Monthly Archives: May 2012

Walmart to expand small-format stores ..

Walmart, the world’s biggest supermarket chain by sales, is poised to expand its smallest format stores, creating a further potential hurdle for Tesco’s lossmaking US business, Fresh & Easy.
Bill Simon, chief executive of Walmart’s US business told an investor conference last week that its smallest stores – which span 12,000 to 15,000 sq ft – were performing ahead of expectations and it planned to roll out more of these Walmart Express outlets.

Tesco’s Fresh & Easy stores, primarily in California, are about 10,000 sq ft, although it is rolling out a smaller format of 3,000 to 4,000 sq ft to move deeper into urban areas.
Speaking at a Morgan Stanley retail conference, Mr Simon said he was happy with the sales performance of the 10 initial Walmart Express outlets, a mix of grocer, pharmacy and convenience store.
He added: “What we are also happy with … is that inside of 12 months, they are turning profitable.”
Mr Simon said the group was still analysing how many Walmart Express stores could be supported by individual markets.
“You will see us in the back half of this year go to a market and build them out very densely so that we can understand their interaction with the rest of the market, including us,” he said.
Locations for Walmart Express stores include Chicago and North Carolina. The retailer is also opening midsized supermarkets of about 40,000 sq ft in markets including California.
Walmart’s move underlines the shift in the US from big hypermarkets to smaller stores, as consumers shop more locally amid rising fuel costs and to save money by cutting down on food waste.
But Walmart’s plans come at a delicate time for Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco. Last month, he revealed that Fresh & Easy would not meet its target of breaking even by February next year.
Instead, the chain is now expected to break even during the 2013-14 financial year. Tesco has also put significant US store openings on hold as it strives to make existing ones profitable.
Tesco is introducing a series of initiatives to turn round Fresh & Easy, including experimenting with a version of its “click and collect” online shopping service.
It has refitted stores, introducing features that are standard in the US, such as in-store bakeries and takeaway coffee. It has also made the supermarkets feel warmer and less utilitarian, and last year introduced a version of its successful Clubcard loyalty scheme.
Tesco has also shaken up the Fresh & Easy management. Tesco could not be reached for comment on Walmart’s plans.

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Shoprite (South Africa ) bonds start trading today ….

Today is the first day of trade for Shoprite’s convertible registered bonds on the JSE after the group received approval on Friday.
SA’s biggest supermarket chain announced a concurrent share and bond offering in March aimed at raising funds to expand its operations, a move analysts say will help it take on Walmart.

It issued 27,1-million new shares, or about 5% of total shares in issue, at a price of R127,50 for proceeds of close to R3,5bn.

Its bond and share offering raised about R8bn, which CEO Whitey Basson said would strengthen its balance sheet by converting existing short-term funding to longer-term loans.

Shoprite placed R4,5bn fixed-rate senior unsecured guaranteed convertible registered bonds due in 2017 in March, and on May 9 placed R200m debt instruments.

The debt instruments would be traded in nominals of R10000 on the JSE’s equity trading platform, the company said.

The bonds, which may be converted into Shoprite shares during the life of the bond, will carry semiannual interest of 6,5% and will be redeemable at par in 2017, unless converted into shares at the election of the bond holder.

The initial conversion price in respect of the bonds will be set at a premium of 32,5%-37,5% above the placing price of its equities.

The bonds will be issued at 100% of their nominal amount and, unless previously converted, repurchased or redeemed, will be redeemed at par in 2017.

Shoprite will have the option to call the bonds after the first three years if the price of the shares exceeds the prevailing conversion price over a specified period.

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Bollywood jeweler in MidEast expansion

India’s Gitanjali Group, one of the world’s largest jewelery retailers and a favourite with Bollywood film stars, is setting up in the Middle East and will open its first store in Dubai next month.
Founded in India in 1966, Gitanjali Group has an annual turnover of over US$2.1bn and has around 4,000 points of sale in India, with additional outlets in China, the US, Japan and the UK.
“The group is eyeing the lucrative Middle Eastern market and as a result opening its first store beginning of next month in Dubai,” a spokesperson said on Monday.
“As part of an aggressive expansion plan they intend to open a number of stores this year in Dubai to cater to the luxury clients of the region.”

Listed on Indian stock exchanges since 2007, Gitanjali;s gems are a favourite with Bollywood superstars, with Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Sonakshi Sinha, Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor already signed up as brand ambassadors.

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Worlds first 24ct Gold Plated iPad…

London and Dubai based Gold & Co. unveiled the world’s first 24ct Gold Plated iPad™ 3 in Dubai on March 22nd, only 6 days after the official launch of Apple’s popular device globally

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Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Holding goes on shopping centre spending spree..

The opening of Ski Dubai in 2005 was a turning point for the Middle East. The construction of an ice cold winter resort in the middle of the desert meant Dubai had conquered the unconquerable, and there was no stopping the region’s most ambitious developers from then on. Indeed, when Saudi Arabia said recently it planned to build the world’s first underwater mosque, it came as no surprise to expatriates and those who have visited the Gulf states before, many of whom were already familiar with the region’s love of innovative ideas.
UAE-based developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Holding, the company behind Ski Dubai and Mall of the Emirates, has continued to profit from its wintry investment ever since. Not only does the company now have a reputation as an expert mall and resort builder, but it has also enjoyed a healthy and regular income from the retail side of the business. Today, it is eyeing a whole host of shopping centres and novel entertainment concepts across the Middle East and Africa, quite possibly including more ski resorts in the Arab world’s biggest markets.
“We’re looking at around ten or eleven malls in the next five to seven years,” says Peter Walichnowski, head of Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Properties, from the MAF headquarters in Dubai. Sitting next to him is Iyad Malas, the CEO of MAF Holding. He explains how MAF Properties is the division responsible for building the company’s malls, hotels and mixed-use developments, but in truth all aspects of the business including MAF Ventures and MAF Retail, have their part to play. Walichnowski adds: “We’re not only concentrating on very large malls like the Mall of the Emirates; we’re also looking at neighbourhood and community malls.”
Certainly the concept of neighbourhood shopping is becoming more popular in the region, with several rival retail conglomerates announcing similar plans. According to Walichnowski, a
neighbourhood mall has approximately 20 shops whilst a community mall will have around 100.

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The Wave, Muscat to expand retail eightfold..

MUSCAT — The Wave, Muscat, the Sultanate’s premier lifestyle destination, is set to see an eightfold increase in its retail space with the release of Al Marsa Village Centre. By 2014, The Wave, Muscat will claim its place on Muscat’s retail map with Al Marsa Village Centre expanding the retailing opportunities at The Wave, Muscat from 1,500 sqm to 12,500 sqm.
Almeria North, home to Costa Coffee, WH Smith, Kwik Kleen, Shang Thai, Al Fair and Pizza Express, is now 100 per cent occupied and is set to welcome its final tenant, Shakespeare and Co, opening in July. This latest addition to Almeria North will occupy a 300 sqm café-restaurant decked out in cozy chic interiors, a concept which has seen phenomenal success.
With a diverse menu, offering traditional Arabic fare to French patisserie, indoor and outdoor seating and a private dining room, Shakespeare and Co will offer a completely new dining experience for The Wave, Muscat and wider Muscat residents.
Following the successful development and leasing of the Almeria North precinct, ground will be broken on The Wave, Muscat community shopping development, the Al Marsa Village Centre in the coming months. The construction works are scheduled for completion in Q1 2014.
The village centre development will be the premier retail destination within The Wave, Muscat and will include a combined total of 10,500 sqm of retail and commercial space for lease, including 400 dedicated car parking spaces.
Anchored by one of the world’s premium grocers, Waitrose, the Al Marsa Village Centre will also host community services including medical and dental facilities complemented by further food and beverage outlets.
Troy Hart, Vice-President of Asset Management at The Wave, Muscat, said: “This is a significant year for our retail, seeing us welcome a number of regional and international names to The Wave, Muscat.
“Al Marsa Village Centre will offer residents and the Muscat community a full service local retail centre to cater to all their needs. We look forward to welcoming Waitrose and Shakespeare and Co’s first operations in Oman. It’s an exciting time for The Wave, Muscat and for retailers looking to align their brands with the premium lifestyle destination in Oman.”

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New Apple boss to be handed extraordinary £36million 'golden hello..

The former boss of PC World and Currys will reportedly receive a $56million (£36million) golden hello from Apple after taking charge of its retail arm.
John Browett was awarded the hefty payout from the technology giant following its poaching of him from Dixons Retail in February.
The payment, which will be staggered over five years and paid in shares, is likely to fuel the debate even further over executive pay.

