Monthly Archives: October 2012

Clicks profit grows 9%

Johannesburg – Retailer Clicks Group [JSE:CLS] reported a near 10% rise in full-year profit on Thursday, as relatively low inflation helped support consumer spending.

Clicks, which runs SA’s biggest drug store chain, said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 273.4 cents in the year to end-August, compared with 250 cents a year earlier.

Revenue increased 9.5% to R16.2bn and the company declared a final dividend of 107.9 cents, up from 88 cents last year.

The company said it plans to spend R356m in 2013 on new stores and upgrades to existing stores.

Clicks bought back more than R500m of its own shares in the past two years, helping it ease pressure on profitability due to increasing competition and as consumers grapple with high fuel costs.

Shares of the company were flat after the results.

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Asos Said to Lose Two More Fashion Bosses After Hiring Bostock

Asos Plc (ASC), the U.K.’s largest online- only clothing retailer, is losing two more fashion managers following this month’s appointment of former Marks & Spencer Group Plc clothing director Kate Bostock to the board, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Buying director Caren Downie and womenswear design director Sarah Wilkinson are both leaving by their own choice, according to the person, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. Chief Executive Officer Nick Robertson declined to comment on the departures, saying the retailer wouldn’t speak about individual cases.

The changes follow this month’s announcement that product director Robert Bready will resign from the board after seven years at the company. Asos disclosed Bready’s exit on the same day it confirmed speculation that Bostock would join. Bostock left Marks & Spencer on Oct. 1, about three months after the London-based retailer said she would step down and posted the biggest decline in non-food revenue since 2008. She joins Asos in January.

Downie joined Asos in 2008 after almost a decade at Topshop, the fashion chain owned by billionaire Philip Green. Her roles there included head of buying and buying director. Wilkinson has been with the online retailer since 2006.

Asos shares have almost doubled this year, as the company pushes into new markets outside the U.K. International revenue accounted for 65 percent of sales in the fourth quarter and Robertson has said the U.K. could represent less than 10 percent of the total within a few years. Robertson has recruited over 200 people in the last 12 months, he said today.

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Björn Borg opens first standalone store

Swedish underwear brand Björn Borg has opened its first standalone store in the UK in Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre.

The new store, which is situated in the Upper Guildhall, uses the the brand’s Candy store concept where shops are designed in the style of a kiosk without surrounding walls with products visible to passers-by. The shop sells a range of underwear for men, women and children as well as seasonal products such as sleepwear and swimwear.

Arthur Engel, CEO of Björn Borg, said: “In line with our expansion plan we now take our Candy Store-concept internationally further. We have previously opened Candy Stores in both Germany and Gallerian in Stockholm and plan to introduce the concept on more markets. This type of store reflects our brand exceptionally well and makes our lines of underwear more accessible to the customer.”

Björn Bjorg launched in the UK in 2005 with shops within stores such as Harrods and Selfridges. The company said it now plans to open more retail outlets and own stores in selected parts of the country.

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EBay Rises as Third-Quarter Results Point to Turnaround

EBay Inc. (EBAY), the world’s largest online marketplace, rose the most in three months after third- quarter results fueled optimism that the company’s turnaround is gathering steam.

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A QR code is seen attached to a guitar at the EBay Inc. Christmas “pop-up” store in London, on Nov. 29, 2011. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Shares gained as much as 5.1 percent, the most since July 19. Third-quarter revenue climbed 15 percent to $3.4 billion, the company said yesterday in a statement. That was in line with the $3.41 billion average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Profit excluding some items was 55 cents a share, also matching analysts’ predictions.

Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe has been spending money on mobile technology, marketing campaigns and a website redesign, seeking to vault the company beyond its roots in Internet auctions. EBay has added retail partners such as Brooks Brothers Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK), improved search and made shipping faster, while its mobile applications have reached 100 million downloads.

“The EBay marketplace has improved and is now growing at average e-commerce rates,” Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said in a note to clients today. “E- commerce is entering a new wave of growth, fueled not only by the ongoing secular shift in spending from offline to online, but also by the rapid penetration of Internet-enabled mobile devices, local shopping apps, and social networks.”

Shares of San Jose, California-based EBay increased 4.7 percent to $50.48 at 12:26 p.m. in New York. Through yesterday, the stock was up 59 percent this year.

PayPal Revamp

PayPal, which made up 43 percent of EBay’s revenue last year, has also driven growth. Revenue rose 23 percent to $1.37 billion in the period, and total payment volume climbed 20 percent to $35.2 billion. The unit had 117.4 million users in the third quarter, a 14 percent increase from a year earlier.

The payment processor is being revamped by President David Marcus, who took over in April and has vowed to make PayPal, bought by EBay in 2002, more agile and efficient. Marcus has so far consolidated nine product groups into one and plans to reorganize workers, moving them from walled-off cubicles and offices to open rooms.

PayPal plans to eliminate jobs in the next few weeks, a person familiar with the matter said last week. The unit, which has 13,000 employees, will cut 300 to 400 jobs primarily in its product and technology groups, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the plans are private.

While EBay is focused on streamlining and simplifying PayPal, the impact of any possible changes have not yet been announced, Donahoe said on a conference call yesterday with analysts.

Site Redesign

EBay made changes in the third quarter that targeted convenience and customer service for marketplace visitors. The company paired up with Geek Squad Inc. this month to offer 24- hour technical support for electronics sold on the site, and released an application called EBay Now that offers customers same-day delivery.

The online retailer also redesigned its homepage, centering it around photos, similar to Pinterest Inc., a site that lets users share photos by pinning them to a virtual bulletin board. There are more than 2 million items listed a week from mobile devices, Donahoe said on a conference call yesterday.

“More and more consumers are trying our products for the first time and they like what they see,” Donahoe said in an interview. “Mobile is becoming a central control system in people’s lives.”

Holiday Season

Net income in the third quarter rose to $597 million, or 45 cents a share, from $491 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier, the company said.

Revenue in the current quarter will be $3.85 billion to $4 billion, EBay said, compared with an average analyst projection of $3.94 billion. The company forecast profit excluding some items of 66 cents to 69 cents a share, versus a 68-cent estimate.

EBay forecast an “OK” holiday season in an earnings presentation to analysts yesterday, similar to language it used a year ago. Comparable sales rose 21 percent in September from a year earlier, less than August’s 24 percent growth, ChannelAdvisor Corp. said earlier this month.

“There are uncertainties still at this point regarding consumer spending over the holidays,” said Sebastian, who has an outperform rating on EBay. “There are event-driven uncertainties, such as elections, the fiscal cliff, debt issues in Europe.”

U.S. online retail sales growth will slow to 12 percent during the holiday season this year, compared with a 15 percent jump last year, the Washington-based National Retail Federation said on Oct. 2.

EBay is trading at 22 times projected earnings, compared with 15 for Target Corp. (TGT) and 16 for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), which traditionally carries a much higher valuation, is trading at 343 times earnings. Amazon’s sales growth rate also slowed to 37 percent in September from 41 percent in the prior month, said ChannelAdvisor, based in Morrisville, North Carolina.

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Dubai Mall plans all-night opening for Eid

The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping destination has announced plans for 24-hour opening over three weekends in the next month.

The plan is part of its participation in Dubai Events & Promotions Establishment’s Eid Al Adha celebrations initiative.

Its 24-hour operations will take place during three consecutive weekends from October 18 to November 4.

It is the first time that all aspects of the mall – including the 1,200 retail outlets and the leisure attractions – will operate through the day and night on weekends, a statement said.

Nasser Rafi, CEO, Emaar Malls Group, said: “The decision to extend Eid Al Adha celebrations for Eid in Dubai… will significantly energise Dubai’s retail, tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors.

“We are confident of hosting record footfall this Eid at The Dubai Mall,” he added.

During the Eid in Dubai celebrations, The Dubai Mall will be open on weekdays from 10am to 1am for retail outlets, and until 3am for food courts and restaurants.

As well as all the shops, the 24-hour opening will apply to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, KidZania, SEGA Republic, the 22-screen Reel Cinemas and the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink.

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TOPSHOP and TOPMAN's Largest International Store Opens in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Oct. 18, 2012 /CNW/ – Arcadia-owned TOPSHOP and TOPMAN today sees the opening of its largest international TOPSHOP and TOPMAN in Vancouver; operating in partnership with The Bay. After months of consumer buzz and excitement, the opening now brings the UK-based brands’ joint style authority and brave trend-setting approach to The Bay’s downtown Granville store on October 18, 2012. TOPSHOP and TOPMAN in Granville will boast the same selection of trend-driven pieces, specialized collaborations, and tailored services that both brands have become internationally known for, and celebrated by style-conscious consumers. As British high street style champions, TOPSHOP and TOPMAN remain a favourite amongst the fashion set, and TOPSHOP is the only fast fashion brand to regularly show collections at London Fashion Week, setting popular fashion trends each season.

The striking new Vancouver store features an escalator entrance directly from historic Granville Street taking shoppers into over 33,000 square feet of retail bliss. Polished black glass portal entries, matte porcelain flooring and white neon signage, bring the brands’ signature look to the Vancouver location. Architectural details will include signature touches such as mannequin display windows, carnival neon shop lettering and graphic mural decals.

