Monthly Archives: April 2013

Asos launches ventures in Russia and China as profits leap 19%

Asos launches ventures in Russia and China as profits leap 19%

Asos chief, Nick Robertson has launched the retailer’s £40m long term incentive plan for executives. Photograph Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Online clothing retailer Asos is launching businesses in Russia and China and planning a new £40m “tax efficient” pay deal for its top 24 staff.

The retailer – which has six million customers in the UK, US, France, Germany and Australia – announced the expansion as it reported a 19% rise in interim profits and a 33% jump in sales to £360m.

The new Chinese-language website, due in October, will cost up to £6m to launch, including a distribution hub with 10% of Asos’s current stock.

A new website is launching in Russia on Wednesday. Asos added 1.7 million new customers in the last year, including nearly 400,000 in the UK to 2.5 million, although the average amount spent fell 8% to £60.30.

UK sales were up 26% to £137.6m, with international sales up 39% to £214.7m in the last six months compared with a year earlier.

A new bonus scheme for top staff is being launched, based on a sales target of £1bn by 2015. If shares continue to rise – they have doubled in the past year – the new long term incentive plan bonus could be higher than the £40m it is worth at current prices. The 24 senior staff have invested a combined £5m to be included in the scheme.

Chief executive Nick Robertson said it was a “tax efficient scheme”. Staff would be entitled to Entrepreneurs Relief on the share sales if targets are hit. He added: “We want to be truly global. We can’t be truly global unless we’re in China, and this is the start of that journey.”

Elsewhere, the US business was the fastest growing, with registered American customers hitting 1m for the first time.

The US boost was also helped by First Lady Michelle Obama, who is an Asos customer, after she wore a red and white check dress on the Presidential campaign trail last year.

A photo of her hugging President Obama in the dress became the most shared picture on Facebook and Twitter, leading to customers flooding the Asos website to buy it.

Robertson said: “It certainly helps to have the odd celebrity customer and having a dress featured in one of the most talked about photos online ever is useful.”


Swedish retail giant H&M seeks India entry

Swedish fashion retail giant H&M aims to open 50 stores in India to tap the South Asian nation’s growing middle-class market, an Indian government statement said on Monday.

It is the second Swedish chain to seek entry into India after the government last year relaxed legislation to allow foreign retailers to set up shop in India and sell directly to Indian consumers to boost investment from abroad.

H&M, one of the world’s leading clothing retailers by sales, has applied to make a 100-million-euro ($131-million) investment and “will establish 50 stores”, the Indian government said in a press release.

But Stockholm-based H&M added in a statement that there “are no concrete plans” yet for when it would open its first stores in India.

Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said in New Delhi he welcomed the application by H&M.

“After the liberalisation of FDI (foreign direct investment) policy in single brand retail, there has been a considerable interest shown by all global retail majors,” Sharma said.

“The government remains committed to a liberal economic reforms agenda,” he added, saying foreign investment was “a source of technology, finance and means of creating gainful employment”.

In February, H&M which like many other European retailers is seeking to diversify from the crisis-hit euro zone, said it aimed to start “with a few stores” in India and would “expand heavily” if all went well.

The application by H&M comes as IKEA awaits final government clearance to enter India and invest $1.9 billion in coming years. It hopes to open 25 of its trademark blue-and-yellow stores in India as part of an emerging markets push.

India’s cabinet is expected to meet on Wednesday to make a final decision on IKEA’s application.

IKEA’s entry into India is being closely watched by rivals as a test case for how a large foreign corporation navigates India’s rules and red tape.

US supermarket chain Walmart is among other retailers that have also announced plans to open stores in India. But the firm is being probed by Indian authorities over whether it broke the law through its US lobbying activities on matters the retailer said involved “enhanced market access for investment in India”.


Xtra-vision appoints receivers

A receiver is set to be appointed to Xtra-Vision later today.

DVD rental store Xtra-vision, which employs 1,023 people across the island of Ireland, has appointed joint receivers.

Luke Charleton and Colin Farquharson of Ernst and Young were today appointed receivers to the group. All of the stores will remain open while a buyer is found.

The withdrawal of credit insurance and a downturn in rentals are said to have led to the decision to appoint a receiver.

Although Xtra-Vision generated EBITDA of €1.5 million in 2012 and is forecast to do the same this year, it has become unable to meet its debts as they fall due to the withdrawal of trade credit by a number of key suppliers.

The directors of Xtra-Vision said “the movie rental business has declined more rapidly than anticipated most noticeably in areas with high speed broadband which is linked to high levels of illegal downloading.”

The company said all gift cards remain unaffected by the appointment of receivers, and are fully redeemable.

Retail Excellence Ireland, which represents retailers, blamed the Government’s “lack of focus” on the needs of the domestic economy.

“While we welcome the work of Government to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), we believe a similar level of intensity and ingenuity must now be applied by Government to the needs of our domestic economy,” chief executive David Fitzsimons said.


Greggs issues profit warning as sales fall

Sales at stores open for more than a year fell 4.4pc in the 17 weeks to April 27, Greggs said in a trading update on Monday. It added that the “difficult” conditions on the high street would continue in the short term.

“Although we are only four months into the year, based on current own shop like-for-like performance we believe that profits for the year are likely to be slightly below the lower end of the range of market expectations [of between £47.5m and £55.2m],” it said in a statement.

“Despite good cost control overall profits have been affected in the first quarter of the year and are behind our plan and last year.”

Higher demand for promotional deals had affected margins, Greggs said, a trend it expected to continue.

Total sales rose 3pc over the period, helped by sales at Greggs’ new store franchises located in motorway service stations.

“Our new shop openings remain focused on locations that have been less impacted by lower footfall such as workplaces, travel and leisure destinations,” it said on Monday.

Last month, Greggs said that it was slowing new store openings amid falling sales and footfall on the high street.

Analysts at Liberium Capital highlighted that the FTSE 250 company had underperformed the index by 11pc this year and reiterated its “sell” rating.

The shares fell 7pc on Monday morning to 428.5p.


Musgrave Group records sales of €4.9 billion

As the Musgrave Group announces sales of €4.9 billion, chief executive Chris Martin says the company is seeing sales improve in Ireland whereas “economies are weakening” in the UK and Spain.

Apr 26 2013

Musgrave Group chief executive Chris Martin said the company ‘delivered a good performance’ in 2012, against a challenging economic backdrop

The Musgrave Group, which has retail partners in Ireland, Spain and the UK, has reported sales of €4.9 billion, up 11% on the previous year. This delivered a profit before tax of €72 million, an increase of 3%.

Total retail sales, which is the combined turnover of Musgrave’s retail brands, was €7 billion; up 9% on 2011. Net debt was reduced by 24% to €143 million with net assets increasing to €462 million.

Commenting on the results, Chris Martin, Musgrave Group chief executive, said: “2012 was another year of challenging economic circumstances with continued austerity budgets, which has further cemented the changed mindset of consumers, who remain focused on spending less. Against this backdrop, we delivered a good financial performance.”

He said the group achieved this through its ‘Winning in the New World’ strategy, which saw Musgrave further sharpen its offer to consumers, leverage its scale and improve operations across the group.

The chief executive added that the group had “reduced costs through simplification and re-organisation,” which allowed it “to deliver further value to the consumer”.

“In 2013 as we enter the second year of our strategy, we are seeing our sales improve in Ireland as the economy begins to stabilise whereas we are tackling the challenges presented in the UK and Spain where those economies are weakening,” said Martin.

“Our focus in all three markets will be on strengthening our retail brands and exploring opportunities to take our brands further and to build on our growth agenda. In doing so, we will continue to deliver sustainable profits for our retail partners and our own business, whilst offering outstanding value for consumers.”


Musica continues store closures

Clicks Group says that its music and entertainment retailer, Musica, performed well in results for the six months ended February 2013, and this despite the net closure of eight stores.

Clicks Group, which also includes retail brand, The Body Shop, recorded an 11.5% rise in revenue to R8.94 billion, while operating profit of R531.388 million, was up by 8.7%.

Diluted headline earnings per share of 142.7 cents per share, was also up 8.5% from 2012.

The group’s interim dividend was increased by 10.0% to 48.5 cents per share.

Clicks said that constrained consumer spending resulted in slower revenue growth, compounded by relatively low selling price inflation.

Retail costs increased by 6.7% despite the continuing investment in pharmacy, stores and IT systems, the group said.

“Musica increased operating profit by 27.3% through tight cost management. The brand continued to gain market share in CDs and DVDs, despite the net closure of eight stores,” Clicks said.

