an extensive network of 115 stores in its home country, it has yet to proliferate retail in the U.S., where the L.A. store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the Venice neighborhood is its fifth unit. The 700-square-foot store, which opened June 12, showcases Roots Canada in an intimate, upscale environment that may turn the perception that American shoppers have of the brand if they are familiar with it only from its past association with the Olympics.

The choice of Abbot Kinney was carefully thought out. “We love the street. My brother is an artist who has a studio in Venice, so we have followed the street for a long time,” said Michael Budman, cofounder of Roots Canada. “I think Abbot Kinney is the hippest street in America right now. I ran into Russell Simmons on Friday night and he said the same thing. It represents a way of life, and you have a great demographic with a lot of young, successful people who have money to spend and who are looking for quality. They do not want disposal fashion, and we don’t want Roots to be any part of disposal fashion.”

Roots Canada enlisted its design director and Budman’s wife Diane Bald, who worked in collaboration with Budman’s artist brother, Jim Budman, to hone the look of the store to suit the street. It resembles a house, which was what it was built to be in 1921. The lighting fixtures and furnishings are a combination of vintage midcentury pieces and pieces from Roots’ home assortment. An old ceiling was removed to reveal the beams underneath and give the store an airy feel, and a large folding door that serves as the entrance provides natural air-conditioning for the store.

The small size of the store was attractive to Michael Budman. “We’ve got some very large flagships. We are reevaluating what really makes sense. I think there’s a movement afoot where people feel better in smaller, but well-designed great spaces like this with a more boutique look,” he said.

The limited space narrowed Roots Canada’s focus at the store. Budman explained that the spotlight is on three things: leather goods, customizable athleticwear and connecting customers to Roots’ full selection online. Within a month, he said monitors would be placed in the store to enable shoppers to go online to browse merchandise not in the store. Furthering the shopping capabilities at the store, Budman said, “We are thinking of having a direct line to the factory. We are going to call it the green phone, where you can order specialty items direct.”

About 85 percent of Roots Canada’s revenues are from retail and about 30 percent of its revenues are from outside of Canada, according to Budman, who noted athleticwear is the company’s biggest category, followed by leather goods. Roots Canada’s annual sales are reportedly at least $185 million, but the company declined to elaborate on that figure. Through a partnership with Li & Fung, it has a retail portfolio of around 200 stores in Asia and is planning to add another 12 there this year. The Abbot Kinney store is the only North American opening expected this year, although Roots Canada is expanding its store in Vancouver on Robson Street and Burrard Street.

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South Africans ‘highly satisfied’ with online shopping experience

ALTHOUGH the number of South Africans shopping online decreased slightly in 2012, the majority were still “highly satisfied” with the experience.

This is according to the latest MasterCard Online Shopping Survey released on Thursday.

South Africa’s internet economy has steadily grown over the years, in part because of the surge in online shopping. It was worth about R59bn in 2011, making up 2% of the economy. It is expected to grow its share to as much as 2.5% by 2016.

The survey, which is now in its third year, found that 91% of South Africans who shopped online were very happy with their overall experience, a 4% increase from the 87% who said the same in the 2012 survey.

The annual survey, which measures consumers’ propensity for online shopping, was conducted in 11 countries across the Middle East and Africa between December 2012 and January 2013. The South African report surveyed banked South Africans aged between 18 and 64, who access the internet at least once a week.

A further indication of South Africans’ positive sentiment was that 76% of respondents returned to an online shopping site that they had used before, and 74% said it was easy and convenient to make online purchases. These figures showed slight increases — 2% and 1% respectively — when compared to the previous survey’s results.

Despite this positive sentiment, the number of South Africans accessing the internet to shop online was 4% lower than in the previous survey. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they usually used the internet for shopping.

“While online shopping continues to be a regular internet activity for more than half of South Africans who are actively online, there is a slight shift downwards in their online purchasing behaviour, which could be attributed to the slowdown recorded in the economy during the survey period,” said MasterCard South Africa division president Philip Panaino.

“This is supported by the Reserve Bank noting in its fourth quarter review of 2012 that retail activity was disappointing as consumer spending was negatively affected by a pick-up in inflation.”

World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said on Thursday there had been a rapid rise in the number of South Africans classified as active internet users — those who fairly recently acquired regular access to the internet — “which means we are seeing a larger than ever base of users who have never shopped online before”.

The survey further revealed that mobile banking applications (apps) are popular in South Africa, with 29.2% of those with internet access on their mobile phones already using them, and the majority (44%) being familiar with the technology.

“It is anticipated that the advent of transactional apps and the rapid rise of smartphone usage in South Africa will have a significant impact on online shopping in the coming years,” Mr Goldstuck said. “Mobile commerce is still in its infancy, but as it is made easier, and as users become more familiar with the concept, it will rise at the same rate as web-based online retail.”

The survey found that shoppers felt online shopping could be further improved if shipping charges were “minimal” or entirely free.

Nearly half of the respondents said their favourite online store was Kalahari.com, with the next most popular sites being Groupon, Amazon, Bid or Buy and Takealot. Of those who have shopped online in South Africa, only 29% of their purchases have been from foreign sites, down from 34% in the previous survey.

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Subway opens its first store with Lidl

Subway has announced the opening of its first ever store within a Lidl supermarket.

The store is situated just outside the busy seaside town of Cromer in Norfolk and is the first partnership of its kind for the German supermarket chain, with development in off high street locations one of its major strategic focuses.

There are currently more than 300 Subway stores open or in development in other non-traditional locations, such as on forecourt sites, within convenience stores or within universities and colleges.

Subway UK and Ireland area development manager Trevor Haynes said: “The non-traditional locations are a key area of growth for the Subway brand in the UK and Ireland. The simple operations that are involved in running a Subway franchise and the convenience offer make it a perfect fit for these style locations. The partnership with Lidl is the first of its kind and we are excited to see what this could lead to in the future.”

Raj Rao, Subway franchisee said: “The opening of a Subway store within a Lidl supermarket is a big step for us, there are no other branded quick service restaurants in the local area and this dual partnership really capitalises on customers needing to shop and eat all in one place. As my 12th Subway store I have great confidence in the brand’s strength and the simplicity of the operations involved make a supermarket the perfect choice for a Subway store.”

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Coach Has A Risky Idea For Separating Itself From The Competition

Coach Has A Risky Idea For Separating Itself From The Competition

Wikimedia Commons

Coach’s management team has a crazy idea for separating itself from competitors like Tory Burch and Michael Kors.
The brand could start selling insanely expensive handbags soon.

Executives from the brand told Women’s Wear Daily that it could start offering products that cost thousands of dollars. Coach just hired Stuart Vevers, an LVMH alum, as its new creative director.

“You can have a $5,000, $2,000, $3,000 Coach bag in the future,” Chief Commercial Officer Victor Luis said.

Coach’s bags currently sell for less than $600.

Selling luxury bags is a clear bid to beat mounting competition. If consumers start to associate Coach with more expensive product, its entire brand could seem more desirable.

Coach is losing customers to brands like Michael Kors and Tory Burch, which sell similarly-priced products that appeal to Coach’s customers.

Coach had said earlier this year it was going to try to get customers back by becoming more of a lifestyle brand and focusing on shoes and clothing.

It will be a challenge for Coach to market to consumers who would shell out $5,000 for a Coach bag.

For those prices, consumers could get a bag from more elite brands like Hermes and Chanel.

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Delphine Arnault named second-in-command at Louis Vuitton

It has been confirmed that Delphine Arnault, the eldest child of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, will leave her position as deputy managing director of Dior to become second-in-command at the conglomerate’s flagship brand Louis Vuitton

Her appointment has been welcomed by Vuitton’s chairman and CEO Michael Burke, who told WWD : “I am delighted to work again with Delphine Arnault. I have had the opportunity to appreciate her human qualities and professional skills in the past. Her intimate knowledge of the universe of our high-quality products and her experience at the helm of one of the most prestigious houses in the group are key assets to contribute to the successful development of Louis Vuitton in the world.

The executive position, which is titled ‘diréctrice générale adjointe’, is the largest sign yet that Delphine will succeed her 64-year-old father as chairwoman and CEO of the luxury goods conglomerate when he steps down.

The 38-year-old mother-of-one has been a member of the board at LVMH since 2003 and was previously in charge of business development at John Galliano for a year before moving over to Dior as commercial director in 2001. Whilst at Dior she was among the management team who had to deal with John Galliano’s dismissal after he made anti-Semitic remarks to a couple in a Paris café. She has also acted as a director for brands including Loewe and Céline.

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HMV’s Oxford Street flagship to become a Sports Direct

Bob Geldof opened the HMV at 150 Oxford Street in 1984 and it remains the biggest music store in the world.
Sports Direct is understood to have paid up to £5m to take on the lease to the 60,000 sq ft store after The Telegraph revealed in May that the retailer was eyeing the site.
Sports Direct was founded by Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United, and already controls the famous Lilywhites sports shop at Piccadilly Circus.
HMV is looking to move into a smaller flagship store on Oxford Street after it collapsed into administration earlier this year.
The entertainment retailer, which is owned by Hilco, has agreed to move to 363 Oxford Street.

The store, which at present is occupied by Footlocker, is HMV’s original store.
363 Oxford Street, which is roughly a third of the size of HMV’s existing flagship store, was opened in July 1921 by Sir Edward Elgar and Francis Barraud, the artist who painted the famous His Master’s Voice, which became the retailer’s logo. There is plaque at the store marking the “world’s most famous music store”.
The Oxford Street store became the base for a rapid expansion of HMV and the record label backing the retailer, EMI.
However, HMV collapsed into administration in January following a slump in sales as the 92-year-old entertainment retailer struggled to compete with online rivals and supermarkets.
Three months later though, the company was rescued by Hilco in a £50m deal that protected 2,643 jobs and 141 shops.
Hilco, led by Paul McGowan, said it planned to refocus HMV on selling music and DVDs after it had grown into the technology and tablets market.
Since Hilco acquired HMV it has been reviewing the company’s store portfolio, with property agents CBRE and Savills advising. This has included the Oxford Street store, which Hilco considered was too big given the rise of the internet and the opportunity to offer customers a click-and-collect service in store.