“We are thrilled to bring TOPSHOP and TOPMAN’s inspiring style to Vancouver consumers,” says Bonnie Brooks, President, Hudson’s Bay Company. “The launch of TOPSHOP and TOPMAN in Vancouver signifies a momentous occasion for The Bay as we celebrate the grand opening of the largest international flagship store. We are excited to open the doors of the Vancouver location to consumers on October 18, and look forward to the continued success of the UK-based brand in Canada.”

“We are delighted to be opening our first store on Canada’s West Coast. Vancouver is such a vibrant and diverse city that our approach to fashion will be a perfect fit. The success to-date of our locations in Toronto has shown that the Canadian customer has really embraced our offering of up-to-the minute affordable style with fashion authority. The new store on Granville Street, our largest international one yet, will allow shoppers to enjoy the full TOPSHOP in-store experience,” says Mary Homer, Managing Director, TOPSHOP.

“We are extremely happy to be launching TOPMAN in this fantastic space which represents yet another step in our continued international growth,” says David Shepherd, Managing Director, TOPMAN. “We will continue to offer all the latest TOPMAN trends and up-to-the-minute fashions that will keep our Canadian customers coming back for more!”

TOPSHOP

Apparel | Accessories | Make Up

TOPSHOP will showcase the extensive trend-driven mainline, a curated selection of Boutique, one of TOPSHOP’s most loved in-house collections. Boutique is the go-to label for any girl in the fashion know. From sleek and quality takes on everyday staples, to high-end prints and fine fabrics and cuts. Not to be missed, TOPSHOP is proud to announce its first collaboration with JW Anderson. Inspired by youth, pop and sub-cultures, JW Anderson’s TOPSHOP collaboration is pulsing with coolness. Go head-to-toe tartan, get covered in zebra print or slip into a stylish bomber jacket for a look that will have heads turning. For a complete look dressing the Vancouver store will also carry a vast array of fearless statement accessories, from bags and shoes to the Freedom jewelry collection. To complete the look, beauty lovers rejoice: Dark Side of Nude – gothic goes glamourous with our decadent capsule makeup collection. Complementing this evolving seasonal line will be the TOPSHOP Makeup core range of affordable everyday essentials.

TOPMAN

Apparel | Accessories

TOPMAN’s latest trends are showcased within a slick, stylish space with a distinct modern British feel, providing a true shopping destination for the consumer. In addition to the main collection, TOPMAN will also feature TOPMAN Design – a directional collection presented at London Fashion Week and TOPMAN Ltd – premium fabrics in timeless directional styles. Rounding off with TOPMAN’s men’s suits and formal range has never looked so good. From skinny-fit suits in a range of classic colours and materials to our heritage range and more.

IN-STORE SERVICE

TOPSHOP and TOPMAN have always pioneered a first class complementary service, and consumers can look forward to such personal services touches as by-appointment personal shoppers, ready to help select the ideal look for any occasion. See in-store for further details and to make an appointment.

LAUNCH EVENTS

To kick-start the festivities on October 18, shoppers can sign up in-store with brand ambassadors to enter to win a $1,000 TOPSHOP or TOPMAN shopping spree or tweet a picture of themselves in their new TOPSHOP look to #TOPSHOPCANADA for the chance to win a $500 shopping spree!

Plus, everyone will have the opportunity to capture their favourite style moments in a special, in-store photo booth with images that will be automatically uploaded for easy sharing on Facebook. Shoppers can also take advantage of exclusive offers during the grand opening such as receiving an iPad case or hat with every $75 spent, as well as an exclusive grand opening tote with every purchase – all of this while being treated to complimentary TOPSHOP makeovers, homemade treats and much, much more.

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UK Retailers Close 20 Stores Per Day Between January-June-Survey

The tough U.K. economic climate continues to batter the high street as retailers closed 953 individual stores in the first half of 2012, compared with a total of 174 closures over the whole of 2011, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed Thursday.
That equates to an average of 20 per day between January and June, before accelerating sharply in the first two months of the second half of this year, the PwC survey said. In July and August PwC said there were an average of 32 store closures per day.

“All retailers in distress have too many locations,” said Mike Jervis, PwC insolvency partner and retail specialist. “Relatively long leases, with inflexible terms, have been entered into in a growth phase of the economy which is no longer appropriate.”

The recession-hit U.K. economy has contracted in three straight quarters up to the second quarter of this year. And, while economists are predicting a bounce back to growth in the third quarter–as a combination of holiday effects which weighed on output earlier in the year will likely lead to a reversal of that drop between July and September–any long-term recovery will be hard won as the euro-zone debt crisis rumbles on and government spending cuts continue unabated.

In an attempt to avoid turning to bankruptcy, which has claimed some U.K. high street stalwarts in recent years, retailers are modifying their growth and investment plans.

Mother and baby product retailer Mothercare PLC (MTC.LN) is currently cutting its U.K. store portfolio from 352 stores in November 2011 to 200 stores by March 2015 and said it sees cash restructuring costs of GBP35 million over the next three years as it implements its plan to restore profitability.

And, fashion store French Connection Group PLC (FCCN.LN) plans to sell up to 15 U.K. stores in a bid to return the fashion chain to profitability.

The planned store disposals are part of a number of initiatives announced last week following the conclusion of a review of French Connection’s U.K. and European retail business, and include bringing prices of some products down and improving customer service.

The sectors that have been hardest hit are computer game stores, home furnishings and furniture stores, gift shops and toy shops.

At the same time, the number of cheque cashing and payday loans stores rose 11.3% in the first six months of this year, while the number of bureaux de Change and pawnbroker stores also grew.

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South Africa Retail review …September 2012 (download)

Latest retail news

download the PDF here

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luxury firm Longchamp eyes China expansion

HONG KONG – French luxury handbag maker Longchamp is eyeing a huge expansion in China despite the country’s economic slowdown, its chief executive said as the firm opened a new store in Hong Kong Wednesday.

The 64-year-old family-owned brand, famous for its coloured fold-up nylon and leather totes, said it was optimistic about the Asian market, especially China, as European economies — its main markets — remain “unfavourable”.

“We have no intentions to slow down our expansion plans, especially in Asia,” chief executive Jean Cassegrain, a grandson of the founder, told AFP.

He said he had no concerns about China, adding: “The purchasing power of Chinese consumers continue to increase and it is not going to change” even as the Asian powerhouse’s economy slowed.

The 400-square-metre (4,300-square-feet) outlet is Longchamp’s second mega store in Hong Kong and is located in Kowloon, one of the city’s busiest shopping districts where mainland Chinese tourists flock to splurge on luxury goods.

Cassegrain said Longchamp is looking to expand its current presence of seven stores in mainland China — including Beijing and Shanghai — to about 40 to 50 stores, although he could not specify a timeline.

“The challenge is to pick the right locations,” he said, adding that Longchamp has appointed popular Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan as its ambassador to boost the brand’s profile in the region.

China’s economy expanded 7.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, its worst performance in three years, and disappointing data since then has led to fears that third-quarter growth may have weakened further.

Third-quarter data is due out on Thursday.

Longchamp saw turnover of 390 million euros ($507 million) last year, up 22 percent from a year earlier.

China is set to become the world’s second biggest market for luxury goods after the United States by 2017, overtaking France, Britain, Italy and Japan, consumer research group Euromonitor said in a report this month.

Luxury-good sales could top $302 billion worldwide this year, up 4.0 percent from 2011, driven by demand in emerging economies, according to the report.

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Alfred Dunhill appoints new CEO

Alfred Dunhill, the Richemont Group owned luxury menswear brand, has appointed Eraldo Poletto as its new chief executive officer.

Poletto joins Alfred Dunhill from Furla where he was also CEO.

Prior to Furla, Poletto was managing director and head of international marketing at Brooks Brothers, the US menswear brand.

Poletto will replace Christopher Colfer who is taking up a new position within the Richemont Group.

Reporting directly to Marty Wikstrom, CEO of Richemont Fashion and Accessories, Poletto will begin his new role on 5 November.

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Allan Leighton becomes Matalan chairman

Budget fashion chain Matalan has appointed Allan Leighton, the former chief executive of Asda, as its new chairman.

Leighton will replace John Mills who is to become deputy chairman after holding the position of chairman for six years.

As the holder of several non-executive positions including the chairmanship of Office and Pandora, Leighton is understood to have been appointed for his knowledge of the value sector and to help move forward Matalan’s growth plans.

Commenting on the appointment Mills said: “I am delighted to welcome Allan to the Board. He brings a wealth of retail experience particularly in the value sector, which will support Matalan’s ongoing development.”

Leighton added: “I am very excited about this opportunity; Matalan is a great company with a strong brand and management team.

“I look forward to working with the team to build on its fantastic reputation as a family retailer.”

Matalan, which operates 217 UK stores, has also announced that its total sales rose to £269.2 million from £258.5 million in its second quarter. In the 13 week period to 25 August, EBITDA increased by 27.2% to £17.3 million.

Chief executive Darren Blackhurst said: “We continue to deliver outstanding value for our customers and have navigated our way through a challenging quarter, achieving robust results in a tough, competitive market.

“Whilst we remain cautious in our outlook, with the launch of our exciting new collections for Autumn/Winter and our continued focus on quality, service and value, we are confident we are well placed to delight customers in the months ahead.”

