Monthly Archives: March 2013

London’s Zuma plans to open Abu Dhabi restaurant

Zuma, the iconic London restaurant, has announced plans to bring the brand to Abu Dhabi by the end of 2013.
Rainer Becker, co-founder and creator of Zuma, which has successfully launched six outposts at the wound the world, including Dubai, will open in the UAE capital in late 2013, a statement said.
It added that further launches in the Middle East were likely as the region was a “key expansion market for the company”.
The announcement comes in conjunction with further expansion into New York early 2014.

“The opening of Zuma Abu Dhabi is the result of the restaurants incredible popularity in the Middle East and this new addition to the Abu Dhabi restaurant scene will take a similar pioneering approach to that of the launch of Zuma Dubai,” the statement said.
The new restaurant will be located on Sowwah Square on Al Maryah Island, in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District.
Taking successful elements from Dubai, Zuma Abu Dhabi will offer guests a dedicated valet and entrance from its surrounding venues with a private glass elevator to bring guests down into the main dining room.
Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi will be set on one floor but will still incorporate distinct lounge, bar and restaurant areas along with a small semi-private dining room.
The bar and lounge will also feature a DJ counter with live entertainment in the evenings.
Zuma Dubai was the first destination restaurant to open in the DIFC and was ranked 83rd in the World’s Best Restaurant Awards 2012.
Last year, Dubai’s Zuma restaurant said it sourced the largest truffle to be imported to the UAE weighing in at 349g, with a market value of AED52,350 ($14,251).

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Lals Group to open 50 Daiso stores

These stores will be opened across the Gulf countries in the next 3 years
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Lals Group, which owns franchise of the Japanese retailer Daiso in the Gulf, expects to open another 50 stores in the GCC over the next three years.

Jayant Ganwani, Vice Chairman and CEO of Lals Group, said if everything goes as planned 50 new stores will be opened in the Gulf region by the end of 2016.

Ganwani was speaking at the press conference to announce opening of the Daiso’s latest store in Dubai Mall.

Spread over 7700 square feet, it’s Daiso’s 10th store in Dubai and 20th the UAE. In the region, it currently operates 35 stores.
“These 50 new stores will be opened across the Gulf region. There is strong potential in Saudi Arabia and the UAE as both the retail markets are not yet saturated. These new stores can be 500 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft; our objective is location and customer target and these stores can be in places like shopping malls, street corners or any avenues. We have been preserving for two years to get location in Dubai Mall and we’re happy that we got a convenient location on the lower ground level,” Ganwani added.

Daiso turnover, according to Ganwani, is witnessing “10 to 15 per cent growth rate and we’re on target for the double digit growth sales target for coming years. Daiso produces 800 to 1,000 new products every year and 300-400 of these products are relevant for these markets.”
Ganwani said the group is currently planning to open an additional store in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in 2013.

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Waterstones to close six campus stores

Bookseller Waterstones is to close six of its stores on university campuses.

According to The Bookseller magazine, the retailer has entered into a consultation with the 28 staff affected by the closures although it hopes to redeploy as many as possible to its other stores.

The stores will close on 26 April and include the Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Derby, Keele and Swansea outlets.

A Waterstones spokesman told The Bookseller: “We thank all those that have served in the affected shops, and the many students and other customers and institutions that have supported them over the years.”

Waterstones also told the magazine that it was “committed to the academic market and to its core of profitable campus shops” and was planning a significant investment in the stores including its flagship store in Gower Street in London.

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Monsoon Accessorize appoints George at Asda’s Kevin Rusling to international role

Monsoon Accessorize has appointed George at Asda executive Kevin Rusling as its new international director.

Rusling, who has worked with Asda since 2008, was appointed as director of international for the George clothing brand in March 2012 with responsibility for overseas expansion. Prior to Asda, Rusling worked at Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s.

Commenting on the appointment Monsoon Accessorize founder Peter Simon said: “Kevin’s expertise lies in delivering a strategic vision across an international business portfolio.”

He added: “Kevin will take responsibility for the delivery of the International strategy, including the assessment and prioritisation of international expansion and the review and development of subsidiary markets.”

The announcement follows news yesterday that Monsoon Accessorize intends to appoint an examiner for its business in Ireland where it has 20 stores. The retailer said the move was “unavoidable” after the failure negotiations with landlords to reduce lease costs.

