Wishing all our readers a blessed Ramadan Kareem

AmazonFresh opens its grocery Pickup locations in Seattle

Amazon has officially begun operating its AmazonFresh Pickup locations in Seattle, letting customers order groceries ahead of time and then quickly grab them on their way home. The service requires as little as 15 minutes advance notice, without any minimum purchase requirements, and it’s a free service for any Amazon Prime members.

Amazon first revealed Pickup back in March, but it’s officially opening shop for general use as of today. The pilot is limited to just one market – Amazon’s home turf – to begin with, but if it works it’s likely to make its way to other cities, since Amazon has been chasing the fresh grocery carrot for many years now in hopes of finding a way to make it profitable at scale.

Look inside Apple’s latest retail store shows stunning staircase, Apple Park paintings, boardroom

Look inside Apple’s latest retail store shows stunning staircase, Apple Park paintings, boardroom
Two days ahead of the opening of the first Apple Store in Singapore, the company has provided a press preview of the interior.
One notably missing feature is the glass staircase which has traditionally been a signature design element of Apple’s retail stores. There is instead what is being reported as a stone staircase but may be a ceramic one. This design was first seen in the Nanjing store in China, and appears to be destined for the refitted 5th Avenue store in NY too …

CNET draws attention to the handrail, which is a carved slot in the wall following the spiral curve of the stairs – and looks quite stunning.
Another rarely-seen feature is a boardroom intended for private meetings. Some other stores have these, using them for meetings with business customers and sometimes individuals, but they are tucked away out of sight. During the Apple Watch launch, they were used to hold private try-on appointments for the gold Edition model.
The boardroom also has paintings of the Apple Park.

Other interior elements are by now familiar: the Genius orchard, the wooden ‘bowling ball’ headphone holders, the giant screen and cube seating.

Miranda Curtis to step down from Marks & Spencer board

Since her appointment to the M&S board in 2012, Curtis has served on the remuneration, audit and nomination committees.
Robert Swannell, chairman of M&S, said: “We are delighted that Miranda will be with us until the end of her second term in February 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her significant contributions to the M&S board and its committees over the last six years. Her experience, challenge and insights have been invaluable. We wish her well in her new role at the FCO”.

Boots to launch in Korea

E-Mart said on March 19 that the Korean first store of Drugstore Boots opened in Starfield, Hanam. It was only 10 months since the signing of a partnership agreement between E-Mart and the Wall Green Boots Alliance (WBA) in July last year. The Boots store is located on the first floor of Starfield with the size of 619 square meter (187 pyeong).

WBA is a global ‘distribution giant’ that has 13,100 stores in 11 countries around the world, including the UK’s No. 1 health and beauty (H & B) brand, with annual sales of 145 trillion won.
E-mart will show Korean version of H & B, which is differentiated by global sourcing power of boots, the world’s top drugstore company, and E-Mart’s product planning ability.
The H & B market in Korea last year was1.2 trillion won. It has been on a steady upward trend with a growth of 30~40 percent every year and the business holds great promise for the future. In the next five years, it will grow to over 3 trillion won.
The boots strengthens the competitiveness with their own brand products (PL) and services. Boots has PL products such as ‘Soap & Glory’ and ‘Botanics’, including functional cosmetics ‘No.7’. In particular, No7 is the number one beauty brand in the UK, and has already been famous among Korean customers. With the official opening of boots, consumers can purchase boots PL products more easily such as No7.
The boots offers a ‘Match-made’ service that will consult the colours for their skin tones on the opening day. It recommends foundation and colour cosmetics by measuring consumer’s skin tone using No7 exclusive device.
To celebrate the opening of the Starfield Hanam store, the boots will carry out the ‘3 for 2’ event, which takes one more item if you buy two items of their own brand of boots by the 1st of next month. Until June 29th, 5000 won discount certificate will be presented to customers who purchase more than 50,000 won. The boots eco bags will be presented to 5,000 people by order of arrivals regardless of the amount of purchase. When purchasing more than 50,000 won, the boots beauty box will be presented for the first 400 people as well.
E-Mart will also open a large flagship store in Myeong-dong, which is called “The Holy Land of Cosmetics” in July. The size of the store is 1284 square meter (388 pyeong). E-Mart plans to gradually expand its H & B gmbusiness, starting with Starfield Hanam, complex shopping mall and Myeongdong stores.

Canada Goose to open two international flagships

Continuing its global expansion, Canadian winter clothing specialist Canada Goose Holdings has announced it will open two flagship stores this autumn, in London and Chicago. The company has also announced the expansion of its e-commerce channel to seven new markets including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria.

Marking the company’s first location in Europe, the Canada Goose London flagship store, the brand’s largest retail space to date, will be located on Regent Street. In Chicago, the brand will open its doors on Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue. Both stores will feature inspired Canadian design elements, including marble quarried in British Columbia, as well as the broadest assortment of seasonal collections and exclusive collaborations, and will provide an opportunity for consumers to engage and learn more about the company’s 60-year history.
‘Opening our first European store is not only a milestone for Canada Goose, but it’s turning a dream into reality. London and Chicago are world-renowned shopping destinations and I’m proud to bring our Canadian heritage, experience and unparalleled product to their historic streets,’ says Dani Reiss, president & CEO of Canada Goose.
In 2016, Canada Goose opened its first two flagship stores in Toronto and New York, showcasing the spirit of Canada Goose. The stores weave together the brand’s authentic heritage and commitment to craftsmanship with modern design in an Arctic-inspired environment.

Geox unveils new store concept ‘X Store’

Footwear and apparel retailer Geox has unveiled its newest store concept in Milan, Italy which aims to bring together technology, design, sustainability, and well-being.
Known as the ‘X Store’ concept, the new design preserves and enhances existing architectural features in the building, such as glass windows, columns, ceilings and exposed brickwork and works them seamlessly into the new concept.

In line with Geox focus on sustainability the new store concept, which has been unveiled in Geox flagship stores in Rome, London, Toronto Kuala Lumpur, uses only green materials. In fact, all materials used in Geox X Store concept, ranging from the terracotta tiles to the natural wood, are compliant with Leed Certification, in line with the company’s commitment to the environment.
The new concept also features a range of digital touchpoints to offer consumers a multi-sensorial shopping experience. These range from integrated digital screens and interactive displays where customers can learn more about an item, to charging stations in the fitting rooms. X Store is said to offer further proof of how important technology is to the Veneto-based company.
“This is a brand-new approach to retail. As soon as customers cross the threshold of a Geox store, they breathe, see and absorb the values which inspire our corporate design philosophy and mission day by day, gaining insight into our immense motivation to constantly improve quality and performance,” said the company in a statement.

“Our ultimate goal is to achieve day-to-day excellence, not only in terms of what our customers wear but also in terms of real coherence between urban life and the ethics of sustainability.”

Coach to re-enter the Russian market

COACH left Russia in 2011, where it was only distributed via multibrand stores, is returning to the country with a new partnership. Coach has just signed an exclusive agreement with BNS Group, a distributor in the region for labels including Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Topshop.
The agreement has a duration of five years, with the possibility of renewal. The opening of four Coach boutiques in Russia is forecast between 2018 and 2023.

Currently, Coach is sold in Russia via two multibrand stores through Tsum. The brand entered the Russian market in 2008, partnering with local usiness Jamilco. At the time, it planned to open 15 stores. Finally, it only opened a handful, which have been closed since 2011.

Over the past 2 years, Coach has seen its stores in esteemed shopping destinations multiply: in Paris in 2015; then on London’s Regent Street in November; its flagship opening in New York in December on 5th Avenue; followed by its very first Italian boutique in the upscale Milanese Via Montenapoleone. Coach now operates over 450 stores in North America, 520 in Asia and 40 in Europe.

Coach recorded revenue of $4.147 billion (3.946 billion euros) for its fiscal year 2015-6 ended last July, of which women’s handbag sales accounted for 53%.