Musica turnover declined to R501.63 million, from R504.91 million before, while pre-tax profit improved to R46.896 million, from R36.84 million in 2012.

Musica’s capex increased to R8.46 million, from R2.19 million, Clicks said.

The arrival of several music download services in South Africa in recent months, led by Apple’s iTunes Store has thrown into question the longevity of music retailers.

In a recent interview with BusinessTech, the group said that it is optimistic that the arrival of iTunes in South Africa will complement its offering and stimulate the local music industry.

Looking ahead, Clicks said that the retail environment will remain tough for the Clicks chain and selling price inflation is expected to average 4% – 5% for the second half of the year.

In these conditions the focus will be on driving revenue growth, maintaining margin and containing costs.


Kuwait’s Alshaya to open 50 brands at new Doha mall

Kuwait’s Alshaya to open 50 brands at new Doha mall

The Doha Festival City project

The backers behind the $1.6bn Doha Festival City project have announced a strategic anchor tenancy agreement with the Kuwait-based retail giant MH Alshaya Co.

The agreement with the international retail franchise operator will see Alshaya bring around 50 well-known brands to the new retail, entertainment and leisure complex currently under construction in Doha by Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Co (BASREC).

A signing ceremony in Dubai between Omar Al Futtaim, vice chairman, Al-Futtaim, the part owners of Basrec through Al Futtaim Real Estate Services (AFRES), and Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya, was formalised the partnership.

Alshaya, which is the franchise operator for some of the world’s best known retail brands, plans to open stores for the likes of H&M, Debenhams, Mothercare, Topshop, Starbucks, Bath & Body Works, Shake Shack, Pinkberry and Pottery Barn.

In total Alshaya stores will cover a combined area of approximately 25,000 square metres, it said in a statement.

Mohammed Alshaya said: “We are delighted to extend our association with Al-Futtaim, a group that we have worked with successfully for many years.

“Doha is a vibrant city with a brand savvy population who love the international brands we operate. We are confident that Doha Festival City will be an exciting addition to Doha’s retail mix and look forward to bringing some innovative and iconic brands to Qatar’s capital.”

Omar Al-Futtaim added: “As with all the malls we develop, we strive to create an environment that brings the best brands and the widest choice to our customers. Through our strategic anchor agreement with Alshaya we look forward to supporting that goal at Doha Festival City.”

It was reported this week that the second phase of the $1.6bn Doha Festival City mega-project has begun, with a completion date of 2016 slated.

A groundbreaking ceremony presided over by senior officials and representatives of the mixed-use development north of downtown Doha took place earlier this week.

It followed last month’s opening of IKEA – part of the development’s first phase.


UK developers build on success 2.7m sq ft of new UK shopping centre space

2.7m sq ft of new UK shopping centre space to hit the market in the next 12-18 months

The UK shopping centre development market, boosted by the recent success of Trinity Leeds which launched 90 per cent pre-let last month (with 5 per cent in solicitors’ hands), is set to benefit from around 2.7 million sq ft of new space in the next 12-18 months as a flurry of projects edge closer to completion – according to research by Cushman & Wakefield.

With eight brand new centres and extensions to 11 existing schemes in the pipeline, the near future looks promising for shopping centre development in the UK.

Schemes which are expected to open this year include New Square in West Bromwich (475,000 sq ft); the Whiteley Shopping Centre in Fareham (300,000 sq ft), on the site of the former Whiteley Village factory outlet centre; and the refurbished Lewis’s Building in Liverpool city centre (170,000 sq ft), which forms part of the Central Village development. The largest scheme under construction which is set to open in 2014 is the Hereford Retail Quarter (310,000 sq ft).

However, the encouraging pipeline of shopping centre development in 2013 and 2014 is in stark contrast to the market’s performance over the last 12 months. In 2012, the UK recorded the lowest level of shopping centre development activity since 1962 with less than 400,000 sq ft of new shopping centre space was added to the market last

Cushman & Wakefield’s head of shopping centre development, Toby Sykes, said: “The demand from quality retailers we have seen recently at Trinity Leeds simply confirms the appetite for prime retail space which can offer the right tenant mix. UK shopping centres are evolving and continuously adapting to the ever-changing nature of consumer behaviour – this will lead to increased development in the medium-term.”


Ebay opens European headquarters in Dundalk

Facility will employ 1,450 people in the coming years, Paypal president says

A new eBay facility will be opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and PayPal president David Marcus in Dundalk today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has officially opened Ebay’s new European headquarters in Dundalk.

The Co Louth facility will be responsible for customer service, risk prevention, financial operations, merchant services and sales for the online auction company and its payment service subsidiary Paypal across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Paypal president David Marcus said 1,450 people would be employed at the centre in the coming years, bringing the total number of employees in Ireland to about 3,000.

He said the “broad set of skills” available in the Irish market made it an attractive place to be located.

The company opened its Irish operation with 25 staff in 2003. Last year it invested €15 million in a centre of excellence in Blanchardstown, Dublin.


Apple to Double Retail Outlets in China as Growth Slows

Apple Inc. (AAPL) will double the number of retail stores it operates in China during the next two years as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook looks for ways to counter slowing growth.

Apple’s sales in the greater China region, the world’s largest market for computers and handsets, rose 11 percent to a record $8.8 billion during the fiscal second quarter, Cook said on a conference call yesterday. That was down from the 67 percent pace of growth in the three months ended Dec. 29, the first period Apple officially broke out results for its largest market outside the U.S.

Concerns that Apple’s growth is slowing globally were reinforced by a forecast for sales this quarter that may miss analysts’ predictions by as much as $4.9 billion. In China, where Apple has 11 outlets, the company has been criticized in state-run media over the quality of its after-sales service compared to that provided in the U.S.

“Doubling stores over two years is simply not enough,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai. “Their sales growth is really collapsing.”

Apple is facing “serious political headwinds” that may make it more difficult to get permits to open new stores, Rein said. Cook’s plan is well off the pace set by former head of retail operations Ron Johnson, who set a target of 25 stores by February 2012.

Apple opened its first Chinese store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district in 2008. Johnson left Apple in 2011 to become J.C. Penney Co. (JCP)’s CEO, a role he was ousted from this month.

Apple’s iPhone also is available in China through third- party retailers, and two of the nation’s wireless carriers — China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. (762) and China Telecom Corp. Apple has added about 8,000 iPhone sales points for a total of 19,000 currently, Cook said. That is “obviously too low, currently,” he said.

“Going forward we still see a significant opportunity in China,” Cook said. “It’s a great market.”


Coach Profit Tops Estimates

Coach Inc. (COH), the largest U.S. luxury handbag maker, reported fiscal third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by demand in North America, and said it may sell its Reed Krakoff brand. The shares jumped.
Net income rose 6.2 percent to $238.9 million, or 84 cents a share, in the three months ended March 30, from $225 million, or 77 cents, a year earlier, New York-based Coach said today in a statement. Analysts projected 80 cents, the average of 30 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Coach is working to turn itself into a dual-gender lifestyle brand by adding more shoes, jewelry, outerwear and fragrances at its main stores amid increased competition from Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS) and Tory Burch LLC. Coach’s new footwear was well-received by consumers while men’s offerings helped drive sales, Victor Luis, who will succeed Lew Frankfort as chief executive officer in January, said in the statement.
“The quarter was really impressive,” Liz Dunn, an analyst at Macquarie Group in New York, said in a telephone interview today. The “two operational highlights” were a North American comparable-store sales gain and an improvement in gross margin, she said.
She rates the shares outperform, the equivalent of buy.
Coach climbed 9.8 percent to $55.55 at the close in New York, the biggest one-day gain since October 2010. The shares are little changed this year, compared with an 11 percent advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
‘New Era’
Coach said Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director, won’t renew his contract when it expires next year. The company will explore options including a possible sale of his namesake clothing and accessories brand to a group including Krakoff. Coach also said it is looking for his successor.
“It is certainly a loss,” Dunn said. “He has been a real architect of the brand. His departure ushers in a new era. The company has a strong design aesthetic and heritage to draw from and I’m sure as they look to find a new lead designer, they will draw on that and not change direction entirely.”
Sales at stores open at least a year in North America increased 1 percent in the quarter. Michael Binetti, an analyst at UBS AG, and Faye Landes, at Cowen Group Inc., estimated a 1 percent drop. Both New York-based analysts rate the shares neutral, the equivalent of hold.
Comparable-store sales in China, meanwhile, grew at a double-digit rate in percentage terms, the company said.
Total revenue increased 7.1 percent to $1.19 billion, topping the $1.18 billion average of analysts’ estimates
Gross margin, the share of sales left after subtracting the cost of goods sold, expanded to 74.1 percent from 73.8 percent a year earlier.
Coach also increased its annual dividend 13 percent to $1.35 today.