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Chanel buys Scottish cashmere firm Barrie

PARIS – French luxury house Chanel announced Tuesday it has acquired the under-threat Scottish cashmere manufacturer Barrie Knitwear, securing the jobs of the firm’s 176 employees.

The 140-year-old Scottish-borders based firm, which produces Chanel’s iconic two-tone cashmere cardigans, is a trading division of textiles firm Dawson International Trading Ltd, which was placed in administration in August.

“We have been working with them for more than 25 years and there was a risk that the firm could disappear,” the head of Chanel’s fashion division Bruno Pavlovsky told AFP.

“It made sense to be able to keep working with such extraordinarily competent people.”

The acquisition “secures the jobs of all 176 employees and safeguards a historic brand,” Chanel said in a statement.

Based in Hawick, where it produces 20,000 to 25,000 pieces for around 100 clients worldwide, the firm will continue to be run by its current management team and will be able to uphold all existing contracts without exclusivity.

Barrie Knitwear “was under threat of disappearing not because it is not working, but it was caught up in the problems facing Dawson”, which are linked to the financing of pensions at the group, Pavlovksy said.

“The company is one of the last in Scotland that is capable of producing sophisticated wares to display on the catwalks, and then to manufacture them.”

Barrie Knitwear is the second foreign firm to be acquired by Chanel, following the Italian shoemaker Roveda.

Since 1985, Chanel has bought nine high-end craft firms through its subsidiary Paraffection, including the embroiderer Lesage, bootmaker Massaro, hatmaker Michel and last September the glovemaker Causse.

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Dubai's Paris Gallery eyes Iraq expansion

Paris Gallery, the Dubai-based luxury retailer, has announced plans to open five franchise stores in Iraq as part of its expansion strategy.
CEO Mohamed AR Al Fahim said the time was right for the move, adding that Paris Gallery has partnered with the Al Handal Group.
Under the deal, the Al Handal Group will open five stores in the next three years with two stores in Baghdad, two in Erbil and one in Basra.
The Iraq expansion is part of Paris Gallery’s growth plans outside its Gulf base where it employs 3,500 staff.

It is also in the middle of negotiations to open new stores in Turkey, Moscow, St Petersburg and many other cities in the Arab world.
Half the company’s stores trade under the Paris Gallery label, selling about 500 brands including Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Lancome.
The UAE provides more than 60 percent of Paris Gallery’s revenue and Saudi Arabia about 35 percent, with the remainder from other Gulf countries.
Paris Gallery said in a statement that is also expanding into Azerbaijan and Oman.
Al Fahim said: “We have been looking forward to this day, and the time is right. In the past we have had several companies who wanted to open Paris Gallery stores in Iraq, but the conditions were not favorable for us to do so.
“After much deliberation and research we have now partnered with the Al Handal Group who shares the same business philosophy with us.”
He added: “We are in an expansion mode now. We are well set in the UAE, and strengthening ourselves in the GCC countries. We are also eagerly looking forward to the other markets in the world.
“2013 will be a big year for us as we have many stores planned to open in different parts of the world.”
Mohammed Al Handal, CEO of Al Handal International Group, said: “We have very high expectations. Paris Gallery has a solid reputation… We are excited as we believe that Paris Gallery will bring something special and unique that our Iraqi market needs.”
Al Fahim added: “Iraq is in a transition phase now, moving from unstable to stable. We believe that by the time we are set to open our first store in Iraq, the situation in Iraq will have improved to a great extent.”

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Cro'Jack opens first retail store

Menswear brand Cro’Jack has chosen London’s Covent Garden for the opening of its first-ever retail store.

The new flagship store in Seven Dials will be a showcase for the brand’s range of clothing and accessories all of which are manufactured in the UK either at Cro’Jack’s own factory or by other local manufacturers.

As well as the brand’s signature pieces of outerwear, the store will stock a range of trousers, denim, heavy duty knitwear, and a selection of leather belts and silk ties.

Cro’Jack founder Dean Batty said: “We feel the location for our first store couldn’t be better as Seven Dials has a lovely village feel in the middle of a metropolis – perfectly encapsulating our brand.”

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Debenhams opens store in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: The fashion-wear and accessories retailer Debenhams has opened a 4,378-square-metre store in Abu Dhabi’s Dalma Mall. This is the British brand’s first full-scale location in the emirate and its seventh in the UAE.

“We now have over 24 stores in the Middle East, and we are looking to expand even further soon,” said Kevin Pender, marketing and visual manager of Debenhams Middle East.

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Express Names David Kornberg President.

Express, Inc., a specialty retail apparel chain operating more than 600 stores, today announced that David Kornberg has been promoted to President. In this new role, Mr. Kornberg will have responsibility for both the men’s and women’s merchandising and design functions.

“David has enjoyed a long history of success with Express and has a deep understanding of our DNA and how we work best,” said Michael Weiss, Chairman and CEO of Express, Inc. “During his tenure, he has consistently demonstrated sustainable growth of the men’s business through his deep understanding of our customer, strong vision and leadership and effective execution of our Go-to-Market strategy. I look forward to continuing our close working relationship during this next phase of his career,” Weiss added.

Mr. Kornberg was most recently Executive Vice President of Men’s Merchandising & Design, a position he held since 2007. Prior to that, he was the General Merchandise Manager of the Express Men’s business. Under Mr. Kornberg’s leadership, the Express Men’s business has grown significantly. From 2005 through 2011, the Men’s business has grown sales a total of 56% and margin dollars by 92%.

Mr. Kornberg has spent twelve of the last thirteen years with Express. From 2002-2003, he was Vice President of Business Development for Disney Stores. Mr. Kornberg spent the first ten years of his career with Marks & Spencer PLC in the United Kingdom, where he held a number of roles in store management and merchandising on both the men’s and women’s side of the business.

Separately, the Company announced that, Fran Horowitz, Executive Vice President of Women’s Merchandising & Design, has announced she will be leaving the business. At this time, this role will not be replaced and the executives who previously reported to Ms. Horowitz will now report directly to Mr. Kornberg.

“Fran has been a valuable part of the executive leadership team at Express and has played a significant role in the successful transformation of Express into the brand it has become. I truly appreciate the dedication and passion she brought to the company. On behalf of the board, the management team and our associates, I want to thank Fran for her many contributions,” added Weiss.

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Jumeirah inks Noodle House deal for Turkey

Jumeirah Restaurants, a unit of the Jumeirah Group, has signed an agreement to expand the reach of its Noodle House brand to Turkey.

The company announced it has signed a new licensing agreement with current franchise partners the BCF Group.

BCF Group already operates Jumeirah’s Italian restaurant chain Urbano in Turkey.

The new agreement for Noodle House comes hot on the heels of a deal to open seven outlets in Kenya over the next five years via an agreement with Global Hotels Management Africa.

In Turkey, three Noodle House restaurants, which offer street-style South-East Asian cuisine, will open, a statement said.

Phil Broad, managing director of Jumeirah Restaurants, said: “Extending the brand’s global footprint into Turkey marks a really exciting milestone for the Noodle House.

“The brand has seen immense growth since it first launched in the UAE ten years ago, firmly establishing itself within the GCC and beyond.

“We are delighted to continue to work with BCF to develop and operate our brands in Istanbul.”

The Noodle House, which first opened in the UAE, now has a presence in eight countries including Cyprus, Pakistan, and the GCC.

In the near future, new franchises are set to start operating in Asia, North Africa and outlets in Europe, including Russia and Morocco, with a further 27 new restaurants in the UK also opening soon.

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Chinese retailer Bosideng sails ahead with overseas plans

LONDON – Bosideng International Holdings , China’s largest maker and distributor of down clothing, is eyeing store openings in Milan and New York if its first overseas venture in London proves a hit with the British capital’s shoppers.

The group, which has over 8,000 retail outlets in China, made its first international foray in July, opening a flagship store in London’s South Molton Street, close to some of the city’s most prestigious retail haunts.

For a company with profits of around 1.4 billion yuan ($223 million), the 35 million pound cost of its new store, which will serve as its European headquarters, is a sizeable investment.

But its chairman and founder said it would not stop there.

“We want to use this very first flagship store as a basis for future expansion inside and outside of the UK,” Gao Dekang told Reuters on Friday.

The store, whose products start at around 45 pounds and climb into the thousands, is not far from Savile Row and Jermyn Street, two London streets famous for their upmarket tailoring.

Bosideng’s trademark down-padded jackets, on sale in London alongside limited collections of wool blazers and dark suits, will compete with brands like British waterproof jacket maker Barbour and Moncler, which makes goose-down jackets.

“We are having discussions with a major Italian brand which we will partner with to open a store in Milan. We will bring their brand into China and they will help us establish a retail presence in Italy,” said Gao.

That move is planned for autumn or winter next year, the group said, adding it was also on the look out for a store property in New York where it already has a wholesale presence.

The ambitious plan to bring Chinese style to top fashion cities is a far cry from Bosideng’s humble beginnings in 1976 when Gao would ride his bike 80km to Shanghai to showcase his work, creating a pair of men’s trousers in 17 minutes.

The brand is arriving overseas at a time when the latest PMI (purchasing managers’ index) data suggests the euro zone’s economic woes accelerated last month.

“The international expansion is a long-term strategy for Bosideng. We were going to do this anyway in the next few years so we don’t really care what the current economic situation is,” Gao said.