Mothercare looks to almost halve number of UK stores

Mothercare used to have almost 400 stores, but will now have about 80 to 100. Photograph: Rex
Mothercare is to almost halve the size of its UK chain and stop selling clothes for older children as it tries to carve out a profitable future on the high street.
Mark Newton-Jones, Mothercare chief executive, said it would look to close up to 70 of its 152 UK stores as it adapts to a digital age where 41% of sales are rung up online.
“We are taking a fresh look at our estate and asking how many do we really need?” said Newton-Jones. “We’ve got six stores in Bristol – we don’t need six stores in Bristol. In Sheffield we’ve got five within a 20-minute drive time when we only need one or two. To cover all the major conurbations you only need 80 to 100 stores.”
At the start of this decade Mothercare was a ubiquitous presence on British high streets with closer to 400 stores but successive management teams have whittled away at that figure as the retailer struggled to compete with incursions by the supermarkets and online giant Amazon into what was once a specialist market.
Newton-Jones was hired in 2014 to lead a turnaround of Mothercare, but confidence was knocked by poor trading last summer. Since taking the helm he has closed 100 loss-making UK outlets and modernised 70% of the remaining stores.
Rather than competing in the cutthroat general kidswear market his strategy has focused on the lucrative niche of expectant parents and the paraphernalia required for newborns and toddler. It will now also stop selling clothes or toys for children older than four – previously its ranges ran up to age 10.
Pruning the UK chain, which has racked up losses of close to £100m over the last six years, has put it on the road to recovery with analysts predicting it will move into profit next year.
In recent years Mothercare has been forced to fall back on the success of its large overseas business but that is now facing headwinds of its own as shoppers in the Middle East – its biggest regional market outside the UK – spend less because of the slump in the oil price.
Pre-tax profits at Mothercare were flat at £19.7m on sales of £667.4m in the year to 25 March. Within that UK losses narrowed to £4.4m from £6.4m a year ago while underlying profits at its international business declined 13% to £35.2m. UK like-for-like sales were up 1.1%. The shares closed down more than 3% at 124p.
GlobalData analyst Sofie Willmott described the figures as “lacklustre” with the inclusion of online sales masking some poor store performances in the UK: “Given that Mothercare’s turnaround plan is in part focussed on investment in store refits we expected to be seeing more significant gains in UK store sales by now.”

Germany’s Lidl to open its first U.S. stores in June, create 5,000 jobs

Lidl is opening its first stores in June, ahead of the original 2018 schedule
German grocer Lidl said Wednesday that it’s going to open its first U.S. stores on June 15.
The company will open 20 stores this summer in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. By next summer, it plans to have up to 100 stores across the East Coast, and create a total of 5,000 jobs.
Stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Last year, Lidl said it planned to open its stores in 2018.
Lidl already operates about 10,000 stores in 27 countries in Europe. The company opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, VA in June 2015.
For now the company will be focused on bricks-and-mortar stores, according to Boudewijn Tiktak, Lidl’s chief commercial officer, who spoke at a Tuesday evening media event. The company is starting in these three states because of their proximity to Lidl’s U.S. headquarters and its facilities, the company said.
Lidl locations will be newly constructed and span six aisles over 20,000 square feet. About 90% of the goods sold will be Lidl private label, with far fewer items in each category available for sale, though the total number of stock keeping units (SKUs) is undisclosed.
“Do you need 50 labels of ketchup?,” asked Tiktak, at a media event Tuesday evening.

According to the company, its goods and groceries will be up to half the price of other U.S. supermarkets. Both fresh and frozen seafood in the core assortment will be certified sustainable or responsibly farmed. And there will be an assortment of organic and gluten-free merchandise in stock. All of the company’s private label goods will be free of certified synthetic colors, trans fats or added MSG, the company said.
“Curation” was a word that came up many times during the event, with various department representatives on hand to talk about the ways in which goods are selected.
Adam Lapierre, director of wine for Lidl U.S., said he tasted at least 10,000 wines to create Lidl’s assortment, which includes a rare Chilean Malbec and a rosé from Provence that he said shoppers won’t find elsewhere.
And Anna Sadovskaya, senior purchasing manager who works with items like chocolate and snacks, ate peanut butter for a week to select what goes on the shelf.
“You get to follow it through to the end and interact with items on a more intimate level,” she said.

These efforts to differentiate itself will be necessary in a crowded U.S. grocery market, where giants like Whole Foods Market Inc. WFM, -0.44% Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, +1.59% and Kroger Co. KR, +0.48% are vying for market share.
“They can be disruptive,” said Rupesh Parikh, senior food analyst for food, grocery and consumer products at Oppenheimer & Company, who points to Lidl’s success in the U.K. as evidence. But, he asks, “can they execute?”
Much about Lidl stores is still a mystery, such as the size of the produce department amid consumer demand for fresh food, how items will be presented, and what the overall experience will be like.
“Are they willing to make an investment and take losses because they see bigger opportunity down the road?” Parikh asked. Wal-Mart is watching competition like Aldi and Lidl closely, he said.
“If [Wal-Mart] reacts it can cause a chain reaction for others so they don’t lose share,” Parikh said. “If others have to follow, that can be an issue.”
But with consumers shopping in more places for groceries and willing to try new things, Lidl has a chance to make its mark.

Dubai prepares for three-day shopping bonanza

Dubai retailers are gearing up for a three-day ‘Super Sale’ in the emirate starting Thursday May 18.

More than 750 retailers across the emirate – more than 250 brands – will slash prices, knocking between 30 percent and 90 percent off products.
Some of the brands offering discounts include Guess, Steve Madden, Kurt Geiger, Roberto Cavalli, Galeries Lafayette, Furla, Missoni, Boutique 1, Scotch and Soda, Balmain, Aldo, Toms, Birkenstock, Charles & Keith, Nine West, Desigual, Al Jaber Optical, IDdesign, Marlin Furniture, Porsche Design and Disney Fashion.
More than 1,000 retail outlets across Dubai will offer discounts on a range of electronics, jewellery, toys, homewear, furniture, apparel and fashion.
The pre-Ramandan sale is organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

Apple planning new Mexico retail location in San Luis Potosi mall

Apple is planning a new Apple Store in Mexico as it continues to expand its presence around the globe. The new retail location will be located in the city of San Luis Potosi and construction is currently ongoing…

Specifically, the Apple Store will be located in a new section of the El Dorado Mall. While Apple has not yet confirmed details about the store, there is a sign with Apple branding where the store will be located that reads “Próximamente,” or “coming soon.”
Additionally, Apple has started hiring for the store, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple opened its first retail store in Mexico last September and is already working on another location in Mexico City. The San Luis Potosi will be the company’s third in Mexico. The new Mexico City location is said to be “flagship” in nature, with a design akin to that of Apple’s World Trade Center location in New York City. The store is said to be multi-level with the Genius Bar and retail space split from one another.
There’s no word on when Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location will open to the public, but the company is clearly moving things along as construction and hiring both continue. It’s also unclear just how big the new retail location will be and what sort of design traits it will share.
Elsewhere around the world, we reported last week that Apple will do a worldwide overnight refresh on older retail locations on May 16th. This effort will see Apple bring some of the qualities of its new flagships stores to older, smaller stores that can’t accommodate the full redesign. The changeover is best described as sort of a “‘halfway house’ between the original and new looks.
Apple also recently showed off motorized carbon fiber windows in its Dubai Mall store, and is working on the opening of a new Singapore store.
As always, we’ll update with more information about Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location as we get it. Do you have plans to visit this location when it opens to the public? Let us know down in the comments.

Apple reveals its plans for a flagship retail store in Milan, where you walk through a fountain to enter

It was back in January that we first heard that Apple was planning a new flagship retail store in Milan, Italy, with an outdoor amphitheater – and the company has now confirmed those plans.
It will be a square full of ideas. We are incredibly happy to be in the center of Milan, a town that for centuries combines creativity and innovation. In the coming months we will work to give you a new Liberty Square: an open space for everyone to take a break, meet with friends, discover new interests.
The store will sit beneath the amphitheater, and you’ll enter it using a staircase that descends through the middle of a fountain …
The store is there but you do not see it. Thanks to an original architectural solution, it is hidden beneath the cozy outdoor amphitheater. It will be the perfect place to share your passions, discover new ones and deepen your skills.
You enter the store passing through two tall walls of water forming a great fountain, a tribute to traditional Italian squares.
The store will be named Apple Piazza Liberty and will be located at Piazza del Liberty, 1–20121 Milano. Apple is reportedly paying the city around €768k ($843k) to cover the cost of reconstructing the square after the store is completed, as well as an annual rent of €127k ($140k) for the use of the square. The opening date has not yet been announced.
This is the first store I’ve seen that really makes sense of the idea of Apple Store becoming a new place to meet friends. With usually crowded interiors and no tea or coffee, that aspect of the Today at Apple initiative seemed a bit of a stretch, but where the roof of your store is a piazza, the idea clearly works. Apple is also expanding both the scope and the profile of its workshop program.
Apple has been rather active on the retail store front of late, removing the iconic glass cube at NYC’s 5th Avenue store as part of a major development, preparing to open its first store in Singapore, revealing plans for a Carnegie Library store in DC and ensuring that older stores unsuitable for a complete makeover don’t get completely left out.
Check out a couple more photos below.

