Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Fifth Avenue Apple Store Is Under Water

Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan isn’t taking the rain too well. The New York Post reports that the store is flooding with water.
A customer named Errol Rappaport said, “I was down there at 5:45 AM because I had trouble backing up my computer and everyone started yelling. There was a leak then – boom – the whole thing opened up out of the ceiling. Then everyone started scrambling, moving tables…It didn’t look like there were any electrical issues otherwise they would have evacuated the store.”

Product display tables are covered in plastic. We called the store and an employee told us that they are still open for customers. Just make sure you don’t buy anything damp.


M&S poaches new ‘Knicker Queen’ from Next

Jo Jenkins, previously product director for womenswear at Next, will replace Ms Schaffer, who was known as the “Knicker Queen” after founding the Knickerbox chain in 1986.

Ms Schaffer quit in April and was understood to have been frustrated at the focus on financials over design and marketing of products.

The troubled retailer also chose yesterday to unveil a new distribution centre the size of 11 Wembley football pitches in Castle Donington as its chief executive, Marc Bolland, seeks to persuade investors that the retailer can become a force to be reckoned with in online shopping.

The new site in Castle Donington, which the retailer claims is one of the biggest centres of its kind in the UK, will handle all orders placed through the retailer’s website. It will employ up to 1,200 people at peak times.

At 25m high, M&S said the centre could hold 12 jumbo jets, 3,507 double-decker buses or 2.392bn of its popular Percy Pig sweets.

Mr Bolland said M&S hoped to recruit a “significant proportion” of the site’s staff through its employment scheme for people with disabilities and health conditions.

“Castle Donington is one of the most modern, fully automated distribution centres in the UK,” he said.

Castle Donington forms part of M&S’s strategy to become an international “multi-channel” retailer and to tackle a legacy of “under-investment” in its infrastructure compared to competitors such as Amazon.

At peak times, the facility will process up to 1m orders a day.


Massmart opens new Makro in Alberton, with a unique and exciting shopping experience

Makro has expanded its presence in Gauteng with the opening of a new urban store in Alberton on 24 April 2013. Massmart invested R400 million rand to build the 19 008m2 Makro Alberton store.
The Makro store will give spaza shops, small businesses, reseller and retailer shoppers easy access to over 55 000 branded products, leveraging Walmart’s relationship with Massmart. Makro currently has 18 stores countrywide, eight of them situated in Gauteng.

Commenting on the opening of the store, Makro Managing Director, Doug Jones said: “Makro is delighted to bring a new shopping experience to the community of Alberton and the southern suburbs. This store has been built using green-building concepts, local labour and locally-sourced construction materials. We have also created a total of 393 new job opportunities.”

“Makro also caters for small businesses that need affordable access to a wide range of consumables for their daily requirements,” said Jones.

“The layout of Makro Alberton will make it easier for the larger commercial customer to shop – with a dedicated check out area completely separate from the retail side, metal cages to hold stock for them overnight if necessary and a wide overhanging roof to make collection even easier,” adds Jones.

Makro has introduced greener built stores offering a larger fresh range, including a restyled butchery and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Chris Nezar, the Marketing Director of Makro SA, gave us some background about Makro to illustrate what we can expect from the new store. Nezar said: “Makro was originally geared towards serving the commercial customer, but over the years, retail customers were also encouraged to become cardholders and take advantage of the low prices. As a natural progression it was also decided to “tweak” the food offering to cater for retail shopper needs.”

Alexander Haw, Massmart’s Group Environmental Manager added: “This is also a good model for energy efficient store design in retail.”

The building incorporates high-performance refrigeration, daylight harvesting, heat reclamation systems (regulating the store’s temperature) and it’s the first store making use of LEDs – this all contributes towards minimizing electricity consumption and improving overall energy efficiency.

Makro is committed to the upliftment of surrounding communities, Alberton is no exception and to celebrate the store opening and invest in the community, a donation will be given to charity organisations in the area.


Qatar plans world’s ‘most advanced library’

In a bid to promote education and reading, Qatar’s new library will be the “most advanced library in the world” when it opens in late 2014 or early 2015, organisers have said.
“It will be the most advanced library in the world. QNL (Qatar National Library) will have world-class technology and we will try to acquire the most advanced and futuristic material,” QNL project director Claudia Lux told the Qatar Tribune.
“We are targeting everyone who is involved in education. So, young people are our first target. The second group will be of researchers, especially those who have a special interest in a particular area like music, literature, or architecture. We will also have material for the general public, for anyone who wants to learn more about Qatar,” Lux added.
Part of a project by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, QNL is set to open at the end of 2014, or early in 2015, and will contain a massive 1.2 million printed books and an unlimited number of digital publications.