Gao said China’s economic growth had also slowed down, but while firms like British fashion house Burberry have begun to feel the pinch there, Bosideng will double its China revenue in the next three years, he added.

Bosideng, whose shares have risen 33 percent in a year and which has a market value of around $2.4 billion, made revenue of around $1.34 billion for the year to Mar. 31, 2012.

Despite competing with the London Olympics and numerous construction works near the store, the group said trading in London had so far met expectations, adding it hoped to reach an agreement by the end of November to set up concessions in some UK department stores.

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LVMH Reports Slowest Sales Growth Since 2009 as Demand Wanes

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, (MC) the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, reported the slowest quarterly sales growth since the last three months of 2009 as demand for leather goods and watches slowed.

Organic revenue, which excludes currency swings and acquisitions, climbed 6 percent in the third quarter, the Paris- based company said today after the market close. That missed the 7 percent average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“This set of results is not the greatest we have seen at LVMH,” Leopold Authie, a Paris-based analyst at Oddo & Cie., said by e-mail. “Many investors were very worried about a potential faster deceleration given the current context, notably in Asia-Pacific.”

Luxury-goods makers have reported divergent sales patterns since the end of August. Burberry Group Plc (BRBY) said demand is slowing, particularly at lower price points, while Prada SpA and Hermes International SCA (RMS) said they’ve yet to be affected by the weakening world economy. Sales of expensive handbags and other items may advance 5 percent in 2012, excluding currency swings, less than half last year’s pace, Bain & Co. estimated today.

A deceleration in revenue growth at LVMH’s fashion and leather goods and watches and jewelry units is “worrying,” said Thomas Mesmin, an analyst at CA Cheuvreux in Paris. Fashion and leather goods sales growth slowed to 4 percent in the quarter, while watches and jewelry gained 2 percent, excluding currency swings and acquisitions, Mesmin estimates.

Confident Outlook

Total revenue in the quarter rose 15 percent to 6.9 billion euros ($8.9 billion), LVMH said. The median of six analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 6.88 billion euros.

“The U.S. market continued to demonstrate solid momentum,” the company said in the statement. “In spite of a mixed business environment, Europe and Asia also contributed to the third quarter performance.”

LVMH said it “remains confident in its outlook for 2012.”

Nine-month sales rose 22 percent on a reported basis and 10 percent excluding currency swings and acquisitions, LVMH said.

The shares advanced 0.8 percent to 123.8 euros in Paris trading today, extending this year’s gain to 13 percent.

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Fossil applies to enter India through wholly-owned route

REUTERS – U.S. accessories manufacturer Fossil Inc (FOSL.O) is the third overseas retailer to apply to India’s government to enter the market through a 100 percent owned operation, a local television station said on Monday citing unnamed sources.

A spokesman for Fossil, which already has a distribution agreement to sell their watches, jewellery, handbags and leather goods in India, could not be reached by Reuters for comment.

Fossil would follow Sweden’s IKEA IKEA.UL and U.K. shoe retailer Pavers in applying for permission to enter the country through a wholly-owned business, ET Now reported.

India removed a cap on foreign investment in single-brand retail in January. (Reporting by Henry Foy and Nandita Bose in MUMBAI)

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H&M Sept comparable sales +6 pct

STOCKHOLM – Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-largest fashion retailer, said on Monday sales at stores open a year or more grew 6 percent in local currencies in September, above a Reuters poll forecast for 4 percent growth.

Total sales in September, the first month of the Swedish budget apparel firm’s fiscal fourth quarter, were up 15 percent from a year earlier, just above the mean forecast and a preliminary figure unveiled late September for a 14 percent increase.

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Clinton Group says no longer seeking sale of Wet Seal

Activist investor Clinton Group said it will no longer push for a sale of Wet Seal Inc (WTSLA.O), which it won control of last week, but will instead focus on turning around the women’s clothing retailer.

The hedge fund, however, said Wet Seal could attract buyers if it managed to improve its business, and an offer of between $5-$8 per share would be a fair value for the company.

Clinton Group, which in June called for a sale of the retailer and is its third-largest shareholder with a 7 percent stake, said it is now hoping for a recovery under the new board.

Wet Seal named a Clinton Group nominee as chairman on Wednesday, days after it managed to get four nominees elected to the company’s eight-member board. One seat remains vacant.

Lynn Davey, the new chairman, is the former chief executive of Avalon Group Ltd, and will replace Harold Kahn, who resigned following the Clinton Group’s efforts to bring changes to the board.

Clinton Group Managing Director Greg Taxin said Wet Seal, which has been hit by declining sales, should focus on hiring a top-notch chief executive and improve its business before considering a sale.

The retailer, which caters primarily to young women, fired CEO Susan McGalla in July as Clinton Group stepped up pressure to turn around the business.

“There is no definitive time frame set for a turnaround,” Taxin told Reuters on Tuesday, adding he expects the company to start showing progress in about six to nine months.

He said Clinton Group had pressed for a sale earlier as Wet Seal had fired its CEO without a replacement available and had “no clear strategic direction”.

SEEKING A “FAST” REVAMP

Wet Seal has been trying to return to a fast-fashion model by maintaining light inventories to respond quickly to new styles and trends.

Wet Seal also announced late Friday merchandising chief Harriet Sustarsic would be leaving the company to assume a similar role at True Religion Apparel Inc (TRLG.O).

Kim Bajrech and Debbie Shinn will lead Wet Seal’s merchandising operations, a responsibility they previously shared on an interim basis during a relatively successful period under the company’s fast-fashion model before Sustarsic’s appointment.

Shares of the Foothill Ranch, California-based company, which have climbed 14 percent since it fired its CEO in July, were up 1 percent at $3.07 on the Nasdaq late morning on Wednesday.

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Saudi Arabia franchising sector most promising in Mideast

JEDDAH – Franchising is positioned for explosive growth in countries scattered throughout the Middle East, Francorp said in a report, with new franchise opportunities popping up throughout the region.

Saudi Arabia has become a highly desirable market for many franchises, largely due to the brand recognition of US products and services among Saudi consumers. In fact, US franchises currently dominate the Saudi franchise market, representing more than 70 percent of the nation’s franchise operations.

Francorp said Saudi Arabia provides several key indicators of the potential for franchising in Saudi Arabia and throughout the region as its approximately half of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 23 million is comprised of people under the age of 15 years old – many of whom have traveled to the US and Europe, and nearly all of whom are eager to purchase US products and services.

More than one in four people are expatriate workers who see franchising as a valuable resource for decreasing “product unfamiliarity”.

The Saudi financial system offers franchise entrepreneurs easy access to international and local banking opportunities.

However, franchising in the Middle East also comes with certain unique challenges. It’s important for aspiring Middle East franchise entrepreneurs to understand that cultural and religious beliefs across the region may require franchise concepts, including gender separation and advertising messages, to be adapted for local consumers.

US entrepreneurs interested in Middle East franchising should also understand the risks associated with international franchising as well as the franchise law issues associated with franchising in the Middle East.
From the outset, franchise entrepreneurs need to determine whether they will sub-franchise with a local developer or establish their own local office, which can significantly complicate the launch and operation of new franchise locations.

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Burberry to bring perfume business in-house – sources

Zee Report::Fashion news Burberry to bring perfume business in-house – sources

British luxury brand Burberry is expected to announce in its trading update on Thursday that it is bringing its perfume business in-house after its contract with Interparfums ends on Dec. 31, industry sources close to the matter said.

“Burberry believe that they can accelerate the growth of their perfume business better themselves,” one of the sources said on Wednesday.

When Burberry announced an end to its contract with Interparfums in July, it said it would review its options, which included finding another partner to make and distribute its perfumes or integrating the whole business internally.

Burberry, which issued a profit warning in September, held talks with Beaute Prestige International (BPI), the perfume unit of Japan’s Shiseido, but failed to come to a new agreement, sources told Reuters last month.

Part of the problem was that Burberry wanted to consolidate the sales and use BPI mainly as a distributor, the sources said at the time.

Burberry will be able to continue taking advantage of Interparfum’s distribution partners, the first industry source said, and Interparfums will help the British brand ensure a smooth transition.

Another industry source confirmed that Burberry was preparing to announce that it wished to integrate the perfume business in its operations “because of the growth potential of that category of product”.

Analysts said in notes this week they expected an update on the perfume operation in Burberry’s half-year trading statement, which is expected to be published on Thursday before the market opens.

Burberry said in July it would buy back its perfume licence from Interparfums for approximately 181 million euros ($236 million) after failing to reach an agreement with the Paris-listed perfume maker.

Citi analysts said in a note that the figure could reach 250 million euros including inventories and tangible assets.

Under the licence model, brands receive royalty fees, usually a percentage of sales, while the partners pocket the remaining revenue.

If Burberry takes the perfume business in-house, it would lead to start-up costs which Citi estimated at around 30 million euros.

There might also be disruptions to the business for a year or two as Burberry would have to create a perfume team from scratch and renegotiate terms with suppliers which range from juice makers to bottle manufacturers.

“One does not create a perfume business in one day,” one Paris-based luxury analyst said. “It took Dior and Chanel years to build theirs.”

BIG AMBITIONS

Integrating the perfume business means Burberry will be able to consolidate its sales in its accounts, estimated this year to be around 210 million euros.