Canada Goose chooses London for first European store

The London store in Regent Street will be the first Canada Goose shop in Europe. The Chicago store will be situated on Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose, said: “Opening our first European store is not only a milestone for Canada Goose, but it’s turning a dream into reality. London and Chicago are world-renowned shopping destinations and I’m proud to bring our Canadian heritage, experience and unparalleled product to their historic streets.”
Canada Goose will also be expanding its ecommerce channel to seven new markets this year including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria.
In 2016 Canada Goose opened its first two flagship stores in Toronto and New York, having launched its first ecommerce site in Canada in 2014. This was followed by the launch of online stores in the US in 2015 and the UK and France in 2016.
Canada Goose was founded in a small warehouse in Toronto in 1957 and has grown into one of the world’s leading makers of performance luxury apparel.

House of Fraser names new chief executive

Due to take up his position on 31 July, Williamson will join House of Fraser from the Goodwood sporting estate. Having originally started at Goodwood in 2008 as chief financial officer, he was promoted to group managing director and in 2012 took up the position of chief executive.

Prior to this, he was head of finance at TUI Travel and has held a variety of other roles and across the leisure and hospitality sectors.
Frank Slevin, executive chairman of House of Fraser, said: “Having recently set out our vision for the future of House of Fraser, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Williamson as our new CEO. Alex is uniquely placed to execute our vision, and to contribute his extensive expertise of delivering compelling and engaging experiences for the customer.
“House of Fraser operates in an exciting and challenging market requiring an ability to innovate and manage an increasing pace of change. I am confident Alex will be able to add his perspective and skill of running the Goodwood Estate, one of the great British heritage brands to the benefit of our continued growth.”

Smashbox launches first South East store at Bluewater

Situated on the Upper Rose Gallery adjacent to Topshop, the 889 square foot shop recreates the look and feel of the legendary Smashbox Photo Studios in Los Angeles.

Anuschka Kuhnel, brand manager at Smashbox Cosmetics, said: “The new Bluewater standalone store is an exciting step for the Smashbox Cosmetics brand, further marking our move of opening standalone stores outside the capital in select locations. The enthusiasm and demand we have experienced for our brand amongst consumers throughout the South East makes Bluewater an exciting move for us.”
The news follows the launch of The White Company’s new upsized statement store earlier this month on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall and the opening of Gap’s new UK concept store on the lower Rose Gallery in March.
Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Smashbox Cosmetics is a fantastic addition to Bluewater’s outstanding offer. The new flagship retail space will further strengthen the health and beauty category of the scheme, and reinforce Bluewater’s position as the UK’s leading retail and leisure destination.”

Sheikh Mohammed launches Dubai’s new $1.7bn mega-project

Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed has announced the launch of Marsa Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s latest tourist destination development in the emirate.
The $1.7 billion (AED 6.3bn) mega-project, spread across 4 million sq. ft, will be developed on new two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Marsa (Arabic for marina) Al Arab is expected to be completed by 2020.
One island will be dedicated to entertainment and family tourism, while the other comprises an exclusive luxury resort. The two islands will add 2.2 kilometres of beach frontage, as well as three new hotels and a number of new tourist attractions.
The family resort island will see Jumeirah Group introduce new leisure concepts and services as well as a new family-oriented hotel. To boost guest experience, Wild Wadi Waterpark will be moved from its current road-side location closer to the beach, and will be more than double its existing size when fully completed.
Dubai Holding will also develop ‘Marine Park’, a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre in the Middle East, with a live theatre of a 1,000 seat capacity that will attract world-class shows to showcase various elements of marine life.

Marsa Al Arab will also include a private marina and a yacht club, as well as diverse food and beverage offerings, as well as a helipad.
Complementing Madinat Jumeirah, the development will include a mixed-use convention centre capable of hosting large international conferences and festivals. The convention centre will be supported by a new hotel, offering a selection of services for businessmen and corporates.
The project will also include a large retail space stretching across 20,000 sq. m, which will replace the current Wild Wadi Water Park area.

The shopping centre will consist of international high-end brands, as well as a selection of restaurants and coffee shops to meet the needs of its luxurious shoppers. Marsa Al Arab will also offer 300 sea-front residential apartments in the heart of the development.
Together, the enhanced Wild Wadi and Marine Park will sprawl over an area of 2.5 million sq. ft.
The new family destination will house a dedicated theatre with a capacity of 1,700 seats, which will become home to the world-renowned show Cirque du Soleil for the first time in the Middle East.
Dubai Holding will develop 140 luxury villas on the ‘exclusive private island’, which will include a marina for its residents. Located on the left of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the luxury villas will be operated by Jumeirah Group. The island will also host a boutique hotel equipped with world-class facilities that reflect ‘Marsa Al Arab’s status as an attractive destination for elite travellers.
Overall, Dubai Holding will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Jumeirah Group’s portfolio, bringing its total offering to 8,428 rooms. There will be 400 new F&B outlets throughout the destination.
The existing hotels in the vicinity will be transformed into a unified tourist destination.
The development will offer pedestrian pathways, a jogging track, large swimming pool and a cycling course, allowing its residents to practice a diverse selection of physical activities.
Location of the two islands – on the left is the luxury island, located behind Jumeirah Al Qasr and Madinat Jumeirah. On the right, the island located behind Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah Beach.
Jumeirah Group will offer 10,000 additional parking spaces to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors, as well as work closely with various government entities and other relevant companies to provide a rapid transport network to interconnect the resorts and entertainment destinations, facilitating fast and easy movement throughout Marsa Al Arab.
The project will break ground in June 2017 and will completed by late 2020.

In addition, Dubai Holding will launch the Dubai Pearl Museum to showcase a historical collection of rare and ancient pearls from the region and worldwide. The Dubai Pearl Museum aims to shed light on the lives of the divers as well as the tools they used to find the precious jewels, reflecting the UAE’s heritage, culture and national pride.
“The launch of this new and ambitious project is in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to provide the finest and rewarding tourist experiences for visitors to Dubai, as well as enhance Dubai’s position as a global tourist destination,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman, Dubai Holding.
“We are proud of the vital role that Dubai Holding plays in this sector through supporting innovation and contributing to the economic diversification of Dubai.”

H&M expands into Colombia

The new store in Bogota at Centro Commercial La Colina has been highly anticipated with 3,000 locals queuing from 2pm two days before the opening to get the first glimpse of one of the world’s largest H&M stores and its fashion collection

The 6,000 square metre shop over two levels houses a selection of fashion and accessories for men, women and children.
H&M north American continental manager Daniel Kulle said: “We have been waiting for this day for a long time now and the response from our fans in Bogota was worth the wait! I am proud to welcome shoppers to our very first store and we are pleased to be able to offer our customers added value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price.”
The first shoppers in the store were given gift cards worth 600,000 pesos and the next 300 people received 150,000 pesos each. H&M staff then performed their iconic team dance along with award winning dance troop Dunkan Dance.

Musgrave unveils new brand identity

To celebrate the anniversary of brothers Thomas and Stuart Musgrave launching the business just over 140 years ago, Musgrave has unveiled a new brand identity.
The company has revealed a new logo – a modified version of the Musgrave chairman in 1902’s signature – which will now rollout across the entire Musgrave business.
Commenting on the new brand identity, Musgrave CEO Chris Martin described it as “a symbol of Musgrave’s heritage and the pride we share in being a sixth-generation Irish family business”.
He added that the new identity “will support our ethos of Growing Good Business as we continue to expand our retail, wholesale and export offering”.
Musgrave’s brands comprise SuperValu, Centra, Daybreak and Marketplace. Together with its retail partners, the business employs over 35,000 people in the Republic of Ireland alone – making it the State’s largest private sector employer.
Musgrave’s Growing Good Business strategy has also seen the company explore new opportunities, including the rollout of Frank & Honest, its new artisan take away coffee brand which has been launched in SuperValu and Centra. The strategy has also encompassed the development of a food emporium at its Musgrave Marketplace in two locations in Dublin; the launch of Chipmongers, it’s new foodservice franchise; and export to China through a partnership with Alibaba which has seen Musgrave start to export SuperValu products.
“Food retail is our core business and we are focused on strengthening the leadership position of our brands through our food leadership agenda, through investing in digital and by building on the foundation of our success,” Martin added.