The elderly will also be provided for with talking books “so they can get the same information which you can normally read in a book,” Lux said.
Although still under construction, organisers said QNL already had 800 members signed up.


Wal-Mart Is Quietly Interviewing For A New CEO

AP Images
Wal-Mart is said to be choosing between two internal candidates to succeed CEO Mike Duke.
Duke’s departure isn’t imminent, but could be announced in a few months, according to Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News.
The largest U.S. retailer is reportedly interviewing international chief Doug McMillon and U.S. executive Bill Simon, according to Dudley.
Duke had worked at Wal-Mart for years when he took over in 2009. The mega-brand likes to hire executives from within.
McMillon started working at Wal-Mart when he got a summer job there in 1984. Simon joined the brand in 2006.
Both alleged candidates are highly qualified to take the helm.
While McMillon has largely spearheaded the brand’s international expansion, Simon is often credited with luring weary U.S. consumers back in stores.
Wal-Mart just reclaimed the top position on the Fortune 500.


Clothing group Bestseller reports 10% rise in profit

Clothing group Bestseller, which has a related retail business here trading as Vero Moda, Jack Jones and Only, saw profit before tax increase to €1.76 million in the 12 months to July 2012

Danish clothing group Bestseller managed to deliver increased profit in its wholesale division last year despite a challenging market.

The group, which has a related retail business here trading as Vero Moda, Jack Jones and Only, saw profit before tax increase to €1.76 million in the 12 months to July 2012 from €1.6 million the previous year.

Turnover in the period was €37.1 million, a 5.7 per cent increase on the €35 million recorded in 2011, according to figures just filed with Companies Office. Despite the higher sales, distribution and selling costs fell slightly.

The company also benefitted from favourable currency exchange rates, which delivered a gain of almost €150,000 for the business compared to a cost of close to €100,000 the previous year.

Although employee number were broadly stable, the company reported a 20 per cent rise in staff costs. Directors’ remuneration also rose, by almost 50 per cent, to just over €200,000.

Bestseller is a subsidiary of Bestseller Wholesale, which is itself owned by Atkieselskabet af 1/8 2000. Both these companies are incorporated in Denmark and are controlled by members of the Holch Povisen family.

The company which specialises in “fast” affordable fashion does not produce its own goods. According to its website, the group works with about 300 suppliers of clothes and accessories, “primarily in China, India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Italy”.


Burger King hits South Africa’s shores

THE Burger King Whopper will be available for the first time in South Africa when the US fast-food chain opens its first local store in Heerengracht Street on the Foreshore in Cape Town on Thursday.

The arrival of Burger King is expected to shake up the country’s quick-service restaurant sector that is dominated by Famous Brands, which owns the likes of Steers, Wimpy and Debonair’s Pizza.

The world’s second-largest hamburger chain intends to roll out more than six restaurants by the end of the year in Cape Town. Gauteng burger lovers have to wait a little longer as Burger Kings will only be seen in Johannesburg next year.

Grand Parade Investments (GPI), which owns the Burger King rights in southern Africa, plans to roll out the burger brand through its slot machine business. The company owns more than 450 slot machine outlets, which are essentially dedicated gambling areas in existing pubs — an advantage that rival McDonald’s did not have when it started out in South Africa.

GPI will establish “hole-in-the-wall” Burger Kings at these outlets. Hassan Adams, GPI’s chairman, has reportedly said he wants “to take Burger King to the people coming to us… ”In an exclusive interview ahead of Thursday’s big launch, the head of Burger King South Africa, Jaye Sinclair, said franchisee applications will be considered next year.

“The reason we have done that is because we want to perfect the logistics and supply chain and also get the capex down as low as possible by finding local suppliers.”

Burger King, which has contacted the Franchise Association of South Africa (Fasa) about becoming a member, said its local website was flooded with franchisee application form requests within hours of going live.

An aspirant franchisee needs roughly R5m to acquire a Burger King restaurant, with up to 50% geared and at least half coming from unencumbered funds.

Fasa executive director Vera Valasis does not think the brand will change the franchise industry, “but it will change things for consumers”.