The company has big ambitions for its new fragrance “Body,” launched last year and for its perfume business overall, analysts say, as it aims to narrow the gap with arch-rivals Christian Dior SA and Chanel, which run their perfume businesses internally.

Burberry, which is famous for its 1,500-euro trench coats lined with its distinctive camel, red and black check pattern, is also keen to develop skin care and make-up lines.

Perfume is usually the main entry point for luxury brands, which is why controlling the product’s communication and marketing strategy is key.

Under its licence contract deal with Interparfums, Burberry already controlled many steps, from designing the fragrance to its marketing strategy, and now it wanted to take its involvement a step further, the first industry source said.

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Brad Pitt becomes first male face of Chanel No.5

Brad Pitt is set to become the first male face of Chanel No.5, a role previously filled by such fellow Hollywood luminaries as Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman.

A new 30-second ad campaign for the iconic women’s perfume is to be unveiled online via the French fashion house’s YouTube page at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) Friday and then on television later in the day.

The decision to choose Pitt to head the campaign was announced back in May.

After campaigns depicting actress Estella Warren as red riding-hood, Kidman running through the streets of New York and actress Audrey Tautou aboard a luxurious night train, the sparse black and white in which Pitt appears marks a stark change.

In the ad, made by British director Joe Wright, Pitt recites a poem, specially written for the campaign, to a mystery woman.

Chanel sees the ad campaign as a new direction, saying that the perfume “has to go where we are not expected”.

Press reports have said that Pitt is being paid seven million dollars (5.5 million euros) for his efforts.

No. 5 was created in 1921 by French perfumer Ernest Beaux, under the direction of Coco Chanel, who wanted a fragrance to complement her clothes.

The most famous face of the perfume was Marilyn Monroe, who in 1953 said it was all she wore to bed.

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John Lewis opens first full line flexible department store

John Lewis has opened the first of its new full line flexible format department stores in Exeter today.

The new store will sell the full John Lewis assortment in a format which sits between a John Lewis ‘at home’ and a traditional John Lewis department store in terms of size. The branch has created around 300 new jobs for local people.

John Lewis has identified at least ten locations across the UK which could support the new bespoke department stores and has confirmed the opening of shops in York in 2013 and Chelmsford in 2014.

Andy Street, managing director, John Lewis said: “Today marks an important milestone in our growth strategy and we are thrilled to be expanding our offer to customers in the South West. This is the first of our full line flexible format department stores, a concept which means we can now consider opening shops in areas that were not always thought feasible for a traditional John Lewis department store building. We hope customers will be as delighted with the shopping experience that this new shop offers as we are.”

The new store will be used to test a range of interactive technologies over the next few months. Specially designed interactive information screens will take customers through a number of questions to help find the best product to match their needs. In addition, digital store guides have been introduced to help customers navigate the shop and larger screens fitted on walls throughout the shop will provide information on products available not only in the Exeter store but from the entire John Lewis assortment.

Tim Harrison, head of format development, John Lewis added: “We understand that customers now shop in many different ways. We have chosen our Exeter shop to test a range of new concepts and trial a selection of interactive technologies for the very first time. Over the coming months we will be looking at customer feedback and exploring how these initiatives can be enhanced and added to, not only for our shoppers in Exeter, but across the country in other John Lewis shops.”

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Ireland Q3 2012 retail report

Download

download the report here

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Massimo Dutti Launches in U.S.

Zee Report::Fashion news Massimo Dutti Launches in U.S.

Massimo Dutti on Friday will plunge into the American market with a 28,847-square-foot flagship at 689 Fifth Avenue here. On the same day, the retailer will launch a dedicated U.S. Web site.

In mid-November, Massimo Dutti will open a 10,179-square-foot store at 1220 Wisconsin Ave. N.W. in Washington, D.C. The brand last month opened a store in Canada, at Toronto’s Eaton Centre Mall.

Pablo Isla, chairman and chief executive officer of Massimo Dutti’s parent, Inditex, is bullish about the brand’s expansion in the U.S. and Canada. “We think the North American market, especially the USA’s biggest cities, will be very important for Massimo Dutti,” he said.

“We know we have an American customer who is buying in Europe,” a spokeswoman said, noting that Massimo Dutti operates 268 stores in 68 countries. “Hopefully, soon we’ll be all over the U.S. We’re opening stores weekly in Europe.”

The brand’s new three-level flagship on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 54th Street was previously occupied by Zara, which is also owned by Inditex. Zara relocated in March to a 32,000-square-foot flagship at 666 Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street.

Founded in 1985 as a men’s wear company, Massimo Dutti was acquired in 1990 by Inditex, which introduced women’s wear in 1995. Target customers are 25- to 45-year-old women and men in urban cities who like quality and good design at a price. Due to its heritage, the brand’s strength is tailoring. The business breaks out to 60 percent women’s and 40 percent men’s, The spokeswoman described the brand as “going a little further with furnishings and quality.”

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Woolworths responds to “Union threatens Woolworths with court”

Article reference: Union threatens Woolworths with court

“Woolworths has been engaged in discussions with a small group of 593 employees (less than 3% of all our employees) and proposed a variety of options to address our requirements to trade long hours.

The 593 employees were on outdated employment contracts which were created at a time when stores were only open till 13h00 on Saturdays and were closed on Sundays and public holidays. These working hours are no longer feasible in the modern retail environment.

The employees had the following options:

• Changing to a contract stipulating flexible hours. This remains a permanent employment arrangement. Employees who opt for a flexible contract will be provided a conversion payment.

• Those employees who retire shortly will be provided the opportunity to be paid as normal, whilst not working until they retire. There is an option for employees who are over 50 to take early retirement.

• While we would encourage employees to move to a contract stipulating flexible working hours, there are employees who may, however, prefer to leave with a voluntary severance payment.

Nearly 90% of employees have accepted one of the three offers (the majority of these employees are staying with Woolworths).

There are a small number of employees who have not selected one of the three options and we are currently consulting with these employees. These employees have elected to stay home during this consultation process and have been provided paid time off.”

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Italian vintage clothing brand eyes MidEast expansion

Franklin & Marshall co-founder Giuseppe Albarelli.

Franklin & Marshall, the Italian clothing brand that takes its name from a US college, plans to open up to ten stores in the Gulf as it looks to expand its international footprint, its co-founder has told Arabian Business.

The firm, which currently has two outlets in Dubai and one in Kuwait, is in talks with several department stores, including House of Fraser and Galeries Lafayette, to grow the brand in the region, said Giuseppe Albarelli.

“The Middle East is very interesting for us, for several reasons,” he said. “We know the situation in Europe and we know which countries have potential [because] of their good economical situation.

“There is a taste for Western brands in the Middle East and 50 percent of the population is under the age of 30, so for us it could be a perfect market in terms of brand and those that can afford it,” he added.

Italian designers Albarelli and Andrea Pensiero established the clothing brand after finding an old Franklin & Marshall top in a New York flea market in the late 1990s.

The firm, which had sales of around US$61m last year, has a licence agreement with the US-based college to use its name. It is popular among 15 to 30-year olds in Europe for its vintage-college-style clothing.

The clothing company is ramping up its expansion across Europe, where it generates around 90 percent of its sales, along with the Middle East, Brazil and Asia, said Albarelli. It hopes to increase its number of stores from 1,200 to 1,700 in the next five years, he added.

Franklin & Marshall opened its third outlet in the GCC in Dubai Mall in October 2012 in partnership with the Kuwait-based Al Homaizi Group.

“In the next five years we’d like ten stores, mainly in the GCC countries,” said Maen Merheby, retail director for Multitrend, a unit of the Al Homaizi Group.

“There are opportunities outside the GCC that we are exploring in the long term but at the moment they are not on the table because of the political unrest.

“We’re looking at tying up with House of Fraser in Abu Dhabi and we are exploring opportunities with Galeries Lafayette, so we’re looking at expanding in parallel between standalone stores and department stores,” he added.

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M&S rumour as hospital reveals plan for new shops

M&S rumour as hospital reveals plan for new shops

THREE new shops will form part of major redevelopment works at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital.

A mixture of coffee shops, newsagents and convenience stores will be incorporated into the multi-million pound redevelopment of the hospital.

Retail giant Marks & Spencer had been rumoured as a possible tenant looking to launch a food outlet at Morriston.

The firm, which operates a major outlet on Oxford Street in Swansea, currently runs six outlets in hospitals across the UK in locations such as the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and Forth Valley Hospital in Falkirk.

However, a spokesman for Marks & Spencer said it could not comment on a possible opening at Morriston Hospital at this stage.

He said: “We are always looking to ensure that we have a relevant local offer for our customers but don’t have anything to comment on at this stage.”

Work has already started on a £40 million extension to the hospital which is being carried out by BAM Construct UK opposite the multistorey car park on site.

A spokeswoman for the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board confirmed three shops would be a component of the overall redevelopment of the hospital.

She said: “No decision has been made as to which retailers will be available in the new main entrance to Morriston Hospital. The contracts for these will not be decided until closer to the completion of the work, which will be in September 2014.

Peak

“There will be three retail outlets at the main entrance to Morriston Hospital as part of its redevelopment.

“They will be a mixture of coffee shops, newsagents and convenience stores.”

More than 300 construction workers will be on site at the peak periods in development of the extension to Morriston Hospital.

BAM Construct UK project manager Andrew Cavil said: “There is a very strong emphasis on employing as many local people as possible.