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Hotter opens 50th store

Footwear retailer Hotter is celebrating the opening of its 50th branded store after a period of rapid expansion.

The launch of the Milton Keynes store will be followed by 20 more openings in 2013, with the creation of 200 jobs.

The multi-channel retailer, which three years ago had only five stores, manufactures 1.5 million pairs of shoes each year in its Lancashire factory. It also operates a 100 seat call centre, servicing customers in the UK and the US.

“The advantage of being an established customer focused brand at the outset of our retail expansion was the detailed demographic information we possessed which helped us identify Hotter hotspots,” explained Hotter’s managing director Peter Taylor who joined the business last year from Hunter.

“We have been thoughtful and deliberate with our strategy, spending time on the high street to see what is happening, reviewing every decision and always keeping the customer at the front of our mind.”

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Turkish discount retailer BIM to expand into Egypt

Turkish discount supermarket BİM is to open a store in Egypt in April, says an executive.
Turkish discount supermarket BIM is set to enter the Egyptian market, expanding its current presence in Morocco and Turkey.

“The company will open its first Egyptian store in April and aims to be operating over 30 of them by the end of the year,” Galip Aykaç, BIM’s chief operating officer, said on March 6 during a meeting in which the company unveiled its financial figures for last year.

Aykaç pointed to the gap in the Egyptian market for a more developed discount retail sector, especially in light of sharp rises in food prices since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.The retailer also plans to open 50 additional stores in Morocco and 375 in Turkey, as well as investing around $150 million by the end of 2013, according to Aykaç. BIM already owns 110 stores in Morocco and 3,720 stores nation-wide in its home market.

BIM’s net profits rose by 10.8 percent to 331.3 million Turkish Liras, and sales climbed 21 percent to 9.9 billion liras in 2012.

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Saudi to erect partitions in retail outlets

Male and female retail employees in Saudi Arabia will be forcibly separated by a partition while working, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The strict guidelines contained in a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Labour and the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), the kingdom’s religious police, states that the partition must be at least 160cm high and that retailers have 30 days to install them before risking punishment.

Saudi women have only recently been allowed to join the workforce, and only in restricted roles such as salespeople in lingerie and cosmetic stores or in government-run, all-female factories.

The Saudi Ministry of Labour has pushed to further open up the workforce to women, with the unemployment rate among Saudi females reaching 36 percent according to the Central Department of Statistics and Information. Saudi women account for only 7 percent of citizens employed by private companies.

Religious conservatives have put up a strong resistance, claiming that mixing genders at the workplace would lead to the Westernisation of Saudi society.

In December, CPVPV chief Abdul-Latif Al Alsheikh criticised the Ministry of Labour for failing to maintain a “good, clean environment” for women working at retail stores.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, this public criticism probably prompted the ministry to seek a compromise in order to continue implementing its policy to employ more women.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative societies in the Middle East, employing strict gender segregation across much of everyday life.

Minister of Labour Adel Fakeih last year said resistance by religious conservatives was making it difficult to implement the ministry’s women employment policy, but he denied allegations of Westernising society. “We want to open a whole new world for women, and at the same time will be in tune with our culture with how we’d like our families to continue to be,” he told the Washington Post in November. “We don’t want necessarily to copy a Western lifestyle.”

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Yacht maker unveils biggest ever craft in Dubai

A luxury yacht firm has announced the construction of its largest ever craft at the Dubai International Boat Show, which opened on Tuesday.

UAE-based Gulf Craft said that the Majesty 155 will be the most ambitious undertaking in its 31-year history and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Gulf Craft did not provide specific details on the size or features of the new superyacht, but its immediate predecessor the Majesty 135 is more than 40m in length and comes equipped with a bar, saloon area and its own guest suites.

“The Middle East continues to lead demand in the global superyacht market,” said Mohammed Hussain Al Shaali, chairman of Gulf Craft.

“We are very optimistic about this region as more people are finding their way to the water. The destination building and infrastructure for superyachts in terms of larger berthing facilities, better equipped marinas and superior support facilities has progressed in recent years,” he added.

Gulf Craft also used this year’s boat show in the emirate to unveil a number of other new luxury yachts, including Gulf 75, which the company describes as a “floating loft apartment”, the Majesty 125 and the Oryx 27.

Close to 30,000 people are expected at the Dubai International Boat Show,with more than 430 boats and 19 luxury superyachts on display.