KFC Africa MD Doug Smart said there is tremendous scope for growth in the country’s quick-service restaurant market, which presents significant business opportunities for current and future brands that seek to compete in the space.


Mr Price expects 23%-28% jump in earnings per share

RETAILER Mr Price said on Friday that it expected basic earnings and headline earnings per share to increase 23%-28% for the 52 weeks ended March 30.

The company has always benefited from its value-oriented product offerings that appeal to budget-conscious shoppers. The retail trading environment, however, has come under increased pressure as consumers face elevated debt levels and rising utility costs.

Durban-based Mr Price reported a 35% increase in headline earnings per share in the 26 weeks ended September 29. But the retailer’s third-quarter — September 30 to December 29 — update, released in January, showed a slowdown as it curtailed its credit offering.

In July, Mr price appointed New York-based financial services company BNY Mellon as the depositary bank for its US depositary receipt programme.

The listing of depository receipts in the US over-the-counter market allows US investors to invest in the local retailer. About 18% of the company’s shareholders are based in the US. The company trades on a price:earnings ratio above 25.

Noah Capital’s Roger Tejwani said the group’s valuation had become a little bit more reasonable over the last few months.

“I like their investment story. The only concern I have at the moment is rand weakness — they’re a lower-priced player who imports quite a lot, you get import inflation and if you can’t pass that through the supply chain through higher price points, you may have to take that to margins.

“Also, they’ve been growing credit quite aggressively, playing catch-up and they’ve had to scale back because their impairment was rising … so that could create a little bit of a drag on top-line growth,” Mr Tejwani said.

For the 52 weeks ended March 30 2013, the I-Net Bridge consensus forecast is for diluted headline earnings per share of 582.3c and a dividend of 394.0c per share. Mr Price’s results are due on May 22.

Local retailers have been cautious about their growth prospects for the remainder of the year. In April, a Bureau for Economic Research index showed consumer confidence had plunged to a nine-year-low in the first quarter of this year.


Saudi, UAE consumer confidence slumps in Q1

Consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia slumped in the first quarter of 2013 while the UAE’s score also fell, according to the latest findings from Nielsen.
Its Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions showed that confidence in Saudi Arabia plummeted by 17 points compared to the previous quarter.
Egypt saw the largest decline in Q1 (down 20 points) while the UAE fell five index points to 108, but still retained its position as the most confident in the Middle East region.
Despite the drop, the UAE’s score was still 15 points higher than the global average, Nielsen said.

Globally, the UAE ranked equal sixth for consumer confidence alongside China and Hong Kong.
The Q1 index was topped by Indonesia (122 points), followed by India, Philippines, Thailand and Brazil.
Among the worst performers in Q1 were Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Croatia.
Europe’s regional consumer confidence index of 71 held steady from Q4 2012. At the end of last year, consumer confidence fell in 20 of 29 European markets. In Q1, the opposite trend was reported, as consumer confidence rose in 20 of 29 markets.
North America (94) reported the biggest quarter-on-quarter regional consumer confidence rise of four points in Q1.
Consumer confidence declines were reported in the Middle East/Africa region (85), which decreased 11 index points since Q4 2012 and in Latin America (94), which declined two index points from the previous quarter.
Global consumer confidence indexed at 93, one point lower than the index in Q1 2012 and two points higher than it measured in Q4 2012.
The Nielsen index measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 29,000 respondents in 58 countries.
Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism.
In the latest round of the survey, consumer confidence rose in 60 percent of global markets measured by Nielsen, compared to a 33 percent increase reported in Q4 2012.


South Africa’s Jobless Rate Climbs to 25.2% in First Quarter

South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to 25.2 percent in the first quarter as the retail, finance and construction industries shed jobs.

The jobless rate increased from 24.9 percent in the previous three months, Statistics South Africa said in a report released today in Johannesburg. The number of people without jobs rose by 100,000 to 4.6 million.

South Africa’s economy, the biggest on the continent, is struggling to create enough jobs to meet President Jacob Zuma’s goal of reducing the unemployment rate to 14 percent by 2020. Economic growth will probably reach 2.6 percent this year, less than half the 7 percent pace the government estimates it needs to meet its jobs pledge.

The Reserve Bank has refrained from lowering borrowing costs to spur job creation and promote borrowing as inflation remains near the top of its target of 3 percent to 6 percent. Credit demand increased at the slowest pace in about a year in March as consumer confidence waned.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of four economists was for the unemployment rate to reach 25.1 percent in the first quarter.