“It is one of the key performance indicators we are measured on.”

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Burberry shares rise after a reassuring trading update

Burberry shares rose more than 10 per cent today after the luxury fashion brand posted a reassuring trading update despite a drop in footfall.

The group, known for its red, camel and black check, said underlying revenues grew by 10 per cent to £577million in the six months to September 30.

However, sales in the UK and China slowed in the second quarter, confirming that the global crisis has affected its key market for luxury goods.

The group, which has 198 retail stores, 215 concessions, 49 outlet shops and 62 franchise stores worldwide, issued a profit warning last month, triggering a 20 per cent drop in share price.

Burberry said higher quality sales, such as its Prorsum range, offset a drop in customer numbers, with Hong Kong, France and Germany showing a robust performance.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: ‘The underlying strengths of the company, which for the moment seem to have been dismissed by investors, remain intact and today’s statement shows some strong underlying growth.’

Meanwhile, Burberry said it had taken back the operation of its fragrance and beauty categories from Interparfums, following the end of its existing licence.

The group reported a 3 per cent rise in same-store sales, but the quarterly breakdown showed the like-for-like performance slowing from 6 per cent in the first quarter to 1 per cent in the second.

Chief executive Angela Ahrendts said: ‘In a more challenging external environment, footfall declined but brand momentum remained strong, particularly with our higher spending luxury consumer.’

During the first half, Burberry opened 13 mainline stores and closed seven, focusing mainly on flagship markets, including London’s Regent Street, Hong Kong, Milan and Rome.

Burberry previously announced plans to add a further 12 per cent to 14 per cent of selling space in this financial year and the company is in line to meet that target.

Looking ahead, average retail selling space is on track to increase by about 14 per cent with openings planned for Chicago, Shanghai and a standalone menswear store in Knightsbridge, London, as well as further stores in Brazil, Mexico and the Middle East.

Burberry reported a 24 per cent surge in annual profits to £366million in its last financial year, while total revenues were also up 24 per cent to £1.9billion as key Asian markets showed more strong growth.

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Retail competition heats up in Zimbabwe

Pick n Pay’s entry into Zimbabwe through a $13m investment into local giant retailer‚ TM Supermarkets has pushed competition in the country’s retail sector a notch higher although long-time competitor OK Zimbabwe is not likely to be pushed over easily.

Analysts say the “significant debt” that is held by TM Supermarkets – in which Pick n Pay now controls 49% following the investment – will divert revenue from shop refurbishments.

The powerhouse South African retailer has foraged into Zimbabwe‚ with one Pick n Pay branded shop while five other TM Supermarkets outlets are expected to be rebranded before the end of this year.

OK Zimbabwe has‚ however‚ moved swiftly to plug any potential loss of market share to its rival through shop refurbishments and the opening of new stores. The retailer raised a $5m convertible loan facility from Investec Africa Frontier Private Equity Fund.

“The cash injection into TM Supermarkets will will start to chip away at what has been OK Zimbabwe’s competitive edge over the last 18 months‚” said Dzikamai Danha‚ lead analyst at IH Securities in a report released this week.

The analysis report notes that the erosion of OK Zimbabwe’s market share is likely to be slow because TM Supermarkets is holding significant debt and is likely to divert any internally generated funds away from refurbishment. It is very unlikely that the refurbished TM Supermarkets will outclass the OK Zimbabwe stores.”

The analyst claims that OK Zimbabwe will remain the market leader for at least the next 18 months unless Meikles Holdings – the Zimbabwean joint venture partner in TM Supermarkets – undertakes a significant corporate action.

OK Zimbabwe’s larger retail operation‚ OK Mart is forecast to significantly add to group revenues after contributing 15% to first quarter 2012 revenues compared with 8% in the previous period.

Meikles said in an interim management report in August that the new (Pick n Pay) branch in Harare had “been well received by customers and had done exceptionally well to date.”

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Tiffany & Co signs JV with Dubai's Damas

US-based Tiffany and Co announced on Monday it has signed a joint venture agreement with Dubai’s Damas Jewellery relating to the operation of its UAE boutiques.

The partnership will see the transfer of operational, merchandising and sales and marketing management for the Tiffany & Co brand in the UAE from Damas Jewellery to Tiffany.

Until now, Tiffany has sold merchandise, on a wholesale basis, to Damas which operated the Tiffany & Co stores.

Under the joint venture, the new entity will be incorporated in the UAE as TCO Damas Associates.

“This restructuring of our retail presence in the UAE through this joint venture with Damas allows us, for the first time, to wholly manage Tiffany’s operational activities,” said Laurent Cathala, Tiffany’s vice president of emerging markets.

“The agreement… underscores the importance of the UAE market to our global expansion strategy and highlights our optimism about the long-term growth potential we see throughout the Middle East,” he added.

Tiffany also announced the appointment of Stephane de Palmas as general manager of the new UAE retail operation. He will be responsible for the overall management of the Tiffany & Co stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The JV signing follows a memorandum of understanding inked in January to establish a joint venture with Tiffany & Co.

Last year, Tiffany & Co opened a new regional headquarters in Dubai.

The Dubai base oversees its business development in the Middle East, Gulf Countries, East & Central Europe, Africa, Turkey and India, placing emerging markets at the centre of Tiffany’s globalisation strategy.

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Kate Bostock to join M&S's online rival Asos

Kate Bostock is said to have had a strained relationship with M&S chief executive Marc Bolland. Photograph: Nick Harvey/WireImage
Marks & Spencer’s former fashion boss Kate Bostock is to join online rival Asos – days after leaving the struggling high street retailer. Her appointment to a senior executive role at the fast growing Asos is due to be confirmed on Wednesday.

Bostock was one of the most powerful women in UK retail at M&S, overseeing all departments except food.

She has been linked with Asos for months, and she will bring useful big business experience to the internet fashion site which has become a hugely popular destination for younger shoppers and prospered through the downturn.

Prior to joining M&S in 2004 Bostock was product director for Asda’s George label and before that ran the childrenswear division of Next.

Her departure from M&S was announced in July when the company unveiled one of its worst trading performances in the past decade, with quarterly sales of general merchandise – Bostock’s fashion and homewares departments – down nearly 7%. At the time the retailer’s chief executive Marc Bolland – with whom Bostock is said to have had a strained relationship – said he was “taking the necessary steps” to improve the performance of fashion and home.

Last year Bostock earned £944,000 at M&S – down on previous years when she had received controversial retention bonuses designed to keep her in the business.

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Retailers suffer as rand gets hammered

Johannesburg – South African shares edged lower on Monday after the rand weakened more than two percent, hitting retailers reliant on dollar-denominated imports such as Mr Price, but rewarding exporters producing in the local currency.

Investors also punished AVI Ltd, a consumer foods maker that also sells designer brands such as Kurt Geiger and Carvela shoes, pushing it 7.3 percent lower to R56.45.

The rand tumbled to a three-year low on Monday, losing as much as 2.4 percent to a low of 8.9950 per dollar, just shy of a key psychological level at 9.

“All the retailers that are importing are getting knocked down quite aggressively whereas all the rand hedges that are producing in rand and exporting in dollars are up today,” said Robert Towell, a senior portfolio manager at Consilium Capital.

The Top-40 index shaved off 0.55 percent to 32,183.45 while the All-Share lost 0.69 percent to 36,337.39.

Clothing and home goods seller Mr Price plummeted nine percent to R116. Grocers Pick ‘n Pay and Shoprite lost over four percent to R41.95 and R157.62 respectively.

BofA Merrill Lynch on Monday dropped cut its rating on South Africa’s consumer firms to neutral from overweight. The sector has been popular with foreign investors despite local analysts’ protests that it was overvalued.

“We put the long-loved SA consumer theme on neutral,” the brokerage said.

“Throw in the negative South Africa specific strike headlines and we find the case for near term outperformance to have largely disappeared.”

Mining firms, which are reeling from a series of wildcat strikes that started in the platinum sector and spread to other companies and beyond the industry, recovered marginally.

Some 75 000 miners have downed tools, pushing precious metal prices higher.

Gold miners gained nearly two percent with South Africa’s third-largest producer Harmony up three percent at R69.56.

Impala Platinum added 2.7 percent to R143.82 and Anglo American Platinum gained over one percent to R403, despite purging 12 000 wildcat strikers from its payroll on Friday.

Steelmaker Arcelor Mittal ended trade 1.8 percent stronger at R40.44, minutes before it announced that a supplier, Sishen Iron Ore Company, had declared a force majeure because of an illegal strike.

Trade was robust with over 193.5 million shares changing ownership. Share prices of 182 companies lost value while those of another 101 were stronger.

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US burger chain inks deal for 40 UAE outlets

Steak ‘n Shake, the US burger restaurant company, announced on Tuesday it has signed an agreement to expand operations to the Middle East.

It said it has inked its first international development agreement, which will bring the burger chain to the UAE.

Steak ‘n Shake has signed an exclusive area development agreement with the Saleh Bin Lahej Group to open 40 restaurants in the country, it said in a statement.

The Saleh Bin Lahej Group already operates franchises for major restaurant brands such as Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, Black Canyon Asian Cuisine, El Chico Mexican Restaurant, The Pizza Company, and Cantina Laredo.

Sardar Biglari, chairman of Biglari Holdings, which owns Steak n Shake, said: “We are excited about turning Steak n Shake into a global brand.