Construction of Zambia’s largest mall to start soon

The construction of the US$200 million shopping mall in Kitwe which is expected to be the largest in Zambia will finally take off in the next two months.

This is according to a statement jointly issued by HBW GROUP chairman Tony Vasillopoulos and TGP properties chairman Phesto Musonda.

The statement said the project will commence on the Kitwe – Chingola Road.

Mr Vasillopoulos said HBW, the appointed main contractor was expected to move on site within the next 60 days and the project was expected to be completed by October 2014.

Phase one of the project will be a super regional mall for the Copperbelt at 40,000 square metre anchored by Shoprite and Game Stores.

The development would include a hotel, conference centre, office park and a large fuel port facility.

It is expected that 2,000 of both permanent and temporal jobs would be created with substantial downstream benefits for the entire region.

“Moreover, Copperbelt City Mall will be a catalyst for further development creating additional jobs, services and related economic activities,” Mr Vasillopoulos said.

TGP Properties Limited is a joint venture between HBW Group of South Africa and Phoenix Materials of Zambia.

The HBW Group has been investing in Zambia since 2006 by way of the complete re-development of the super regional and iconic Manda Hill in Lusaka.

It said it has intention to list an African Property Fund on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) and the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE).

This will afford the investing public in Zambia the opportunity to invest in both Manda Hill and Copperbelt City Mall upon completion in 2014.


Pick n Pay Fiscal-Year Profit Plunges 51% on Market Share

Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. (PIK) said profit fell 51 percent as South Africa’s second-biggest grocer struggled to regain lost market share and as consumer demand weakened in the continent’s largest economy.

Net income dropped to 550.6 million rand ($60 million) in the 12 months through March 3 from 1.11 billion rand a year earlier, the Cape Town-based company said today in a statement. Profit missed the 587.6 million-rand median estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Earnings per share excluding one-time items fell 30 percent to 1.11 rand, while sales rose 7.2 percent to 59.3 billion rand.

The retailer has lost market share to competitors such as Shoprite Holdings Ltd. (SHP), Africa’s largest grocer, which posted a 19 percent gain in profit for the six months through December. South African consumer confidence was at a nine-year low in the first quarter of 2013 amid a 24.9 percent unemployment rate and as rising fuel and electricity costs accelerated inflation to the upper limit of the government’s 3 percent to 6 percent target range.

“Pick n Pay has been talking about their turnaround plans for some time, but it is very much a long-term plan,” Michael McLeod, an analyst at Avior Research, said in a phone interview from Johannesburg. “We will have to wait and see when this translates into margin expansion. With the economy as it is, coupled with the performance of its peers, this is not an easy time to try and implement a turnaround.”

Underlying Margins

Pick n Pay shares rose 0.9 percent to 41.66 rand by the close in Johannesburg and are down 7.9 percent in the year to date. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index (JALSH) was up 1 percent.

“I am optimistic we can improve the underlying margins of the business,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Brasher said in a telephone interview. “We don’t need a new strategy, we just need to deliver on the one we’ve been talking about.”

Keeping shelves full, being competitively priced, opening new shops and ensuring that customers have a “happy shopping experience,” will be the focus, Brasher said. Pick n Pay opened 107 stores in fiscal 2013 and plans to open about the same number this year, he said. The retailer hired Brasher, the former head of Tesco Plc’s (TSCO) U.K. unit, from Feb. 1 to help revive growth.

Strong Potential

Sales in eight African countries outside of its home market were 2.7 billion rand, the company said. With year-on-year gains of about 35 percent, this region has “strong potential to develop into a second engine of growth,” Brasher said. “Africa growth can complement our core business, but we won’t be blinded by the opportunities there not to focus on South Africa.”

Profit from continuing operations fell 28 percent. The sale of Pick n Pay’s Franklins supermarket chain in Australia to Metcash Ltd. (MTS) was completed on Sept. 30, 2011, earning the South African company 438.4 million rand after tax last year.


Tesco Ireland records 1.9% sales growth

Tesco Ireland reports 1.9% and announces plans to spend €70million in modernising stores this year and in opening six new Express or Metro stores.

Apr 17 2013

Tesco Ireland has recorded increased sales of €3.15 bn in the year to 24 February 2013, compared with sales of €3.09 bn in the previous year.

This shows a growth of 1.9%. However like-for-like sales declined marginally by 0.3%.

Tony Keohane, chief executive of Tesco Ireland said the company was “pleased to have recorded a year of growth” in a market that continues to be “very challenging”.

“Customers are spending less and retail competition has become even more intense,” the chief executive commented. “Customers are demanding better from retailers to meet their family budgets and we are very pleased with how they have responded to what we offer them”.

“Our stores have adapted well to what customers want in terms of family shopping, including more choice at keener prices, better offers and better value for money. We expect customers will continue to demand better value as household incomes remain stretched”.

“Our Home Grown in Ireland programme, highlighting our extensive support for Irish and local produce, has been well received. We plan to expand on this in the coming year”.

“We are continuing to invest in Ireland and will be spending €70million in modernising our stores this year and in opening six new Express or Metro stores. Total investment last year was €59million.

Other developments during the past year, include the fact that 15 Irish suppliers have completed the joint Tesco/Bord Bia Supplier Development Programme, which is helping them to grow through increased sales to Tesco in Ireland and in Britain. Six of the suppliers are now exporting their products, while nine others are seeing sales growth with us in Ireland. A total of 71 new Irish suppliers have begun supplying Tesco since 2011.

Tesco also opened five new stores last year (including four Express and one Metro outlet, creating 94 new jobs. Throughout the year, 28 other stores were remodelled or upgraded.

The supermarket also reports online grocery shopping grew by 16% during the year, while the first “click and collect” facility was opened at Clarehall store. Customer Wi-Fi was installed at 109 stores.

What’s more, almost €1million was raised to support the Charity of the Year, Aware, facilitating a teenage awareness programme reaching 30,000 schoolgoers.


Aldi to create 300 new jobs with Irish expansion project

Job announcement made as Aldi opens milestone 100th Irish store in Callan, Co. Kilkenny

Aldi is set to open 20 new stores over the next three years, creating 300 jobs

Discount giant Aldi has announced the creation of 300 jobs in Ireland over the next three years as part of its expansion programme of its Irish store network. The jobs will be created in 20 new stores across the country with 15 staff in each location. The announcement was made at the official opening of Aldi’s 100th store in Ireland in Callan, Co. Kilkenny.

Niall O’Connor, group buying director of Aldi Stores (Ireland), said: “Our new multimillion-euro investment underpins our ongoing commitment and support to Ireland, our customers, staff and Irish suppliers, producers and manufacturers.” Among the new locations are East Wall in Dublin; Greystones, Co. Wicklow; Tralee, Co. Kerry; Ballybofey, Co. Donegal; and Charleville in Co. Cork.

Aldi says it has seen growth of 30.7% in sales for the 12-weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day this year, bringing its total share of the Irish grocery market to approximately 6.2%. (Source: Kantar Worldpanel) O’Connor said the chain is committed to supporting Irish suppliers: “Since we opened, we have adopted a localised approach to sourcing our product range, building many long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with numerous Irish suppliers. As we continue to open more new stores and expand our presence throughout the country there will be more and more opportunities for Irish suppliers to work with us.”


Deerfields Townsquare abu dhabi 60% leased

Deerfields Townsquare, a community mall on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, is about 60 per cent leased and will open the first phase within weeks.

The mall, located in Al Bahia, a few minutes from Khalifa City A, Al Reef and Al Raha Beach, is targeting an opening date of May 6 for its anchor Carrefour.

It will feature about 162 stores, a family entertainment centre, restaurants and a cinema, with 80,000 square metres of leasable space.

Deerfields carried out market research in surrounding areas to ask residents what they wanted before approaching the brands. A hypermarket, restaurants, family entertainment centre, and high street fashion all came high on the list.

“They based the retail mix on the needs of the community,” said Berna Ramey, the marketing director of Deerfields. “They’re not going to buy a Gucci or a Fendi every day. They wanted H&M. They wanted Carrefour.”

Centrepoint is expected to open soon after Carrefour and others are expected to follow in May, June, and again in Ramadan, totalling about 70 stores by October, when it hopes to stage a grand opening.

It aims to be 85 per cent occupied by the end of the year.