House of Fraser could be taken over by the Qataris

House of Fraser could be taken over by the Qataris in a £300 million-plus deal that would reunite the department store chain with Harrods.
The Qataris – who bought Harrods in 2010 – have been looking at an acquisition of the 63-strong House of Fraser chain for several weeks, say City sources.
Talks have already been held with some of House of Fraser’s shareholders.

On the market: Shareholders have discussed a deal valuing stores at more than £300m
In March it was rumoured that the Qatari Investment Authority was considering an £8 billion takeover of Marks & Spencer. However, a source said the only British retailer they were interested in was House of Fraser.
A successful bid would reunite the House of Fraser name with Harrods after a separation of 28 years.
House of Fraser bought it in 1959, but the two were split when the Al Fayed family acquired the store in Knightsbridge, Central London, for £615 million in 1985.
The Qatari interest follows a report by The Mail on Sunday in February that House of Fraser held preliminary talks with rival John Lewis last year. Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United Football Club, admitted in December that he had looked at acquiring a minority shareholding in House of Fraser, but it is believed his interest has cooled
Any deal with the Qataris will be difficult to complete as House of Fraser has a wide shareholder base and a large amount of debt. The company was taken private in 2006 for £351 million by a consortium of investors led by Baugur, but the Icelandic retail group collapsed during the country’s financial crisis of 2009.
House of Fraser’s shareholders include Icelandic bank Landsbanki, Don McCarthy, the chain’s chairman, and TBH Trading, the investment vehicle of entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter. Kevin Stanford, one of the founders of Karen Millen, and two divisions of Lloyds – Uberior Investments and Bank of Scotland – also have stakes. A sale is likely to need the approval of a majority of shareholders.
The Qataris own a 26 per cent stake in Sainsbury’s plus multi-million pound stakes in mining giant Xstrata, luxury drinks company LVMH and French media company Lagardere.


Tesco launches new Clubcard website and invites customer to post reviews

Tesco has launched a new customer website for its loyalty scheme Clubcard.

It has been created as part of an on-going development of its web presence in collaboration with global marketing and technology agency LBi.

Tesco and LBi said they have worked together to create a refreshed web presence which focuses on bringing to life all the aspects of being a Clubcard member, with a user experience which makes it easier for customers to understand the ways in which they can collect and spend their vouchers.

LBi said its blended team of strategy, creative, media, analytics, user experience and content experts developed a content strategy, a user experience strategy, an analytics approach and a set of creative guidelines for the site. The agency said it has worked with Tesco to create a flexible site which the brand can continue to develop in-house.

Katie McQuaid, Clubcard director at Tesco, said: “We think our customers will love the new website – as well as looking great and being easier to navigate, it really brings to life the benefits of being a Clubcard member. We’ve also introduced some exciting new features, and members can now post reviews of the experiences and days out they’ve enjoyed with their Clubcard Rewards. We hope this will encourage members to try something new and make the most of everything that Clubcard has to offer.”

Helen Fuchs, Creative Director at LBi, said: “Our main challenge was to introduce more emotion into the Clubcard digital experience and at the same time make sure customers can easily understand how to get the most out of the scheme.

“The new site encourages members to imagine how they might use their vouchers and to see their Clubcard as a tool that unlocks great experiences. We used photography to tell the stories of these experiences; from great days out to a child’s new uniform for the first day at school.

“We are confident we have created a strong foundation which will support the future ambitions of the scheme.”


Abercrombie & Fitch Refuses To Make Clothes For Fat People

Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t stock XL or XXL sizes in women’s clothing because they don’t want overweight or unattractive women wearing their brand.
They want the “cool kids,” and they don’t consider plus-sized women as being a part of that group.
Abercrombie is sticking to its guns of conventional beauty, even as that standard becomes outdated.

Contrast Abercrombie with H&M, another favorite with the teen set, who just subtly introduced a plus-sized model in its latest swimwear collection.

H&M has a plus-sized line. American Eagle, Abercrombie’s biggest competitor, offers up to size XXL for men and women.

Abercrombie doesn’t even list women’s XL or XXL on its size chart. Its largest women’s pants are a size 10, while H&M’s standard line goes up to a size 16, and American Eagle offers up to 18.