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HMV Ireland stores to re-open

Retailer recovery specialist Hilco has confirmed that at least 4 HMV stores in Ireland will re-open within 6 weeks following a reported investment of between €3.5m and €4m. Agreements with store landlords have been reached for 4 locations with a further 2 or 3 deals still pending.

Hilco has also acquired Irish movie rental chain Xtra-vision for a reported €8m sum June 2013. Xtra-vision, Ireland-based home entertainment rental and retail specialist, went into receivership in April 2013 citing spiralling debts. The chain, which currently operates 130 stores in Ireland and employs over 800 staff, will now become part of Hilco’s international retail division. However, Hilco reportedly expects to close around 40 Xtra-vision stores as a result of the restructure.

In April 2013 Hilco bought HMV in the UK from administrators Deloitte for around £40m. The company acquired 132 of the 220 original UK-based stores as well as the 9 Fopp branded home entertainment retail stores.

The purchase of HMV’s UK and Ireland chain stores along with Xtra-vision in Ireland secures Hilco’s dominance of the specialist sector in both markets. Whilst the restructuring specialist’s purchases in the UK are unlikely to impact the British video market greatly, the consolidation of the two Irish chains could change the current fortunes of video retail in Ireland. Combining Xtra-vision’s store base with HMV’s UK base buying power and authority among content owners will raise the profile of the Irish video market, too often neglected by exclusively UK based suppliers.

Indeed, by catering for the company’s new Irish store base in-house, Hilco effectively removes decision making about the market from the fragmented supply chain and enables the company to present single, unified market strategy. Furthermore, the purchase of the Xtra-vision store chain fills the hole left by recent UK store closures; increasing the chains purchasing commitments, extending buying power and increasing once more the chain’s significance to UK based suppliers.

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Apple Online Store opens in Russia, establishes direct sales in key emerging market

Today, Apple has finally launched a version of its official online store for customers in Russia. The online store is similar in style to Apple’s online stores in other countries. Customers in Russia are now able to order iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macs, accessories, and more directly from Apple to their homes. Apple is celebrating the launch by taking up Apple Russia’s homepage to announce the new store

This online store is Apple’s first official sales presence in the country. The tech giant is yet to open up an official physical retail store in Russia, but several rumors have pointed to Apple being interested in Russian land. Apple’s ties to Russia have begun firming up over the past couple of years. Late last year, Apple expanded its iTunes Store to Russia, and made this announcement at a major media event in Moscow. In 2010, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev visited Steve Jobs at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.

As forecasted by Apple job listings from earlier this year, the Apple Online Store for Russia is fully equipped with a live chat support team and interactive customer communications. The online store includes a panel for live chat in addition to features for chat operators to demonstrate and explain products to potential product buyers.

Russia has been regarded by many as a key emerging market in the technology industry. With Apple making strides to establish itself in emerging markets (such as China), opening direct sales in Russia is a critical move in Tim Cook’s quest to assert Apple as a globally dominant company. Apple is rumored to, later this year, ship a cheaper iPhone, which could assist in this goal.

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Coach to Open First Flagship in Spain

Despite the volatile economy in Spain, Coach Inc. is gearing up to open its first flagship in Madrid this November.

Located in Salamanca, a district likened to the Champs-Elysées in Paris or Fifth Avenue in New York, the new 3,000-square-foot store marks the brand’s second location in the city.

Coach, which entered the Spanish market in October 2010 through a partnership with El Corte Inglés, operates shops-in-shop in Barcelona, Madrid, Marbella and Valencia.

According to Ian Bickley, president of Coach international, the brand has developed a strong following in Spain, despite the ailing economy there.

“There’s no doubt that the economic backdrop in Spain has been quite tough,” Bickley told Zee. “We entered the market in 2010, and we’ve been building a strong following with local consumers since. We see the brand resonating. We’ve really succeeded in building fashion credibility with influencers in Spain, such as Princess Letizia of Asturias.”

Although Bickley declined to quantify that success numerically, he did note that comparable-store sales in Spain have been positive during the slowdown.

For Coach, the space will give it the opportunity to “express” its DNA by showcasing both men’s and women’s lifestyle collections, which includes shoes, apparel, handbags and jewelry, the exec said.

Designed by the Coach Architecture Group, the store, which is located at Serrano 22, will retain the building’s historic details, such as original ornate ceilings, plaster columns and marble floors.

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Hunter expands senior management team

Hunter has expanded its senior management team with a number of new appointments as it looks to build its brand.

Ken Pratt has become the footwear brand’s chief financial officer, joining from Signet UK where he was also CFO, while Dan Lumb has been appointed as online director, having previously worked at Reiss as director of e-commerce.

Niall Sloan has taken up the role of global design director with responsibility for development and design across all product categories. Sloan was most recently senior women’s wear designer at Burberry Prorsum.

In a final appointment, Ali Lowry has joined the company as global communications director, after having previously worked at Giorgio Armani heading up PR and marketing in the UK.

The announcement follows the arrival of a number of other high level recruits within the business during the last year including James Seuss as chief executive, Alasdhair Willis as creative director, and Fabrizio Stroppa as commercial sales director.

Commenting on the appointments, Seuss said: “I am very pleased that Hunter has been able to attract such a talented group of individuals to join our team, as we continue to build this iconic brand. Starting with Autumn/Winter 2014, we plan to unveil a new brand and product direction, now that our senior management team is in place.”

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Oman shopping mall set for $129m expansion

Plans have been revealed for a OR50m ($129m) extension to be built at Muscat’s biggest retail destination.

The new development will see 100 new retail outlets being added to Muscat Grand Mall, bringing new global brands to Oman for the first time.

The extension will take the total number of stores to 250, officials have said.

The expansion project will also include doubling the parking facilities and expanding cinema facilities, a statement said.

Abdul Rahman Barham, board member of owners Tilal Development Company, said: “It gives us great pride to announce that the second phase of Muscat Grand Mall which will give customers in Oman the opportunity to experience a retail destination of international standards.

“Using an investment of OR50m, major investments will be made towards raising the profile of the mall as well as creating a world class shopping and entertainment destination for the people of Oman.”

He added: “In addition, the expansion will create increased employment opportunities for Omanis and will also be a mechanism through which we can support small and medium enterprises.”

The mall is part of the Tilal Complex, a mixed-use development which also features 250 freehold apartments, a four star hotel and a rooftop garden.

Muscat Grand Mall currently sees a daily footfall figure between 17,000-20,000 shoppers but that figure will rise to 30,000 once the extension is completed, Hassan Jaboub, general manager of Muscat Grand Mall said.

He added: “With the first phase secure, we are looking towards strengthening the fashion portfolio of the mall enhancing Muscat’s retail offerings. With the added retail space, MGM will draw new and internationally prominent flagship stores of the world’s most renowned brands, expanding the choices for our customers.”

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2,000 jobs at risk as Dwell, Internacionale, Ark and ModelZone head for administration

Internacionale, ModelZone and Ark have filed a notice to appoint administrators, while Dwell, the furniture retailer, has confirmed Duff & Phelps as administrators.

The administrations emerged just hours after retailers were due to pay rent for the next three months on Monday, the quarterly rent day.

The retail failures are another setback for the high street, which has already seen HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops collapse this year.

Clothing group Internacionale, which has almost 150 stores, has filed a notice to appoint Ernst & Young as administrator, while ModelZone has filed that it will appoint Deloitte.

Internacionale initially collapsed into administration in 2008 but was rescued by an Indian textile company.

The clothing retailer was understood to be looking to expand just weeks ago, as was ModelZone, one of the UK’s largest toy and model groups.

ModelZone has 47 stores according to its latest accounts and is majority owned by the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyds Development Capital.

Ark, whose parent company is called Rett Retail Limited, is a fashion retailer primarily based in the north of England. It was founded in Leeds in 1992.

Today, Ark has 17 stores and employs 400 people, according to its website. It has lined up Begbies Traynor as administrator.

Jonathan De Mello at property agent CBRE said the administrations show some high streets are in “terminal decline”. He added: “For every retail administration we have seen, there are many other otherwise healthy retailers looking to downsize their store portfolios in all but the best retail centres, given changing consumer habits and the consequent redundancy of some of our high streets.”

The furniture retail Dwell also confirmed that it has appointed Duff & Phelps as administrator after closing its 23 store last week.

Around 300 jobs and £1m of customers deposits at risk from the collapse of Dwell.

John Whitfield, joint administrator, stated: “We are aware that there are a large number of customers who have placed orders with the company and have already paid deposits. Those customers who have bought goods and have outstanding orders should contact their card issuer in the first instance.

“Other customers who have not paid by credit card will be unsecured creditors and should notify Duff & Phelps in writing at its Birmingham office.”

Mr Whitfield said the administrators have “not concluded” whether they will honour gift vouchers.

On top of facing store closures, landlords will be furious that they face missing out on a quarter’s rent. Ian Fletcher, at the British Property Federation, said: “No one’s asking for favours here, just fairness to be injected into the process where retailers pay for what they use irrespective of the timing of an administration.”

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Dubai Properties Group completes Bay Square development

Mixed use buildings go on sale in the heart of Business Bay

Dubai: Dubai Properties Group, a member of Dubai Holding, has announced that two buildings in its Bay Square development located in Business Bay are complete and a further four are at the final stages of completion.

The developer intends to release additional buildings in the centrally located project which includes residential, retail and commercial buildings.

The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) registered mixed use development, located in the heart of Dubai’s Business Bay district, includes 1 million sq. ft. dedicated commercial space, with options available from 1,500 sq. ft. to entire floors with balconies and terraces. With unobstructed views over Business Bay and the Burj Khalifa area, Bay Square is an ideal location for multi-national, regional and SME businesses.

“We see the commercial and residential real estate sector continuing to experience stable growth.

“With increased demand for mixed use developments such as Bay Square, coupled with the progress we have made in completing major infrastructure milestones in Business Bay; now is the right time to release the buildings for sale,” said Khalid Al Malek, Group CEO of DPG.