The 21st edition of the hugely popular event is taking place at the Dubai International Club in Mina Seyahi and runs for five days, finishing on Saturday. There will be 750 companies and brands from 49 countries showcasing their various products.

The yachts on display share a collective value of more than AED1bn (US$250m), and to add to the glamour the show will also feature a supercar promenade, as well as a section dedicated to diving in the UAE.

Some 30 global and regional launches are expected to take place during the five days, including those from Al Shaalie Marine, IMG Boats and Van Dutch, among others.

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Latest South Africa retail news -February

download the full PDF here…….

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Tesco launches online video service

British retailer Tesco has launched an online video service that targets holders of its loyalty card with advertising as they watch free movies and TV shows.

The Clubcard TV service, free to the grocer’s 16 million Clubcard holders in the UK, is consistent with Tesco’s strategy to personalise its promotional and marketing activity, which the company said helped it to post its highest sales growth in three years over Christmas.

A TV service linked to the shopping loyalty card scheme would also be highly appealing to advertisers, who have been looking for ways to target different types of viewers more accurately than is possible through the more scatter-gun approach of traditional TV advertising.

“By using Clubcard, we can look at what customers buy from us, what things they like, and then make an effort to target adverts that are more relevant to them,” said Scott Deutrom, Clubcard TV’s managing director.

The popularity of on-demand TV services has grown hugely in recent years, helped by increasing broadband speeds across the country and driven by consumers who do not wish to pay for a full pay-TV package from the likes of BSkyB and Virgin Media.

Advertisers that have signed up for the Tesco launch include Kellogg, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate and Danone, while content groups such as Warner Bros, Daro Media and All3media are also on board.

It is the latest initiative in Tesco’s turnaround plan for its home market after a profit warning in January 2012 prompted a strategic rethink.

Clubcard TV’s content of films, documentaries, dramas and comedies will be aimed at families and children.

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Saudi retail sector to grow – report

Saudi Arabia’s retail sector is set to continue growing according to a new report, despite concerns over wage inflation due to Saudization of jobs.

The NCB Captial report says that expansions through the openings of new stores, margin support from economies of scale, and consolidations of fragmented markets are key drivers of profit growth, but that price-led competition remains a key concern.

Head of equity research at NCB Capital, Farouk Miah, also admitted that “the coming twelve months will be difficult due to low organic sales growth, as well as pressure from Saudization.”

Saudization is the drive to encourage employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector, which in recent years has been dominated by expatriate workers. In some cases wages have been inflated to encourage nationals to take up jobs.

Miah went on to explain that consolidation of fragmented sectors dominated by independent stores is a key theme for the retail market, saying: “Extra, Jarir and Al Othaim are well positioned to benefit from this structural trend in their respective sectors, leading to 30-50 percent expansion in their store count over the coming five years.

“Al Hokair has already consolidated the Saudi mid-market fashion segment, with potential growth coming from expansion in the value-segment and opening stores abroad.”

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REVEALED: 100 most powerful Arab women 2013

See the complete Arabian Business list of the 100 most powerful Arab women in the world today……..

UAE Minister for Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi has topped the list of the world’s 100 most powerful Arab women, published on Monday by CEO Middle East.

It was Sheikha Lubna’s third successive year in pole position, with her taking the spot just above Saudi Arabia’s Lubna Olayan. HH Princess Ameerah, vice chairwoman of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, was ranked third, with Iraqi born architect Zaha Hadid in fourth place.

Construction boss Fatima Al Jaber was fifth.

The highest new entry was sixth place Sheikha Maha Mansour Salman Jasim Al Thani, who made history by becoming Qatar’s first ever female judge. She is one of two new entries in the top ten alone, with UAE Federal National Council First deputy speaker Amal Al Qubasi in seventh place.

The UAE accounted for a record number of places on the 2013 list, with 20 women originally from the UAE, with 24 now based in the country. Saudi Arabia accounted for 14 entries with Lebanon coming third with 13

A majority of women on the list, 31 percent, work in culture & society, followed by 19 percent from arts and entertainment.

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Thomas Cook to cut 2,500 jobs and close 195 branches

TRAVEL AGENT Thomas Cook announced today it will cut 2,500 jobs and close 195 of its branches in the UK as the floundering business attempts to revive its profitability.

The majority of the jobs lost will be from the business’s administrative offices in Preston and Accrington in Lancashire, while positions in the company’s head office in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, are at risk as well, Reuters notes. The world’s oldest travel firm will also close nearly a fifth of its 1,069 shops as part of the cuts.