John Browett, former executive at Tesco and Dixons, received the huge payout after joining Apple in February
The decision to set Mr Browett’s salary so high comes after a series of shareholder revolts elsewhere, in which investors have overwhelmingly voted to reject company’s pay reports.
But boards have insisted that they must offer strong incentives in a bid to recruit the best talent and remain competitive.

The generous salary is not the first time Apple has been willing to spend vast sums on retaining or attracting senior staff.
Tim Cook, who replaced Steve Jobs as chief executive last August, is said to be sitting on deferred stock worth more than $500million (£320 million).
It emerged last week, however, that Cook refused roughly $75million in dividends from over one million shares.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Apple says Mr Cook asked that his restricted stock units not receive dividends.
A recently instituted company program had allowed Apple employees to accumulate dividends on their restricted stock units that are still vesting, according to the company.
Mr Browett, who is now in charge of overseeing Apple’s 361 stores worldwide was formerly a management high-flyer at Tesco’s internet shopping division.
He subsequently joined Dixons at the end of 2007, and overhauled the business after a sustained period of under-performance.
And whilst sales and profits have been under pressure in recent months, Dixons saw off the challenge of US firm Best Buy, which earlier this year shut its 10 ‘big box’ megastores in a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse.

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Korean retail therapy for foreign chains… Tesco , Wal-mart and Carrefour…

Ram Garikipati: Korean retail therapy for foreign chains : Two of the Big Three failed in one of Asia’s most dynamic markets. Their experiences hold lessons for foreign retailers.

After a quiet period, intense lobbying for opening up multi-brand retail once again seems to be hotting up. On May 24, Carrefour’s India head, Jean-Noel Bironneau, met Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, and his counterparts from Wal-Mart, Tesco and Costco will no doubt follow soon.

Ever since the government announced its decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trade, and then backtracked, there have been a flurry of articles on the pros and cons of such a move. There is no clear answer and those in favour and against FDI have expressed ample views. So, another attempt to do so would be futile, although it must be stressed that allowing FDI does not mean that the global retail giants will automatically wind up capturing the market.

Take their experience in South Korea, home to one of Asia’s most dynamic and largest retail markets, ranking fourth behind Japan, China and India, with a relatively wealthy population. Wal-Mart and Carrefour have had to beat a retreat after struggling for years to increase market share. Tesco is the only successful foreign retailer, going from strength to strength.
The varying success of these three retail giants in South Korea has become must-read case studies for all potential foreign investors. It also holds lessons for them in the Indian market, given the high complexities in terms of a wide geographic spread and distinct regional consumer preferences.

Historically, South Korea kept its major retailing operations closed to foreign ownership. It was only in 1988 that the government began a series of three-year plans designed to improve the efficiency and productivity of the retail and distribution industry. The first stage of this process occurred in 1989 when regulations on the establishment of foreign companies’ subsidiaries and the inflow of FDI were eased. Then, foreign retailers were permitted to establish stores at a maximum size of 1,000 sq m, as prescribed by the second stage of the open-up policy.

The regulations on the number and size of retail outlets of foreign companies were further relaxed in the third stage of the programme beginning in 1993, when foreign companies were allowed to open up to 20 stores with each store not exceeding 3,000 sq m. It was not until 1996 that FDI in the Korean retail market was completely liberalised and foreign retailing companies began expanding there in earnest.

Sensing huge opportunities, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco entered the country around the same time, but adopted different strategies.

Wal-Mart attempted to penetrate the Korean market by building stores in distant areas where land prices were low, replicating the US strategy of smaller-city store build-up. It had only 16 stores in all of Korea with just one in the Seoul metropolitan area and could not achieve economies of scale. The company expected the Korean consumers to drive to its stores for price shopping as American consumers do. However, this location strategy did not match well with the Korean consumers’ lifestyle and shopping habits. They prefer to buy smaller units on a more frequent basis and to have accessibility to a store within walking distance.

As a result, Wal-Mart faced serious challenges in implementing its core competence in South Korea. Moreover, it could not enjoy its buyer power in the local vendor market and had no control over its Korean supply chain and procurement. Eventually, it packed its bags in 2006.

Carrefour had a similar story. Despite its experience elsewhere, the company failed to localise its stores to a sufficient extent. Instead, it tried to introduce its global practices and strategies in the country. Its store layout, ambience, products and location failed to attract customers. The company wanted to attract customers by providing them high-quality products in bulk at low prices. Its stores were styled like warehouses and were simple in appearance compared to the stores of its competitors. Initially, customers were enthusiastic, but most of them were not bulk purchasers.

Also, unlike other markets, Korean customers prefer a clean and sophisticated atmosphere along with low prices. At the time of its exit in 2006, Carrefour was the fourth-largest retailer in the country, with 32 hypermarkets. The company had invested $1.5 billion, making it the largest foreign investor in the Korean market, but that was not enough to guarantee it success.

In contrast, Tesco had an effective “localisation” strategy for downstream activities. It entered the market by forming a joint venture with a major local partner, Samsung, leveraging its knowledge and expertise of the local market. Tesco devoted considerable attention to transferring its core capabilities to this new market, but did not attempt to iterate the British version of its retail format. It gradually increased its stake in the company to 95 per cent, but continued to localise its 450 stores, consisting of both large hypermarkets and small Express stores. Also, of Tesco’s 27,000 staff in Korea, only four are expatriates. As a result, it became one of Tesco’s biggest success stories, generating a third of its overseas sales.

One key factor that contributed to Tesco’s success was its ability to create “value” that is suitable for the Korean tastes and preference. While other foreign brands like Wal-Mart and Carrefour have failed, Tesco’s Korean brand, Homeplus, is moving from strength to strength, as it closes the gap with the market leader E-mart. It also has leveraged Korean’s love for high-tech, having just launched innovative virtual stores in subway and bus stops where customers can use their smartphones to buy products that are delivered right to their homes.

These stories contain valuable lessons for the global retail companies who now wish to expand their presence in India, whenever the law permits. Their multi-brand retail strategy has to be different from their wholesale cash and carry stores. Moreover, it is important to heavily localise operations keeping Indian tastes in mind, with or without a domestic partner. Blindly applying western business models for the Indian market will not work.

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Ireland Retail Market update ..Q1 2012

Lisney report….
The retail landscape remained very challenging during the first quarter of 2012. Economic uncertainty across Europe together with the on-going absence of funding in Ireland continued to dampen confidence. Cautious consumer sentiment and reduced spending resulted in further consolidation.

Since the peak of consumer spending in January 2008, the amount of money taken in by retailers at the tills is down over 28% with the volume of stock sold down over 22%. In the past 12 months, the areas most affected are department stores (volume -5.6% and value -4.5%), clothing and textiles (volume -2.7% and value -2.4%), and furniture and lighting (volume -6.6% and value -10.2%).

Despite the difficult conditions many retailers, both local and overseas, view the Irish market with enthusiasm as a result of the flexible leasing arrangements that can be obtained on attractive rental terms.

Activity

Demand for prime retail opportunities increased in Q1. This mainly emanated from overseas fashion, discount and restaurant operators, who see the value available when seeking new leases. In spite of this, the first quarter of 2012 did bring some casualties. The UK lingerie retailer La Senza went into liquidation and video game retailer Game went into administration. This resulted in both retailers closing all their stores in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the landmark Dublin Woollen Mills store on Liffey Street closed their doors after 125 years in business with the freehold property now on the market at a price tag of €1.8m.

The troubled fashion retail chain A-Wear, which was purchased by Hilco in December 2011, has been sold once again to the Flacks Group. Company principal, Michael Flacks, has indicated that he is committed to developing the business and maintains that the company is seeking to open new stores in about 15 locations nationwide.

Dublin City Centre

No new lettings were completed on Grafton Street and Henry Street in the opening three months of the year, however, the number of enquiries has noticeably increased. Indeed, offers have been received for properties on both streets.

There was some positive news announced for Grafton Street in early March with Dublin City Council stating its’ intending to re-pave the street at a cost of €2.5m. Works are due to commence in January 2013 and it is estimated that it will take 12 months to complete due to the phased nature of the task. This should go some way towards assisting with the vacancy issues on the street. Lisney’s Retail Shutter Count shows that there are six units currently unoccupied on the street. In addition to this, there are further occupied units on the market for assignment or sub-let.

The rumoured deal whereby US retailer Banana Republic would take accommodation by combining the Zerep and the former Richard Allan stores on Grafton Street, is reportedly not now progressing. However, we understand that the retailer is continuing to seek representation on the street. Other retailers with requirements for Grafton Street include footwear retailers, Irregular Choice and Sketchers in addition to European jeweller, Thomas Sabo.