Covering a built up area of over 5 million sq. ft., Bay Square will include 12 towers on completion of the project and is currently one of Dubai’s most sought-after developments for commercial property investors offering a finance package of 30 per cent on booking and the remaining 70 per cent on handover.

The retail segment, which is available for lease, has received strong interest from some of the top retail brands with 16 dining and shopping outlets already confirmed.

Retail units covering 290,441 sq. ft. at the podium level of each of the buildings are designed to include open terraces and piazzas for cafes and restaurants and have dedicated visitor parking.

Bay Square offers a wide selection of residential options including studio, 1 bedroom and contemporary loft apartments up to 1,300 sq. ft. and offering high quality finishes such as polished marble floors and hardwood joinery.

Infrastructure and landscaping in and around Bay Square is currently at 90 per cent completion with essential services such as sewage systems, water and cooling services.

Situated close to South Ridge and Executive Towers and overlooking Business Bay and the Burj Khalifa area, the 5.1 million sq. ft (BUA) Bay Square development is accessible from all major highways and is in close proximity to the Business Bay Metro station, Sheikh Zayed and Al Khail Roads.

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The Global Retail Development Index ( Report )

The Global Retail Development Index
Global Retailers:
Cautiously Aggressive or
Aggressively Cautious?
Retailers are taking a step back from rapid expansion strategies as they move into developing markets.

download the full report here

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Saudi officially changes weekend to Fri-Sat

Saudi Arabia has officially changed its weekend to Friday-Saturday from its current Thursday-Friday, following a royal decree issued by the country’s ruler King Abdullah.

According to the decree, the change will come into effect on June 29. The move will bring the Gulf’s most populous country and world’s largest oil exporter in line with the rest of the GCC countries, which currently operate on a Sunday to Thursday working week. Oman was the most recent to make the switch, changing to the new weekend on May 1 this year.

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Chanel London’s New Bond Street.(Pictures)

Design: Peter Marino Architect
Opening date: June 2013
Store size: 1,170 sq m

Peter Marino has done it again. The New York-based Architect has embraced the inherent elegance, audacity and refinement of French luxury fashion brand Chanel with a timeless panache to create an exclusive, intimate and glamorous retail environment; this time on London’s New Bond Street. The 1,170 sq m flagship boutique, which opened in June, showcases the universe created by designer Karl Lagerfeld, including ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes and costumer jewellery.

The three-level space, which is positioned around a central atrium, uses sumptuous materials such as soft gold and bronze, and reflective surfaces like glass, marble and lacquer. Each floor is divided into a series of intimate areas with specially commissioned artworks, and both contemporary and antique furniture throughout. Each and every artefact has been chosen to reflect the brand and Coco Chanel’s legacy as a passionate patron of the arts.

The ground floor houses jewellery, accessories and handbags as well as a wall dedicated to sunglasses and beauty ‘try-on’ counters furnished with upholstered high-stools.

The first floor, which can be reached by lift or by the marble staircase, is decorated with an imposing antique fireplace, Jasper Morrison graphic marble display shelves and artworks by Karl Lagerfeld, Richard Deacon and Liza Lou among others, giving it a townhouse-like intimacy. Selected pieces from the 2012-13 Métiers d’art Paris-Edimbourg collection, first presented at Linlithgow Palace, Scotland in December 2012, take centre stage. The first level has two ready-to-wear rooms with a series of exclusive try-on salons and an expansive double shoe area with ample room to browse the latest collection.

The second floor, which is conceived as a gallery space with fine oils, rare prints, and sculpture on display, allows a bird’s eye view of the atrium through which cascades a giant, twisting ‘pearl-necklace’ sculpture by renowned French artist, Jean-Michel Othoniel. The upper level features antique Chinese carpets, consoles and burgundy lacquer walls reminiscent of Coco Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment and is used as an intimate, third ready-to-wear space.

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Galeries Lafayette Jakarta (Pictures)

Design: Plajer & Franz
Opening date: June 2013
Store size: 12,000 sq m

Paris department store Galeries Lafayette has opened a fashion temple in Pacific Place, in the heart of Jakarta. Designed by Berlin-based Plajer & Franz, the 12,000 sq m store is spread over four floors and brings a touch of Parisian chic to Indonesia.

‘One day in Paris…’ is the leitmotif of the design concept. Typical Parisian elements, such as streetlamp facades and the Eiffel Tower are interpreted in an ‘accessible but warm’ way.

The store houses more than 300 international and local brands and has emerged in a partnership between Galeries Lafayette and indonesia’s leading fashion retail company Mitra Adiperkasa (MAP).

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Dunkin’ Donuts in major store revamp

Canton, Mass. — Dunkin’ Brands Group is giving its Dunkin’ Donuts stores a big makeover. The chain has been rolling out a “café-style” store redesign that includes a new, earth-toned palette, to make its locations resemble those of rival Starbucks, according to Bloomberg.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which plans to double its current store total to 15,000, is adding features such as more comfortable seating and music to increase its afternoon customer traffic.

Dunkin’ Donuts has opened 90 remodeled stores to date, according to the report, and plans to open about 600 by the end of this year. Franchisees seeking to participate must pay between $175,000 and $700,000, depending on whether they remodel and existing store or open a new store and what specific options they choose.

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First ever ‘Little Waitrose at John Lewis’ opens

The John Lewis Partnership has opened the doors to its first-ever ‘Little Waitrose at John Lewis’ shop today.

The new shop within the John Lewis department store in Watford represents a £2 million investment by the retailer and has created 30 jobs in the local area.

Building on the established Little Waitrose format, the 5,500 sq ft space run by John Lewis staff sells a range of core grocery items including fresh fruit and deli products, convenience ranges, store cupboard items, and wines and beer. The store also features meat and fish counters manned by specialists in the shop who can offer expert advice to customers.

The opening follows yesterday’s win for John Lewis at the Which? Awards where the business achieved the accolade of Best Retailer.

Rob Collins, retail director, Waitrose said: “Since its launch two years ago the little Waitrose brand has provided us with greater flexibility in bringing our offer to new audiences as well as building on our reputation for quality. There are still many parts of the country where customers cannot access the Waitrose brand easily and convenience is integral to unlocking much of that opportunity.”

Andy Street, managing director, John Lewis added: “We are committed to making the shopping experience as seamless as possible. By working closely with Waitrose, our customers will now be able to buy products from both brands in a convenient and efficient way. The little Waitrose at John Lewis shop is a brand new concept for the business and we’ll be looking closely at how it is received by shoppers in Watford before considering how it could be introduced at other shops across the UK.”

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Luxury furniture store Dwell collapses

Furniture retailer Dwell has collapsed with the closure of 23 stores and the loss of 300 jobs after attempts to sell it failed.

The Milton Keynes based firm said no deliveries will be made and customers with outstanding orders should contact their bank or credit card company.

The firm has asked all staff to remain at home as it prepares to appoint administrators. It becomes the seventh major casualty on the high street this year following the collapse of big name brands including HMW, Comet and Jessops.

Dwell started trading from a single store in Balham, south London, in 2003 and expanded in the south of England. In recent years it has opened stores in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

But the upmarket retailer, majority owned by private equity firm Key Capital Partners, has struggled amid sluggish consumer confidence and a weak housing market.

The company warned in its latest set of results that the ‘current economic situation is uncertain, consumer confidence is low and trading conditions are challenging within the declining household goods and furniture sector’.

It slumped to pre-tax losses of £1.7million in the year to the end of January 2012 on turnover of £34.5million, as losses deepened from £440,000 a year earlier.

In a statement released today the company said the business had been working with its advisers to secure further working capital for the business and was actively in the process of talking to a number of interested parties who saw the value of the Dwell brand and product, its customer base and its multi-channel proposition.

‘However, despite this interest it did not progress. As a result we have been left with no option but to close the business with immediate effect,’ the statement continued.

Dwell is reported to be close to appointing Duff & Phelps as administrator and its website has been taken offline. A spokeswoman said it is too soon to say what will happen to jobs.

The announcement came as official figures showed retail sales increase by 2.1 per cent last month, far higher than economists’ hopes for a 0.8 per cent increase and rebounding from an unseasonably cold April.

The figures will fuel hopes that GDP can grow by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter – consolidating the recovery which began in the first quarter when GDP growth of 0.3 per cent prevented the UK from falling into a ‘triple dip’ recession.

Shoppers bought the biggest quantity and value of retail goods on record, too, with sales up 1.9 per cent compared with May 2012.

This is ‘further evidence that a recovery in the UK economy may be taking root,’ said Martin Beck, UK economist at Capital Economics.

But Alan Clarke of Scotiabank, warned the sales amount to a food binge’ in May.

‘This volatility in retail sales is all about food,’ he said. ‘Either there was a big influence from the poor weather, the timing of Easter caused some distortions, or the whole country was on a crash diet in April that was then reversed in May.’

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International shoppers boost Ted Baker sales

International shoppers boost Ted Baker sales

Shares in the company, founded by Ray Kelvin in Glasgow 25 years ago, surged by 16pc to an all-time high of £17 as investors digested the trading update for the 20 weeks to June 15.

Ted Baker shares have now risen by 150pc since the start of 2012 as the City banks on the brand following in the footsteps of luxury names, such as Burberry and Mulberry, by enjoying success around the world.

The company said new markets had responded well to the brand, with new stores in Shanghai and Tokyo, as well as France, Spain and the Netherlands.

The growth in sales for the last 20 weeks was above expectations, with wholesale sales up 41pc and in-store sales up 30.7pc.

The high street designer has also recently accelerated its expansion into the United States and Asia, increasing its stores to more than 300 in 35 countries worldwide.

Mr Kelvin is now moving the company into the Middle East, with store openings in Beirut, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“We are continuing to invest in developing the Ted Baker brand internationally and have been encouraged by the reaction to the brand and the collections in our new markets,” he said. “We remain very confident of our prospects.”