Retail Acquisitions, which bought BHS for £1, heads for liquidation

Demise of firm fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell could aid administrators seeking to recover funds owed to creditors

 Former bankrupt Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions bought BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.

Retail Acquisitions, the former owner of the collapsed BHS, is on the point of liquidation, potentially helping investigations into the demise of the department store chain.

The group, which bought BHS for £1 in 2015 and was fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, has been accused of extracting an estimated £17m from BHS despite owning it for just 13 months before it went into administration in 2016. An estimated £6m was owed by Retail Acquisitions to BHS when it collapsed.
The failure of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m pension deficit. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into its demise concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and accused Chappell of having “his fingers in the till”.
The Pensions Regulator is also understood to be seeking as much as £17m via legal action against Chappell and Retail Acquisitions (RAL) in relation to the pension deficit.
On Wednesday the high court heard insolvency proceedings for Retail Acquisitions, and the judge ruled it should be put into liquidation. The judgment has been temporarily stayed and is expected to be formally handed down in the next few days.
Duff & Phelps, which is acting to track and retrieve BHS assets for the company and its creditors, said: “Duff & Phelps, acting on behalf of BHS Group Ltd, is satisfied that RAL has been put into liquidation. The process of realising the assets of RAL can now commence to the benefit of all the creditors of the BHS companies.”
The insolvency will give administrators complete financial records of RAL giving clarity on where funds taken from BHS were moved on to with a view to potentially recovering them for shareholders.
Chappell said: “RAL is disappointed by the outcome of the hearing … The order has been stayed by the court until its written reasons are provided so that RAL has an opportunity to properly consider an appeal.
“It will look forward to those written reasons and will then be able to take advice and decide next steps, to include an appeal.”
The collapse of BHS is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service which could recommend that former directors of BHS are banned from being company directors in Britain. The Financial Reporting Council is also looking into the collapse, while the Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a formal investigation.
Chappell was also arrested last year as part of an HMRC investigation into unpaid taxes on profits made from the collapsed department store chain.

Location of first Apple Store in Singapore finally officially confirmed

Apple’s first retail store in Singapore has been partially unveiled, providing the first official confirmation of the long-rumored Orchard Road location.
It was back in 2015 that Apple confirmed that it was opening a store on the island. At that point, the location wasn’t known, though there were strong signs pointing to the location on Orchard Road, the main upmarket retail area in the country …

Apple has now removed the barricades around the store, revealing a giant ‘Apple loves Singapore’ message in graphic form. The name of the store is also shown as Apple Orchard Road.
StraitsTimes notes that smaller versions of this graphic are used to signal the Creative Pros who will be available at the store.
There are 12 smaller groups of these icons close to the doors of the store. Each group of icon has a different red dot to represent the 12 local Creative Pros that Apple has selected.
Dubbed “Red Dot Heroes” by Apple, these Creative Pros are the liberal arts equivalent of Apple’s technical Geniuses that specialise in troubleshooting and repairs of products. Some of them will conduct free hands-on sessions at the upcoming Apple Orchard Road Store.
Apple first revealed its new ‘Today at Apple‘ initiative at its retail stores – with much greater focus on free workshops and help with creative projects – in a CBS interview last month, though we first learned about it last summer. The program was also a major focus at the recent opening of the spectacular Dubai store.
The opening date of the Singapore store isn’t yet known, though we have heard whispers about May 29. All of Apple’s operations in the country will be powered by solar energy.

Victoria’s Secret to debut at Milton Keynes

The new 8,258 square foot shop will be situated on East Walk and will stock the brand’s full collections including Victoria’s Secret PINK.

Other premium brands at Intu Milton Keynes include Hugo Boss, Apple, Karen Millen and Michael Kors. The shopping centre attracts 35 million customers a year.
Nick Round, regional director at Intu, said: “With its high proportion of affluent customers and location in the heart of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities, Intu Milton Keynes is the perfect destination for desirable brands to flourish. The increasing number of aspirational brands like Victoria’s Secret joining Intu Milton Keynes is giving our customers even more great reasons to visit the centre thus helping all our retailers flourish.”

UK card chain to expand into Ireland

 Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years1
Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years

UK high street retailer the Card Factory is gearing up for its entry to the Irish market, three years after it first floated a plan to open as many as 100 outlets here.
New CEO Karen Hubbard, who has been in the role for just a year, has told investors that she intends to pursue a strategy of expanding in Ireland and that there is a “clear opportunity” to build a strong presence here.
The retailer has just established a company in Ireland to spearhead the expansion.
Over the next three years, Card Factory plans to open a total of about 50 stores a year.
At the beginning of February 2016, it had 814 outlets across the UK, including a handful in the North, a figure that had risen to 865 at the end of last January.
Listed on the stock market, Card Factory posted revenue of £398.2m (€473.2m) in its last financial year, with like-for-like increases of under 1pc.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was £98.5m (€117m), which was 3.8pc higher on the previous financial year. Its margin slipped slightly from 24.9pc to 24.7pc.
The profits fell as footfall to its stores declined.
But apart from paying a regular dividend, it also paid a special dividend to shareholders. It is a strong cash generator and has only a small amount of debt on its books.
The company floated on the stock market in May 2014, in an initial public offering that was widely seen as unsuccessful at the time.
But its market capitalisation has risen from £712m in 2014 to the current £1.1bn (€1.3bn).
Card Factory recently hired Edinburgh Woollen Mills finance boss Kristian Lee as its chief financial officer.

Coach could buy Jimmy Choo

Coach is being seen as the most likely buyer to win up-for-sale British luxury footwear brand Jimmy Choo as the American giant forges ahead with its plan to become a multibrand luxury player.

Jimmy Choo was put on the block last month after its majority own JAB Holdings decided to focus on its coffee shop and café interests leafing to its other British brand Belstaff and its Swiss luxury label Bally also being up for sale.
It is thought less likely that one of the big European luxury houses would target a Jimmy Choo buy with Coach’s rivals more likely to be wealthy private equity investors from Asia or the Middle East.
Buying Jimmy Choo would instantly strengthen Coach’s presence in the growing footwear sector and take it even into more upmarket territory than its existing premium-to-luxury Stuart Weitzman label.
Industry sources told the Sunday Telegraph they see $11bn market-cap Coach as having the resources to beat off competition for Coach, as well as the investment cash to expand it fast. The company also benefits from the Coach brand’s new president and CEO, Joshua Schulman, having been CEO of Jimmy Choo until 2012.
After buying Stuart Weitzman for almost $600m in early 2015, Coach continued its won turnaround and drove Weitzman’s sales upwards. It now seems determined to convert itself into a much bigger multibrand player and in recent months an audacious approach to buy Burberry was turned down by the UK firm. Coach is still among the big names linked to a potential Kate Spade buy, however.
Whether it eventually wins Spade, Kors or any other giant brand, with Jimmy Choo potentially having a £700m-plus prince tag, buying it would be an affordable way to give Coach a label with massive growth potential and an as-yet-under-exploited presence in the key Chinese market. It’s also a brand that’s growing fast in the men’s sector and has a thriving perfumes portfolio, two crucial growth areas.

M&S to trial online food delivery service this autumn

Marks & Spencer is to launch an online grocery shopping service this autumn as it looks to cash in on the success of its food halls.

The retailer confirmed that a team of executives was currently drawing up a battle plan ahead of trials this autumn, allowing M&S customers to order food online and have it delivered to their home.
While Britons may have fallen out of love with the M&S clothing ranges in recent years they have been heading in droves to its food aisles as they opt to pick up food for an evening meal rather than do a big weekly shop.
Until now selling food online has not made business sense for M&S as its customers do not typically spend enough on groceries on each visit to make the service profitable.
But the retailer has concluded it can no longer ignore what is the fastest growing section of the UK’s £180bn grocery market as new delivery services, such as AmazonFresh, which allows shoppers to order groceries at lunchtime and get the delivery in time for dinner, revolutionise the way Britain buys food.
Senior executives were informed of the plan at a meeting at Wembley, north-west London, on Wednesday.
“We continue to review food online carefully,” said Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S. “It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response. There are unanswered questions over what this means for M&S and we have a team looking at this now with a view to undertaking a soft trial in the autumn.”