Thomas Cook has been through a difficult period. Former CEO Manny Fontenla-Novoa quit after releasing three profit warnings in 2011. In the financial year to September, the firm reported pre-tax losses of £485.3 million. In 2012, it cut more than 1,100 from its 15,500-strong workforce in Britain and Ireland, including 250 retail staff.

Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook’s Europe and UK boss, said today the company had to lower its admin costs to survive but added it was “never easy” to make cuts.

“As we improve and develop our online capabilities, maintaining a strong presence on the high street is an important part of our strategy. Even after these changes, we will still have one of the largest retail networks in UK travel”, he said.

The news comes amid more gloom on Britain’s embattled high street with bed firm Dreams, which is in administration, announcing it would shed at least 400 jobs.

HMV, Jessops, Blockbusters and fashion chain Republic have all entered administration since Christmas. The British Retail Consortium has called on Chancellor George Osborne to take urgent measures to help high street retailers in this month’s Budget. ·

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Dreams rescue deal struck by Sun Capital Partners

The retailer has been bought by Sun Capital Partners, the owner of ScS Sofas, through a pre-pack administration deal that allows the private equity firm to shed leases and trade debts connected to Dreams.

Dreams was placed into administration on Tuesday night but most of the business and its assets were then sold to a new company controlled by Sun Capital Partners for £35m.

The deal includes 171 Dream stores and 1,600 jobs, but will result in the closure of 95 stores and the loss of 400 jobs.

It also means that Dreams will shed debts that amounted to £279m according to the 2010 results for its parent company, which are most recent figures available. This debt includes £191.5m of loan notes and £28.7m of preference shares linked to Exponent, but is also made up of £59.3m of bank debt and £23m of debt to trade creditors.

Ernst & Young, which handled the sale process, said Dreams has suffered from the “unprecedented” conditions in retailing and the deal with Sun Capital Partners has “safeguarded” its future on the high street.

Alan Hudson, joint administrator, said: “Whilst recent performance has improved, it has seen a decline in like for like sales across its store portfolio as well as its operating margins being squeezed. This has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of administration.”

However, Mike Clare, the founder of Dreams, expressed his “disappointment and sadness” that the deal had been completed through a pre-pack administration.

Mr Clare launched a rival bid to buy the retailer and is now working on a plan to buy the Dreams stores earmarked for closure to launch a new bed retailing business. He said: “I already have plans in an advanced stage to rescue as many of the stores in the Dreams portfolio, and with it as many of the jobs within the company’s skilled workforce, as possible.”

Nick Hood, analyst for Company Watch, which monitors the financial health of businesses, said: “After this latest debacle, which follows hard on the heels of the La Senza, Comet and Republic failures, questions will quite rightly be asked about why the dubious alchemy of private equity keeps turning UK retail gold into expensive dross for landlords and suppliers.”

However, sources close to the lenders behind Dreams that led the sale process, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, said they were was “no option that didn’t require a pre-pack somewhere along the line”.

They added: “Sun’s bid offered the most certainity and meant immediate new investment, securing the future of the majority of the stores and jobs.”

Nick Worthington, chief executive of Dreams, said: “This was the right deal for Dreams, its customers, its suppliers and its people. It is sad that some stores are going to have to close but Sun European Partners has secured the future of the vast majority of them.”

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Burberry Signs Lease for Beverly Hills Flagship

Burberry is the latest luxury brand to commit to Rodeo Drive.

Pursuing its strategy of developing large flagships in key cities around the world, London-based Burberry has signed a lease for 301 North Rodeo Drive. The Beverly Hills flagship is scheduled to open late next year, when Burberry plans to close its nearby location at 9560 Wilshire Boulevard.

Burberry’s Rodeo Drive store will follow the concept spearheaded by chief creative officer Christopher Bailey called “Burberry World Live,” which the brand inaugurated last year with its 44,000-square-foot flagship on Regent Street in London that integrated digital initiatives into the brick-and-mortar experience. That store has some 500 speakers and 100 screens.

The upcoming Rodeo Drive store will feature in-store technology transmitting Burberry’s live events around the globe, client service applications that enable real-time access to customer profiles and product information and so-called smart personalization offering custom-made coats and bags with engraved nameplates that unlock videos showing the production process, including sketches and runway edits. Customers can order the personalized products, which are delivered within nine weeks, after a runway show for next season’s collection, affording them the opportunity to buy something from that collection before it hits stores.