Ted Baker was initially focused on menswear but it is enjoying increasing success with its womenswear range. Mr Kelvin, who famously began working in his uncle’s menswear store at the age of 11, attributes its success to selling “great, affordable clothes”

Alistair Davies, analyst at Oriel, said: “Brand-building and trading momentum at Ted Baker continues, with Q1’s highly impressive update highlighting the group’s growth potential online and overseas backed by a strong UK/Europe core.

“This rate of growth is ahead of the wider apparel sales online, reflecting the increasing popularity of the Ted Baker brand and investments made behind the scenes, which continue”.”

A re-launch of the Ted Baker webiste is planned later in the year.

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Amazon UK, Argos, Next and Tesco head up list of most visited UK mobile retail sites

The IMRG-Experian Hitwise Mobile Hot Shops List has revealed the UK’s top 10 mobile retailers by site traffic for the first time, with Amazon UK being as dominant in the mobile traffic space as they are over desktop visits. Between them, the Amazon UK (1st) and Amazon.com (3rd) sites accounted for over 10% of mobile visits to retail sites in April 2013, with Argos (2nd) receiving 2.3% of visits.

Overall, there are very few differences between those retailers appearing in the mobile and desktop site visits lists. The notable exception is the absence of Apple (2nd in the desktop rankings) from the mobile list, which suggests that users have a stronger tendency to browse and download music into iTunes on their PC before transferring onto a mobile device.

The report finds that Orange, (+45 places), Carphone Warehouse, (+25) and Netflix, (+22) are the fastest growers in the past year, while the collapse of Blockbuster appears to have had an effect – LoveFilm, Cineworld Cinemas and Netflix all rose in the rankings compared with May last year. A number of fashion retailers rose in the rankings: Zara (+13 places) Boohoo and Boden (+11), ASOS and Very (+3) and Next (+1).

James Murray, Digital Insight Manager for Experian Marketing Services says: “Technology is changing our lives and with smartphone penetration in the UK approaching 60% of the population, mobile shopping is rapidly expanding. The brands that can provide a seamless experience for their customers regardless of device are the ones that are flourishing and it is no coincidence that there is significant overlap between the top 10 retailers from mobile visits and the top 10 of the Hot Shops list. This is also evidenced by leading providers like Apple, Orange, O2, Carphone Warehouse and 3Store rising up the list since last year.

“Overall online retail continues to grow at a considerable pace with UK Internet visits up 30% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2013. The UK now spends 10% of all time online shopping and the Hot Shops list remains an important barometer to measure where shoppers are going to make their retail purchases”

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG adds: “The shift away from desktop to mobile internet use is ever-more apparent and it is no surprise to see a number of mobile providers rising up the rankings in the latest Hot Shops List . Mobile commerce continues to record triple-digit growth and now accounts for 20% of the UK online retail market, having grown from less than 1% in 2010. Mobile visits to e-retail sites now account for almost 1 in 3 online retail visits in the UK which reflects a changing attitude among consumers. Retailers that continue to invest in their mobile operations will, no doubt, continue to reap the rewards.

“The demise of Blockbuster appears to have had a positive effect for a number of entertainment companies, with the winners being LoveFilm, Cineworld Cinemas and Netflix, which all rose in the Top 100 List rankings from last year.”

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Expansion of Muscat Grand Mall announced

By A Staff Reporter — MUSCAT — Marking a milestone achievement in the retail and hospitality sector in Oman, Muscat Grand Mall announces plans for expansion of Muscat’s popular retail destination, in a year from its inception. This expansion will be financed completely through an investment of over RO 50 million. The new development will see 100 new retail outlets being added to the mall, bringing new global brands to Oman for the first time, taking the total number of stores to 250. In addition, the growth plans include increasing the parking facilities by twofold, expanding and enriching the cinema experience and developing a compelling new retail and lifestyle destination in the Sultanate.

A press conference was conducted to announce the expansion at Muscat Grand Mall and was presided by Abdul Rahman Barham, Board Member of Tilal Development Company, Harith al Brashdi, Chief Operating Officer, Al Madina Real Estate Company and Hassan Jaboub — General Manager of Muscat Grand Mall. Commenting on this groundbreaking expansion plan, Abdul Rahman Barham said, “It gives us great pride to announce that the second phase of Muscat Grand Mall which will give customers in Oman the opportunity to experience a retail destination of international standards. Using an investment of RO 50 million, major investments will be made towards raising the profile of the mall as well as developing a world class shopping and entertainment destination for the people of Oman.”

He also added, “As a part of the Tilal Complex, the Muscat Grand Mall — the first phase of the project has been successfully completed with over 90 per cent of the retail and residential spaces already sold out. In addition, the expansion will offer increased employment opportunities for Omanis and will also be a mechanism through which we can support small and medium enterprises. At present, the retails outlets boast 25 per cent occupancy from SMEs and it is our endeavour to take this initiative further. We recognise that such developments also support the city’s growth outlook of further reinforces its core economic sectors, including retail, tourism and hospitality.”

The Tilal Complex is the first of its kind mixed-use development. Muscat Grand Mall already boasts over 120 retail outlets already open, a flourishing commercial office space over 30,000 sq metres where the Nawras headquarters has a prime position, in addition to residential complex featuring 250 superior freehold apartments, complete with all modern amenities and hotel accommodations with four star facilities and a rooftop garden. With the new international airport terminal construction in progress, a larger inflow of tourists is expected into the Sultanate. As projects such as the five-star hotel ‘Shaza Hotel Muscat’ and the residential complex that is now under way, it is almost certain that the Tilal Complex will become a hub of activity.
Home to an array of international brands which have secured their first presence in Oman, the largest food court, a three screen cinema and more than 125 stores currently, it is no surprise that Muscat Grand Mall has become the lifestyle centre for residents in the Sultanate.

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Blackberry to open first Middle East retail shop in UAE

BlackBerry is set to launch the Middle East’s first BlackBerry Retail Concept Store in the UAE, Emirates 24/7 reported. It will be located on level two of the Dubai Mall, close to the Dubai Metro Link. It will enable customers to see the latest models in live demonsrations, as well as to register in advance for forthcoming smartphones. For the first time in the Middle East, UAE-based users and Dubai Mall visitors can have a personalised BlackBerry-branded service that will reflect the priority and importance given to the region by the global smartphone brand. It will provide an in-store maintenance and repair service hub, offering free software upgrades, data back-up and transfer services, product set-up, service collection and warranty verification, as well as the first one-hour repair or replace service in the Middle East.

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Price comparison site launches in UAE

Dubai: Bkam.com, a price comparison site, has officially launched its UAE platform on Tuesday.
Launched in Egypt in 2012, the site provides consumers information on a product, including price, reviews, and retail locations. It offers a range of products, such as consumer electronics, cosmetics, clothes and accessories sourced from both online fashion brands and e-commerce sites. These include Souq.com, Namshi.com, JadoPado.com, Carrefour, as well as H&M and Zara.
Through price comparison, the site aims to help consumers make the best choice when shopping for a product.
“We are giving consumers the best value for money,” Mahmoud Abdel Fattah, founder of Bkam.com told Gulf News.
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He says retailers are not bothered that their prices are being compared with that of other retailers.
“The price comparison creates hard competition. But as the e-commerce market becomes mature and saturated, retailers want traffic [to their site],” he said.
The site hopes to attract retailers that are not very well-known.
The process of getting onto the site to start selling is simple.
For retailers that have an online presence, Bkam.com uses a tool to extract data on inventory and pricing from their sites. But offline retailers that don’t have a website are required to upload a file, containing the required data, to the site; and after approval, they can sign up and create an account on the site and start selling.
Bkam.com is invested by Jabbar Internet Group, one of the region’s largest online investors.
The site expects to expand its offerings to include food and beverages by the next quarter, Fattah said.

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Woolworths to slash prices

Cape Town – Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] will cut its prices by up to 30% from August in a bid to gain market share in Africa, The EastAfrican reported.

The firm’s profits jumped by 70% after it dropped prices by 30% in Australia.

Ian Moir, Woolworths Africa group chief executive was in Kenya to open its eighth store in the country in a joint venture with Deacons, which owns and manages various international fashion brands.

“We seek to change the perception of buyers on Woolworths which is viewed as shops for the upmarket especially in Kenya our newest market,” he said in an interview with The EastAfrican.

The news agency reported that single commodities will go down by 20%, while bulks will go down by 30% in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

“As we expand our African footprint, we are working hard to offer our customers in these new markets the best possible value for our unique quality and innovation standards,” Woolworths told Fin24.

The retailer said it was able to reposition prices to offer customers even better value for money, by achieving a range of operational efficiencies.

“We’ve learnt from years of trade locally and elsewhere that value for money is important to our customers,” it added.

Woolworths emerged as the industry leader for customer satisfaction, according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) released in May.

The customer satisfaction score recorded for the retailer was the highest score for comparable supermarkets in the USA and in the UK.

In February, the firm reported a 21% rise in first-half profit chiefly as a result of contributions from its acquisition in Australia.

Woolworths said headline earnings per share totalled 164.2 cents in the six months to end-December compared with 135.7 a year earlier.

Woolworths has 60 stores in 12 African countries outside South Africa. They are: Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Lesotho, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Ghana.

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Edcon secures franchise rights to UK’s Dune brand

EDCON, the unlisted owner of clothing chains Edgars and Jet, said on Friday that it had been granted the South African franchise rights for Dune, a UK-based fashion footwear and accessories brand.

A standalone Dune store will open in Sandton City Shopping Centre in August, with store-in-store concepts opening in four Edgars branches during November.

Edcon is in the midst of reviving its Edgars chain, which has lost market share over the last few years.

The introduction of the new brand is an extension of the group’s shop-in-shop and mono-branded stores concept aimed at increasing footfall. Last year, in partnership with The House of Busby, Edcon was given the rights for Topshop and Topman in South Africa.

CEO Jürgen Schreiber said the brands have benefited the group.

“Every store where we’ve put in brands like Mango and Forever New we’ve seen great sales results. New customers are coming into the stores, and the customers whom we lost a couple of years ago are coming back with these new brands.

“Our private label is doing better because we’re getting more customers through the doors,” Mr Schreiber said.