M&S already sells a limited selection of party food and alcohol on its website but this would be the first time its wider grocery offer would be made available online.

The high-street store is different from other food retailers as it stocks just 7,000 products compared with 40,000 at most Tesco shops. It also focuses on exclusive own-brand products with only a limited number of household brands available in its stores. It is not clear how the retailer would overcome these hurdles if it were to offer customers a full grocery outlet.
“The economics of food online are not straightforward and it is not something that we are going to rush into until we have substantial customer insight and a better understanding of what is right for M&S and right for our customers,” Rowe added.
Tony Shiret, an independent retail analyst, said Rowe was finally “biting the bullet”. Shiret added: “If they don’t do food online they stand to lose market share to people who do. It’s become a basic expectation from customers.”

However, the analyst said the retailer would face a big challenge trying to make the service profitable. “It is going to be tricky for them because their shopping baskets are small as people use their stores to buy bits and pieces.”
Rowe, who began his retail career aged 15 as a Saturday boy at the M&S Croydon store in south London, and took over as chief executive last April, is seeking to revive the declining profits of the 132-year-old retailer. His biggest job is turning around its clothing arm which under his predecessor, Marc Bolland, relied on heavy discounting to attract shoppers. Rowe is also keen to exploit the success of its food arm.
Last year Rowe announced plans to shut 30 UK stores and convert 45 more into food-only shops as part of a business overhaul that would slash the amount of shopfloor space devoted to clothing and face the challenge posed by online shopping.
M&S confirmed the location of six of the affected stores, which included four large “full-line” stores – which sell clothing, homeware and food. They are in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in Slough, Berkshire, Warrington in Cheshire, and Wokingham, Surrey. The retailer also unveiled plans to open another 34 food shops in the next six months.

Guess opens biggest UK store outside London at Liverpool One

Fashion brand Guess has opened its largest UK store outside London, with a 465 sq m (5,000 sq ft) store in the Liverpool ONE development.

The store, designed in-house, is arranged over two floors. It features a clean, white interior, high-tech lighting and contrasting materials, in line with the chain’s recently updated branding and layout plans.
Merchandise is presented to offer ‘total looks,’ with accessories displayed in the centre of the store to maximise visibility.
“We are delighted to have opened this store and started trading during the busy Bank Holiday weekend. It has been a great opportunity for us to introduce the new store concept and branding to Liverpool ONE’s stylish shoppers and we have received very positive feedback in addition to strong sales already,” says Guess CEO Victor Herrero.
“The brand has created a great store, bringing the best of London to Liverpool,” says Miles Dunnett of property group Grosvenor Europe.
 

Primark’s new Birmingham store will be its biggest yet

Primark’s new store in Birmingham is set to be the budget fashion retailer’s biggest store yet once it opens in December 2018.

Spanning 160,000sq ft across four floors, new store is located at the Birmingham Pavilions centre, which Primark is rumoured to have acquired for £60 million in 2014.
Its redevelopment plan to create its largest flagship store in the UK was approved in January 2016.

The opening of the new store will lead to the closure of the existing New Street store in Birmingham, but the retailer will relocate its staff as the new flagship is set to employ around 800 people – almost twice as the 460 New Street currently employs.

Once open, the new Birmingham store will be bigger than Primark’s current largest UK shop, which is in Manchester and spans across three floors of the former John Lewis building at around 155,000sq ft.

Mall of Africa celebrates 1st birthday

Morné Wilken, CEO of Attacq, explained that Attacq regards the Mall of Africa as one of its most valuable assets in the Attacq property portfolio.
“This mall is the realisation of a very significant vision and a long-term business journey. We identified a gap in the market to develop something extraordinary in the Waterfall area in the centre of Gauteng, the financial hub of South Africa,” said Wilken.
The 133 000m² first phase has more than 300 retailers and restaurants. When the mall opened on 28 April last year, more than 123 000 people visited the mall. In the eleven months to the end of March this year, over 13 700 000 people had visited the mall at an average monthly visitors’ rate of over 1 200 000 visitors per month.
The best performing months were May 2016 with 1 537 661 visitors and December when 1 517 899 visited the Mall of Africa, according to Wilken.
Despite tough economic times, the Mall of Africa achieved a turnover of R3 427 184 526 for the eleven months of trading to March 2017, at an average of R311 562 229 per month with a highlight month of R491 145 650 turnover achieved in December.
As part of the sustainable environmental approach, a solar rooftop photovoltaic plant, with 15 080 solar panels, has been installed on the roof of the mall. 

(Pics)Apple’s Incredible New Retail Store in Dubai

Boasting unobstructed views of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, via a 180-foot wide, artistically designed carbon fiber array of motorized windows, Apple’s latest upscale retail store will be opening tomorrow, April 27th, 2017, at the swanky Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates.
Designed in collaborating with Foster + Partners — the same design team behind Cupertino’s brand-new Apple Park headquarters — the Dubai Mall Apple Store features an ever-changing array of 37.5-foot tall windows, overlain with super-strong carbon fiber panels that are capable of meticulously shifting orientation based on the fluctuations of external temperature in Dubai.
“To mitigate Dubai’s climate, Foster + Parters designed eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorized ‘Solar Wings’ that respond to the ever-changing environmental conditions,” the company wrote in its official press release about the grand-opening. “When the sun is at its hottest they cool the store, and in the evenings they open to welcome everyone to the public terrace. Inspired by the the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya, each ‘Solar Wing’ is locally fabricated from 340 carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods, and at 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.”
These magnificent carbon fiber windows will also provide visitors an unobstructed view of one of Dubai’s greatest attractions: the Sama Dubai — a spectacular water fountain show that takes place every evening, and is conveniently located right below the Apple Store terrace at Dubai Mall.
Appropriately, Apple in its press release has invited visitors of the new location to enjoy the beautiful fountain array, which can be seen taking place in the first of two YouTube videos below. Also be sure to check out the second YouTube video, which gives us a glimpse of the Dubai Mall Apple Store, itself, and the surrounding area.

The company was sure to emphasize in its press release that the grand-opening of the Dubai Mall Apple Store is a way to draw more attention to its recently announced workshop series — dubbed Today at Apple — which will essentially embody a series of free education courses, focusing on a variety of topics including art, design, photography, and software coding, among other concepts.
“At the heart of every Apple Store is the drive to educate and inspire,” the company said, while adding that “Today at Apple will launch at Apple Dubai Mall and in all 495 Apple stores next month with new sessions across photo and video, music, coding, art and design, and more, led by highly-trained team members.”
The Dubai Mall Apple Store will also host a variety of high-profile events, many boasting live music, conversations with film-makers and photographers, and additional live workshops hosted by some of the world’s leading talent on the subject at hand.

Sainsbury’s teams up with Russell Athletic

The supermarket is making a range of Russell Athletic clothing for men and women available on its Tu clothing website as part of its strategy to offer customers choice across different channels.
The partnership with Russell Athletic marks the first time Sainsbury’s female customers are able to buy branded clothing alongside Sainsbury’s Tu range. For men, it follows the success of leisurewear brand Admiral.
Sainsbury’s launched its first branded partnership with Admiral in stores and online in August 2015 and sales are now up 155% compared with the initial launch. The collection was originally available in 100 Sainsbury’s stores but has now been extended to 170 stores.
The supermarket said the partnership with Russell Athletic will enable it to grow its share of the ‘athleisure’ market.
Sainsbury’s commercial director James Brown added: “Sainsbury’s clothing business is quickly becoming a destination fashion brand, growing strongly over recent years and continuing to gain market share. Through working with brands we are able to offer our customers an even greater choice alongside our popular Tu range.”

Jimmy Choo puts itself up for sale

In a statement, the company said its majority shareholder, JAB Luxury, is supportive of the process.