Activity has recently spiked on Rodeo Drive. Burberry is not the only new entrant to the 300 block of the coveted retail thoroughfare, as Celine and Tory Burch are also setting up shop there. Ermenegildo Zegna, which currently occupies the space Burberry will take over, isn’t leaving the block. It is moving in June or July to 337 North Rodeo Drive, where Brioni was housed until it relocated last year to 459 North Rodeo Drive.

Burberry chief executive officer Angela Ahrendts has stated the brand’s aim is to create “Londons around the world” by putting high-profile stores in cities with strong local and tourist luxury shopping traffic. In addition to the Regent Street flagship in London last year, the brand opened a 25,000-square-foot store in Chicago, a 14,800-square-foot store in Taipei, Taiwan, and a roughly 22,000-square-foot store in Hong Kong.

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Zara’s Genius Business Model Could Destroy JCPenney And Sears

Zara’s Genius Business Model Could Destroy JCPenney And Sears

The fast-fashion model made popular by Zara is impossible for corporations, including JCPenney and Sears, to keep up with.
Zara sources most of its apparel in Spain and can get out new designs quickly. Meanwhile, department stores are simply modifying other people’s designs and sending them to low-cost Asian factories, writes Patrick Lamson-Hall at the Business Of Fashion.

By the time the clothing makes the racks at JCPenney or Sears, the fashions are stale.

“It’s worked so far because they can offer the apparel at lower cost,” Lamson-Hall writes. “But consumers are quickly losing interest.”

Chinese labor costs are also going up, making the model financially unsustainable.

“These companies are getting squeezed on two sides: by rising costs and by consumers who have more options and are becoming more choosy,” Lamson-Hall writes. “These trends will only accelerate as the sourcing mix shifts and e-commerce booms.”

Zara’s model has fundamentally changed the fashion industry, The New York Times reported last year.

Zara’s strategy involves stocking very little and updating collections often. Instead of other brands that only update once a season, Zara restocks with new designs twice a week, Suzy Hansen wrote.

That strategy works two ways, according to Hansen. First, it encourages customers to come back to the store often. It also means that if the shopper wants to buy something, he or she feels that they have to purchase on the spot to guarantee it won’t sell out.

Unfortunately, JCPenney and Sears don’t have the infrastructure to keep up right now.

It’s showing: Both companies have been in a tailspin in recent years.

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JCPenney Has Color-Coded Employees To Prepare For Future Firings

JCPenney Has Kicked Off Another Round Of Firings At Its Headquarters
JCPenney has split up its associates into categories based on their performance and abilities, according to sources inside the company.
The move has employees worried.
Sources told us that on a broadcast to supervisors and managers in January, JCPenney VP and transformational talent leader Michelle Steitz said they were to categorize their associates into one of three categories:
Red — Remove from company
Yellow — Coach up or out
Green — Go forward
They were also told to “be prepared to make decisions” in the months ahead, according to a JCPenney executive.
“Not only were we supposed to do this with our team members, but as a Store Leader I had to categorize my entire team,” explained a JCPenney store manager.
Many associates don’t know that they’ve been graded and placed into these color categories — multiple JCPenney associates we corresponded with were still in the dark about the red/yellow/green system.
However, stores were instructed to let them know if they weren’t performing up to par.
“Some associates might have been told, there was no direction to stores,” the exec told us. “Stores were told to let the associates know that they needed to improve.”
CEO Ron Johnson and his team have been trying to trim costs and turn things around at the struggling retailer, which just completed a horrifyingly bad 2012. Workers are afraid that more job cuts are on the way, on top of the 19,000 workers eliminated since Johnson started at the company.
“Is that really the best way to be ‘America’s Favorite Place To Work?'” asked the exec. “So now stores are beating up their associates fearing that they may be a red or yellow themselves.”
We’ve reached out to JCPenney for comment.

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Pick n Pay deputy CEO stays on

Johannesburg – Retailer Pick n Pay Stores said on Wednesday that deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg will stay on a deputy CEO.

Johannesburg – Retailer Pick n Pay Stores [JSE:PIK] said on Wednesday that deputy CEO Richard van Rensburg will stay on a deputy CEO.

He was appointed to the executive position of deputy CEO for a three year period‚ effective from October 1 2011‚ so that the company could benefit from his experience in the implementation of strategy.