Henry Street arguably offers better value and this is reflected in the limited availability. Currently there are no unoccupied units on the street and there are only three shops available by way of assignment or sub-letting.

Dublin Surburban Shopping Centres

The leading suburban shopping centres continued to attract retailers in Q1, thus insuring that vacancy levels remain at manageable and respectable levels.

Dundrum Town Centre has secured a number of new retailers over the opening months of the year. The former bag shop Furla was divided into two 43 sqm stores and are now let to beauty product retailer Keihls and jeweller Pandora. Both retailers are reported to have taken their stores on long leases and have each paid an annual rent of about €130,000 exclusive of service charge and rates. Also secured for the centre was Café du Lart, who took the former Chinese Buffet King unit, a 465 sqm restaurant on a long lease at a reported rent of €200,000 pa.

In Blanchardstown Town Centre, construction has commenced on Boots’ new flagship store, which is due to open in the autumn. The store will extend to approximately 2,050 sqm and has been let to Boots on a long lease subject to a reported rent of €1.3m per annum exclusive of rates and service charge. Also in the centre, Compu B has taken a new lease of the former 130 sqm Monsoon store at a reported rent of €165,000 pa. Argus has closed their unit on first floor level but continue to trade from the adjacent West End Retail Park.

Out of Town Retail

Following a long period of inactivity, the first quarter of 2012 saw an increase in interest and indeed activity in out of town retail parks. Retailers such as DFS, Homestore + More, Easy Living and Maxi Zoo are seeking opportunities mainly in the greater Dublin area. Landlords have had to adopt a much more hands on approach in terms of the asset management of these parks. This includes consideration of alternative uses and the likelihood of obtaining the necessary planning consent for such uses.

In Blanchardstown Retail Park, DFS has taken a new lease on the former Curry’s unit. The accommodation, which extends to approximately 1,950 sqm, was let on a long-term lease subject to a rent reportedly in excess of €400,000 pa.

Outlook

The current level of retailer enquiries is encouraging. We expect a further increase in the number of transactions over the coming months given the excellent opportunities available for retailers seeking to expand or gain representation in Ireland. This will be particularly the case in Dublin city centre. That said, we expect the market to remain challenging, principally for those seeking to dispose of pre-February 2010 leases.

LISNEY RETAIL TEAM

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How active are retailers in the EMEA ? Download the full CBRE report here..

Download the full report here…..

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B&Q planning £69m product revamps

The UK’s largest home improvement retailer says it is investing £69 million in a series of product revamps across its stores over the next few months.

B&Q, which is owned by FTSE 100 firm Kingfisher, said it would spend £19 million in developing new tiling and flooring shops within shops, which will see it launch £32 million worth of products. An additional £18 million will be invested in more “fashion-driven female friendly” ranges.

The ranges, which fall under the Colours brand, are a part of Kingfisher’s sourcing strategy with around 35% of the new tiling range being common across the group so customers will find the same products in the UK or its Castorama chain in France and Poland.

Martyn Phillips, B&Q UK and Ireland chief executive, said: “Customers from Penzance to Perth can buy products in B&Q knowing they are as stylish as those sold in our sister stores in Paris – globally sourced yet tailored to local trends and at the best possible prices.”

Among the product launches will be 64 new hard wood flooring products.

The announcement comes ahead of a trading update later this week, when the company is expected to reveal that the dismal weather in April left a dent in the sales.

Retail analyst Philip Dorgan expects B&Q’s owner Kingfisher to report an 11% drop in the chain’s like-for-like sales for the first quarter as it also comes up against tough comparisons with strong trading a year earlier.

It will leave B&Q profits down by 11% to £66 million, with the wider UK and Ireland operation, including trade arm Screwfix, off 11% at £76 million.

However there is still cause for optimism at Kingfisher, which has impressed analysts with a four-year turnaround programme that has resulted in full-year profits more than doubling to £807 million.

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Middle East Fragrance Summit 2012 starts

H.E. Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Executive Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Dubai Customs Director General, inaugurated the second Middle East Fragrance Summit (MEFS) 2012 which will last for two days at The Ritz Carlton – DIFC in Dubai.

In the opening speech, H.E. Ahmed Butti Ahmed stressed the important position of the summit as it represents the global platform for industry manufacturers and retailers to discuss, innovate and strategize on how to tap the unlimited potential of the Middle East fragrance retail market.

On his part, Mr. Shahzad Haider, Chairman of Fragrance Foundation Arabia (FFA), said: “Dubai Customs participation will considerably contribute to supporting this summit at the local and global levels.”

In his welcome speech, Haider commended the vigorous efforts of the government organizations in organizing fragrance industry and retail in the UAE. Haider also stressed that the public and private sectors should cooperate to fight counterfeited products and enact a federal law to resist this issue.

Mr. Mohammed Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group – UAE, started the first session in the summit and spoke about the evaluation of fragrance market in the UAE, while Ms. Victoria Christian owner of Clive Christian – UK then started a session on the art of fragrance industry and brand creation. Mr. Roja Dove from Roja Dove Fragrances – UK – discussed retail market development.

Eng. Mohammed Badri, Director General of Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority “ESMA” spoke about the mechanisms of organizing the fragrance market and cosmetics in the UAE. Badri stressed that ESMA will create a specialized national committee during the second half of December 2012 to produce standard federal specifications to control and supervise the fragrance & cosmetics sector.

The final session witnessed a panel discussion about the trends and preferences of consumers. Most interesting part was live polling where industry leaders vote their opinion on the mist crucial aspects of fragrance and its future. Many prominent figures participated in the panel discussion such as Mr. Hussein Adam Ali, Chairman of Swiss Arabian Fragrance, Mr. Mark Lockyer, Managing Director of Sampling Innovations – UK, Mr. Roja Dove from Roja Dove and Mr. Abdul Wahab Al Hawaj.

Lakeland Store opens in Marina Mall Kuwait

Opened this week more information here Lakeland in Marina Mall Kuwait

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Facebook Rumored To Be In Talks to Acquire Opera to Create "Facebook Browser"

A rumor has been flying this afternoon about a potential Facebook acquisition of Norwegian browser company Opera. Pocket-lint broke the news in a post earlier today indicating that it had “heard from one of its trusted sources that the social networking giant is looking to buy Opera Software, the company behind the Opera web browser.”

Opera started in 1994 as a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company. In 1995, it branched out into a separate company named Opera Software ASA. The company claims to have around 200 million users across all of its platforms making it one of the top commercial browsers available. The company is also well known for its mobile browser which has particularly good HTML5 support, a growing standard in the mobile application space.

It’s interesting to note that it seems that “web browsers” lately have become the new status symbol for major web companies, with Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple and Yahoo all offering it’s own take on them. A mobile browser component would compliment the mythical “Facebook Phone” rumored to be in development completing all the required components needed to launch it’s own phone platform. If the rumor turns out to be true, we may be about to see the emergence of yet another browser war. This time embedded with all your social information. A scary thought for some, but a necessary one.

The browser may very well be the the new OS after all.

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The future of shopping : Harvard business review report….

Download the full review here…

A decade after the dot-com implosion, traditional retailers are lagging in their embrace of digital technologies.
To survive, they must pursue a strategy of omnichannel retailing—an integrated sales experience that melds the advantages of physical stores with the information-rich experience of online shopping.
Retailers face challenges in reaching this goal. Many traditional retailers arenʼt technology-savvy. Few are adept at test-and-learn methodologies. They will need to recruit new kinds of talent. And theyʼll need to move away from analog metrics like same-store sales and focus on measures such as return on invested capital.
Traditional retailers must also transform the one big feature internet retailers lack—stores—from a liability into an asset. They must turn shopping into an entertaining, exciting, and emotionally engaging experience. Companies like Disney, Apple, and Jordanʼs Furniture are leading the way.

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Prada is planning to open 260 stores in the next three years …

Facing an uncertain U.S. economy and a flailing Europe, Italian fashion house Prada is planning to open 260 stores in the next three years to capture consumers in emerging markets who are hungry for luxury goods, a report says.

The Milan company, which owns Miu Miu and Church’s in addition to its marquee Prada brand, is planning fresh outlets in countries such as Turkey, China and Brazil, according to Bloomberg.

Prada Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli (also husband of head designer Miuccia Prada) told Bloomberg that the company will add 100 new stores this year and 160 stores the following two years.

“We are expanding in Morocco, Istanbul, Beirut, Dubai and Qatar,” Bertelli said. “Brazil is also a big market we’re looking at.”