It also said the UK’s Takeover Panel has agreed that any discussions with third parties may be conducted within the context of a “formal sale process” to enable conversations with parties interested in making a proposal to take place on a confidential basis.
However, Jimmy Choo added that it is not currently in receipt of any approaches..
Jimmy Choo was founded in 1996 by couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon who later sold their shares. The company’s current chief executive is Pierre Denis, a former LVMH executive.
Private equity firm JAB Luxury holds 67.66% of Jimmy Choo’s issued share capital.

Boden to launch in John Lewis

Due to launch in the autumn, the concessions will be in John Lewis shops in Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Southampton and London’s Oxford Street.

Jill Easterbrook, who joined Boden as chief executive in February, told This is Money: “We are really excited to be going into John Lewis. It marks the coming together of two great British brands.”
Boden currently only has one bricks-and-mortar shop in London’s Hangar Lane but is considering opening more stores in the future.

Power cut plunges Dubai Mall into darkness

Dubai Mall, one of the world’s biggest shopping centres, was plunged into darkness on Monday evening after experiencing a power cut for nearly two hours.

According to photos posted on social media, hundreds of shoppers were forced to wander the mall in the dark. Lights went out and escalators stopped working at about 7.15pm local time.
At just before 9.15pm, Dubai Media, which initially announced the power outage, said the power had been restored.
The Dubai Mall issued a statement saying it regretted the inconvenience caused to shoppers and thanking them for their patience.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said the outage was caused by a problem with a cable at Dubai Mall Metro Station.
One Twitter user said earlier that shoppers were using the flashlight on their phones to navigate around the mall.
Another said: “Power still out, almost an hour now. No announcements from security or management. Very poor.”

Debenhams eyes closure of 11 warehouses and 10 UK stores

Debenhams has announced a turnaround plan that could see up to 10 UK stores reviewed for closure and 11 warehouses close down, placing hundreds of job at risk.

The news comes as the department store released its interim half-year results for the 26 weeks to March 4, which shows an uptick in sales and like-for-likes but a drop in profits.
Chief executive Sergio Bucher, who took over the helm last October, said the “Debenhams Redesigned” turnaround strategy aimed at boosting the department store chain’s appeal as a “destination” shop and improving its online offering.
The plan includes a review of up to 10 of its 165 UK stores for possible closure over the next five years and shift around 2000 staff to customer-facing roles.
The overhaul will also see the retailer begin consultation to shut one of its three central distribution centres run by DHL, plus 10 smaller in-house warehouses.
According to Press Association, the DHL warehouse employs 220 staff and will shut in two years’ time, although Debenhams hopes to be able to redeploy many staff affected by the smaller warehouse closures.
The Debenhams Redesigned strategy also see the retailer axe in-house brands, leave non-core international markets, declutter stores with 10 per cent reduction in stock options, remove barriers to online and in-store shopping, and offer customers more “experiences” as part of a drive to lure shoppers back to its stores.
“Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too,” Bucher said.
“Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use. 
“We will be a destination for ‘social shopping’ with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers. 
“If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources.”
Details of Bucher’s turnaround plans came as the retailer announced a 6.4 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £87.8 million for the six months period of the interim report. 
Debenhams’ overall EBITDA was also down by 2.5 per cent to £149.1 million, dragged down by a six per cent drop in the UK market EBITDA compared to the 13.1 per cent spike international EBITDA.
However, the department store chain’s overall sales was up by 2.9 per cent to £1.67 billion, with like-for-likes in the UK edging up by 0.5 per cent.
Online performance in the UK performed exceptionally well, driven by a 64 per cent surge in mobile orders.
“I’d like to thank the executive team and all our colleagues, who made sure that we were able to deliver a great experience for our customers over the peak trading period, and who are now working hard to implement our new strategy,” Bucher said.
“This will set Debenhams on course for a successful and profitable future.”

M&S unveils details of UK stores overhaul

The openings comprise 34 new food stores and two clothing, home and food stores.

These include Foodhalls in Bishopsgate, London, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields, Manchester and Strood in Kent and new locations for M&S with clothing, home and food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July.
Over 1,400 new customer assistant and management jobs will be created by the new shops.
However, the retailer has proposed closing six shops and is consulting with colleagues and their representatives in the stores in Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop.
If the proposals go ahead, all 380 colleagues in the affected stores would be guaranteed redeployment at a nearby store.
Five-year store plan
The plan is part of M&S’s five-year UK store programme that it unveiled in November after a full review of its UK estate. 
M&S’s plan to grow its food business but to sell clothing and home from fewer, “more inspirational” locations that offer better ranging and availability.
The strategy includes opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home from 60 fewer locations. 
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers.
“However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing.
“Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.
“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers.
“It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only.
“Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.” 
M&S currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full-line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.

The White Company opens upsized store at Bluewater

Luxury lifestyle brand The White Company has upsized its store at Bluewater in Kent. The retailer has also doubled in presence to create a 546 sq m statement store on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall. Adjacent to Hobbs, Russell & Bromley and the recently opened Michael Kors, the store has been designed by an in-house team and evolves The White Company’s classic look, with the emphasis on creating a calm and inviting retail experience.

The new statement store combines the brand’s complete range of exclusive lifestyle products, from women’s fashion and accessories to homewares, beauty products and The Little White Company’s childrenswear. 

‘This newly opened White Company store is a great addition to Bluewater. The upsizing of the site to a statement store highlights Bluewater’s success for the brand as a location, enabling them to offer the best possible expression of their brand and a more comprehensive product range. Together with other exciting retailers joining the scheme, including Missguided which opens in the summer, Bluewater continues to offer an industry leading retail line-up,’ says Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater. 

Sarah King, director of Property at The White Company, adds: ‘We are delighted to open the doors of our new statement store at Bluewater, a site that has been a longstanding top performing location for us. The new fit-out embodies our brand perfectly and will enable customers to discover an expanded product range and enjoy an inviting and seamless White Company experience.’ 
This summer, Missguided is making its first move outside London at Bluewater, with the launch of a 1,486 sq m statement store on the lower Rose Gallery.

Juicy Couture set to pull out of the UK market

London – Although Juicy Couture has seen somewhat of a revival recently, it seems as if parent company’s Authentic Brands Group best efforts were not enough to keep the brand afloat in the UK. The fashion brand, best known for its bling velour tracksuits favoured by the likes of Paris Hilton over a decade ago, is set to pull out of the UK market.
At the moment the label currently counts two stores in the London – one on Regent Street and another in Westfield White City, in addition to an outlet in Bicester and a store in Bluewater. But a report from the Telegraph states Juicy Couture is set to close its UK stores and will only retain an online presence in the UK.
Juicy Couture also counts a number of concessions in Harrods, Selfridges and Topshop in the UK, but it remains unclear what Authentic Brands Group aims to do with its concessions. The move follows on from fellow US brand Banana Republic’s withdrawal from the UK amid increasing difficult trading conditions.
ABG acquired Juicy Couture four years ago for 195 million dollars. The licensing company is best known for its celebrity brands, such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. FashionUnited has contacted Authentic Brands Group for additional commentary.

Pep & Co losses soar after pricey push to take on Primark

Losses at Pep & Co, the bargain fashion chain backed by South Africa’s retail billionaire Christo Wiese, soared last year on the back of its rampant expansion plan.
The company, which opened 50 shops last year, was launched by South Africa’s Steinhoff in a move to target cash-strapped families in towns not yet colonised by rival Primark. The company has continued its store opening programme and now has 95 shops as of last week.
Pep & Co’s holding company, Pepkor UK, recorded sales of £29m in its first year of having shops open but pre-tax losses grew from £4.3m to £18.9m in the year to 24 September 2016. A spokesman clarified that the £4.3m of losses was before its shops had opened in 2015.
Steinhoff last year also bought Poundland in a £610m takeover and has since unveiled plans to introduce 100 Pep & Co fashion concessions within the single-priced retailer’s larger shops.
Around 95pc of Pep & Co clothes cost £10 or less, although Adrian Mountford, managing director, said earlier this year that the retail chain might have to re-think its £1 t-shirts as the weaker pound meant the chain was losing money on those products.
The sterling slump since the EU referendum has prompted a steep jump in import costs for fashion retailers which source the majority of clothes from Asia in dollars. Pep & Co has said it hopes to minimise the return of inflation by securing better deals with suppliers as sales volumes increase.
Last month Steinhoff appointed administrators to 60 unprofitable 99p Stores shops that had shut following an ill-fated takeover by Poundland a year earlier.
Mr Wiese’s investment vehicle has already pumped £20m into the UK Pep & Co venture.