In this function‚ the IT‚ supply chain and property functions reported directly to him. Following the resignation of Nick Badminton as CEO‚ he assisted acting CEO‚ Gareth Ackerman‚ in the day-to-day administration of the company whilst a search was conducted for the company’s new CEO.

Van Rensburg will‚ in addition to IT‚ supply chain and property‚ now also focus on critical areas that are important to increasing efficiencies and finding further opportunities for growth.

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IKEA to open store on March 11 in Qatar

DOHA: IKEA, the globally renowned home products company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture and accessories, has confirmed the official opening of its new store in Qatar. The doors of the new store will open at 10am on March 11.
In a press statement to The Peninsula yesterday, IKEA said the store will be open on Thursday, March 7 as a test day for family to ensure that it is completely operational for the official opening.

Only the guests who have received invitations will get entry to the store on that day for two hours of shopping and an emergency evacuation drill.

“We are very excited about IKEA’s arrival into this rapidly growing market and look forward to welcoming the people of Qatar to our store for the official public opening on March 11 at 10am,” said John Kersten, Managing Director, IKEA UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman.

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Debenhams Hit by New Profit Setback as

Debenhams Plc (DEB), the U.K.’s second- biggest department-store company, said fiscal first-half profit will miss estimates after January snowfall hurt sales and caused the retailer to offer deeper discounts to shift inventory.

Pretax profit will fall to about 120 million pounds ($180 million), from 127.1 million pounds a year earlier, the London- based company said today in an unscheduled statement. Cantor Fitzgerald analysts had estimated earnings of 131 million pounds. The stock fell 15 percent to 80.7 pence in London, the steepest decline in more than four years.

It’s the second profit setback this year for Debenhams, which has lowered prices to boost flagging revenue. Chief Executive Officer Michael Sharp told Bloomberg News that snow at the end of the January sales forced the retailer to add discounts and promotions into February to clear products in a period that is usually focused on new-season ranges.

“Although the snow will have proved disruptive, the wider problem was that it gave already cautious consumers another excuse not to spend,” said Matt Piner, an analyst at Conlumino market researcher in London.

The share price decline was the steepest since Nov. 19, 2008 and cut the company’s market valuation to about 1 billion pounds. Trading volume was 53.5 million shares, about nine times the three-month daily average.

Mindset Change

“It’s very difficult in February to continue to sell autumn-winter product,” Sharp said by phone. “We all know that January sales are about buying winter product at discount, and February is a change in mindset, a new wardrobe, a new season.”

Gross profit as a percentage of sales will now probably be unchanged for the year, said the retailer, which in January cut the forecast to a gain of 0.1 percentage point from 0.2 point.

Same-store sales slid by 10 percent from Jan. 14 to Jan. 27, a pace of decline which Sharp said he hasn’t seen before. Promotional sales after that didn’t fully recover the revenue lost, the company said. Still, Sharp said he didn’t think consumers were becoming more price sensitive, given full-priced sales at the end of the period, adding the retailer gained 0.1 percentage points of market share in clothing in the 24 weeks ended January, and 0.2 percentage points in womenswear.

Disappointing Impact

While the impact of the snow is “disappointing, it is now behind us and sales volumes have recovered,” Sharp said in the statement. “We can grow sales in the second half.”

Total same-store sales rose about 3 percent in the 26 weeks through March 2, Debenhams said. The company said it will report full results on April 18.

The announcement “starts to raise questions about its strategy and the sustainability of profit short-term,” Kate Calvert, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said in a note. She has a reduce rating on the stock.

The retailer’s Irish business remains “very tough,” Sharp said, while Danish unit Magasin du Nord is “very strong” as the Scandinavian nation handles snowy weather better.

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Tesco poaches Sainsbury’s and Facebook execs

Gavin Sathianathan will operate as Managing Director of Blinkboxbooks, a new e- books service set up following the acquisition of Mobcast last September and previously worked as Facebook’s Head of Retail for EMEA, where he took charge of the retail industry’s adoption of social networking.

Sathianathan said of his new role: “Technology is changing how people read.

“Offering a digital book service is an example of what Tesco does best – focussing on the customer and anticipating their needs as the market evolves. It’s a great time to join a team at the vanguard of this shift.”

Internally, former Blinkbox Director of Advertising and Sponsorship Scott Deutrom has been appointed MD of Clubcard TV, the TV and movie service supported via advertising.