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New Yorker unveils third store in Dubai..

DUBAI – New Yorker’s new store is placed in the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai. The German leading company of young fashion presents its latest collection on about 500 square metres retail space and invited all customers to the opening party on May 23.
With its brands Fishbone, Fishbone Sister, Smog, Amisu and Censored, New Yorker offers a wide range of latest trends. The modern shop concept assures an enjoyable shopping atmosphere while the New Yorker in-store radio provides all visitors with the latest music.

At the opening party, New Yorker had some great offers for its visitors. DJ Lins put on the show during the whole event. Promoters informed in and around the mall about the new store and its special offers.

The New Yorker Summer Collection 2012 is colourful and hot as the upcoming seasons: Fishbone Sister—Sun, sea and summer feeling. Hot summer looks with beach and tropical prints in neon and loud colours on tank tops and t-shirts. Combinations with grey melange, white and light pastels make the colours seem even brighter. Amisu — Pythons, palms and papaya — animal, ikat and tropical all-over prints for hot looks. Ladies become a taste of exotic passion and mix very different patterns for a bold style. Flowers on skinny jeans and fruits on shirts — lively and colourful or in soft pastels. Patterns are a must! Fishbone — Maximum colour blocking with bright and neon colours. Colourful stripes, cool street art and geometric all-over prints combined with denim and unicolours — all in bright and neon colours such as blue, green, orange or turquoise. Smog — Casual sailor and surfer looks. Sporty with polo shirts matched with short chinos and bermuda shorts. Sand, blue melange and coral goes along with the theme of colour.

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The 12 'Portas pilot' areas : Market Rasen wins Mary Portas high street cash

The 12 ‘Portas pilot’ areas :

Bedford – mentoring support for businesses
Croydon – transforming the Old Town market
Dartford – school for shopkeepers
Greater Bedminster – street art, street theatre
Liskeard – vibrant arts scene, guerrilla gardening
Margate – putting education and enjoyment first
Market Rasen – restoring market town look
Nelson – youth cafe, art and vintage market
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea – transport, pop-up shops
Stockport – Markets and Underbanks revamp
Stockton-on-Tees – Globe Theatre entertainment
Wolverhampton – modern day town criers

Market Rasen wins Mary Portas high street cash

Market Rasen will get cash from a £1.2m government pot and advice from retail expert Mary Portas.

The town’s bid said its community team would “blitz” unkempt areas and work with landlords to fill empty shops.

The money from the Portas Pilot scheme will be used to offer free parking and restore the appearance of the town’s market.

The other successful applicants for the government award were Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Greater Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Nelson, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees and Wolverhampton.

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said he had received more than 370 applications.

The government accepted the 28 recommendations from Ms Portas in her report on how to rejuvenate UK High Streets.

Sara Scott, from the Business Improvement Group in Market Rasen, said: “We’re absolutely over the moon about the news, it’s a brilliant result for the town and the traders.

“We’re hoping to do a regular market on a Saturday, but Market Rasen also has markets on Tuesdays and Fridays.

“So we’re hoping that if we put enough effort into making Saturday a big event then there’ll be some kind of overflow into the other days of the week to keep the town busy.”

Traders in the town believe the redevelopment would not only increase the number of people shopping in the area but also attract more businesses to open.

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Bank refund for Facebook investors

Morgan Stanley, the lead investment bank in Facebook’s troubled initial public offering, will compensate retail investors who overpaid when they bought stock in the social network site’s flotation, a person familiar with the matter said.

The source said the firm was reviewing orders its retail clients placed for Facebook stock and would make price adjustments if the clients paid too much. The person did not say what amount constituted overpaying.

Facebook’s IPO (initial public offering) was highly anticipated. But technical problems on the Nasdaq Stock Market delayed the stock’s open last Friday. The stock closed nearly flat on its first trading day at 38.23 dollars (£24.50).

Morgan Stanley and Facebook face at least two lawsuits over the IPO. Both actions claim analysts at the large underwriting investment banks cut their second-quarter and full-year forecasts for Facebook just before the IPO and told only a handful of clients.

Morgan Stanley has declined to comment on the lawsuits and Facebook described them as “without merit”.

On Thursday Facebook’s stock closed up 1.03 dollars, or 3.2%, at 33.03 dollars. This gives the company a market value of 90.4 billion dollars (£57.9 billion), down from 105 billion (£67.3 billion) at the end of trading last Friday.

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Two more directors leave Lloydspharmacy

Chief commercial officer Steve Gray and supply chain and business efficiency director Philip Streatfield have left Lloydspharmacy, just months after its managing director quit the business after less than a year in the role.

The departures come just a month after the health and pharmaceutical retailer restructured to create a new UK country board to oversee a shared operations strategy with its sister wholesale firm All About Health (AAH). The health and pharmaceutical retailer and AAH are both owned by German parent Celesio.

As a result of the restructure, Gray stepped into the role of chief commercial officer of Celesio. He was previously healthcare services director.

The departure of Philip Streatfield comes just ten months after he joined the company. He was previously European supply chain and IT director at stationery wholesaler Spicers.

It is unclear if both Gray and Streatfield left with jobs to go to.

A Lloydspharmacy spokeswoman said: “Lloydspharmacy can confirm that Steve Gray has decided to resign from the organisation to embark upon new challenges and opportunities.”

She added: “Clearly Steve’s departure leaves a gap in the country board and at Lloydspharmacy, but we expect to move swiftly to identify a suitable replacement.”

It is unclear if Streatfield’s role will be filled.

The departures mark the latest changes at management level for the health and pharmaceutical retailer. Managing director Tony Page left the company in January after less than a year in the role. The company said last month that he would not be replaced after it created the new UK country board.

Through the restructure, former AAH group managing director Mark James became chief executive of the newly formed Celesio UK country board. AAH finance director Thorsten Beer was appointed chief financial officer.

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Mr Price to increase its trading space

Fashion retail chain Mr Price hoped to extend trading space by 5% in the coming year and was set to launch an online store to grow market share, it said in its results for the 52-weeks ended March, released yesterday.
The owner of Miladys, Sheet Street and Mr Price Home will open about 70 new stores and expand highly performing stores and reduce the size of poorly performing stores, it said.

The company warned it would need to increase investment in supply chain and information technology to match the complex needs of its growing business.

Last year CEO Stuart Bird said the group would focus on “internationalisation”. The company opened a store in Nigeria during the period and planned to open one in Ghana next month.

Its past financial year consisted of 52 trading weeks, against 53 weeks over the previous period.

Good performances from its apparel divisions combined with a strong performance from its home-ware division grew sales 10,2%. Sales excluding new stores rose 8,2%.

Other revenue grew 23,3% thanks to a 47,8% rise in income from the sale of financial services and a 20,3% increase in interest on trade receivables. Continued focus resulted in costs increasing 8,8%, a rate lower than the sales growth, the company said.

The apparel division, which accounts for more than 70% of group sales and consists of Mr Price, Mr Price Sport and Miladys, increased sales and other revenue by 13,7% to R8,7bn, with comparable sales up 10,6% and retail selling price inflation of 4,6%.

The home division ( Mr Price Home and Sheet Street) increased sales and other revenue by 10,7% to R3,4bn, with comparable sales up by 9,5% and retail selling price inflation of 5,9%.

Nedbank Securities retail analyst Syd Vianello said the company’s results were in line with guidance it had given.

“The home division made a strong recovery and improvements were made in Miladys and Mr Price apparel.” He credited the rationalisation of the store base, but suggested it could be the first sign that there has been a fundamental shift in the market, putting Mr Price in the lead.

Mr Vianello said the company had got its fashion right and reaped the benefits of consumers down-trading. “The numbers are also ahead of Stats SA retail numbers and that of the Retailers Liaison Committee sales growth data,” he said.

Earlier this month, Statistics SA said retail sales fell 1,2% in the first quarter of the year.

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M&CO debuts in Dubai

Scottish fashion retailer M&Co, which has almost 300 stores across the UK, has just debuted in the Middle East. First store is now up and running in Dubai and soon will see more outlets across the Gulf.

The store is located in the fashion central of Dubai – The Dubai Mall. M&Co is exclusively distributed in the Middle East by Liwa Trading Enterprises, retail arm of Al Nasser Holdings.

Commenting on the launch of the store, Iain McGeoch, Chairman and CEO of M&Co says, “We are happy to open our first flagship store in this region. Dubai being an ultimate retail paradise, we believe it is a perfect launch pad for our brand in the gulf market. We are confident that our partnership with Liwa will benefit our business as the Group has a strong hold in the retail market. They understand the market and the consumer pulse very well which will be the strength of M&Co in the region.”