In August, Edcon will also open a 300m² standalone Tom Tailor store in Sandton City after it was given the franchise rights for the German lifestyle and fashion brand.

From next month onwards Tom Tailor shop-in-shops will roll out within 25 Edgars’ stores, focusing initially on a denim offering.

Edgars’ store refurbishment programme of 120 outlets dubbed “Tipping Point” is under way and should be completed by September. The group has also improved sourcing and is adding new retail formats such as Edgars Shoe Gallery.

For the year ended March, the Edgars division grew retail sales 4.1% to R13.3bn, but same-store sales were R12bn from R12.2bn.

“We expect better numbers in October,” Mr Schreiber said.

Gryphon Asset Management portfolio manager Reuben Beelders said: “There are two issues with adding new brands. Will the new brands draw customers into stores and as a result of the customers walking into the stores, will they spend more money on the other Edgars brands? I’m not 100% sure that that will happen.

“Also, if you’re going to be implementing new brands there’s a cost … You’re not going to launch a new brand that’s going to take off immediately, there will be a gestation period, a period of investment.

“A competitor like Woolies, who launched Country Road and Trenery, appeals to a slightly different market, where if you’re launching a brand you can charge a high enough selling price to recover the cost. Edcon seems to be following (this) approach but in a lower segment .”

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Dubai seeks to become global fashion hub by 2020

Dubai seeks to become global fashion hub by 2020

The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai has signed an agreement with Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA) to create and develop Dubai as a fashion hub.

The Dubai Fashion 2020 strategic plan will support Dubai’s and the wider region’s design and fashion industry and will be closely aligned to the recently announced Dubai Design District project.

A statement issued by both companies said Dubai Fashion 2020 would have a “significant impact on employment across the value chain such as manufacturing, retail and design”.

“It will also engage local designers in the creation of the world’s largest and most prestigious brands, as well as attracting investment from global institutions in this industry,” the statement added.

In addition to positioning Dubai as a hub for the fashion and design industries that can compete on the global stage, the strategic plan aims to increase the role of contemporary regional fashion, Islamic fashion as well as identifying opportunities for marketing to the specific needs of the regional and global markets.

Dubai Fashion 2020 also aims to offer development and training programmes, and support with the hosting of fashion events, the statement said.

Abdulla Al Shaibani, secretary general of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “The memorandum we are signing today with DTMFZA aims to develop economic opportunities and enhance Dubai’s global competitiveness on several levels, as well as to Dubai Design District, which was recently launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai supporting the Emirate’s vision to be a global leader.

“We will work in the coming period on developing a strategic plan that supports the objectives of the fashion industry and promotes the emirate’s position.”

Ahmad Bin Byat, director general of DTMFZA, added: “Experts estimate that the global fashion industry generates over a trillion dollars a year.

“With the growing demand for brands and luxury goods across the region as well as the success achieved by local designers internationally, we believe that Dubai is well positioned to enhance its role in the global fashion industry.

“Dubai Fashion 2020 will allow us to unlock the emirate’s full potential. While it focuses on developing a destination for the top international players in the industry, it also includes putting a particular emphasis on nurturing local talent, entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

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Babyshop opens 2 new stores in Jeddah

BABYSHOP, the region’s premier fashion destination for children sets yet another milestone with the opening of its 30th and 31st stores in the Western Region at Al Emmam Al Bukhari Road, near Saudi German Hospital, Aziziyah Dist. Madinah and Flamingo Mall, Amir Majid Street (Al Sabeen Street), Jeddah respectively.

Specializing in toys, fashion clothing, baby basics, nursery furniture and much more for newborn babies, toddlers and children up to 16 years, the product range at these new Babyshop stores feature style, quality and the latest international trends for the young fashionistas.
T. S. Vedapuri, C.O.O (Western Region), Al Bandar Trading, said “we have come a long way in KSA and the journey so far has been extremely rewarding. Babyshop is now synonymous with quality children’s clothing and toys and we are proud to have catered to the needs of this segment for over 20 years.
The continued patronage from our customers has greatly encouraged us to expand our presence in this region and we intend to open more stores in the near future. We are certain that our young customers from Makkah and Jeddah will be delighted to have these additional fashion destinations.”
Babyshop has revolutionized retailing for children and mothers by understanding the needs of this group and delivers products and services in a pleasant, fun environment.
The chain’s international brands include Lee Cooper, Barbie, Disney, Graco, Ferrari (cycles and car seat), Maclaren (car seats), Maui & Sons, Fisher Price, Little Tikes, Peg Perego and several others. It also has its own in-house brands: Juniors, Giggles and Gear.
The newly inaugurated stores stocks Babyshop’s Summer Festive Collection 2013 which promises to bring in the verve and joie de vivre in every child this Eid and the months preceding the festival. The latest collection reiterates Babyshop’s position as the destination store for children, offering fashion at great value.

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Thorntons trials online ordering kiosks in three stores to showcase wider range

Chocolate manufacturer and retailer, Thorntons, is trialing SmartPod retail technology to allow customers to purchase from its extended online range while in-store. Developed in partnership with retail technology firm One iota, the online ordering kiosk trial is taking place across three stores in Sheffield Meadowhall, Fargate and Derby Westfield.

The solution will focus on converting sales for items difficult to stock in-store, such as Thorntons’ hampers range, which are currently a bestselling product online. All orders made through SmartPod will be delivered free of charge, and can be delivered directly to a loved one as a gift. The range also includes personalised products such as Alphabet Truffles, where customers can create a bespoke message of up to 33 characters and Thorntons’ chocolate models range, where customers can have a name or message iced directly onto the chocolate.

In the stores, SmartPod will be featured next to a selection of hampers, allowing customers to make their choice, and then order for delivery on the SmartPod with secure payments via Chip & PIN or choose the perfect hamper to take home there and then.

Geoff Kershaw, Thorntons retail director, said: “We know that a significant proportion of our customers already shop us multi-channel and we’re hoping that these new SmartPods will make this even easier for them to do so. Many chocolate fans looking for the perfect gift aren’t aware of the fantastic range of hampers we sell online, so this trial will hopefully help us grow awareness of not only our extensive product range but also our overall online offering.

“We’re also really excited to be trialling this in Sheffield, where the company was born 102 years ago. It’s great to be taking this new technology back to where it all began.”

Damian Hanson, One iota CEO, said: “Thorntons is one of Britain’s best loved and well known brands, so it’s fantastic to work with them to bring multi-channel to life and raise awareness of their online offering. This year will see a trend of major high street retailers adopting in-store connected technology to bring new online and digital shopping experiences into high street stores.”

SmartPod will also help Thorntons to raise awareness of comprehensive online range available via the recently launched new Thorntons.co.uk website. This includes personalised gifts and named day delivery on a chosen date in the future.

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Dubai Duty Free eyes $3bn sales

Dubai Duty Free tills rang up Dh2.7 billion in sales in the first five months of the year.

The airport hopes to sustain the momentum by selling to about half of the people passing through the hub.
And the number of passengers is expected to rise with the emirate’s annual shopping festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, which runs until July 7.
“The Dubai Summer Surprises attracts a great many visitors to Dubai and as a result many of them travel through Dubai International Airport and shop at Dubai Duty Free,” said Colm McLoughlin, the executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free.
“[With] the increase in passengers as the busy summer season picks up a notch, our sales should increase.”
Sales received a boost earlier in the year with the opening of Concourse A, which added 8,000 square metres of extra retail space.
“We have also seen significant increases in sales in other terminals for both departing and arriving passengers, all of which are very encouraging and would help reach our sales target of US$1.8 billion by year-end,” said Mr McLoughlin.
However, the company predicts its sales could reach US$3 billion annually in a few years as the airport significantly boosts its capacity.
“[The] opening of Concourse A will be followed within a couple of years with the opening of Concourse D.
“By this time, Dubai International Airport will boost its capacity to 95 million passengers and our sales are expected to reach $3bn by that stage,” said Mr McLoughlin.
Dubai Duty Free made Dh5.9bn in revenues last year, with sales including 23,000 iPads, two tonnes of gold and more than two million bottles of perfume as 57 million passengers passed through the airport. The purchases generated almost Dh1.5bn in profits for the airport retailer, more than that of retail brands such as Harrods and Selfridges.
Passengers passing through Abu Dhabi airports last year spent Dh809.5 million on gifts, cigarettes, perfume and other Duty Free items, as revenues rose by 24 per cent compared with 2011, setting a new record for the company.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company expects Duty Free revenues to more than double to reach Dh1.5bn by 2017, when capacity will reach 20 million passengers a year with the opening of the new Abu Dhabi Midfield terminal.

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OK Zimbabwe lifts profit 20%

OK Zimbabwe lifts profit 20%

Picture: THINKSTOCK
HARARE — OK Zimbabwe, which directly competes with TM Supermarkets, in which Pick n Pay has a 49% stake, has posted a 16.3% surge in revenue in the year to end-March, and declared a 40c dividend for the second-half period.

This brings the final dividend for the full-year period to 60c while attributable earnings per share rose 18% to 1.2c.

The company, which said it accessed a further drawdown from a loan facility provided by Investec Africa Frontier Private Equity Fund, said profit for the year grew 20.1% to $12.4m.

Analysts said on Thursday that Zimbabwe’s retail sector was booming, despite problems facing the economy. The country had become a consuming economy, even though the manufacturing and industry base was constrained, they said.

“The stronger performance of the retailers points to an economy consuming more than it is producing, despite the problems that manufacturing and industry sectors are facing,” said Jeffrey Kasirori, an economist.

OK Zimbabwe said most of its stock during the period under review had been imported from South Africa.

But the firm said it was committed to supporting Zimbabwean manufacturers through the Buy Zimbabwe lobby group, which advocates the consumption of locally produced products, as the state prepares new measures to force local companies to procure 50% of goods from local producers.

OK Zimbabwe said South Africa was the major source of imported products and that prices were generally kept stable.

A balanced procurement regime for locally produced and imported goods saw the group maintain “adequate” supplies across its stores during the period under review.

“The increase in overheads was mainly a result of increases in employee benefits, as more employees were engaged to man both the new branch opened during the year and the refurbished branches, to provide … improved facilities and with broadened product offering,” the group said.