“Ideally we would love to open everybody at the same time, but just given the way things operate, not everybody is going to be ready at the same time and so we want to open them as quickly as we can,” said Tom Miles, the mall manager.

“Naturally the hypermarket is the thing that is in most demand here and so they were the first to come in, the first to pound the first nail and the building will be finished at their side with their parking and that stuff.”

Other brands will include H&M, Starbucks, Mothercare, La Senza, Aldo, Tim Hortons and Charles & Keith. In the food court, there will be a McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway, among others, while restaurants include India Palace, Johnny Rockets, Shakespeare & Co and Chili’s. Deerfields is working on a deal for Grand Cinemas to operate the mall’s cinema.

“I think it is more like Mercato than anything else that is in this market that I’ve seen before. It’s not a mega mall. It’s bigger than typical community centres but it is positioned as a community centre,” Mr Miles said.


Qataris officially biggest spending tourists outside the EU

Qatar’s first lady Sheika Mozah is often seen wearing designer labels. Photograph: AP
The Qataris may be keen on snapping up the best British assets, but it seems they are equally fond of emptying their wallets in the UK high street.

Tourists from Qatar spend more in the UK than any other group of tourists from outside the EU, say researchers. They spend £1,408 per transaction on average, beating visitors from the United Arab Emirates, who spent £1,170.

However, Chinese tourists appear to be catching up. China’s middle class travellers are spending more than ever in the UK, with the average spend rising 37% in the past year to £747 a transaction, according to Global Blue, the tax free shopping firm. e

Other tourists visiting from the Far East, who primarily spend their cash in London, have also been spending more, with Thai tourists spending £848, up 47%, and shoppers from Singapore spending £551 on average, up 20%.

Gordon Clark, UK manager for Global Blue, which processes VAT transactions for shoppers from outside the EU, said: “Should positive changes be made to the Chinese visa system, we are in no doubt that outbound visitor numbers would significantly increase as the cache of buying British brands in Britain continues to be a key driver for shopping focused trips to the UK.”

Business leaders, including the British Chamber of Commerce, have been pushing the Government to relax Chinese visa laws for the past three years in an attempt to encourage even more spending from the travelling middle class of China.


Mr Price Expects 20% Surge In Profits

Shares of JSE-listed Mr Price gained 3 percent to R118.98 on Wednesday’s early trade after it said figures for the year ended March would be higher than in the previous reporting period.

The clothing retailer said basic earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the 52 weeks ended 30 March this year are likely to be higher by more than 20 percent.

This share price move shows that the market liked the numbers which mean that the company continues to outperform some of its peers.

Analysts said this could mean that clothing sales had been particularly strong in the past year, continuing the trend that had been started long before August last year.

In the 18 weeks to August last year, Mr Price said its sales surged 14.9 percent and comparable store sales gained 9.5 percent during the period.

The group has opened more than 24 stores and closed a couple of others in South Africa since the year end in March last year.

The apparel division, which includes Mr Price, Miladys and Mr Price Sports and represents 71.6 percent of the group’s total sales, has always been a star performer for the group’s sales income.

The homeware division, which trades under Mr Price Home and Sheet Street, has also been doing well.

Cash sales always account for more than 78.5 percent of total group sales.

Analysts said Mr Price has, like most of the fashion retailers, pushed its sales through credit store accounts.

The company has won a chunk of market share from Edcon, another big fashion retailer in South Africa, which has been losing markets share.


Saudi retailer Fawaz A AlHokair & Co posts record profits

Saudi retailer Fawaz A AlHokair & Co on Monday posted record profits for the latest quarter as the company entered new markets and opened more stores.

Its net profit for the three months to end of March rose by more than 55 percent to SR 135.87m compared to SR87.3m in the same period last year.

Simon Marshall, the company’s CEO, said: “We continued to deliver our global, strategic expansion plan during 2012, and had a very strong finish to the year.

“We delivered record profits, record margin increase, record number of new store openings, entered two new markets and successfully managed the acquisition and integration of Nesk Trading Projects.”

Net profit for the 12 months ended March 31 was SR619.69m, an increase of 38.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

“The increase in net profit for the quarter… is due to the increase in the sales for the same stores and the successful opening of new stores, introducing new concepts & brands and the consolidation of the results of the acquired business Nesk trading projects,” the company said in a statement.

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

The NCB Captial report said 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.


UK’s Marks & Spencer to enter Kerala

KOCHI: British clothing and luxury retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) plans to enter the state market within the next few months by opening a store in Lulu Mall.

This is part of the company’s plan to open five new stores towards the end of 2013 summer, said Venu Nair, managing director of Marks & Spencer Reliance India Ltd, a joint venture between M&S and Reliance Retail. “Since 2008, we have been on a growth plan and now have 29 stores in India with five stores in the pipeline to open by summer 2013. The current 29 stores are located in key markets like Delhi, NCR, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Amritsar. We have recently opened five new format stores in Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Chandigarh offering a more inspiration shopping environment. As one of our priority markets we will continue to grow our presence here,” said Nair.

“Our positioning in India is in line with our international positioning of ‘mid value retailer’, offering stylish and aspirational merchandise,” said Nair.

M&S, a high street store, will explore its expansion in India as a stand-alone store as well as inside the malls. “We always look very carefully at customers’ shopping habits, and malls are an extremely popular shopping destination for Indian consumers. However, since there is a set of consumers going to the high street, we may explore opening stand-alone store also in the future like we have at South Extension and Connaught Place at Delhi and Koramangala in Bangalore,” Nair said.

He also stated that the JV with Reliance Retail helped the company to transform its position in the market. “Under our previous franchise partnership, we were a small premium retailer selling UK products at higher prices through smaller stores. Through our partnership with Reliance Retail, we’ve been able to open larger stores and realign our prices by increasing our local sourcingReliance Retail is an ideal partner with strengths in property, logistics and experience of operating in the India market. They are a great help to us in managing the supply chain, finding the right location and helping understand the Indian customer better,” he said.


Asda’s fashion label George will open its first store in Malta

April 22, 2013 – On Friday 26th April, Asda’s fashion label George will open its first store in Malta through franchise partner, Cyka Limited. The 6,000 sq ft store will be situated in the Daniels Shopping Complex in Hamrun and will create 12 new jobs.

The expansion of one of the UK’s best-loved fashion retailers to Malta is part of George’s ambitious growth plans through international expansion and the scale of six-figure reflects this. With Malta’s close historic links to the UK and large presence of UK retailers franchising in the market, it provides George with a strong growth platform as locals, ex-pats and visitors increase demand for stylish, quality and high value clothing.

Jo Whitfield, George Retail & International Director comments: “We’re thrilled to be opening our first franchise store in Malta. Shoppers are looking for real value, as well as the highest quality clothing in the current economic climate for themselves and their families and that’s exactly what the new George store will offer.

“Our Franchise Partner, Cyka Ltd, has a vast amount of franchise experience and we chose them because of their retail experience on the island, their professionalism, their passion and their commitment to bringing George to Malta.

“More stores are planned over the next two years and we will be targeting locations in Sliema and Valletta.”

The ranges stocked will be the same as the UK including G21 for the younger more fashion conscious customer to Moda for the more mature shopper as well as South Dean Street for men and a large section dedicated to childrenswear.

Marlene Seychell, Director of Cyka Limited added: “We’re excited and privileged to bring the George brand to Malta. It is one of the UK’s leading fashion brands in the UK and our ambition is to achieve the same, here in Malta.

“The high quality and fantastic prices should prove very popular with customers in Malta, particularly families with children.”

International expansion has recently seen George franchises in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and will be followed by a second store in Amman in May. Further stores in the UAE and Qatar will open in the summer. This follows already successful launches in the Channel Islands and the Middle East.

A team has been established at the George base in Lutterworth to establish, build and manage the franchise stores and develop the franchise partnerships. The team ensure that all franchise partners adhere to the brand’s core values of style, quality and value.


Wok&Go gets going

Asian food franchise Wok&Go has launched a search to find 10 new restaurant locations across the UK during 2013/14

Founded in 2007 by former financial analyst Des Pheby, the chain offers a fusion of Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian food in the form of cooked-to-order noodles, curries, soups and rice meals.

Wok&Go currently has two stores in Chester and the same number in both Liverpool and Nottingham with additional stores in Birmingham, Hull and Leeds.

Property advisor Cushman & Wakefield has been retained to focus on edge of prime retail units with A3/A5 planning consent, ranging from 800 to1,200 sq ft in high footfall locations such as primary shopping centres, high streets and even high quality retail parks. There is an early requirement within London’s West End and Manchester.