Michael Cornish, CEO of Tesco Digital Entertainment, said of the appointments: “Tesco is one of the UK’s leading retailers of movies and TV, music and books.

“How customers choose to enjoy those products is changing rapidly as technology changes the way we shop.

“The development of these new services demonstrates our total commitment to providing the very best entertainment as easily as possible for our customers.

“They allow us to provide even more choice in how customers buy and enjoy their entertainment.

“I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of such high calibre digital leaders to these key roles and look forward to creating digital entertainment services that meet the changing needs of our customers.”

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Dubai’s MAF signs retail deals with Hollister, A&F #retail

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Pharmaceutical retailer Lloydspharmacy loses third boss in two-and-a-half years

The UK boss of Lloydspharmacy Mark James has stepped down as the pharmaceutical retailer appoints its fourth managing director in two-and-a-half years.

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Profits at IKEA’s Dublin outlet take a slump

Profits at the Dublin outlet of Swedish furniture giant Ikea have slumped even though shoppers are still forking out nearly €2m a week on everything from wardrobes to fish and chips.

New accounts just filed for the retailer’s outlet in the capital reveal that although sales remained virtually unchanged at €102.7m in the year to the end of last August, its pre-tax profit tumbled 56pc to just under €3m.

The outlet has had to work hard during the economic slump to ensure hard-pressed shoppers are still lured to the massive premises near the capital’s airport. It employs more than 400 people.

The accounts for Ikea Ireland show that the cost of sales at the Dublin operation soared 21pc to €71.7m last year, knocking €3m from its gross profit. Administrative expenses climbed by almost €1m to just under €26m, while its interest charges barely rose, coming in at €2m for the year.

After paying €540,000 in tax, the Dublin store was left with a profit of €2.4m, down 55pc on the €5.4m it made in the previous financial year.

The store’s manager, Paul Reid, had told the Irish Independent in January that the Ikea store in Dublin had delivered a “stable like-for-like result” in the 2012 financial year. That was evidently solely on a revenue basis.

The directors of Ikea Ireland note that they’re satisfied with the result for the year and expect the level of activity and profitability in future years to be in line with expectations.

“The downturn in the economy has adversely affected the Irish retail environment and trading of the group,” they add. “However, these threats are not considered to be significant and it is the opinion of the directors that Ikea will continue to gain market share during this slowdown.”

Ikea opened its Dublin outlet in 2009 and made an €11.4m profit in its first year. At one stage it had been among the most profitable Ikea outlets in Europe. The Ikea group generated net profits of €3.2bn in its last fiscal year, 8pc higher than in 2011.

The Irish accounts also show that one of Ikea Ireland’s directors is Owen O’Connell, a partner at high-end law firm William Fry. The solicitor firm was paid €33,000 by Ikea Ireland for its services last year.

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Gap Inc. Profits Up 61%

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Topshop Fashion Chain to Plan First Stores in Germany

Fashion chain Topshop, part of the Arcadia fashion empire owned by billionaire Philip Green, is planning to open its first stores in Germany, two people familiar with the plans said.

Topshop is negotiating real-estate locations in Europe’s biggest economy, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. The brand will open German flagship stores like the 30,000 square-foot outlet that opened in Los Angeles last month, one person said.

Green, 60, in December said that he plans to step up investment of the trendy teen retailer in the U.S. and to double the size of the Topshop and Topman business globally within the next four years. He sold a 25 percent stake in Topshop and Topman last year to private-equity company Leonard Green & Partners LP, raising 500 million pounds ($750.8 million) to finance the expansion.

A spokeswoman for Topshop, which sells clothes in Germany through a local language website, declined to comment.

Germany, and Berlin in particular, has been attracting international brands. Seventy-five retail concepts started in the country last year, including 52 new international retail concepts, according to a report from CBRE Group Inc. Berlin led the number of new leases in Germany last year, ahead of Hamburg and Frankfurt, the report showed. SuperGroup Plc (SGP)’s Superdry label were among the brands opening their first stores in Germany last year.

Topshop entered the U.S. in 2009 and is expanding globally into markets like Australia, Canada and South Africa. The brand is already present in continental countries including Spain and the Czech Republic.

Arcadia Group, which also owns U.K. fashion retailers like Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Burton, reported a 25 percent gain in profit in the year ended Aug. 25 as it offered fewer markdowns.

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