House of Fraser doubles profit but warns on volatile retail sector

Department store to axe underperforming brands amid ‘challenging trading conditions’
House of Fraser has been trying to diversify away from its faltering home market but progress has been slow

UK department store chain House of Fraser has warned of “subdued” trading and “volatility” in the retail sector, despite doubling last year’s slender profit margins and making a long-awaited start to its Chinese expansion.

The retailer, which recorded £1.3bn in gross transactions in the year to January 28, notched up a profit of £3.4m before tax and exceptional items, according to a trading update released on Tuesday. 

Chief financial officer Colin Elliot said the “strong” results came “despite continued challenging trading conditions across the retail sector”.
British retailers are contending with sharply higher import costs, with sterling now trading about 15 per cent lower against the dollar than it did on June 23, the day the UK voted to leave the EU. 
Analysts say the hardest-hit companies will be those that sell undifferentiated products that leave them little leeway to pass higher costs on to consumers.
House of Fraser said it was discontinuing “five underperforming house brands”, focusing its efforts on more popular offerings.
Own-label sales at the chain declined 2.1 per cent last year, even as sales of branded products increased 3.6 per cent.
Womenswear sales fell 0.6 per cent, in a year in which clothes shopping seemed to go out of fashion, with official statistics recording the first sustained decline in the nation’s wardrobe additions for more than a decade.
While House of Fraser has for several years been trying to diversify away from its faltering home market, progress has been slow.
Sanpower Group chairman Yuan Yafei talked boldly about his plans to take the House of Fraser chain global when his conglomerate bought the 166-year-old UK department store in 2014.
The Chinese entrepreneur and former local government official promised to inject capital into the cash-strapped retailer, open outposts in Russia and the Middle East — and, most importantly, push into China, with up to 50 new stores under the name “Oriental Fraser”.
Little of that has happened, although the Chinese debut finally came in December with the opening of a store in Nanjing, which had originally been slated for 2015.
The shop, which opened with a parade drummers in traditional bearskin hats, occupies six storeys and sells a “quintessentially English” range of items from more than 300 brands, Sanpower said at the time. 
House of Fraser has repeatedly changed hands over the past three decades, with stints under the ownership of the al-Fayed family and the Icelandic investment group Baugur, which collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, as well as a stock market listing.

Nautica relaunches in Dubai Mall as it looks ahead to Saudi Arabia

The American fashion brand Nautica relaunched its Dubai Mall store on Tuesday with new partner Apparel Group.
In an interview with Gulf News, Patricia Canavan, Vice President and General Manager — Nautica Licensing, said that there would be two further store openings this year in the GCC.

She added that the brand was targeting the Avenues mall in Kuwait and was looking to launch in Jeddah also.

Nautica, established in New York City in 1983, currently has 12 stores in the Gulf region, and is aiming to add 18 stores in the next five years, according to Canavan.

“From a population perspective Saudi Arabia represents the greatest opportunity for expansion. We are looking at opening in the tier two cities, as well,” she said.

The company also believes that Saudi Arabia also holds the biggest potential for the growth of their online business.

Apparel Group, a Dubai-based retail conglomerate, is the local partner for brands such as Calvin Klein, Cath Kidston and Tommy Hilfiger. It operates over 1,700 stores across the region.

Together, the senior Nautica official said, they have overhauled the flagship store in Dubai Mall.

“We are reintroducing the brand in various ways. It is a new retail concept for us in Dubai,” Canavan said.

The relaunch at Dubai Mall was spurred by the change in partnership, she said, adding that “there was a need to get out of certain locations that may not have been brand appropriate. Certain commercial centres become obsolete over time.”

Canavan said that Nautica was developing its relationship with the Apparel Group, who has the expertise and can give us feedback on the new product as we go and ensures that we do not alienate existing customers.

Dubai will remain the lifestyle brand’s hub, she said, despite Saudi Arabia potentially making up 50 per cent of the company’s business in the future.

This market “has done a better job than most at diversifying away from pure retail experiences,” Canavan said in the interview, noting that the future of malls was about engaging with customers, not simply trying to sell to them.

“Having ski slopes, having fountains, having parks — that’s the future of retail,” she said.

Apple’s third retail store in the country will open in The Dubai Mall on April 27.

The two-level store, located on both the ground floor near Pucci and Jimmy Choo, and the first floor near Paule Ka, will be officially opened at 4pm.
With a tagline “Creativity. Connected.”, Apple is targeting the country’s creative community that includes start-ups, independent art galleries, local app developers, boutiques, cafes and food trucks, according to the company.

This will be the third Apple store to open in the country with others at Mall of the Emirates and Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.

Fendi opens new Tokyo flagship

Italian luxury leather label Fendi has announced the opening of its new ‘Fendi Ginza’ flagship store, in Ginza Six in the upmarket area of Ginza, 6th street, on April 20.

“Ginza 6 is a modern and visionary interpretation of what luxury stands for today. Fendi is all about Rome and I believe that with this new boutique we will bring to Tokyo a piece of Dolce Vita with the aesthetics of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and its façade,” said Fendi Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari.
The new store will showcase the one of Japan‘s largest collections of Fendi menswear and womenswear, spread across 4 floors including the basement. The boutique will carry ready-to-wear items, furs, and leather goods including shoes and accessories, and will debut its first Made-to-Order furwear service in the country.
In commemmoration of the opening, a limited-edition handbag will be available alongside smaller leather goods.
Inspired by Rome, the label’s birthplace, the exterior facades draw heavily on Roman design, featuring tall pale arches in the style of the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana monument.
Fendi, which was founded in 1925 as a leather and fur specialist, operates 37 monobrand and corners in Japan. Owned by LVMH since 2001, the Italian brand has been targeted by animals rights groups for its continued use of fur, with protests at its 90th anniversary celebrations. Nevertheless, the French luxury group reported record highs in overall revenue for its 70 brands, including Fendi, in Q1 2017.

Next boss’s bonus axed as high street stores feel the pinch

Next boss Lord Wolfson has missed out on his annual bonus for the first time in 18 years amid tough times on the British high street.
Wolfson’s total pay package dived by 58% to £1.8m in the year to 28 January, according to the fashion and homewares retailer’s annual report published on Tuesday, after a key earnings per share target was missed. Last year, Wolfson earned a £503,000 annual bonus as part of his £4.3m total pay package.
Total remuneration for Next’s board almost halved as all directors missed out on their annual bonus after a failure to stock enough wardrobe staples contributed to the chain’s first drop in annual profits for eight years.
The company has also struggled in a tough market as shoppers spend less on clothes and more on eating out and holidays while competition online, where Next once offered far superior service, has increased as the likes of Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have modernised their operations.
However, all the directors were awarded a payout in recognition of Next’s long-term shares and earnings performance over the three years to January. Wolfson was awarded £606,000 in shares on top of his basic pay, down from £2.2m last year.
In the year ahead, Wolfson will get a 1% rise in basic salary to £773,000 and could earn up to £3.95m if he achieves the maximum possible bonus payouts.
New executive directors Michael Law and Jane Shields, who joined the board in 2013, will also get a 1% rise in basic salary to £416,000 each. But the annual report says the board handed Law, the operations director, and Shields, the sales and marketing director, a much lower pay rise than the 15% they had planned to implement this year in the light of poor profits.
Finance director Amanda James received a 16% pay rise to £416,200 in February but that was less than the 18% the board previously anticipated.
Wolfson has said he is “extremely cautious” about the outlook for the year ahead as shoppers continue to spend less on clothes, growth in consumer incomes weakens and prices rise as a result of the fall in sterling.
House of Fraser finance director Colin Elliot said on Tuesday he was also cautious and expecting “another challenging year” in 2017 amid uncertainty over the UK’s relationship with Europe and the snap general election announced on Tuesday.
He said the department store chain would be updating its shops and adding in more restaurants and cafes as it tried to use its high street space differently in the face of a tough clothing market. The group is planning to drop five own-label womenswear lines including Therapy, Linea Weekend, Episode and Dickins & Jones as part of the shift in emphasis.
Elliot said womenswear had been the toughest sector for House of Fraser in 2016 but strong sales of beauty products and a good Christmas helped more than double pre-tax profits, before exceptional items, to £3.4m. Sales remained steady at £1.3bn, helped by a 16% rise online.
Chairman Frank Slevin said a new chief executive for House of Fraser, to replace Nigel Oddy who formally exits later this month, would be announced very soon. He said the group’s Chinese owner Sanpower, which bought a controlling stake in 2014, was committed to opening stores in its homeland despite rumours that it might have lost interest. “House of Fraser is not up for sale,” Slevin said.