Matt Illingworth, partner in Cushman & Wakefield’s retail team, said: “Wok&Go is a premium quality brand which has established itself very well since opening its first store in Chester only six years ago.”


First Four Seasons in Dubai to open in Q4 2014

Dubai’s debut Four Seasons resort will open in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the operator’s president of EMEA.
Christopher Norton said at a press event in Dubai on Wednesday that the US hotelier expected to capitalise on the emirate’s tourism boom.
“If you look at occupancies today in town, this part of the world is becoming a hub and there’s plenty of space for more rooms,” he said.
Norton dismissed suggestions that Four Seasons was late to the UAE market, saying that the hotel would purely target resort tourism and not seek to compete in the business travel segment.

“Dubai has been such a popular destination, so it’s been very difficult to find prime real estate, so we’d rather wait until we find the right location, rather than just building anywhere in the city. That’s why Dubai took so long,” Norton added. “We’ve got one of the last great pieces of beachfront property in Dubai, and it gives us the opportunity to do a resort hotel, rather than a city/business hotel.”
The Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach Resort is located on the city’s Jumeirah Beach Road.
The property will be situated on an 11 acre natural waterfront site along the Gulf. It has been designed by architect WATG, with interior design by San Fransisco-based BAMO.
The property features 49 suites, three restaurants, function spaces with beachfront access, and a 600 sq m ballroom and five meeting rooms. The hotel will also include a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and a private beach club.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach will be the Toronto-based company’s latest addition to its development pipeline in the GCC, which includes the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi Sowwah, Four Seasons Resort Oman, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Four Seasons Hotel Doha at The Pearl and Four Seasons Hotel Jeddah.
Norton said that Four Seasons would open another 200-room hotel in Saudi Arabia “in three or four years”, although its next property would be in Bahrain.


Burberry Rises in London as Quarterly Sales Top Estimates

Burberry Group Plc (BRBY) reported fourth- quarter revenue that beat estimates as sales of its more expensive products compensated for weak shopper numbers, sending the shares up the most in more than six months.
Sales at the U.K.’s largest luxury-goods maker rose 11 percent to 503 million pounds ($772 million) in the three months ended March 31. Analysts predicted 485.1 million pounds, according to the average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Asia-Pacific region, particularly China and Hong Kong, led same-store sales growth in the second half of the year.
Burberry is expanding retail operations and increasing average prices to target demand for the most expensive luxury goods, which Bain & Co. estimates will grow faster than cheaper lines until at least 2014. The so-called aspirational luxury consumer is reining in spending as a result of the current economic climate, Burberry Chief Financial Officer Stacey Cartwright said today on a call with reporters.
“To continue to run at a double-digit growth rate in China and Hong Kong is a very good performance,” John Guy, an analyst at Berenberg Bank, said by phone, referring to Burberry’s 15 percent increase in second-half revenue in Asia, excluding currency fluctuations.
Burberry shares rose 4.3 percent to 1,320 pence at 12:10 p.m. after earlier surging as much as 7.7 percent, the steepest intraday gain since Oct. 11.
‘Soft’ Traffic
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) rattled luxury stocks yesterday after reporting the slowest growth in fashion and leather-goods revenue in more than three years, citing a drop in Japanese tourism and fewer store visitors in China. Prada SpA (1913) also reported figures that disappointed analysts, saying cold weather, the economic crisis in Europe and tension between North Korea and South Korea had hurt demand.
Burberry said today that it expects the global environment to remain challenging, adding that it hasn’t seen a marked change in the pattern of shopper numbers in the fourth quarter.
“The focus of all of our teams regionally is making the most of the footfall that there is, improving conversion and driving up that average selling price,” Cartwright said.
Quarterly sales gained 10 percent, excluding currency shifts. Six-month sales climbed 15 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, 7 percent in the Americas and 4 percent in Europe excluding currencies, Burberry said. Comparable store sales advanced 7 percent in the second half.

The maker of $2,795 trenchcoats plans to open about 25 so-called mainline stores and close 15 this fiscal year, while opening about 10 concessions and closing the same amount, it said. New outlets will be weighted toward China and Latin America and are expected to boost retail revenue by a low-to-mid single-digit percentage in the year through March 2014.
“The guidance should temper enthusiasm” about Burberry’s performance last quarter, Bethany Hocking, an analyst at Investec Securities, wrote in a note.
Excluding beauty, which Burberry began directly operating this month, underlying wholesale revenue will fall by about 10 percent in the six months through September, the company said. Wholesale clients planned more conservatively for the fall, and sales continue to be affected by account closures and Burberry’s halt to some entry-price products in North America, it said.
Pretax profit last year will probably be at the top end of analysts’ estimates of 400 million pounds to 416 million pounds, CFO Cartwright said. In the current year, earnings on that basis may be 450 million pounds to 480 million pounds, in line with most analysts’ predictions, she said.
Burberry forecast wholesale revenue from beauty of about 140 million pounds and incremental so-called retail/wholesale operating profit of about 25 million pounds in the year through March 2014. The guidance is “conservative,” Berenberg’s Guy said.
Licensing revenue will be little changed in the full year on a reported basis, affected by hedging the Japanese yen.


H&M to dress the Swedish Olympic 2016 team

H&M to dress the Swedish Olympic 2016 team

Swedish retailer H&M has signed a four-year deal to dress the teams at both the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi 2014, and the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

Swedish retailer H&M is more used to collaborating with luxury brands like Versace and Jimmy Choo, but its latest union is set to be a much more patriotic one.

Today, the company announced that it has signed a four-year contract with the Swedish Olympic Committee and Swedish Paralympic Committee, meaning that it will dress the national teams at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi 2014, and the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

H&M will create outfits for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as an extensive wardrobe for sportspeople to wear around the Olympic village.

Ann-Sofie Johansson, the Swedish fashion giant’s head of design, said it was “honour” to dress the teams, adding how: “the designs will bring together sport and fashion in a totally new way and have Swedish heritage as a proud influence on the collection.”

The clothes will be developed in collaboration with a handful of Swedish Olympians, who will give their input and test the garments in the collection.

IN PICTURES: Sexiest Olympic athletes

Anja Pärson, a former alpine skier and multiple Olympic champion said that wearing clothes from a Swedish company “will strengthen the team, our team spirit and image to the outside world, especially when it is an internationally renowned brand like H&M.” The athletes will also be called upon to test and broaden H&M’s Sport range.

Here’s hoping the result will be a much chicer affair than the opening ceremony parade suits Team GB sported during London 2012; described by critics as resembling an Elvis tribute act, Stella McCartney, the team’s official kit designer, was quick to declare they were not her work – but that of high street stalwart Next.


John Lewis to offer broadband to customers

John Lewis is to challenge communications giants such as BT and TalkTalk with a move to capture a share of the broadband market.

Such a move by John Lewis, which has a strong reputation for customer service, would challenge the status quo in a market currently dominated by Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse

The department store will give away a six-month broadband subscription when customers buy any connected device, from a Wi-Fi-enabled printer to a tablet or laptop.
It does not sell mobile phones but it has also confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that a move into the sector is “definitely on the radar”.
Such a move by John Lewis, which has a strong reputation for customer service, would challenge the status quo in a market currently dominated by Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse.
It would also mark another traditional brand moving out of its established markets. BT is currently gearing up to launch its own television channel with live football and rugby coverage, while broadcaster Sky has increasingly emphasised its own broadband offering.
John Lewis sells five tablet computers every minute, and says four out of five of all the technology items it sells require an internet connection to function fully. Although it has offered broadband since last year, it has not promoted it aggressively and has not offered it free with devices.

Technology sales are now thought to be worth more to John Lewis than fashion, but lower profit margins mean the group is keen to move into related areas. As part of a programme to invest £57m in its existing shops, including the £32m refurbishment of its Oxford Street, High Wycombe, Kingston upon Thames and Nottingham stores, technology departments are being revamped.
Adam Brown, the retailer’s tablet and telecoms buyer, said: “The mobile is a market similar to broadband, with a lot of confusion for customers and in need of transparency when it comes to finding the right deal. If John Lewis is ready to move into mobile then we will, but only if, like broadband, we can do something differently.” He added that the broadband market was currently more attractive as consumers already express dissatisfaction with suppliers.
“We know many consumers are left disappointed by the level of customer service they get from their broadband provider and frustrated at misleading and complicated offers,” he said. “We’re the only place on the high street that customers can come to for quality, impartial advice on both their new technology product and the broadband service so we’re offering something that is unique in the market,” he claimed.
Customers will need to switch from their existing broadband supplier to claim the offer, which must be redeemed within a year of the purchase, and pay line rental charges on a 12-month contract.