“I am honoured to be partners with Mohammed Saleh Bin Lahej, a visionary who is taking an iconic American brand to the UAE as our introductory international partner. He has been responsible for creating a company dedicated to high, unmatched operating standards within the industry.”

Mohammed Saleh Bin Lahej, group CEO of Saleh Bin Lahej Group added: “I am confident that our partnership with Steak ‘n Shake will prove to be prosperous and will mark a notable achievement for both parties.”

Steak ‘n Shake said it expects to open its first location in Dubai during 2013.

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New discount outlet set for Meraas beach development in Dubai

A new outlet mall offering discounted designer items is set to be built in Dubai, just a stone’s throw from Mall of the Emirates.

Meraas Holding, the developer behind The Beach retail and leisure development at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), will begin the construction of what it bills as a village of 160 shops on the intersection of Al Khail road and Umm Suqeim road next year.

The development will be built in two phases, with phase one to feature 100 upmarket brands, while phase two will consist of 60 additional outlet stores.

“The outlet village is envisioned to emerge as an iconic and a must-visit destination for visitors and residents alike,” said Meraas. “Unlike traditional ‘outlet’ malls, the outlet village will retail high-end luxury brands at discounted prices.”

Outlet villages and malls first came to prominence in the United States, offering end-of-season products at discount prices. They have been successfully replicated in Europe.

Meraas said it took its inspiration from a European village.

The UAE already boasts the Dubai Outlet Mall, a similar concept that was built in 2007 by Al Ahli Holding on the edge of the city, near Emirates Road.

It has not had the same success as some of Dubai’s other malls, but it has 240 stores offering discounts of 30 per cent to 90 per cent and said in August that retailers had benefited from a 20 per cent increase in sales this year, compared with last year.

Richard Adams, a director at Acuity Middle East, a retail and business consultancy, said the Meraas village could be a success if it attracted residents from Dubai to shop regularly.

“Over the next two to three years, we are going to see a significant shift in domestic consumption patterns,” he said. “Much of the luxury-focused weekend traffic that has been coming to Dubai from Abu Dhabi will increasingly spend in the capital’s new malls.

Across the UAE, developers are investing billions of dirhams in building shopping malls and retail districts.

In Dubai, Meraas and Nakheel are two of the sector’s biggest investors.

Meraas is developing The Beach at JBR, including an open-air cinema and 70 retail outlets. It is also constructing The Island 2 in Jumeirah, a mixed-use development, with retail outlets and an upmarket boutique resort featuring low-rise apartment buildings and a marina.

Nakheel plans to borrow Dh300 million (US$81.6m) from banks to build The Pointe, a shopping, restaurant and marina complex on the tip of the Palm Jumeirah.

It is also doubling the size of Dragon Mart and considering doing the same for Ibn Battuta Mall, as well as constructing a mall on the Palm Jumeirah.

Emaar Properties announced this year that it would expand the size of Dubai Mall by 92,000 square metres.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is undergoing an even greater retail revolution as developers try to capture residents who often travel to Dubai to do their shopping.

A total of 200,000 square metres of retail space is expected to be completed by the middle of this year, on top of the 1.67 million square metres already available in the capital, according to the property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.

A number of malls are set to be finished this year or next in the capital and there are also new smaller developments such as Etihad Towers, Galleria at Sowwah Square and Emporium at Central Market, all forecast to open in the next couple of years.

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Zara's UK profits soar

The owner of Zara, Spain’s Inditex, has reported annual profits of $2.6bn (£1.6bn) up 11.% on the previous year.

Despite a slowdown in some of its most important European markets, like-for-like sales, which strip out the affect of store openings, rose 4% last year.

Inditex opened 483 stores last year. It now has 5,527 worldwide and plans to open up to 520 stores this year.

The company has also been investing in its online business and plans to launch Zara online in China later this year.

Inditex opened 132 new stores in China last year, 30 of which were Zara branded.

Analysts were impressed by the performance.

“Like-for-like sales and gross margin seem healthier than expected in the final quarter,” Societe Generale analyst Anne Critchlow said. “On every level of the high quality indicators, it is a beat.”

Shares hit a record on Tuesday, closing at 71.74 euros, after rising 13% this year.

That has helped make Inditex founder, Amancio Ortega, Spain’s richest man.

Mr Ortega owns almost two thirds of Inditex.

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Jumeirah to expand Noodle House into Kenya

Jumeirah Restaurants has announced that it will expand its Noodle House chain of eateries into Kenya after signing a deal with a local partner.

In a statement, the Dubai-based firm, part of the Jumeirah Group conglomerate, said that it will open seven outlets of Noodle House across the African country over the next five years via an agreement with Global Hotels Management Africa.

The first Noodle House outlet will open in the capital Nairobi in early 2013, followed by a restaurant in Kenya’s second city Mombasa, Jumeirah said.

“The collaboration provides us with another opportunity for the worldwide expansion plans of our home-grown brand,” said Phil Broad, managing director, Jumeirah Restaurants.

Established in the UAE in 2002, Noodle House currently has restaurants in eight countries, with plans to open outlets in Russia, Lebanon, the UK and Bahrain this year.

Last week, the hospitality arm of Dubai-based developer Emaar said it had signed a management deal to run a five-star hotel resort in Kenya.

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Zara Home Debuts with E-Commerce in the US

Zara Home, Inditex’s commercial concept specializing in home decor, is making its US e-commerce debut on October 9 th at http://www.zarahome.com. The product range at the US online store will feature home textiles: bed, bath and table linens, in addition to select furniture, tableware, cutlery, and decorative accessories, including loungewear and gift items.

Zara Home offers the latest trends in interior decoration, with new introductions arriving online weekly keeping with the ethos of continuous renewal that is characteristic of all commercial concepts within the Inditex Group. A diverse and international team of designers, with a unique vision has made Zara Home the brand that transforms interiors into warm and fashionable spaces.

Visitors to the site can shop the range of products in each of the four distinctive collections. Country, Ethnic, White and Contemporary define the aesthetic of the rich bedding, detailed accessories and gift items. Country, inspired by nature and depicted with dark tones reminiscent of a forest, also features soothing linen and taupe tones for this season. A layered mix of fabrics such as cashmere, leather and velvet also fills the Country collection. Grays, lilacs and ecru with paisley and floral accents define the Ethnic collection. The White Collection, as expected, celebrates the wide range of soothing white tones and materials such as silks, cottons and linens create depth and warmth. The British influence was a significant trend this year and is presented in the Contemporary collection through the vibrant flag motifs with a pop urban and eclectic style.

The children’s home selections are titled with suitably descriptive names, such as Enchanted Woods; a whimsical, happy spirit imbues this collection.

Visitors to http://www.zarahome.com will be able to subscribe to a newsletter that shares the latest brand news. A specialized toll-free customer service will also be available both by email and telephone. All major credit cards will be accepted at http://www.zarahome.com, shipping and handling charges will be based on each order.

Launched in 2003, Zara Home’s international appeal has always played an important role in its identity. The concept is present in 32 countries with more than 325 stores and offers e-commerce in 18 countries. This has been reflected both in the growth of its sales –which reached 300 million euros in 2011, and in its commercial expansion.

Zara Home is part of the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest retailers with over 100 companies operating in textile design, manufacturing and distribution. In addition to Zara Home, Inditex has seven fashion concepts: Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, and Uterque.

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H&M to Open a New 42,500 sq ft Store in Times Square

H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, known for offering high fashion and quality basics at affordable prices, is proud to announce the lease signing of its 13th location in Manhattan at 4 Times Square. This new full-concept store will feature three floors of fashion for the entire family and will be a shopping destination with a unique and interactive design that welcomes customers from all over the world.

The new space will measure approximately 42,500 square feet and will include collections for ladies and men and children. The H&M brand will now be a part of the iconic New York City skyline with LED H&M signage at the very top of the building measuring 70 feet by 70.

“H&M believes strongly in the New York City market. Since opening our first US store in Manhattan in 2000, we will now have 13 stores in Manhattan alone in 2013 and over 250 across the country”, says Daniel Kulle, U.S. President for H&M. “Opening this new concept store in Times Square, the crossroads of the world, shows our commitment to opening in the best locations as well as our continued potential to open stores in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. This new H&M location will join our new flagship store on Fifth Avenue as world-wide shopping destinations.”

H&M is delighted to continue its expansion in its first U.S. city, and recently announced that it will open a store in The Shops at Columbus Circle located at the prestigious Time Warner Center, at the end of this year, as well as its new flagship store at 589 Fifth Avenue, which will be the largest H&M store in the world measuring 57,000 square feet. H&M offers U.S. consumers access to quality fashions at the best prices through 255 locations across the country. H&M has more than 2,600 stores in 47 markets worldwide.

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Franchise frenzy: 9 big brands you can buy in Dubai

Subway
They plan on doubling their current number of 104 restaurants in the UAE to more than 200 by 2015, defining the brand as the largest restaurant chain in the UAE.

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Edible Arrangements
Six stores are slated to be opened in Jordan, the first of which will open this year in west Amman.

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T.G.I. Friday’s
They are building on their Middle East success with an additional 30 restaurants over the next five years.

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Dixie Cream Donut Company
At least 40 stores will open in Saudi Arabia, the first of which is slated to open this September.