“We are pleased to introduce M&Co to this region. As a well-established and recognized fashion brand in the UK, M&Co will certainly enhance our brand portfolio and diversify our business in the UAE and the international markets. As a Group we aim to bring quality and trendy international fashion brands to the region for our customers here to have a complete shopping experience. We hope to take the brand across the UAE in the near future,” added Aniss Baobied, General Manager of Liwa Trading Enterprises LLC.

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Mr Price targets online shoppers

By global standards, the e-commerce platform in South Africa is small, but online retail sales have shown a steady increase over the past five years as the one-time timidness of South African shoppers takes a backseat and a growing number of techno-savvy consumers turn to the net for retail therapy and bargain-hunting.

A recent study from MasterCard revealed that online shopping had increased in South Africa and continued to show growth potential.

The company’s Worldwide Online Shopping Survey said the number of South Africans shopping online had steadily increased over the past two years, with 58% of respondents saying they used the internet for shopping.

This was an increase from the 53% in 2010, and 44% in 2009.

According to Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, once people are experienced internet users and go online regularly, their propensity to shop online increases dramatically.

“The key is to convert that propensity into shopping behaviour,” Goldstuck said.

He believes that from next year the participation curve will rise significantly and quickly.

Yesterday, Durban-based Mr Price reported a 19% rise in diluted headline earnings per share to 464.5c for the year ended March, from 388.8c a year ago. The current financial year comprised 52 trading weeks, while the prior year included 53 trading weeks, the group noted.

Operating profit grew 21.7% to R1.5-billion, and revenue rose 10% to R12.1-billion.

The company’s success stems from its fast-fashion model, which tracks offshore trends from the likes of Topshop, Mango and H&M, and delivers fashion offerings timeously, at affordable prices.

Mr Price’s return on equity increased from 46.0% to 47.2%.

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Mothercare to slash its costs after posting loss of £103m

The new chief executive of Mothercare has vowed to be “ruthless” in cutting its UK costs, compete more aggressively on price and drive online growth to turn around the calamitous performance of its domestic operation.

Simon Calver, who joined the mother and baby group in April from DVD rental firm Lovefilm, today unveiled his turnaround plan to restore the UK business to “acceptable levels of profitability” in three years.

But the scale of the mountain he has to climb was laid bare by Mothercare posting a full-year loss of £102.9 million, following hefty non-cash write downs on the value of its Early Learning Centre business and property restructuring charges. The retailer, which has 1,339 shops in 59 countries, has “suspended” its dividend until the turnaround plans deliver a “marked improvement” in its results.

In his first public comments since taking the helm, Calver said: “We need to invest in e-commerce, be ruthless with our non-store cost base.”

The retailer, which has 311 UK shops, plans to slash its UK non-store costs by £20 million a year by 2015 in areas including distribution, more efficient contracts with suppliers, payroll and head office.

While it shrinks its UK business, Mothercare will “accelerate” its growth overseas, particularly in India, Brazil, Russia and China, and introduce dedicated websites in all its major international markets.

Mothercare plans to reduce its UK store numbers to 200 shops by March 2015, which Calver said was “absolutely the right number”.

The City appeared to like the overall message as Mothercare’s shares jumped by 24.8p, or 15%, to 189.3p.

Its UK business posted a loss of £24.7 million over the 53 weeks to March 31, dragged down by a 6.2% fall in underlying sales and tumbling margins.

Mothercare will introduce a cheaper “value” range of clothing in July to combat the threat of the supermarkets. But it will also launch a designer range from Jools Oliver, the wife of the TV chef Jamie, a month later.

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Mother and baby products retailer Mothercare has reported a pre-tax loss of £103 million for the year to end March as it takes steps to turn its struggling UK business around. This compares with a profit of £8.8 million in the previous year.

Underlying profit before tax fell to £1.6 million from £28.5 million a year ago. The majority of the losses were the result of £55 million writedown on the value of the group’s Early Learning Centre together with charges relating to its store closure programme.

Mothercare currently operates 311 UK stores but plans to reduce store numbers to 200 by March 2015.

Worldwide network sales at the group rose 6.4% to £1,232.4 million with growth coming from the retailer’s stores outside of the UK. While total UK sales fell 4.6% to £560 million, total international sales rose 17.8% to £672.4 million.

Like-for-like sales in the UK dropped 6.2%. In contrast, international like-for-like sales rose 6.1%.

Mothercare said its UK business had suffered due to “a challenging economic backdrop” and an increasingly competitive environment.

Following two profit warnings last year and a subsequent review of the business, Mothercare announced a new strategy for the next three years. Priorities include reducing non-store costs and restoring UK profitability as well as accelerating international growth and developing the retailer’s worldwide multi-channel offering.

Calver added: “We need to invest in e-commerce, be ruthless with our non-store cost base and use our scale and growth worldwide to drive sourcing economies and pass these savings onto the customers to improve our value for money around the world.

“Everything we do will enhance customer value, experience and loyalty in each of our 59 countries. My team and I are up for the challenge and, whilst there is much to do in this difficult economic climate, I look forward to delivering the ‘Transformation and Growth’ plan. As a team, this will be our most important delivery yet.”

MAF's Mall of the Emirates to open 20 new stores

Mall operator Majid Al Futtaim today announced that it plans to open 20 additional outlets at its Mall of the Emirates centre before the end of the year.
New stores at the Dubai-based mall – which is home to the world’s largest indoor ski slope – include high-end designer brands Prada, Longchamps and Kate Spade, which are all set to open in summer.
Eateries including International House of Pancakes, The Cheesecake Factory and the UAE-based fast food outlet Just Falafel will also open at the centre.
“Retail stores and restaurants seeking to expand throughout the world are often choosing the UAE to open their first Middle East location, based on the growing demands for high-fashion and choice across shopping and dining sectors, said Fuad Sharaf, senior asset director, asset management, shopping malls, at MAF.

“Mall of the Emirates is boosting the UAE’s retail landscape by offering international brands with a platform for growth,” he added.
Last month, the company revealed plans to increase rents for retailers this year, as revenues at the shopping hub continue to rise.
Executives at Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Properties told Arabian Business that rates would go up in 2012 after the mall, home of Ski Dubai, reported a 16 percent rise in sales in Q1.
“Yes, [rents will increase in 2012] because our first quarter of this year is already up 16 percent in sales so that will translate into improved returns for retailers,” Peter Walichnowski, CEO of MAF Properties said.
“We have never dropped rents. Rents are a function of turnover and our turnover is going up. The retailers are always happy to pay more rent if the turnover is going up. In Dubai, our retailers are very happy; we have waiting lists on all our malls, so there is no shortage of retailers wanting to get in.”
Walichnowski added that the company would also boost rates at its Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre properties, which he claimed were proving similarly popular with local and international brands.

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Prada to roll out new MidEast stores

Prada, the Italian fashion company that owns the Miu Miu and Church’s brands, plans to add 260 stores in the next three years to tap demand in emerging markets including Brazil, China and Arabian Gulf countries.
“We are expanding in Morocco, Istanbul, Beirut, Dubai and Qatar,” CEO Patrizio Bertelli said in an interview with Bloomberg Television conducted in Italian via a translator. “Brazil is also a big market we’re looking at.”
Demand for Prada’s leather goods and other items is increasing even as China’s economic growth slows and Europe’s debt crisis weighs on consumer spending, according to Bertelli. Chinese tourists are fueling growth in Europe, he said.
Sales of discretionary goods in China will grow by a compounded annual rate of 13.4 percent between 2010 and 2020, as shoppers in the world’s second-largest economy become richer, McKinsey & Company said in a report in March. Chinese urban disposable income rose 14 percent to about RMB21,810 (US$3,450) in 2011.

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Apple’s first Swedish retail store coming to NK Mall in Stockholm

A couple of months ago Apple was planning its first retail location in Sweden after job listings were discovered on Apple’s website. There were reports at the time that the store would end up somewhere in Stockholm’s city center, but the exact location was otherwise unknown. Today, local reports from 99mac and others claimed Apple is now confirming to new employees that the store will be located in the NK mall in Stockholm. According to the report, there is also talk that Apple is planning more retail locations for Malmö and Gothenburg, and possibly a second location in Stockholm.

The Stockholm store increases Apple’s retail presence to 13 countries, and it is expected to open sometime in August or September. NK Mall has two locations in Stockholm and Gothenburg, with the Stockholm location alone receiving roughly 12 million visitors annually.