UAE’s Landmark buys 87.5% stake in Turkish retailer

UAE-based retail giant Landmark Group has announced the acquisition of a 87.5 percent stake in Park Bravo Dis Ticaret AS, the exclusive distributor of Nine West branded footwear and accessories in Turkey.

Under the terms of the agreement, Landmark said it has acquired the controlling stake in the business and operations.

It added that the acquisition complements its strategy “to expand and offer value-based shopping experiences to their customers”.

Park Bravo Dis Ticaret AS was founded in 1997 by the Park Bravo Group, and is the master franchisee of Nine West, Anne Klein and Enzo Angiolini brands in Turkey.

As of March, the Nine West business had 42 stores in Turkey including Anne Klein and Enzo Angiolini brands and another 45 sales points.

Manu Jeswani, director, Landmark Group, said: “Together as partners, we aim to further develop the retail sector in Turkey, which is at a promising stage and demonstrates significant potential for growth.”

Kemal Guven CEO, Park Bravo Dis Ticaret AS, added: “We believe our business will become even stronger with the support of a partner such as the Landmark Group.”

The Landmark Group operates over 1,300 outlets across the GCC, India, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya and Pakistan with a workforce of 40,000 employees.

It holds the franchise rights for some of the world’s leading fashion and footwear brands in the countries where it operates and has also diversified in the leisure, food, hospitality and healthcare segments with the likes of Fitness First.


Dutch dining concept ” supperclub “eyes MENA expansion

Supperclub MENA, the company responsible for bringing the first Supperclub franchise to Dubai, is already eyeing expansion in further locations across the Middle East.

General manager of Supperclub Dubai Richard Drake, who will open the Dubai venue at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray at the end of April, said the Middle East’s burgeoning culinary scene provided opportunity for growth.

“Supperclub MENA is the company bringing Supperclub to Dubai and was founded last year as a platform to bring world-class hospitality to the region,” said Drake.

“In line with the region’s hospitality sector witnessing tremendous growth, the company hopes to roll out further venues in the future with potential locations for Supperclub including Morocco, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.”

He added: “The current focus is of course on delivering the first Supperclub venture for the global franchise in Dubai”.

Drake said the Supperclub concept, which fuses fine dining and theatre, would meet the demands of Dubai’s trendsetters.

“There will always be a place for traditional hospitality venues and particularly in Dubai where there has been a strong market for restaurants and clubs managed by hotel chains. Equally, international brands have capitalised on Dubai’s position, drawing on its hub status as home to over 200 nationalities and an increasing number of foreign tourists.

“However, while there are an abundance of chain restaurants the demands of Dubai’s trendsetters are changing. The city’s burgeoning art scene is providing a platform for artistic expression and Supperclub Dubai is very much a part of the trend integrating the two concepts.

“Through the new Supperclub offering we hope to further diversify the hospitality sector in the region and capture emerging groups of society that are seeking alternative experiences,” said Drake.

The venue has been designed by Concrete Architectural Associates, who created the original supperclub in Amsterdam, Holland.

There will be six key dining and entertainment areas including the Salle Neige (the restaurant); Salle d’Or (the Gold Room); two exclusive Chef’s Tables; an al fresco terrace; Bar Rouge; and the Balcony Noir.

Chef Dom Robinson heads up the kitchen, with a range of fine dining concepts inspired by European fusion cuisine to be offered across the six key dining areas.


Lisney Ireland Retail update Q1 2013 download

download the report here


Grafton Street is to be protected as a high-end commercial experience

Grafton Street is to be protected as a high-end commercial experience where business types – including internet cafes, sex shops and mobile phone outlets – will not be encouraged. This is according to Dublin City Council’s draft 2013 Scheme of Special Planning Control for Grafton Street and Environs, as reported on by The Irish Times.


Pick n Pay to face off with Shoprite

Pick n Pay to face off with Shoprite

Recognising the strong buying power of emerging markets in Durban’s outer lying suburbs, Pick n Pay has acquired a property in Chatsworth which will see it go head-to-head with competitor Shoprite’s store on the opposite side of the road.

It has taken Pick n Pay longer to gain entry into such markets, but analysts believed it would catch up.

In its interim results last October, the retailer announced ambitious plans to open 225 stores within 18 months, but had only opened two stores so far due to builders’ holidays.

It was likely to start a construction and property development programme this month.

Absa Investment equity analyst Chris Gilmour said although it might have taken Pick n Pay longer to realise the potential in the middle to low-income earner markets, “the retailer is sure moving quickly and was catching up with its competitors”.

“Their main focus, back in the 1960s, was to open stores to what previously had been regarded as affluent urban areas,” Gilmour said.

However, over the years this mindset had changed, Gilmour said, especially with Pick n Pay buying the Boxer and Score supermarket businesses. “These two chain stores are in low-income areas and it is clear that Pick n Pay wanted to get into this kind of market and was gradually doing so.”

Pick n Pay had previously said all sites mentioned as part of the store expansion programme had already been secured. It would open 119 Pick n Pay supermarkets and the rest would be Boxer supermarkets, small-format and express stores. Pick n Pay has invested about R180 million in the total development project at Chatsworth. The development, which is in the format of a shopping centre, will include other shops and ATMs and will be formally opened on April 25.

Pick n Pay store and development director Izak Joubert said: “Founder of Pick n Pay, Raymond Ackerman, has said that over the years numerous attempts were made to secure a suitable site for development, and we are very pleased that this has now come to fruition.”

Gilmour said all other retailers were struggling to secure prime locations for their stores.

Like most of its new retail outlets, this store will have its bakery and fresh produce at the entrance. At a size of 5 635m2, the supermarket will have 30 percent of its groceries as fresh produce. The store will also use green technology with its skylight roof accompanied by a lighting control system to save energy.

The Chatsworth store would also have a spice bar and different delis in order to cater for the different markets in the area. Close to 200 new jobs would be created with about 70 percent of the staff sourced from nearby communities.

Joubert said: “Pick n Pay constantly looks at store design and maximising new technology in order to ensure that new buildings are up to date with the most advanced technology possible, especially when it comes to sustainability.”

Pick n Pay Stores fell 0.6 percent to close at R41.75.


South African pizza chain eyes UAE expansion

South African pizza chain eyes UAE expansion

Debonairs Pizza, a pizza franchisee from South Africa, has announced its expansion plans for the UAE retail market.

After the opening of a new restaurant at Dubai Marina, the pizza chain said it aims to open at least 15 outlets across the UAE in the next five years.

Mandeep Singh Pujji, managing director of Unitas Foods International, the master franchisee licence holder for Debonairs Pizza, said: “By the year end, we’ll have two more restaurants in Dubai’s Al Barsha and Arabian Ranches areas and within the next five years there be at least 15 more across the country.”

He added that the company also has plans to further expand the pizza brand to other GCC countries and Asia.

“Having seen solid growth, success and profits within a quick time period, we are encouraged to offer more locations with different concepts therefore reaching a wider customer base,” he said.

“We have been receiving queries from local businesses interested in taking the brand to various locations and thus starting March 2013, we are offering potential investors an opportunity to apply for franchisee operations,” added Mandeep.

Debonairs Pizza currently has more than 500 outlets across the world.


UK: 99p Stores to expand into Scotland

UK discount retailer 99p Stores has revealed plans to roll out its store network into Scotland over the next three years.

The first store will open in Ayr next month with plans to open a further four in Scotland over the next six months. The retailer said it will open an additional 25 over the next three years, creating around 500 jobs in total.

The retailer, which currently operates 223 stores across England and Wales said it saved Scotland to last because its shoppers “are the canniest of all when it comes to value”.

Owner Hussein Lalani said: “Scottish shoppers are value-savvy – we are extremely excited about this next challenge.

“Spending patterns have been completely revolutionised over the last few years,” Lalani said. “The buying public is no longer prepared to pay a penny over the odds whatever their disposable income.”

Lalani said the group is looking at a number of sites across Scotland for the new stores but is also calling for feedback from the public.

99p Stores sell a range of merchandise from food and drink to toys and clothing.


Global Fashion Retailer H&M heading to Nigeria & South Africa

With the influx of international brands into the Nigerian market over the last 12 months, business insiders and fashion lovers are itching to see what is next.

We have Ermenegildo Zegna, MAC, Clinique, Mango, KFC, Dominos and Coldstone on the list. Could fashion retail giant H&M be next?

BN Style has heard whispers that the launch of an H&M store in South Africa is definitely in the cards while the idea of opening up in Nigeria is also in the early stage of development.