It’s not surprising that Abercrombie excludes plus-sized women considering the attitude of CEO Mike Jeffries, said Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail and CEO of newsletter The Robin Report.

“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.'”

The only reason Abercrombie offers XL and XXL men’s sizes is probably to appeal to beefy football players and wrestlers, Lewis said.

We asked the company why it doesn’t offer larger sizes for women. A spokeswoman told us that Abercrombie wasn’t available to provide a comment.

In a 2006 interview with Salon, Jeffries himself said that his business was built around sex appeal.

“It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries also told Salon that he wasn’t bothered by excluding some customers.

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Jeffries said he thinks that including everyone would make his business boring.

“Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.

While a specialty retailer like Abercrombie can’t be expected to appeal to everyone, the brand’s standard of beauty is quickly becoming stale.

Plus-sized is no longer a niche market: 67 percent of the apparel purchasing population fit that label, and the number is growing all the time.

For too long, this sizable and growing segment has been ignored,” writes Margaret Bogenrief at ACM Partners. “Treated shabbily, ostracized by the “pro-skinny fashion world,” and seemingly discarded by designers, department stores, and retailers alike, plus-size fashion consumers, critics, and bloggers are taking back their spending and sartorial power and, in turn, changing both the e-commerce and retailing landscapes.”

Ignoring this “revolution” could be costly for businesses, Bogenrief writes.

More brands are featuring curvy, “real-sized,” models.

In addition to H&M’s Jennie Runk, Dove’s wildly popular “Real Beauty” campaign highlights women who aren’t as thin as traditional models.

But it’s unlikely that Abercrombie will ever sway from its image, Lewis told us.

“Abercrombie is only interested in people with washboard stomachs who look like they’re about to jump on a surfboard,” Lewis said.


Selfridges to launch drive-thru click-and-collect service

Retailer Selfridges is to open a drive-thru click-and-collect service at its London flagship store.

The department store will adapt forecourt space off the side of its Oxford Street site so that customers can collect products ordered online without having to leave their cars.

The service will launch early next year. Director Simon Forster said: “It’s a great opportunity for us.”

Selfridges launched its in-store click-and-collect service at Oxford Street this week and will roll it out to its three remaining stores on May 9th.

The service allows shoppers to pick which day, within seven days of ordering, they would like to collect their orders on. Forster said: “I wanted to launch the best-in-class click-and-collect service.”


Raffles Dubai launches ultra-luxury hotel floor

Raffles Dubai launches ultra-luxury hotel floor

Part of Raffles Dubai’s ultra-luxury floor for guests.

Raffles has revealed what it says is the most luxurious hotel floor in Dubai, valued at AED102,000 ($27,600) per day.

The 14th floor of the Wafi hotel has been transformed from the residence of Sheikh Manna Al Maktoum, the hotel’s owner, into private accommodation that is likely to attract some of the world’s wealthiest visitors.

Spread across 2,000 square metres, Dubai Floor includes a nine-seat cinema, three kitchens, a spa and hair salon, a majlis and six suites.

It is accessed via a private elevator and comes with a butler, chef, limousine service and custom linen. Guests also can select the floor’s scent.

Raffles general manager Andrew Abram said the luxury floor would be promoted around the world to high net worth individuals, families, brides-to-be and companies.

“Due to its size, design and facilities it is perfectly appointed to accommodate big families and VIP delegations,” he told Arabian Business.

“The floor is also ideal for brides-to-be, product launches, exclusive screenings for up to nine people in the private cinema- or for guests simply looking to experience the ultimate in comfort and privacy.”

Abram said luxury travel in the region had been increasing in the past year.

“We believe it is the perfect time to introduce the Dubai Floor and its facilities to our guests,” he said.

“The design and structure is similar to Raffles Dubai’s existing portfolio, however we want to offer our residents the opportunity to book a dedicated floor offering complete privacy and a luxurious home away from home experience.”

Raffles Dubai has 19 floors and 252 rooms and suites.


Dubai’s Damac launches biggest ever project

Dubai’s Damac launches biggest ever project

Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties.

Dubai-based Damac Properties on Tuesday announced its largest ever project, which it says will be the most luxurious golf community in Asia.

The 29 million sq ft master development will be build off Umm Sequim Road in Dubai and feature an 18-hole PGA Championship Golf Course surrounded by mansions, villas, townhouses and luxurious apartments.

It will also include a spa, boutique hotels and international schools from kindergarten to secondary, as well as globally-recognised retail brands, leisure and entertainment offerings and a sports complex.