It said borrowing costs “increased to $800,000 from $500,000″ in the prior year as a convertible loan facility from Investec was accessed, as well as other bank facilities.

OK Zimbabwe is upping its game, lining up further refurbishment programmes for five other stores across the country. It is also planning to open two more shops this year.

Its competitor in the Zimbabwean retail space, TM Supermarkets, has said that it wants a further $25m in order to modernise its stores.

Expansion and refurbishment initiatives during the period under review, however, further drove up operational costs for OK Zimbabwe.

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UAE’s MAG Group unveils plan for specialist mall

UAE’s MAG Group unveils plan for specialist mall

UAE-based Moafaq Al Gaddah (MAG) Group has unveiled plans for a new specialist shopping mall to be built in Dubai called the Art Centre.

The retail centre will specialise in indoor and outdoor building materials and requirements for housing and commercial sectors, including furniture, lighting, kitchens, floors, curtains, carpets, gifts, flowers, wallpaper, decoration, swimming pools, and other related materials.

Construction work on the AED300m project is projected to start within three months and estimated to take around 15 months to reach completion, the company said in a statement.

Art Centre, which will consist of three floors and a basement, will include leasable area of 350,000 sq ft, facilities, halls and parking spaces and will be located in Al Barsha.

Moufak Ahmad Al Kaddah, chairman of MAG Group said: “Art Centre is the first and biggest specialised shopping centre in the region. The aim of Art Centre is to raise the bar higher for the mechanism of marketing and sales in the furniture, and other building-related materials industry.”

Mohammad Nimer, CEO of MAG Property Development said the centre is expected to host many well-known national and international brands in the world of furniture and building related materials.

Art Centre will also have facilities such as a business centre, a clinic, a children’s play area and free parking, he added.

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Geant says UAE’s first online grocery store launched

Geant says UAE’s first online grocery store launched

French retail chain Géant has launched what it says is the UAE’s first online hypermarket.

It said Géant Online offered the opportunity to purchase both grocery items and consumer electronics via computer and mobile devices.

Géant Online becomes the latest addition to the company’s portfolio of brands in the UAE, which includes Géant Hypermarkets and Géant Easy supermarkets and convenient stores.

The online move is part of a growth strategy by Fucom, the master franchisee for Géant in the region, which aims to expand the brand across the GCC region over the next five years.

“This is the first time that a supermarket chain is offering customers the opportunity to buy grocery in addition to consumer electronics products in one easy to navigate website,” the retailer said in a statement.

Mohammad Ashfaq, group business head, Fucom, added: “Géant Online has been designed to meet a growing need by online shoppers and also to tap into the huge market for online shopping in the UAE, which boasts of the highest internet penetration rates in the region.

“Our move towards creating a virtual hypermarket was largely influenced by the fact there’s a young, tech savvy base of customers spending a significant amount of time online and that the e-commerce landscape is relatively new in this region.”

According to recent reports, the Middle East and North Africa region is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for e-commerce with sales in 2012 totaling $15bn, an increase of 45 percent.

It is estimated there are more than 72 million Internet users in the Middle East and North Africa region while the UAE accounts for the highest number of internet users who shop online in this region.

Internet retail sales are expected to grow by 95 percent in the UAE over the next five years.

Sajid Azmi, head of Ecommerce and digital marketing, Géant and Géant Online, said: “Online grocery shopping is a sector that is growing rapidly in many countries.

“Given Dubai’s position as a leading technology and shopping hub, and due to the increase in the internet and credit card usage in the UAE, we believe Dubai offers the ideal platform to start our online grocery business in this region.”

Géant has been operating in the region since 2001 when it opened its first hypermarket in Bahrain before launching hypermarkets in Dubai in 2005 and Kuwait in 2009.

Globally, Géant, which is owned by the Group Casino, has over 115 hypermarkets, and is the fifth largest hypermarket group in the world.

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Burberry boss collects £10m less

Angela Ahrendts, the chief executive of fashion label Burberry, has seen her annual take home pay drop by £10m, only days after being named as Britain’s best paid boss.

Ahrendts’ £16.9m total pay package in 2012 saw her leapfrog to the top of the FTSE 100 pay league, but her 2013 pay dropped to £6.8m after she decided not to cash in as many bonus shares.

Her basic salary increased by 3.5% to £1.06m, on top of which she collected a £1.5m bonus, £256,000 cash in lieu of pension and other perks worth £439,000.

The perks include a £25,000 annual clothing allowance on top of her 80% staff discount, a car and driver and help towards her children’s school fees.

Ahrendts also cashed in £3.5m of previously awarded bonus shares. Her total take home pay was significantly lower than in 2012 because last year she cashed in £11.9m of shares.

She is in line to collect £6.7m of additional bonus shares in 2015 if the company hits a string of targets. The 500,000 share options were granted to Ahrendts in 2010, but are dependent on her continued “outstanding leadership”.

A Burberry spokesman said: “Under the leadership of Angela Ahrendts and her senior team, Burberry has generated exceptional returns for shareholders in a period characterised by economic turbulence. Burberry continued this growth in 2012/13, delivering another year of record revenue and profit for shareholders. Adjusted earnings per share increased 14% and the full year dividend has been raised by 16%.”

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Versace inks Dubai deal, eyes MidEast sales boost

Italian fashion house Versace is aiming to increase its sales in the Middle East by 50 percent, part of its goal to nearly double its global revenue and become a billion dollar company within the next five years, its CEO told Arabian Business.

As evidence of the region becoming one of its target markets, the iconic brand has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with its Dubai partner to expand its jewellery range around the world.

“I think Versace deserves to double its turnover. So for the next five years our target will be to become a one billion dollar company. Not only with our mature markets… Versace is a worldwide historically recognised brand, and we will exploit this opportunity,” said Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who became CEO of Versace in 2009.

Last year, the Italian fashion powerhouse reported revenue of $528.4m and Ferrais said the Middle East, which is its third biggest market – after Europe and the Far East and on a par with sales in the US – is one of its target markets for growth.

“Culturally, we know that a big part of our turnover is related to the Gulf area. Europe is the biggest, with more than 40 percent share. The Far East all together and excluding Japan is also about 40 percent. The USA is ten percent and the Middle East is about ten percent. This is one of the fundamental areas for us. It will reach 15 percent soon,” he said.

Further evidence of Versace’s increased focus on the region is the deal it recently struck with Samra International, a Dubai-based fine jewellery retailer, distributor and manufacturer. As part of the global licencing agreement Samra will produce some of the company’s ranges which will be distributed to a global audience.

“Originally, in 2009, Samra was our retailer and regional distributor. We noticed immediately that there is a good feeling between us as we spoke the same language in terms of our products culture. We started up an atelier (design workshop) with them in Dubai Mall.

“This is where we have our very unique pieces which are very exclusive. In 2013, we signed a worldwide licence, so we trust in their capacity to translate the same energy that we have in the atelier and the total range of our product. We need to have a coherency in quality, in service, in craftsmanship and in everything else,” Ferraris said.

“Due to Samra holding the license rights, we agreed that the first initial start up of our investment will be in the Gulf area. Then we roll out in Russia, China, and throughout,” he added.

The deal comes at a pivotal time for Versace as this year its fine jewellery range celebrates its 20th anniversary.

“Gianni (Versace) was the first designer that entered into this kind of lifestyle culture. The genius of Gianni, who created the brand in 1978, started as couturier. He was a tailor, working with his mother. After his first year of success, he did not just stop at the ready-to-wear business; he entered into the accessory business,” Ferraris said.

“Then he created a whole company for watches, perfumes and home collection. So this was the geniality of Gianni and now we are celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the jewellery line,” Ferraris added.

Prior to this appointment at Versace in 2009, Ferraris was CEO of the Jill Sander Group, and the managing director of the ready-to-wear division of Gucci Group, responsible over all the group’s brands: Gucci, YSL, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta.

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Microsoft to open Windows in-store shops in Best Buy

Redmond, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced that it plans to open 500 “Windows Store” shops in 500 Best Buy stores across the country and in more than 100 Best Buy and Future Shop locations in Canada. The roll out will launch in late June, lasting through September.

The in-store shops will sell exclusively Windows-based tablets and computers and other Microsoft products, with support from dedicated staff, in an interactive environment.

“The Windows Store creates the kind of retail destination we all want to shop in, combining great selection, the latest technology, the best service and the lowest prices,” said Jason Bonfig, VP of computing for Best Buy Co., Minneapolis. “What our customers will see in these 600 stores is something totally new and fully in line with our determination to transform Best Buy.”

The shops will range in size from 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,200 sq. ft., and will showcase a broad range of Microsoft products and accessories, including software and hardware along with the Windows Phone portfolio.

The initiative comes some two months after Samsung Electronics unveiled plans to install its brand shops in more than 1,400 Best Buy stores this year. Best Buy also has dedicated Apple shops in its stores.

In an Associated Press report, Belus Capital Markets analyst Brian Sozzi said Microsoft shop initiative “absolutely makes sense,” and he expects more store-within-store formats at Best Buy.

“The fact is Best Buy has prime floor space up for grabs, and tech companies want their best offerings in there (along with the customer service), instead of buried on Amazon,” he said in a note to clients.

Microsoft, which operates approximately 65 freestanding stores, said the initiative would add more than 1,200 Best Buy Microsoft-trained sales associates to help customers. Industry experts said the program would give the tech giant

“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and CFO of the Windows Division at Microsoft.

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Galeries Lafayette has opened a 129,000-square-foot department store in Jakarta.

French retailer Galeries Lafayette has opened a 129,000-square-foot department store in Jakarta.

Developed in partnership with Indonesian retail operator PT Mitra Adiperkasa TBK, the four-level flagship is located in the Pacific Mall in the Sudirman Central Business District. Its official debut is today following a soft opening on May 11.

It brings to 64 the number of stores in Galeries Lafayette Group’s network, and is its fourth international location after Berlin, Casablanca and Dubai.