Right now, the only H&M stores in Africa are in Egypt and Morocco.

Let’s see how it plays out.

Today, H&M revealed the complete set of campaign images for ”Beyoncé as Mrs. Carter in H&M”.


M&S Said to Return to the Netherlands With First Store Next Week

Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS), the U.K. clothing retailer that exited the Netherlands more than a decade ago, will return there next week to open the first in a series of stores, according to a person familiar with the plan.

Marks & Spencer, the U.K.’s biggest clothing retailer, will open its first location on Amsterdam’s busy shopping street Kalverstraat on April 17, said the person, who declined to be identified because the decision isn’t yet public. The store will contain a smaller-format food hall and fashion e-boutique, which offers online orders, said the person.

The chain, led by Dutch chief executive officer Marc Bolland, will follow a plan similar to its strategy in France which it re-entered in 2011, the person said. There, the London- based company’s inaugural store opened on the Champs Elysees and will be followed by a series of franchise-based Simply Food convenience halls, two or three large-format stores and a country-specific website. The company exited the Netherlands and European markets, including France and Spain in 2001, as then- CEO Luc Vandevelde cut costs.

A spokeswoman said the retailer doesn’t comment on speculation.

Marks & Spencer reported international sales climbed 7 percent in the fourth quarter following an improved performance in Europe and strength in Asia and the Middle East.

The retailer posted the fastest quarterly sales growth in almost two years as it offered discounts on apparel and shoppers treated themselves to specialty food at Easter.

Marks & Spencer declined 0.2 percent to 399.6 pence in London trading today. The shares have risen 4.5 percent this year.


Mothercare sales drop as turnaround takes time to kick in

LONDON: British baby and maternity products retailer Mothercare posted a 4.8 percent fall in fourth quarter total group sales, as recent improvements to its British arm take time to filter through.

The group, which has some 1,300 stores worldwide including 255 in the UK, said on Thursday British like-for-like sales were flat in 11 weeks to March 30, compared to an 8.2 percent fall in the same period a year ago and a fall of 5.9 per cent in the third quarter.

The fall in total sales reflects a higher levels of discounting and the ongoing closure of loss-making stores in Britain.

Overseas retail sales rose 15.5 percent, despite some weakness in Europe.

As part of new chief executive Simon Calver’s turnaround strategy the group has closed 56 UK stores in the year to the end of March, ahead of its target of 50 closures.

Mothercare is improving its stores and delivery services as well as slashing prices in a bid to wrestle back cash strapped customers from supermarkets and online retailers.

It said total group sales for the year were down 6 per cent but that its annual underlying profit before tax would be in line with market expectations.

Shares in the firm, which have doubled in the last year, closed at 292 pence on Wednesday, valuing the business at 260 million pounds.


Mark Bolland faces pressure as Marks & Spencer reports fall in clothing sales

A buoyant food performance at Marks & Spencer provided some relief to its chief executive Marc Bolland today but he remains a man under pressure after its fashion sales tumbled again.

Clothing and homewares revenues at the retail bell-wether fell for the seventh consecutive quarter and Bolland admitted March was a “difficult” month, as the prolonged wintry weather drove a dramatic uplift in discounting at High Street rivals.

Some investors, such as Standard Life, have voiced concern at the slow progress of M&S turning around its falling profits but its top team today came out fighting in support of Bolland, who took the helm in May 2010. M&S finance director Alan Stewart said: “We speak regularly to shareholders and they realise it is going to take time and they are supportive.”

M&S’s general merchandise sales, dominated by clothing, fell by 3.8 per cent over the 13 weeks to March 30.

This beat City expectations of a 4.5 per cent fall. To turn around its clothing woes, M&S moved its head of food John Dixon to lead its fashion and homewares division last October and hired former Jaeger boss Belinda Earl as its style director.

Bolland pleaded for them to be given time: “We know we have a job to do.”

Its food performance was also ahead of analysts’ forecasts, as M&S benefited from not being involved in the horsegate scandal. Underlying food sales grew by 4 per cent, its 14th consecutive quarter in positive territory.

Bolland hailed its “biggest-ever” Easter week, and sales were up strongly around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day too. UK sales at stores open at least a year rose by 0.6 per cent, its strongest performance for nearly two years.

Group revenues rose by 3.1 per cent. On rumours of the Qatar Investment Authority mulling a bid for M&S, Bolland said the Takeover Panel would have demanded a statement if there had been “anything serious”.

M&S shares rose by 15.2p, or 4 per cent, to 399p.


WH Smith buys Past Times brand

WH Smith has bought the Past Times brand, the name of the historically-themed gift retailer that last year fell into administration.

Smiths’ purchase of Past Times comes after the latest failure of the business, which has been a victim of high street turmoil.
The books and stationery chain said on Thursday that it had bought the Past Times brand and planned to use it in a similar way to the Gadgetshop brand.
Smiths acquired that brand in 2010 and Gadgetshop items such as iPhone docks and speakers are sold in Smiths under the Gadgetshop name.
It is thought that Smiths recently acquired the Past Times brand although it declined to disclose the size of the deal.
Smiths’ purchase of Past Times’ brand comes amid the latest failure of the business, which has been a victim of high street turmoil.
Past Times went into administration in January 2012, which led to the closure of its 51 remaining high street shops.

It continued to trade online after Past Times’ website and assets were bought for £1.8m by PT Bidco, a vehicle of Epic Private Equity.
But on March 28, administrators Duff & Phelps were called into PT Bidco, which traded as Past Times.
Duff & Phelps said the online retailer had been loss-making since it began trading in February 2012 and that after entering the administration, it ceased to trade.
All nine staff at the business were made redundant.
Philip Duffy, joint administrator, said: “The company has had trading difficulties for some time due to competition in the online space.”
“The closure of the business is a result as the losses the company has incurred as consumers continue to curb discretionary spend within the retail market,” he added.
Duff & Phelps are reviewing the position regarding unfulfilled customer orders placed with Past Times, adding the average transaction value was £35.
If funds are not available, there are 179 customers who will need to contact their card providers.
News of Smiths’ purchase of Past Times came as the newsagent delivered another rise in profits during the last six months.
Like-for-like sales at the newsagent slid 5pc during the six months to the end of February, but cost-cutting protected margins and pre-tax profits gained 4.5pc to £69m.


Ireland : IKEA asks council to rezone land for second city store

RETAIL giant IKEA wants to build a second Dublin store off the M50 motorway, which will create at least 400 full-time jobs.

The international home furnishings chain has identified a site at Cherrywood in south Dublin, and has asked the local authority to rezone land allowing it to go ahead.

The company, which already operates stores at Ballymun and in Belfast, told a planning hearing yesterday it should be allowed build a retail warehouse in the area.

It wants An Bord Pleanala to overturn a decision by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to ban large-scale stores.

The council has drawn up a masterplan for the 264-hectare site in south Dublin, which makes provision for up to 8,300 homes, three new villages, a town centre, six schools and 4,500sqm of community centres.

Called a strategic development zone (SDZ), it will be developed over a 30-year period. A planning hearing into the scheme opened two weeks ago, and is expected to conclude this week.

Town planner Tom Phillips, who is representing IKEA, said the company could seek permission for a store in any of the five ‘gateway’ towns of Dublin, Cork, Limerick/Shannon, Galway and Waterford, but not in south Dublin, despite its booming population, good road network and access to public transport.

“The SDZ has lots of zonings, but says there should be no retail warehousing at all which kills it off,” he said. “In the rest of the country there’s a fighting chance, but not here.

“IKEA is in consultation with the council for the past three years. There was supposed to be a study done on the proposal, but it hasn’t happened.


“We would like An Bord Pleanala not to exclude retail warehousing,” he added.

Under SDZ rules, the local council grants planning permission and the decision cannot be appealed.

In a submission, the company said the Cherrywood plan denied IKEA the opportunity to make any planning argument to facilitate a store in the area.

It wants to build a 35,000sqm store, similar in size to its Ballymun branch.

A six-hectare site just off the Wyattville link Road from the M50 had been identified.

The site is beside the proposed town centre, and would act as a noise and wind buffer from the M50.

Local councillors passed a motion to prepare a study into the proposal last June, but it has not been completed. IKEA first met with the council about the plans in March 2010.


Mango Sales Climb

Mango, the Spanish specialty chain, reported today a 20 percent jump in turnover for 2012 — to 1.69 billion euros, or $2.21 billion at current exchange rates. Foreign markets accounted for 84 percent of the total, the company said.

With 2,600 stores in 107 countries, Mango opened 197 stores worldwide last year including 17 domestic units and 180 international locations. New retail markets included Burma and Pakistan.