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More than 40 Clintons and Birthdays stores will shut .Full closure list below.

Closing May 2012

Birthdays
Clinton Cards
Aylesbury (Pure Party), High St
Ballymena, Tower Centre
Bristol, 83 Broadmead
Burton-Upon-Trent
Carmarthen, St John Street
Coleraine
Cookstown
Cumbernauld
Dalkeith
Falkirk (Pure Party)
Fort William
Hamilton, Palace Towers
Hempstead Valley
Horsham
Leamington Spa
Lincoln (Pure Party), Waterside Centre
Luton (Pure Party)
Melton Mowbray
Middlesbrough (Pure Party)
Portsmouth
Sheffield (Pure Party), Crystal Peaks
Southampton, Marlands
Stevenage (Pure Party)
Stratford-Upon-Avon (Pure Party)
Whitby

Clinton Cards

Airdrie
Belfast, Connswater
Cardigan, High Street
Coatbridge, 88 Main Street
Edinburgh, The Fort
Galashiels, Douglas Bridge
Glasgow, Byres Road
Glasgow, Sauchiehall Street
Greenock, U54 Hamilton Way
Hamilton, Regent Street
Hull, Princes Quay
Morley, Windsor Court
Northampton, Peacock Place
Oxford Street, Plaza
Paisley
Ripley, Oxford Street
Stirling, Castle Gait
Wetherby, Horsefair Centre
Widnes, The Mall

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Newly public Facebook to open Dubai office

Facebook, the social networking company that listed last week in one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) in US history, will open an office in Dubai in a bid to boost advertising revenues from the oil-rich GCC.
The social network will open up in Dubai Internet City with an initial staff of three, local media reported citing sources familiar with the plans. The official launch date is slated for May 30.
Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites in the Arab world. More than half of the UAE’s population is signed up to the site, according to a 2011 report by the Dubai School of Government. Arab Facebook users reached 43m April, according to an Arab Social Media report.
Facebook listed its shares on Friday in the third-largest IPO in US history, valuing the eight-year old company at US$104bn.

But the social networking company’s sky-high valuation coupled with trading glitches has left the stock languishing near its offering price.
Shares in New York on Tuesday closed 8.9 percent lower at US$31, following an 11 percent decline on Monday.
The firm has lost more than US$19bn in market capitalisation from its US$38 per share offering price last week.

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Burberry profits soar boosted by Asia Pacific

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Luxury fashion brand Burberry Group has reported a strong set of annual results with both revenue and pre-tax profits up as it continued to open new stores.


In the year to 31 March 2012, profit before tax soared 24 per cent to £366 million from £296 million in 2011, while revenue also jumped 24 per cent to £1.86 billion.
 


The retailer opened another 23 stores in the period, including its first flagship outlets in Hong Kong, Paris and Taipei.


All regions saw double-digit growth in the year but Asia Pacific now accounts for 37 per cent of both retail and wholesale revenue, making it the company’s largest region.


In China alone Burberry has 63 stores, making up 12 per cent of group retail and wholesale revenue, as it capitalises on the region’s increasing wealth.
 


The UK and France also performed well, in spite of the tough economic climate in both countries.
 


Chief executive officer Angela Ahrendts commented, ‘While we remain vigilant about the external environment, we will continue to invest in front-end opportunities within our brand, digital and retail strategies, to drive sustained, profitable growth and enduring customer engagement over the long term.’
 


In its trading statement, the group revealed that it plans to invest up to £200 million in the coming year, which will see its retail space grow by between 12 per cent to 14 per cent.
 


It highlighted menswear, which grew 26 per cent and now represents 24 per cent of revenue, as a ‘significant growth opportunity’.

The group’s full-year dividend rose 25 per cent to 25p.


Despite the results, shares in Burberry are trading down 4.04 per cent to 1,330.00p at 09.41am.

Best retail brands of 2012 – Top Most Valuable UK retail brands

Here’s a link to “Best Retail Brands 2012.pdf”

: Download the full report here….

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Vodafone will cut retail stores, says Group CEO

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Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao says he expects the number of its UK retail stores to be cut over the next three years

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao says he expects the number of its UK retail stores to be cut over the next three years.

Vittorio, who was speaking during an event held in London today (May 22) to discuss the operators financial year performance, told Mobile News Vodafone wants its stores to be more focussed on services rather than sales.

He said this will see the size of some stores increased, but the number of locations reduced as part of a strategy to boost customer service and retention levels. He did not discuss how many of Vodafone’s 400 stores would likely be cut however.

Vittorio also confirmed Vodafone will enhance its self-care and online support service by providing additional training to staff so they are better qualified to answer customer queries.

Vittorio said: “I imagine there will be fewer (stores) but they will be bigger and more open with more services in them. There will be fewer walls full of handsets and many more areas for services, and hopefully more people in the shops.”

EXCLUSIVE: Landmark’s Splash to expand in Africa

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UAE-based Splash, a mid-market fashion retailer and a unit of Landmark Group, is planning to enter a number of African markets via franchise agreements, the firm’s CEO told Arabian Business.
The business, which sells a mixture of Western and its own fashion brands, has signed deals to open outlets in Libya and Kenya, as well as Sri Lanka, Raza Beig said.
“In the next 18 months we’ll be in about in another 15 or 16 cities,” he said, adding that the African continent will be the “first concentration”. The retailer’s only presence in Africa at the moment is in Egypt, where it has two outlets.
Beig added that Splash was also eyeing Far Eastern markets. “There’s also a lot of dialogue from the East, but we’ve not yet finalised it,” he said.

When expanding into international markets in the past the firm has typically invested its own cash, Beig said, but is now instead seeking franchise partners to do so.
“In Egypt when we went in we put our own money in, in Lebanon we went in we put our own money in. But now we’ve decided we’re going to take the franchise route,” he said.
“It’s easier and the person on the opposite side understands their markets very well and they can share the risk.”
Beig did not rule out the possibility of Splash at some point in the future expanding into more developed retail markets, such as Western Europe.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the West in the next 5-10 years – someone might come up to us and say we want your franchise, and we will give it,” he said.
Splash, established 19 years ago in UAE emirate Sharjah, is part of Micky Jagtiani’s Dubai-based conglomerate Landmark, whose other brands include retailers Homecentre and Babyshop and no frills hotel chain CityMax.

Ireland Trading Conditions 'Remain Difficult' For M&S

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Trading conditions for Marks & Spencer’s Ireland division “remain difficult”, according to the full year results for the retailer, which indicated an overall fall in profits of 1.2% across its business. Underlying profit to the 31 March 2012 stood at £705.9 million, down from £714.3 million last year.

Group sales at the retailer were up 2% to £9.9 billion, while its international sales were up 5.8%, however, this was mainly driven by growth in India, China and Hong Kong.

While the M&S figures do not go into detail on its Irish performance, the full year statement noted that “trading in the Republic of Ireland and Greece continued to be impacted by weakness in the local economies.” M&S launched a dedicated Ireland website earlier this year for the first time.

“Marks & Spencer performed well in a challenging economic environment, growing group sales by 2% and holding market share,” said chief executive Marc Bolland. “We managed the business prudently with tight control of costs and capital investment, delivering earnings in line with last year, and substantial efficiency savings in our capital investment plans.”

10 new shopping malls coming to the Middle East

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Set to open April 4 this year, Fujairah City Centre is developed by Majid Al Futtaim and will be the first integrated entertainment and retail centre in the emirate, as well as one of the largest shopping malls in the region. Located on the intersection of the new Fujairah-Dubai highway and the Masafi Highway at the entrance to Fujairah city, the mall will have a 1,000-space car park, 34,000 sqm of retail space, a multi-screen VOX cinema, a Magic Planet family entertainment centre and scores of food and beverage outlets. Anchor retail tenants will include Centrepoint, Paris Gallery, Max Fashion and Carrefour (the largest in the emirate), as well as 105 value and mid-market brands, 85 percent of which will be new to Fujairah. The mall, which is in the final stages of construction, is also on-track to obtain a LEED Gold rating for its environmentally friendly design, making it the first building in the emirate to receive this classification.