Up next is a Galeries Lafayette department store in Beijing, slated to open this fall. By 2015, the retailer plans to open five to seven international units, with Istanbul and Doha, Qatar, projects already announced.

“This expansion in Indonesia illustrates the impulse that our group wishes to give to the international development of our department store format,” said Nicolas Houzé, chief executive officer of Galeries Lafayette Group’s department stores division.The Jakarta opening “enables us to promote our brand and our retail know-how in a thriving economy like Indonesia,” he added.

Mitra Adiperkasa, listed on the Indonesian stock exchange, operates more than 1,400 retail locations in some 50 Indonesian cities.

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HMV owner Hilco Capital buys DVD rental chain Xtravision

Hilco Capital is buying DVD rental chain Xtravision out of receivership, giving the UK-based restructuring specialist a second high-profile presence in Irish retailing.

Xtravision appointed Luke Charleton and Colin Farquharson of Ernst & Young as receivers to the business just over seven weeks ago after a downturn in rentals and a withdrawal of credit insurance left it with difficulty meeting liabilities.

Yesterday both Ernst & Young and Hilco confirmed the UK investor has agreed to buy the chain, raising the possibility that its remaining 803 staff and 130 stores can be saved.

Last April, Hilco bought HMV in the UK and Republic, where it was going through separate insolvency procedures. It emerged this week that it plans reopening four of the music retailer’s stores in this jurisdiction.

While Hilco did not say what it is paying, it is not thought that Xtravision’s current owners, the NCB-managed Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund and Pageant – owned by businessman Peter O’Grady Walshe and members of the Furlong family – will recoup all of the €22 million they have put into the chain.

The investment fund and Pageant bought Xtravision out of examinership in 2009 for €20 million through a vehicle called Birchall, which put a further €2 million into the company in a second examinership in 2011.

Xtravision will be absorbed into Hilco’s international entertainment retail division, which has $1 billion a year in revenues and includes HMV in the Republic, Canada and the UK.

‘Strong brand’
Hilco Capital chief executive, Paul McGowan, described Xtravision as a “strong brand” and said it would fit well alongside HMV.

However, it is understood that the Irish HMV operation and Xtravision will be kept as separate companies.

The deal includes Xtravision’s head office, in Tallaght, Dublin and all its stock. Hilco’s Irish manager, Larry Howard, said the transfer of the individual stores will take place gradually following talks with the chain’s landlords to regularise its leases.

“We have had supportive messages from a number of landlords and we are, therefore, hopeful that we will be able to retain all of the stores which we have agreed to acquire,” Mr Howard added yesterday.

The company has appointed former Xtravision executive Gerry Butler, who is currently commercial director with Blockbuster in Britain, as the business’s new chief executive.

Commenting on the deal yesterday, Mr Charleton said it would provide a solid financial footing from which the business can be taken forward.

Xtravision rents DVDs and sells DVDs, music, mobile phones, games and home entertainment equipment.

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Upmarket furniture store Dwell close to collapse

Leather sofa at Dwell. Photograph: Dwell
Upmarket furniture store Dwell is on the brink of collapse, putting at least 350 jobs at risk.

The 24-store retailer, which sells £300 designer coffee tables and £1,500 leather sofas, has hired advisers at Argyll Partners and accountants Duff & Phelps but has been unable to find a buyer. Duff & Phelps have reportedly been lined up as administrators, but it has yet to officially appointment them.

A collapse of the chain, which has a £34m turnover, would add to a long list of retail failures so far this year. Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster all collapsed in January and a month later fashion retailer Republic fell into administration. Dreams, Britain’s biggest bed retailer, was bought through a pre-pack in March. Collapses have led to more than 6,000 job losses.

Dwell chalked up a £700,000 loss in 2012, which it blamed on the slow housing market and low consumer confidence. Dwell, which was established in 2002, has lost £5.6m in the three years to January 2012.

The retailer opened six new stores last year, including its biggest-ever shop at Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock. Twitter users reported that Dwell stores on Tottenham Court Road and Westfield Stratford were closed on Wednesday morning .

Entrepreneur Aamir Ahmad founded Dwell as a mail-order business in 2003, and has been looking to wrest back control since leaving the business late last year.

A spokesman for Dwell said: “There has been a significant amount of press speculation on the future of Dwell over the past couple of weeks. The business has been working with its advisers, including Argyll Partners and Duff & Phelps, to secure further working capital for the business and is currently talking to a number of interested parties who see the value of the Dwell brand and product, its customer base and its multichannel proposition.

“Dwell continues to trade as usual and fulfil customer orders. The business has not appointed administrators.”

Dwell Retail Limited was established in 2002 and losses for the three years to January 2012 were £5.6m. Independent analysts at Company Watch put the negative working capital at £5.6m as of January 2012 with a negative net worth (assets minus liabilities) of £4.7m.

Company Watch, a consultancy which predicts which companies are at risk of going bust, said Dwell has been “on the radar as a potential casualty” for some time.

“It seems to have had problems in attracting the attention of sufficient customers to generate the cash,” he said. “Operating in a particularly cut-throat retail sub-sector with such frail financial resources is always going to be a long odds bet.”

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Online retail in India to touch $76 billion by 2021: Study

MUMBAI: The total size of the business of selling retail goods on the internet, commonly known as e-tailing, is set to touch $76 billion mark by 2021 in the country, according to a study by Technopak.

E-tailing, which is around 6% of the total e- commerce, is estimated to be around $0.6 billion in 2012, said the study ‘E-tailing in India: Unlocking the Potential’.

“In India, e-tailing has the potential to grow more than hundred-fold in the next nine years to reach a value of $76 billion by 2021. The country’s growing internet-habituated consumer base, which will comprise 180 million broadband users by 2020, along with a burgeoning class of mobile internet users, will drive the e-tailing story,” the study said.

The total e-commerce business in India, including other products and services such as travel and financial services, is estimated to be $10 billion in 2012, it said.

It said in India, the retail market at present is primarily served by traditional brick and mortar stores which make up 93% of the total market. Corporatised brick and mortar retail caters to nearly 7%, while e-tailing’s share is 0.1%.

The study observed that the brick and mortar formats would undergo a few changes and the share of e-tailing in the total organised retail pie to grow from 0.1% at present to 5.3% by 2021.

“E-tailing will emerge as a viable third alternative by which corporatised retail can expand its share of the total retail pie.

“The key reason for this disruptive growth lies in the fact that the market-enabling conditions and ecosystem creation for e-tailing will outpace the same for corporatised brick & mortar retail. This growth will offer many advantages to the Indian economy, besides bringing in immense benefits to consumers,” Technopak said.

With the internet users spread across the country, it is an opportunity for e-tailers in India, it said.

“What makes the growth of e-tailing more compelling is the fact that such an internet-habituated consumer is currently spread across India.

“This dispersion does not allow accumulation of enough demand for brick and mortar retailers to open stores. Yet these same consumers, aggregated at a pan-India level, become an attractive opportunity for e-tailers,” it said.

The study estimates that by 2020, 150 million users will have either a laptop or a personal computer.

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Cath Kidston to open London flagship

Fashion and homewares specialist Cath Kidston is to open a new flagship store in London’s Piccadilly, it has been announced.

Opening later this year, the 7,070 sq ft store will be fully operational within the brand’s 20th anniversary year and seeks to realise the “home of modern vintage” concept for which the retailer is renowned.

Located in the old French Railway building beside Fortnum & Mason, the store hopes to attract both Londoners and tourists alike, building on Cath Kidston’s reputation as an international retailer.

Cath Kidston has already opened stores in Shanghai China this year and rolled out its concessions across Spain’s El Corte Ingles department stores and this latest expansion is set to strengthen its bricks & mortar portfolio further.

Anthea Harries, Portfolio Manager at The Crown Estate, the superior landlord of the property which is developing the Piccadilly area as an extension to Regent Street, welcomed the plans.

She commented: “We are delighted to welcome Cath Kidston to St James’s, where they will be opening their unique London flagship store in this special part of London’s West End – an area perfectly positioned given its iconic British status and global appeal.”

Providing a “unique shopping experience”, the new flagship incorporates retail and theatre and will feature vintage furniture in a nod to the Founder’s first store which offered an interior design service while selling second hand furniture.

Operating across three floors, the store will offer a theatre space to host events, talks and workshops, a mezzanine space offering exclusive products and a basement housing Cath’s Café, which is set to open in early 2014.

The retailer is also considering launching a wedding list service at the store as well as VIP shopping, hotel delivery and a click & collect area.

Cath Kidston’s CEO Kenny Wilson said that the launch was a strategic move to entice international shoppers, commenting: “The launch of our London flagship is an exciting step in our strategy for growth in the UK and internationally.

“Being able to open our biggest ever store in our 20th year marks a very significant and celebratory time for the Cath Kidston brand.

“London is the right location for our flagship as it is where our brand originates from and it is a key global city both for UK and international customers.

“We chose Piccadilly as the best location for our flagship because it is a destination and the perfect place to highlight our brand to the world.

“We are taking everything we know our customers already love about Cath Kidston stores and building that into a new retail concept that will brighten up our customer’s day and showcase our brand.”

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Amazon Just Made A Key Step To Dominate The Grocery Delivery Market

Amazon Just Made A Key Step To Dominate The Grocery Delivery Market

Amazon is expanding grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, to Los Angeles.
The online retailer has offered the same-day service in its home city of Seattle since 2007 and is now breaking further into the historically difficult online grocery market, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The company officially started grocery delivery to select Los Angeles ZIP Codes on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Customers will be able to order more than 500,000 items, including those from specialty stores around Los Angeles.

Amazon has reportedly told vendors that it could roll out to 40 U.S. markets by the end of 2014, Forbes reported in May.

The service is free for Amazon Prime members for 90 days. After that, customers must enroll in a new Prime membership that costs $299 per year. An additional delivery charge will be applied to orders less than $35.

Orders received before 10 a.m. will be delivered before 6 p.m. and those received after 10 p.m. will be delivered before 6 a.m. the next day, according to the LA Times.

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Xtra-vision sold to HMV owner Hilco Capital

FILM rental chain Xtra-vision has been sold to Hilco Capital for an undisclosed sum.