For this year, the brand will strengthen its global reach through a new “megastore” format of from 8,611 to 32,292 square feet that will house the company’s five chains — Mango, H.E by Mango (mens’s), Mango Touch (accessories), Mango Kids and Mango Sport & Intimates. The Barcelona-based firm said it will open additional stores this year in Europe, the group’s biggest taker, specifically in Spain, Germany, France, Holland and Italy, as well as Poland and Russia. In addition, the brand’s largest store, stretching over 32,000 square feet., will rollout in Ankara, the Turkish capital, and the label will debut in such emerging markets as Angola, Zimbabwe and Mongolia.

On tap too is South America, where Mango “is implementing a broad plan of expansion” particularly in Chile and Peru, where 32 and 24 stores are planned, respectively, according to a corporate statement. Also on the drawing board are store openings in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and former Soviet Union countries.

With online sales of 70 million euros ($92 million) last year — a 93 percent increase over 2011 — the group’s digital store network grew to 46 countries with double turnover and online expansion in Asian markets and the Middle East expected for 2013.

By year’s end, Mango plans capital expenditures to reach 265 million euros, or $347 million, for retail openings, renovations, distribution centers and information systems.


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A bumpy ride for Bed Bath & Beyond

The Buzz - Investment and Stock Market News

Bed Bath & Beyond got a boost Thursday after the home goods retailer reported stronger-than-expected revenue.

While earnings were in line with forecasts, investors cheered the sales figures. Net sales rose nearly 25%, while same store sales — a key metric of consumer spending — nudged up 2.5%

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) rallied more than 4% Thursday before pulling back.

Some of the retreat could be due to the low same store sales figures. But UBS analysts point out that it was a tough quarter all around for consumer spending and raised their price target on the stock to $68 from $64.

“The notable takeaway for the skeptics was that the company’s gross margin declined at an accelerating rate despite an easier comparison,” analyst wrote in the report.

Still, they kept a neutral rating on the stock so there is a case to be made for…

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Brown Thomas seeks changes to defined benefit pension scheme to reduce costs

Retailer seeks to reduce exposure to fund that was €12 million in deficit at end 2012

Brown Thomas managing director Stephen Sealey: “We have commenced a consultation process with the trustees of the defined benefit scheme and the members about changes to the scheme to ensure its long-term sustainability.”

Retailer Brown Thomas is proposing a number of changes to its general defined benefit (DB) pension scheme aimed at tackling a €12 million deficit and reducing the annual cost of the fund to the company, The Irish Times has learned.

It is understood that Brown Thomas has kicked off a consultation process with the trustees and members of the DB pension scheme with a view to reducing certain benefits while also maximising the returns of the fund.

This is with a view to submitting a section 50 proposal to the Pensions Board on how the deficit in the scheme will be addressed.

The scheme was €12 million in the red at the end of December 2012 and it is understood that Brown Thomas was required to provide an additional €800,000 to the fund to help it meet its obligations.

It is believed that this annual top-up could rise significantly in the years ahead if measures are not agreed to contain benefits and costs.

Among those being sought by the company is a proposal to remove the guaranteed annual pension increase. Future increases would be discretionary.

While pensioners have been entitled to an annual rise in their income, staff at Brown Thomas have endured a pay freeze for the past four years against a backdrop of reduced consumer spending during the downturn. Even if the new measures are agreed, it is believed that Brown Thomas will still be required to provide a substantial six-figure annual top-up to the scheme.

Consultation process
When contacted, Brown Thomas managing director Stephen Sealey said: “We have commenced a consultation process with the trustees of the defined benefit scheme and the members about changes to the scheme to ensure its long-term sustainability.”

The defined benefit scheme has been closed to new entrants for a number of years but 12 per cent of the company’s 1,100 directly employed staff remain as members.

It is understood that Brown Thomas makes an employer’s contribution of 18.9 per cent annually to the DB scheme with staff contributing 5 per cent.


Mr Price expects 20% rise in earnings

RETAILER Mr Price on Wednesday said basic earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the 52 weeks ended March 30 were likely to be more than 20% higher than during the previous corresponding period.

The company’s shares rallied more than 3% on Wednesday morning to trade at R119.51, from a close of R115.50 on Tuesday.

The trading update comes as a surprise because local retailers have been cautious on growth prospects as consumers remain under pressure due to elevated levels of debt and rising utility costs.

In January, Mr Price reported lacklustre sales growth of 10% for the third quarter of the financial year ending March 30.

“The growth in group credit sales in the current reporting period slowed considerably — this affected the Mr Price apparel chain in particular, which also experienced the under-delivery of certain key categories of merchandise in October and November,” the company said in January.

Consumer confidence plunged to a nine-year low in the first quarter of this year, a key survey showed on Tuesday, adding to negative news on the retail sector and fanning concern that growth in the economy could fall short of expectations this year.


Qatari investors central to Le Printemps deal

Qatari investors central to Le Printemps deal

French luxury retail group Galeries Lafayette plans to link up with Qatari investors to make a counter offer for rival department store group Le Printemps, its CEO told French daily Le Figaro.

Galeries Lafayette chief executive Philippe Houze told Le Figaro he hopes Qatari investors will join Galleries Lafayette and drop their support for Italian businessman Maurizio Borletti.

Printemps is 70 percent owned by Deutsche Bank real estate investment unit RREEF and 30 percent by the Borletti Group, headed by Borletti.

A source close to the talks told Reuters that RREEF and the Borletti Group were in talks to sell Le Printemps to Qatari investors for up to 2 billion euros ($2.64bn).

“Borletti’s project is simply to get Qatar to finance the acquisition since he does not have the funds himself,” Houze was quoted by Le Figaro as saying.

The paper said Houze will propose a deal under which Qatar buys Printemps’s real estate assets for one billion euros while Galeries Lafayette buys its operations for 800 million euros.

“We will contact the Qataris to propose that we buy Printemps together,” Houze said, adding that he did not expect objections from antitrust authorities.

Qatar has bought a string of stakes in high-end retailing, fashion and luxury goods companies.

It bought London’s Harrod’s department store in 2010 for an estimated £1.5bn in 2010. Last year, the Qatari royal family acquired Italian fashion brand Valentino for 700 million euros.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund also owns 8.7 percent of US jeweller Tiffany & Co, a stake of over 1 percent in French luxury group LVMH and a small stake in German sports car maker Porsche.

Qatar has close diplomatic and business ties with France.

It owns a number of buildings on Paris jewellery Mecca Place Vendome, minority stakes in companies such as waste and water management group Veolia Environnement, and controls leading French football club Paris St Germain.

Borletti, who owns Italian department store La Rinascente, bought Printemps together with RREEF from French retail and luxury group PPR for 1.1 billion euros in 2006.

Galeries Lafayette – whose flagship Paris store is right next to Le Printemps – had also made a bid then.

Borletti and RREEF have spent around 350 million euros on renovations and making Printemps more upscale. Printemps now has 16 stores and employs 4,000. Its 2011/12 turnover rose 13 percent to 1.45 billion euros.

RREEF had been looking to sell for months, while Borletti told Reuters in January he wanted to hold on to the business.


Morrisons to cut nearly 700 jobs

Morrisons is planning to cut nearly 700 jobs as it looks to install new cash-handling systems in its 490 stores.

The supermarket said the introduction of the new systems is part of an ongoing programme to improve its “competitiveness”.

Morrisons has started a four week consultation with 689 cash office managers and supervisors about proposals to replace manual cash counting in its back offices with automated cash handling systems. It is understood that Morrisons will try to offer affected staff other positions within its stores where possible.

Last month, the supermarket reported that full-year pre-tax profits had fallen to £879 million from £947 million in the previous year although sales rose 3% £18.1 billion.

It is currently working to catch up with other retailers by launching an online food store in partnership with Ocado in 2014 and by expanding its chain of convenience stores.


Swarovski launches new concept

Crystal and jewellery retailer Swarovski is launching a new jewellery concept and has appointed Harper Dennis Hobbs to help secure the first UK stores

The retailer is finalising strategic plans for the new concept, named Cadenza, and is currently sourcing several London locations. A site at Westfield Stratford City has already been secured.

Cadenza offers a globally unique retail concept, bringing to the market a broad range of jewellery creations by over 50 top fashion designers, including big names such as Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, and Versace, as well as upcoming talents like Mawi London and Shourouk.

Cadenza will open up to four new stores – typically around 1,000 sq ft – in the capital by the end of 2013. It will then focus on expansion in premium shopping centres and key high street locations.