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Doha Festival City is a QR6bn (US$1.65bn) mega project and is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2014. The development, which is a joint venture between Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Company (BASREC), the Al-Futtaim Group, Qatar Islamic Bank and other investors, will fill the gap in Qatar’s retail market and boost the amount of gross leasable area (GLA) for retailers by 260,000 sqm. The mall is being designed with four distinct interior zones: Water Concourse, Garden Promenade, Rainforest Boardwalk and Fashion Galleria. IKEA, which part of the Al-Futtaim Group in the region, will be the first section of the mall to be constructed, with a scheduled opening date of Q4 this year. The 32,000 sq m store will later be accompanied by a mix of other international and local brands such as Toys R Us, Marks & Spencer and Intersport across 400 outlets, and shoppers will have access to some 8,500 car parking spaces and a vehicle management system. The project is located 15km north of downtown Doha on Al Shamal Road, one of the main arterial routes to the city centre, making it an ideal location for a big mall. Linked to the shopping area will be automotive showrooms, two hotels and an entertainment complex, which Al Futtaim says will be “very large”. No further details have been given at this stage.

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Abu Dhabi still might not be able to match Dubai on the retail front, but with the new Yas Mall on its way, this will not be the case for long. Despite missing its original scheduled completion date of 2011, the mall has managed to retain the interest of several retail heavyweights, signing deals with firms such as MH Alshaya, the Landmark Group, Dubai Holding Group, Royal Sporting House and Liwa Trading. Developer Aldar Properties says the mall will have more than 235,000 sqm of retail space when it opens in Q4 of next year, 95 percent of which it expects to have leased out to retailers by the end of 2012. Upon completion, the whole development will feature some 700 retail and food units including four major department stores and six hotels, and will be connected to tourist destinations such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the Yas Island water park and the Formula 1 Yas Marina Circuit. Geant is set to be the mall’s anchor tenant, after holding company Retail Arabia signed a long term year lease agreement with Aldar for a hypermarket spread over an area of more than 16,000 sqm and stocking over 65,000 products. According to reports, the mall’s Ikea store will be also the largest in the whole of the MENA region.

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Spanning a massive 3m sqm, Cairo Festival City – the mixed-use urban community by Al Futtaim Group – is set to offer a premier indoor and outdoor shopping destination to residents of Greater Cairo named Cairo Festival Centre. Located 15 minutes from Cairo International Airport, the modern retail resort will be the focal point of the wider community, providing 180,000 sqm of retail space, over 300 shops and at least 95 restaurants and cafes. Among its 17 major anchors are Al Futtaim retail partners and brands such as Ikea, Plug-Ins and Marks & Spencer, while a mix of other names like hypermarket chain Carrefour have also signed up for space. As well as shopping, the mall will also provide a 17 screen multiplex cinema complex via Renaissance Cinemas, parking for more than 7,000 and an ‘edutainment centre’ known as KidZania Cairo. Completian of the centre remains unconfirmed following the country’s revolution.

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The US$300m Beirut City Centre shopping mall is set to open next year and could create 1,200 retail jobs according to developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF). The project, located in the capital’s Hazmieh district on the Damascus-Beirut road, will house a total of 200 stores over three levels and 40 international food and beverage outlets, including the first Carrefour hypermarket in Lebanon and an open-air, rooftop dining area. Beirut City Centre is the first shopping destination to be built by mall developer MAF in the country and will also include a VOX Cinemas multiplex and a Magic Planet family entertainment centre. Having commenced construction on the mall in September 2009, MAF has scheduled completion for early 2013. As with some of MAF’s other retail destinations, the mall is aiming for a LEED silver rating by incorporating eco-friendly technologies into the design.

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The Pointe is a new AED300m shopping centre planned for the Palm Jumeirah, as developer Nakheel tries to boost its retail offering. Not to be confused with the recently announced Palm Mall, (situated close to the Shoreline apartments,) the 136,000 sqm mall will be located at the tip of the Palm Jumeirah, across the bay from Atlantis Hotel, covering 131,000sqm and including 56,120sqm of high end retail shops. Among its main features will be offshore computer-controlled fountains, a 34,130sqm promenade, and a marina with floating pontoons, not to mention 1,200 car parking spaces, monorail access and boat rides between the centre and the hotel. With a focus on its food and beverage and leisure offering, the mall is expected to have approximately 120 restaurants and cafes, and hoped to add to existing tourist destinations on the Palm, servicing not only residents but also visitors to Dubai. The Pointe should be ready to open at the end of 2013.

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Another mall to make an appearance in the coming years is the Mall of Arabia in Dubailand. It is set to house a 15-screen cinema, a bowling alley and state-of-the-art performance stage, as well as a rooftop hotel and access to a Restless Planet theme park. As for the shopping, the resort is expected to have more than 1,000 retail outlets across more than 929,000 sqm of GLA, making it bigger than Dubai Mall, which currently holds the title for the largest shopping centre in the world. Media reports last predicted a revised completion date of 2013 for the US$5bn project, but the developer has since informed Arabian Business that the mall will open at the end of the 2015. A spokesperson said the mall was definitely still in the pipeline, but currently came second on the priority list after the nearby theme park, which is set to open in 2013.

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Despite a year of political turbulence, there are plenty of new developments still on the agenda for Egypt’s capital city, Cairo. One such development, the Mall of Egypt, is set to provide 160,000 sqm of GLA, and most intriguingly, a Ski Dubai-type resort, known as Ski Egypt. The AED2.71bn development is being developed by Majid Al Futtaim, the same company that oversaw Ski Dubai. It is hoped to be the dominant super mall serving the western half of the city, with a strong fashion element, 17-screen cinema, family entertainment centre and over 50 food and beverage outlets. It is set for a 2014 opening, giving the developer just enough time to prepare for the tourist influx.

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The 200,000 sqm Mall of Syria will be located in the Sabboura Yafour district in Syria’s capital Damascus, and form part of Majid Al Futtaim’s Khams Shamat tourist development. Upon completion in 2015, the mall will take the title of the biggest shopping centre in the Levant region, with as many as 300 shops and a variety of international and local retail brands. Linked to the mall will be hotels, business districts, touristic apartments and modern civic amenities, to provide a fully integrated mixed use development. The site was chosen specifically for its status as the western growth corridor for Damascus, and one which is easily accessible to tourists travelling on the Beirut/Damascus international highway.

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With a soft opening taking place in March 2012, Muscat Grand Mall is the most recent of the region’s new shopping centres to be opened and the latest to launch in the Omani capital. Located in the Al Khuwair district, it hopes to attract nearly 20,000 visitors a day when all stores are officially opened. It has a gross floor area of 67,000 sqm divided between 160 new outlets, with top retail names including Sharaf DG, Homes R Us, Tim Horton’s café, Shoe Studio, Garage and Aeropostale, not to mention Carrefour which will be the mall’s anchor tenant. There will also be a multiplex cinema, a food court, a children’s entertainment area and a mix of international restaurants and cafes. The centre is part of the mixed use Al Tilal Complex being developed by Al Madina Real Estate and will later be accompanied by residential and commercial projects.

Abu Dhabi shoppers spend more, but 20% still prefer Dubai

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Abu Dhabi residents spend an average of nearly US$5bn on retail goods each year, but 20 percent still prefer to travel to Dubai to do their shopping, according to a report by a leading real estate consultancy firm.
Real estate consultants at DTZ estimated that Abu Dhabi’s retail spending is around AED17bn (US$4.6bn). Despite this, the UAE capital “must look to improve the overall standard of retail offer in both its destination mall and luxury goods offer,” the report said, pointing to the fact around a fifth of Abu Dhabi residents regularly opt to travel to Dubai for shopping trips.
“This is mainly due to Abu Dhabi’s inability to match Dubai’s regional malls with their varied fashion offers and adjoining leisure activities,” DTZ said.
The report is hopeful that the opening of new regional malls, such as Yas Mall, and the increase in retail space by 137 percent over the next two years will help stem the flow of shoppers to Dubai.

UK retail sales falter as Marks & Spencer misses targets

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Hopes for a recovery in the British economy are set to receive another setback this week when official government data reveals lacklustre retail sales in April, underlined by Marks & Spencer which is expected to say that UK growth continues to slow.

According to the US data group Opera Solutions, the Office of National Statistics will say sales rose just 1pc year-on-year in April, less than a third of the 3.3pc growth recorded in March. The sharp slowdown in sales has in part been caused by the warmer weather in April 2011 compared with this year.

Arnab Gupta, chief executive of Opera Solutions, said the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics could boost sales this summer, but warned of an “Olympic-sized hangover” for retailers in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“We’re going to see a lot of retail spending by consumers brought forward for the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee,” he said. “Stocking up and extended Sunday opening hours during the whole of July will pull sales forward from August and from September.”

M&S, a bellwether for the UK retail market, is expected to warn this week that its future growth rests on the internet and international sales.

Marc Bolland, the chief executive, will admit that less than £8 in every £10 it takes will come from its shops on Britain’s high streets over the next two years because the company will fail to hit its targets in the UK.