Mike Tyson to launch boxing academy franchises in Dubai

Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is set to launch his global franchise of fitness centres in Dubai next month.

The American’s new business venture, Mike Tyson Academy (MTA), will see a host of academies launched around the world, and in particular in the Middle East, Australia, France, West Africa and China where there has been interest from potential partners.
Dubai appears to be one of the locations where Tyson will launch one of the franchises.
“Dubai has established itself on the world map by hosting many leading sporting events and icons and there is definitely a niche in this market for a fitness centre that is associated with quality and driven by a hard-core, challenging philosophy like mine,” said Tyson, explaining his decision to launch the fitness franchise in Dubai.  
“I strive to maintain consistency across all my centres with trainers that have been certified by me as well as exceptional training staff who will be on site to ensure a certain benchmark is maintained. I am positive that this is going to be only the beginning of a long-running successful association between myself and the region.”
He said the fitness centres will feature cardio, strength, functional training and boxing exercises. There will be a full-scale boxing ring in every location and a host of group training and functional classes to take fitness programmes a notch higher.
Tyson is set to reveal the details of the new business venture at a press conference in the Burj Khalifa on May 4 next, which will be followed by the grand MTA Launch Gala on May 6th at 8pm, hosted by Fred Frenchy Corp and the Mike Tyson Academy. Reservations for the gala event can be made by emailing gala@miketysonacademy.com

Wishing our readers and followers a Happy Easter

Nyx sits pretty with debut UK store (pics)

The beauty retailer, which L’Oreal acquired in 2014 for $500m (£403.6m) rolled out its first standalone store in the UK in the London shopping centre this month.

The 2,100 sq ft outlet carries 1800 SKUs and a statement from the retailer said its product range caters to “16-34 year old make-up enthusiasts.”
Founded in 1999 by Toni Ko, Nyx Professional Makeup aims to offer shoppers professional quality make-up at an affordable price point.
Since then, the retailer has established itself a cult beauty brand amongst millennial shoppers in the US, amassing 10.7m Instagram followers.
When L’Oreal snapped up Nyx Professional Makeup in 2014, US president and chief executive Frédéric Rozé said the retailer had done a “tremendous job of harnessing the power of social media, digital marketing and multichannel distribution”, which had made it stand out to the beauty giant.
The specialist retailer operates through an ecommerce website as well as a variety of concessions and a growing standalone bricks-and-mortar store estate.
Nyx Professional Makeup is part of L’Oreal’s slew of specialist health and beauty brands including Urban Decay, Kiehl’s and The Body Shop, which the cosmetics giant put up for sale earlier this year and has piqued the interest of potential bidders including Advent International and CJ Group.

Waitrose to offer customers restaurant style dining experience

The retailer will hold a ‘Supper Club’ at the shop in Haywards Heath where customers will be able to have a restaurant quality meal created by chefs from its three Cookery Schools. Customers will be able to choose from an exclusive three course menu, which will include nibbles and drinks, for £35.
Waitrose will transform the mezzanine level store café for eight evenings throughout April and May and has begun taking bookings for the 50 places available each evening. The space will feature music and ambient lighting with tables laid out for both couples and larger groups.

This is the first time the concept has been launched at a new store after it was trialled for a short period last year in Waitrose’s Newbury and Salisbury stores.
Manager of the Waitrose Cookery Schools, Karen Himsworth, said: “This aims to deliver the next level of in store dining at Waitrose, building upon concepts like our sushi bars and wine bars. We want to make our stores a food destination in the evenings as well as in the day.
“We realise a supermarket might not spring to mind when people are thinking about dining out in the evening, but we want that to change. Our aim is to create an atmosphere that is inviting whether you are having a meal for two or out with a group of friends.”
Waitrose said it hopes to continue the evenings at the Haywards Heath store once the trial has finished and will also look how it might introduce the concept in other branches.

Coach appoints president and CEO of Coach brand

Due to take up the newly created role in June, Schulman will be responsible for all aspects of the brand globally and will report to Coach chief executive Victor Luis. The new leadership structure follows Coach’s acquisition of Stuart Weitzman in 2015.

Schulman will be joining Coach from Neiman Marcus Group where he is president of Bergdorf Goodman and NMG International. He joined Neiman Marcus Group in 2012 and assumed additional responsibility for NMG International with the acquisition of MyTheresa.com in 2014.
Prior to that, Schulman was chief executive of Jimmy Choo and also held senior executive roles at Gap, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci.
Luis Said: “I’ve known Josh for many years and had always hoped to attract him to Coach. He lives and breathes our industry and brings a unique blend of brand building and broad retail experience to the company, making him the ideal person for this newly created role. I couldn’t be more excited to have Josh lead the Coach brand.”
The company has also announced that Andre Cohen, currently president, of North America and global marketing for the Coach brand, will be leaving the company at the end of June to return to Asia with his family. Having worked with Coach since 2008, Cohen was instrumental in Coach’s development in Asia and has been spearheading the execution of the brand’s transformation strategy in the North American market over the last two years.
Luis added “Andre has been a great partner to me and a strong leader of our businesses in Asia and North America. I deeply appreciate his friendship and contributions over the last nine years but naturally I respect his family’s decision to return home to Singapore.”  

Saudi Arabia to build mega ‘entertainment city’

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will build a “entertainment city”, a mega cultural, sports and entertainment project in Riyadh that will include a safari area and a Six Flags theme park.
The unnamed project, to be built in Al Qidiya, southwest of Riyadh, will cover an area of 334 square kilometres.
While the cost of the project was not revealed, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the development will be funded primarily by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors, which he said supports the kingdom’s position as an important international centre in attracting foreign investments.
Work on the project is expected to start in early 2018, with the first phase due to be completed by 2022.
“The city is planned to become a prominent cultural landmark and an important centre for meeting the future generation’s recreational, cultural and social needs in the country,” Prince Mohammed said.
The “pioneering and most ambitious project” comes within the framework of plans to support the Saudi vision 2030 by creating quality and distinctive investments within the kingdom. The country recently held a film festival and Comic Con exhibition.
In June 2016, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed exempted Saudi Arabia from a GCC theme park deal with US theme park operator Six Flags.

Apple reportedly opening new flagship retail store in Mexico City

Not long after opening its first Mexico City retail location, Apple is planning a new flagship retail store in the city. Apple currently intends on the store being “flagship” in nature, with a design akin to that of Apple’s World Trade Center location in New York City…

The new details come via a report from AppleInsider, which cites a “person familiar with the matter.” Apple is said to be taking over large retail space in Antara Fashion Hall, which was most recently occupied by Crate & Barrel. The location is twice the size of Apple’s current Mexico City store in Centro Santa Fe mall’s high-end Via Santa Fe wing.
The design of the new Ciudad de Mexico store is said to be similar to that of the new World Trade Center store in New York City, which just opened last August. The store features high-end design traits such as a high ceilings, a 37-foot custom-built TV screen, and much more. Apple’s new Ciudad de Mexico store is also expected to be multi-level, meaning the Genius Bar and retail space might be split from one another, similar to other multi-level Apple Stores around the world.
The Antara Fashion Hall first opened its doors in 2006 and comes in at over half a million square feet. It features 3 floors of retail space, restaurants, and a movie theater. It’s located three blocks north of Avenida Presidente Masaryk, which is known for its high-end, luxury shopping amenities.
Specific details about when Apple plans to open its new flagship retail location remain unclear, but it’s likely a long way away at this point. The news of Apple’s newest Mexico City location comes as its first retail space in the city, opened last September, is experiencing unusually high sales and struggling to keep up with demand.
Today’s report also adds details such that Apple is mulling an expansion in Brazil. Company officials are reportedly in the process of determining whether or not Apple will open two additional stores in the country, including one new flagship location in Sao Paulo. As of now, Apple operates two retail locations in Brazil.