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Pizza Fusion
This Florida-based company opened their first international store in 2009 in Saudi Arabia and is looking for continued expansion into the area.

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Quiznos
The development of fifteen Quiznos locations is planned for Kuwait as part of their international development initiative.

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Elevation Burger
This restaurant chain known for their organic, grass-fed burgers plans to open six restaurants throughout the region. The first location, slated to open in 2012, will be located in Bahrain.

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Anytime-Fitness
The neighbourhood fitness club has plans to open its first three fitness clubs in Qatar (the first in the Middle Eastern region) by the end of July.

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FreshBerry
The frozen yogurt concept business will open twelve new stores in the Middle East region.

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LVMH head Arnault to be knighted in London

PARIS – The chief executive of French luxury group LVMH, Bernard Arnault, is set to be knighted in London for his contributions to the British luxury industry, an LVMH spokesman said on Sunday.

Arnault will become a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the spokesman said, in a ceremony whose date has not yet been set.

Britain’s foreign office confirmed the award.

The distinction is to recognize Arnault’s contributions to the luxury industry in Britain, where LVMH employs 3,000 people.

With the knighthood, Arnault will join such personalities as Bill Gates, Stephen Spielberg and Placido Domingo, all of whom have been similarly honored.

News of the honor from Britain comes just a month after Arnault set off a storm of protest in France over his decision to seek Belgian nationality – a day before French President Francois Hollande unveiled a 75 percent supertax for top earners in the 2013 budget.

Newspapers accused the man ranked by Forbes magazine as the world’s fourth-richest with a net work of $41 billion, of trying to shirk his future tax bill.

But Arnault said he would continue to pay taxes in France, and cited personal and business reasons for the change.

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Marks & Spencer hires record 20,000 extra workers for Christmas

The huge recruitment drive means the high street favourite is taking on 1,500 more seasonal staff than the Royal Mail, which is usually the UK’s biggest festive employer.

M&S said rising demand for luxury Christmas food and new store openings mean recruitment numbers are 25 per cent up on last year.

There are openings at 500 stores around the UK and most contracts will run until January, with the possibility of a permanent job for some workers.

Last year 20 per cent of the retail giant’s Xmas temps found permanent work — meaning a potential 4,000 temps could land long term jobs.

Roles include customer assistants, M&S Cafe assistants and store operation jobs. All new recruits take part in a two-day training session and perks include a 20 per cent discount on M&S products.

David Manders, 27, from Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, joined the Epsom branch of M&S last year as a seasonal recruit after being made redundant from his previous job in catering.

He was taken on permanently and is now food section manager at the M&S Clapham store.

David said: “After being made redundant last year, working for M&S has really helped me to get back into work and boost my confidence. My managers recognise my hard work and encourage the development of my skill sets, helping me to excel in a rewarding career.”

Steve Rowe, director of retail at M&S, said: “Customers turn to M&S for the most important occasions, trusting us to deliver delicious Christmas lunch, latest fashions and fantastic customer service.

“This year we’ve joined forces with The Sun to put the call out for 20,000 passionate, confident recruits to help make sure we can meet and exceed our customers’ expectations this festive season.”

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Pick n Pay forecasts profit decline

Pick n Pay on Friday said it expected headline earnings per share (HEPS) and diluted HEPS from total operations to decrease by between 10% and 20% for the 6 month period ended August 31.
HEPS and diluted HEPS from continuing operations would decrease by between 30% and 40%‚ the company said.

Turnover growth for the period was 5.9% with like-for-like growth at 3.2%. The company said that although new store growth was still behind the market‚ store openings were weighted to the second half of the financial year and significant work was underway to strengthen the medium to longer term pipeline.

“Lower than expected turnover growth is the result of increased market competiveness‚ poor availability of merchandise from suppliers and continued economic pressure on our heartland customer‚” Pick n Pay said.

Initial operating difficulties were encountered at Longmeadow when taking over day to day management of the distribution centre‚ the group noted.

“Operational and cost improvements have been achieved since then. The financial implications of these difficulties plus contract termination costs have had a negative impact on the results‚” Pick n Pay said.

Furthermore‚ an investment had been made in developing internal skills and costs were incurred.

“The group is confident that while the short term impact is negative‚ investing in internal skills and accelerating these programmes will bear significant future benefits‚” it said.

Pick n Pay added that its category buying function was centralised during the current period‚ and some operational difficulties were encountered which had negatively affected margins and stock availability in the short term.

EBITDA from continuing operations is expected to decrease by between 10% and 20% for the period.

Pick n Pay’s results will be released on October 24.

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Mr Price forecasts profit increase

Retailer Mr Price (MPC) on Thursday announced it expects its headline earnings and basic earnings per share for the 26 weeks ended September 29 “are likely to be higher than the previous corresponding period by more than 20%.”
“A range cannot be accurately estimated at this stage and shareholders are advised that a further trading statement will be issued in due course to provide earnings forecast ranges for EPS and HEPS as required by the JSE Listings‚” Mr Price said in a statement on Thursday.
Read more about: economic | supplier | retailer | clothing and apparel | mr price

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RTA to offer 174 outlets for rent at Metro stations

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will soon offer 174 retail outlets for rent at both the Red Line and Green Line stations to interested parties.

About 106 retail outlets will be available for rent in the Red Line stations and 68 retail outlets in the Green Line stations, RTA said during a presentation to the tenants of the Dubai Metro stations outlets.

These outlets will have new service offering and distinctive activities for the Dubai Metro users, particularly as the selling of different merchandise will be permitted such as books, stationary, novelties, and gifts in addition to the operation of female beauty parlours, banks, electronics and other activities enabling tenants to choose the activity that suits them in a bid to attract more metro users and investments rendering it a meeting point for all community segments.

RTA recently held an open house for tenants of the Dubai Metro outlets to probe their views and positive suggestions made in a bid to bring about further improvements.

The gathering was held in RTA head office in the presence of Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of Corporate Technical Support Services Sector; Saeed Al Murri, Director of Contracts & Procurement; and Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Rail Operation, Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, Director of Commercial & Investment, in addition to several other RTA officials.

Al Madani reiterated RTA’s attention to boost the bilateral relations and foster joint cooperation with all customers in different sectors; considering them strategic partners teaming with RTA in realizing its vision of safe and smooth transport for all. “These gatherings have immense contribution to the advancements and progress made, and uplifting the standing of Dubai as a premier business & economic hub in the region,” he said.

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Dubai Duty Free posts 10% rise in sales

Dubai Duty Free posts 10% rise in sales

Dubai Duty Free has posted a 10 percent increase in sales for the first nine months of 2012, compared to the same period last year.

The airport retailer reported total sales of AED4.16bn ($1.14bn), adding that it was on track for year-end sales of an estimated AED6bn.

Perfumes, liquor and gold continued to be the top three selling categories at Dubai Duty Free with sales of perfumes reaching AED633m, an increase of 15 percent over last year.

Perfume sales accounted for 15 percent of total Dubai Duty Free sales, with the retailer planning to open a second perfumes and cosmetics retail area in Concourse B at Terminal 3.

Covering some 240 sq m, the new shop will be located in the West side of the Concourse, and is scheduled to open by the end of the year, the company said in a statement.

Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are constantly looking at our retail offer at Dubai International and are constantly looking at enhancing it.

“In the case of Perfumes and Cosmetics, we have had several developments this year including the opening of a Jo Malone retail area in Concourse B, the opening of a second Kiehl’s area, this time in Concourse C in Terminal 1 and the installation of a new Tom Ford unit also in Concourse C.”

He said liquor and gold achieved year to date sales of AED612m and AED415m respectively for the first nine months of the year.

Sales of cosmetics rose by 16 percent to AED265m while confectionery grew by 17 percent to AED333m, he added.

Sales grew across all three terminals with Terminal 1 sales growing by nine percent, while sales in Terminal 2 rose by 15 percent and Terminal 3 was up by 10 percent over the same period last year.

Departure sales grew by 10 percent while total Arrivals duty free sales increased by 14 percent.

To prepare for the opening of Concourse A in the first quarter of 2013, Dubai Duty Free has recruited 1,053 new staff so far this year and will end the year with around 5,000 employees in total.

Of the original 100 staff recruited in 1983, 47 remain in active service.

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Gift and card shop retailer Paperchase wins big US order

Fashionable gifts and card retailer Paperchase has agreed a deal to supply products to American retail giant Target.

Target, which has 1,800 discount stores across the US, will begin selling Paperchase products from next month.

It marks a return to America for Paperchase after the collapse of its former parent, books and music chain Borders.

Timothy Melgund, chief executive and part owner of Paperchase, said: ‘When Borders collapsed, we left behind a lot of customers in the US and we always said we wanted to go back there.

‘Then Target came along and we fit with their strategy of working with like-minded companies that can add that little bit of difference.’

Paperchase’s turnover for 2011 increased nine per cent to £77.6million. Profit increased 29 per cent to £846,000.

This week it will also launch in Paris department store Galeries Lafayette.

By Christmas it will have 95 standalone stores in the UK.

The chain was bought by Borders in 2004, but it was sold to majority shareholder Primary Capital in 2010 for £20million to help to pay off debts.

Borders finally collapsed last year.

Melgrund said: ‘We have now emerged from the Borders legacy and, despite the widely accepted challenging retail market, Paperchase is performing well.’

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