Of all the major British retailers, M&S sells the smallest proportion of its goods online. However it is expected to use its annual results on Tuesday to say that it is catching up, despite losing ground on the high street.

Some analysts are calling on the company to commit to offering its full food range online to help it make up for lost sales momentum in womenswear, which is the most important part of its business but has been hit hard by competition and recession-hit shoppers cutting back. Two years ago, Britain’s biggest clothing retailer set itself an ambitious target to increase its sales by between £1.6bn to £2.5bn a year by 2013/14.

Mr Bolland is expected to announce, alongside the company’s results, that this now looks unachievable. “No one could have envisaged quite how tough the UK consumer economy was going to be,” said one insider. It is unlikely he will scrap the targets altogether, but guide analysts to the very bottom end of the range.

Despite poor sales in the UK, made worse by the failure to stock enough popular products in March and April, Mr Bolland will say plans for a complete roll-out of the company’s re-formatted stores will go ahead.

Mr Bolland also said in 2010 that he wanted M&S’s then relatively tiny online business and its fledgling international business to make up 10pc each of its total sales of between £11.6bn to £12.5bn by 2013/14.

He is likely to say that, despite the disappointing performance in the UK, these two arms are trading ahead of schedule and are likely to represent a far bigger slice of the overall business, while the UK legacy business is likely to make up less than 80pc of the total group sales.

The company is forecast to publish turnover just shy of £10bn, up from £9.74bn the previous year.

Pre-tax profit is forecast to fall to £694m from £714m.

The worlds most popular retail hubs….

1. UK with 56.7% of global retail brands present

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2. UAE with 53 % of global retail brands present

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3. US with 50.3% of global retail brands present

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4. Spain with 47.5% of global retail brands present

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5.China with 47.2% of global retail brands present

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6.France with 46.9 % of global retail brands present

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South Africa’s AVI to acquire Green Cross

South Africa’s AVI to acquire Green Cross
South Africa’s AVI has acquired footwear manufacturer and retailer Green Cross, it has been announced.

AVI, whose licenced brands include Lavazza and Douwe Egberts Cafitesse in the food and beverage sector; and fashion names including Kurt Geiger and Lacoste, said the transaction represents a rare opportunity to acquire an established, category-leading brand of relevant scale with a solid record of profitable operations.

AVI said it would work to substantially increase the scale and profitability of Green Cross’ operations through increased brand focus, product innovation, enhanced consumer messaging and greater investment in both the business’ retail and wholesale operations.

Green Cross was founded in 1975 and is a vertically integrated manufacturer, importer and retailer of ladies, men’s and children’s footwear in South Africa and surrounding areas. All sales by the business are made under the Green Cross brand, which is owned by Green Cross in South Africa and several other jurisdictions.

Green Cross has production facilities in Epping, Cape Town, and sells its products through a network of 30 retail outlets situated across South Africa. Wholesale sales are made through a network of third party retailers, distributors and agents, accounting for approximately 48 per cent of consolidated turnover in Green Cross’ last financial year.

For the financial year ending 29 February 2012, Green Cross posted revenues of R300.6 million, with operating profit after tax of R50.4 million.

AVI’s brand portfolio includes more than 53 brands: 33 owned brands and over 20 international brands under licence. Brands span a range of hot and cold beverages, sweet and savoury snacks, fresh and convenience foods, out-of-home ranges, cosmetics, shoes and accessories, and apparel.

With a turnover of R7.6 billion in FY11, AVI’s brands are a household name in South Africa.

RELATED TERMS: Manufacturing Retail and Leisure Africa AVI beverage food Kurt Geiger retail South Africa News

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new Apple Store planned for the UK seaside city of Plymouth.

Apple’s march to world domination continues, this time with a
What’s surprising about this store announcement is that Apple apparently made managers of a successful Zara fashion store at the Drake Circus Shopping Centre (above) in Plymouth “an offer they can’t refuse.”

The Zara store, which fills a 21,045 square-foot space in the mall, has about ten years to go on a fifteen-year lease. Zara is out; Apple will assume the lease for the remainder of the time. ifoAppleStore notes that this space is almost double the size of the standard Apple Store, so Apple may just occupy the ground floor and sublet the upper level.

26 Zara employees are losing their jobs as a result of the announced closing, but there’s a good chance that more jobs than that will be created when the Apple Store opens. The Drake Circus store is about 45 miles from the Princesshay Apple Store in Exeter, and fills in coverage for the Devon and Cornwall region of the country.
#bizitalk

R180 Million brand new Mall opens in North West

After 8 months of construction the wait is finally over. There to unveil the plaque was Executive Mayor, Mpho Khunou, Boitekong Mall opened its doors on 26th April 2012.
A VIP function was held the morning of the launch where Peter Manzana, Unit Manager of Communication from the Executive Mayor’s Office and Rustenburg Local Municipality commended the Developers for their efforts in giving the community a place they can call theirs. Fontis Developments, Benhaus Group, Periscopic Property Management and Councillors from the local Municipality were amongst the delegates who attended the function.

The centre was flooded during the launch weekend with shoppers taking advantage of the opening specials. Shoppers also stood a chance to win branded Boitekong Mall merchandise through the in-centre spend to win competition and enjoyed entertainment by live performers and a kids entertainment area.

“The opening of Boitekong Mall not only offered the surrounding community a variety of stores and transport facilities at their doorstop but it also opened opportunities for employment,” says Tom Roodt, from Fontis Developments.

With its modern exterior design and prominent location, Boitekong Mall enjoys extensive visibility from passing vehicles and pedestrians and is perfectly positioned to become a convenient shopping destination for the surrounding community.

For shoppers to the centre, it will become a place to be themselves and have a good time, whilst delivering all their shopping essentials.

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How Facebook has changed retail

As Facebook floats with a valuation of more than $100bn, Retail Week asks what advantages the social network has created for retailers?

Engagement

Some retailers have adopted tactics, such as an interactive Tesco game on Facebook, to build brand awareness. The retailer’s virtual fitting room – using augmented reality – for its F&F fashion brand has been a hit too. Facebook also allows retailers to engage with customers in a more informal manner and share tips and information – such as recipes – with dedicated shoppers, increasing brand engagement.

Using and integrating data

Facebook’s Open Graph – the footprint of connections that Facebook users produce as they interact with friends and online content – has allowed retailers such as eBay to integrate marketing tailored for a specific audience. Although some users are uncomfortable with such use of their data, Facebook remains a free service which they are paying for with their information.

Retailers can also now integrate their Facebook page users’ data with their existing databases, allowing them to get in touch with customers quickly and effectively.

Driving traffic

A large number of retailers use Facebook simply to drive traffic to their own website.

Targeting new customers

Department store group House of Fraser teamed up with the National Union of Students to offer a 10% student discount to Facebook users who ‘like’ the retailer.

Testing ranges

Retailers including C&A have used Facebook to gauge the popularity of new products and work out volumes to stock in store accordingly. Some retailers have even polled Facebook users to decide which of new stores to open first.

Easy payment

Retailers including Asos have opened Facebook shops using Paypal to transact. This allows Facebook users to navigate to a shop quickly, without having to take a deliberate decision to ‘go shopping’ on the conventional etail site.

Timelines

The new timeline format of Facebook has allowed retailers to take advantage of a more fashionable, design-led profile. It also tracks users’ history, showing what users have done in the past and enabling advertising to be tailored accordingly.

Location-specific deals

Argos and Debenhams are among the retailers who have signed up to the Facebook Deals initiative, which allows retailers to use the Place application to create location-specific deals, tailoring the offer for customers and increasing the likelihood they will make a purchase.

Marketing

The impact of social media is evident at Burberry, one of the most adept users of sites such as Facebook. The luxury goods specialist now has 10m Facebook fans – second only in fashion to Victoria’s Secret. Burberry linked the launch of its Burberry Body fragrance last year to Facebook by giving a sample to people who ‘liked its page.

Instagram

Facebook’s $1bn acquisition of the photo-sharing app may have surprised some, but Instagram has already been used by Ted Baker to send high quality images to its Facebook page and drive traffic from fashion shoppers.

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Retail giant Lulu eyes 100th store, online drive

Middle East retail giant Lulu said on Monday it was set to open its 100th store later this month in a bid to further strengthen their market share in the region.
Yusuff Ali MA, Emke Lulu Group’s managing director, said the company had opened 23 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the last three years, adding that the 100th store would open in Ras Al Khaimah.
He added that the expansion programme had not been impacted by the global financial meltdown.
“Not a single project was shelved or postponed,” he said.

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