Hilco, which recently acquired HMV in Ireland and the UK, will now take control of the chain’s business, its stock and headquarters in Dublin’s Tallaght.

The company’s chief executive Paul McGowan said the business would be a “good fit” alongside HMV and a transfer of the stores will take place gradually alongside discussions with landlords over the terms and conditions of leases.

Xtra-vision entered receivership in late April – it blamed its woes on online streaming and piracy.

When it entered receivership there were over 1,000 employees at the group but last month plans to close nine outlets with the loss of over 50 jobs were announced.

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Dubai to build design, fashion and retail hub

Dubai has added a glitter-hem to its design, fashion and retail industry by announcing plans to establish a district dedicated to developing the emerging sector.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced on Saturday that the “Dubai Design District” would be situated adjacent to the Business Bay area of the city.

The district is expected to become a full service commercial hub for design industry-related organisations, brands and supporting enterprises within the value chain, a statement from the Government of Dubai Media Office said.

The statement said it would feature a custom-built creative community that would include purpose-built commercial and retail facilities for established and emerging designers, design institutes, a waterfront promenade, a convention centre, event venues and related academic institutions.

The new initiative would help Dubai to compete with fashion capitals like London, Paris, Milan, New York and Singapore, industry experts told Khaleej Times. In 2012, the Middle East was ranked the 10th largest luxury goods market globally and Dubai sits at the heart of this achievement.

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, chief executive officer of leading luxury retailer Paris Gallery Group of Companies, welcomed the move. “This initiative is a positive sign for Dubai’s retail sector, especially the fashion luxury industry, which is showing strong growth year by year.”

Being adjacent to the Business Bay, an international business landmark that hosts the offices of well-known international fashion labels was of great importance, he added.

“Dubai has the distinction of being the popular hub for fashion and luxury, and the proof of that is seen in the exponential growth of tourists that visit each year. I’m sure that this new initiative will give Dubai the glory it deserves.”

An increasing number of UAE nationals and expatriates are showing keen interest in developing their creative skills, which has resulted in rapid growth in the enrolment rates for fashion and design courses in the UAE.

Emirati designer Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, owner of Abu Dhabi-based Grafika Boutique which debuted at London Fashion Week last year, said the business of fashion in the UAE had come of age, growing rapidly because of huge demand.

“New Emirati designers are emerging every day, but unfortunately they don’t have a dedicated hub. They need a place where they can go and practise as well as colloborate,” Al Suwaidi said.

“This new district will serve as a place for a cultural exchange between Emirati and international fashion designers. They would be able to work together and learn from each other. Most of us are at the moment operating from our homes.”

Al Suwaidi said the Dubai Design District, to be operated by Tecom Investments, a member of Dubai Holding, would bring in more business for the nation as well as local designers because of the exposure it would offer. “Tourists will now know where to go looking for Emirati designers and their wares.”

“The Dubai Design District will be our fingerprint,” she said, commenting on the project’s mission to create more local and regional designers of international repute.

The district builds on Dubai’s strengths in tourism, which is expected to double the number of visitors to 20 million by 2020, and in retail, which is estimated to grow to Dh151 billion in the next two years, the government release said.

Landmark Group chief executive officer Vipen Sethi said the move would cement Dubai as a fashion and luxury destination. “Dubai will compete with Paris, London, New York and Singapore. It’s a very good, futuristic and visionary move. Long term it will be good for Dubai as a lot of money will come from Russia, China and neighbouring countries.”

Esmod Dubai, the only institute fully dedicated to fashion education in the UAE, said the wise decision would prop up the retail district with institutes of international standards that can produce enough designers to service the industry.

“While the UAE retail sector needs to stay ahead of its fashion market by dealing in international brands, which local and tourist consumers can also find in other countries, the need of the hour is to develop a long-term strategic vision to deliver local brands of professional quality to fashion-savvy consumers. Such a vision to develop a real UAE fashion identity that can compete in the fashion international market will take the nation a long way forward,” said Tamara Hostal, CEO of Esmod Dubai, a branch of Paris-headquartered Esmod International.

“Such an initiative will also attract worldwide buyers as well as professional fashion fairs, such as Who’s Next, that could put Dubai’s name high on the list of key international business destinations.”

Talking about the growing interest by UAE nationals in fashion design courses, Hostal said Esmod Dubai, based in Tecom education hub DIAC, supported its graduates free of charge through every step of their collections — from the design to the manufacturing process to start their own “Made in the UAE” fashion brands.

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First look inside the new Chanel flagship

First look inside the new Chanel flagship

Chanel’s new flagship store, designed by eccentric architect Peter Marino, opened for a press preview this morning on London’s New Bond Street

One of Peter Marino’s greatest strengths lies in creating shops that feel like homes – albeit homes fit to grace the pages of Architectural Digest. His latest, the Chanel flagship store on London’s New Bond Street, was designed to feel like the abode of Chanel’s indomitable founder Coco Chanel. It’s hard to describe the space without resorting to the ecstatic stream of hyperbole emanating from the mouths of the fashion press assembled this morning. After all, we were exploring a 12,600 square-foot boutique.

Yes, you read correctly: 12,600 luxuriously upholstered square-feet, designed to house “the universe” according to Karl Lagerfeld. The three-floor space is split into rooms, furnished like a gloriously decadent house, and coloured in the beiges and golds that make up the House’s perfume packaging. The ground floor comprises rooms filled with watches and fine jewellery, costume jewellery, small leather goods, accessories, and beauty products.

Coco Chanel often wore ribbons, so the wall in the handbag room is covered with thick gold silk satin ribbons, woven like a screen with cut-outs to display bags. The accessory room is upholstered in hand-woven cream bouclé wool; other galleries feature plaster wall panels by Marc Swanson.

The second and third floors house ready-to-wear and shoes. An imposing antique fireplace dominates the drawing room on the second floor, an homage to the original fireplace in Coco’s Rue Cambon apartment. In another nod to Coco, there are sheaves of golden wheat flanking an annexe: Chanel was superstitious and had wheat in every room in Rue Cambon, a symbol of prosperity and wealth. The cream curtains are hand-embroidered with pearls; sofas are upholstered in tweed; silk rugs good enough to wear muffle our tread.

The central atrium reflects Marino’s other talent for combining heritage with contemporary cool. A giant pearl necklace of hand-blown grey Murano glass ‘pearls’, by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, reaches 11m from floor to ceiling. Marino commissioned the work, then designed the staircase around it. As he told Sheryl Garratt in a piece in the Telegraph Magazine two weeks ago: “You can’t buy a sculpture to fill a stairwell afterwards, that doesn’t work.”

Artworks and antique furniture are dotted throughout the store, including 20 new works commissioned by Marino. The collection is so comprehensive that press were armed with a catalogue explaining the provenance of each work – Chanel doesn’t do things by halves. There are new works from American artists Peter Dayton and Robert Greene; crystalline sculptures by Turner Prize winner Richard Deacon; a giant portrait of Coco Chanel festooned with trademark pearls printed on iris paper, by Iranian artist Y.Z. Kami; and prints by young British artist Idris Khan on the top floor, on loan from Marino’s private collection. A life-size deer covered in Swarovski crystals created by Marc Swanson presides over the fine jewellery room.

All sounds mildly overwhelming? That’s the point. As Marino told us: “It’s aspirational. If a customer comes in and just buys a $40 lipstick, it doesn’t matter. Her impression of Chanel is what’s important.”

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BOOTHS SUPERMARKET CHAIN APPOINTS NEW RETAIL DIRECTOR

The regional supermarket group EH Booth has appointed Paul Minett, formerly with Asda and Sainsbury, as retail director.

He succeeds David Benson who has retired.

Mr Minett takes responsibility for the day-to-day running of Booths’ 29 stores across the North West, including the seven Cumbrian branches in Penrith, Keswick, Kendal, Windermere, Ulverston, Kirkby Lonsdale and Milnthorpe.

He said: “Booths is a dream business to work for and they really set the benchmark for ethical and honest retailing.

“The values of Booths are in line with everything I care about – great quality produce, staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic people in wonderful-looking shops.

“I’m looking forward to the challenges of making Booths a better business while remaining true to the core aim of selling great food coupled with exceptional service.”

Mr Minett started his career in retail at Asda, where he spent 22 years rising to become head of process and improvement.

He joined Sainsbury as a regional operations manager in 2004, moving on in 2009 to become head of retail at the electrical chain Best Buy UK. His last appointment before joining Booths involved 16 months in Saudi Arabia as director of hypermarkets for Panda United.

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The Original Factory Shop names former Asda boss as new chief executive

By Graham Ruddick8:00PM BST 09 Jun 2013Comment
Tony Page, most recently a director at cycling accessories retailer Wiggle, will replace Angela Spindler, who is joining catalogue fashion retailer N Brown.
The Original Factory Shop has almost 200 stores in the UK but has significant expansion plans as it seeks to cash in on the popularity of discount retailers.
Mr Page worked for Asda for 12 years until 2006, before joining Woolworths as commercial and marketing director.
Mr Page was working for Woolworths when the retailer called in administrators in 2008. The demise of the famous retail chain has allowed discount retailers such as the Original Factory Shop to prosper as they have picked up stores and customers from Woolworths.
Other previous roles for Mr Page include running the Lloyds Pharmacy chain, and taking an interim role at Wiggle to help the cycling retailer expand in the UK and abroad.

The Original Factory Shop is owned by Duke Street Capital, which is thought to be preparing for a sale of the retailer, although any move this year is unlikely.
The retailer has said its sales are growing by more than 5pc a year and that it is one of the fastest growing shop chains in the UK.
It was formed in 1969 out of Peter Black Holdings – one the biggest suppliers to Marks & Spencer – when it started selling surplus M&S stock.
The Original Factory Shop now sells a range of discounted products, from Tefal through to Next and M&S clothing.
Ms Spindler, who could collect as much as £4m over the next three years as a “golden hello” for joining N Brown, had said the Original Factory Shop has identified 400 locations across the country where it could expand.
The company employs 2,600 workers across 184 stores.

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