The development, to be named Akoya by Damac after one of the most exclusive pearls in the world, will create a “thriving living environment” for residents and travellers.

Damac said it would be designed with distinctive architecture, lush landscaping and “unrivalled five-star service in every element of the luxury living environment”.

The development will be Damac’s largest project by size and scale, making the 11-year-old company the largest luxury developer in the Middle East, and further confirming the stabilisation in the Dubai real estate market, which crashed in 2008-09.

“We aim to make Akoya by Damac the most desirable living environment in Dubai for aspirational professionals who recognise ultimate luxury,” Damac Properties chairman Hussein Sajwani said.

“The development will bring a blend of high-end, five-star living, with unrivalled facilities and create a haven for families looking to make Dubai their home.”

He added: “We are in advanced discussions with a number of leading global brands to make ‘Akoya by Damac’ the most sought-after area in Dubai.”

The land already has been bought from Dubailand but no timeline for construction has been announced.

Damac also is developing the $1bn Damac Towers by Paramount in conjunction with the famous production company.


Home Retail sells Homestore+More for €13m

ARGOS and Homebase owner Home Retail has sold its 33pc stake in Irish chain Homestore + More for a total consideration of almost £11m (€13m).

Home Retail revealed the sale in its full-year results this morning and said the disposal had been completed in March.

Homestore + More operates 13 outlets in Ireland. Home Retail received £9.7m (€11.5m) for the holding in Ogalas, which trades as Homestore + More, and also got a £1.2m loan repayment.

“After taking account of transaction costs, the proceeds approximate to the carrying value of the group’s investment in Ogalas so no material profit or loss is expected on the sale,” said Home Retail when it issued full-year results this morning.

The other shareholders in Homestore + More, including managing director Jonathan Stanley, have bought back the Home Retail stake.

Home Retail had initially acquired the stake a number of years ago with a view to launching the concept in the UK. However, while it did undertake a trial there, the format didn’t work in the British market.

Homestore + More generated turnover of €40.6m in the year to the end of January 2012, up from €30.5m a year earlier. It made a pre-tax profit of €1.9m, which was up from €405,000 in 2011.


Incredible New JCPenney Ad: We Screwed Up ..(video)

watch it here

JCPenney lost nearly a third of its customers in 2012.
Now, in an unprecedented move, the company is admitting it totally screwed up.
JCPenney’s latest ad acknowledges the missteps the company has made in the past year.
“It’s no secret. Recently JCPenney changed,” the company says in the new ad uploaded to its YouTube channel. “Some changes you liked, and some you didn’t. But what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you. To hear what you need to make your life more beautiful.”
Failed CEO Ron Johnson’s plan included ditching the company’s popular promotions program.
Ideally, the strategy was meant to revamp JCPenney’s image and appeal to young people. In reality, it alienated long-time customers, while failing to draw in new ones.
Holiday sales dropped 32 percent, one of the worst declines in retail history.
Instead of admitting that he had been wrong about the coupons issue when sales started to decline, Johnson stuck to his strategy. When he did implement promotions, the terms were often confusing.
He left the company last month and was replaced by his predecessor, Mike Ullman.
The ad also begs customers to return to the store.
“Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you. Now, we’d love to see you,” it says.


Gisele is the new face of H&M

Though we’re still trying to take in Beyoncé’s spectacular ad-cum-music video for H&M’s spring/summer 2013 campaign, the Swedish retail giant is already well underway with preparations for their cold weather offerings.

Today they announced that Brazilian supermodel and super-mum Gisele Bündchen is the face of their autumn/winter 2013 campaign. The news was released after the 32-year-old was spotted posing for the ads on a sunny Central London street.
It’s not the first time Gisele has worked with the brand – she appeared in their spring/summer 2011 campaign, and has also fronted a series of swimwear ads for them. Currently, she’s the face of Chanel’s Les Beige beauty range, but when she’s not posing she’s the perfect earth mother to four-year-old son Benjamin and five-month-old daughter Vivian, who was spotted on set with her today.

Married to American footballer Tom Brady, Bündchen was named the highest-earning model for the sixth year running in 2012 with estimated earnings of $45 million in the year from May 2011 to May 2012. With a couple of lucrative campaigns alreday in the bag for 2013, it looks like she may be set to score top spot yet again.


Apple stores …the phenomenon in figures