Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tod’s yearly sales revenue up 1.7 percent in 2013

REPORT_ For the full year Tod’s sales revenues, at constant exchange rates, increased by 1.7 percent. Consolidated sales for the year were up 0.5 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2013, sales were up 0.8 percent from the same quarter of 2012. In financial year 2013 the impact of currency fluctuations was negative.
Tod’s is based in Italy. It operates in the luxury goods segment with shoes, accessories and apparel. Diego Della Valle, Chairman and CEO of the Group, said: “As expected, full year sales results confirmed the same trends of the previous quarters: very strong results abroad, mainly achieved by the Tod’s and Roger Vivier brands, partially offset by the impact of the rationalization strategy implemented on the Italian wholesale distribution. Our brands and products are deeply appreciated by our clients for their quality and craftsmanship. Even though the economic situation is challenging, we continue to develop our brands, by increasing the investments to strengthen the distribution network, the human resources and the production capacity, as the new factory for high quality accessories that we are currently building in Italy.”

The group has further strengthened its leadership in the core business of shoes. Sales of this product category were up 4.1 percent from financial year 2012. Sales through DOS represent 63.8 percent of consolidated turnover as of December 31, 2013. The 7.6 percent increase from financial year 2012 was driven by the widening of the DOS network and by the organic growth.

In financial year 2013 the Same Store Sales Growth rate, calculated as the worldwide average of sales growth rates at constant exchange rates registered by the DOS already existing as of January 1, 2012, was 2.3 percent. As of December 31, 2013, the group’s distribution network was composed of 219 DOS and 84 franchised stores, compared to 193 DOS and 78 franchised stores as of December 31, 2012.

2013 sales results show, on the one hand, the positive effects of the international expansion, mainly related to the Tod’s and Roger Vivier brands, and, on the other hand, the impact of the strategic decision to rationalize the Italian wholesale distribution, with the goal to preserve the brands’ exclusivity and positioning, also to maintain the very good quality of the credit portfolio.

The rationalization affected all the brands, but it was mainly evident on the results of Hogan and Fay, which are the brands, among the group’s portfolio, with the higher exposure to the Italian market and to the wholesale channel.


Target will open nine more Canadian stores in 2014

Target will open nine more Canadian stores in 2014. These will be in addition to the 124 Canadian Target locations that opened in 2013, tentatively bringing the total number of Canadian Target stores to 133 by the end of this year.

Five of the nine Target stores will locate in former Zellers store locations. The other four will be newly-built stores.

Here is a breakdown of the new Canadian Target locations for 2014:

Spring 2014:

The Stockyards, Toronto, Ontario
Kingsway Mall, Edmonton, Alberta
Hillside Centre, Victoria, British Columbia

Summer 2014:

Erin Mills Town Centre, Mississauga, Ontario
Park Place, Barrie, Ontario
Carrefour Candiac, Candiac, Quebec

Fall 2014:

St. Laurent, Ottawa, Ontario
Sheridan Centre, Mississauga, Ontario
Polo Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba

On Target’s Canadian expansion, company president Tony Fisher stated: “The past year marked a major milestone for Target and we delivered on the unprecedented goal of opening 124 Target stores across 10 provinces in 2013. As we head into 2014, we will continue to enhance the guest experience at all stores while continuing to expand our presence in new Canadian neighbourhoods.”

Each of these new Target stores will employ about 150 workers, which is the average number of workers for its existing stores.

Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target, says that the company expects its Canadian operations to generate “$6 billion or more in sales” and 80 cents in earnings per share by 2017.


Tesco and Waitrose to launch click and collect across London Underground stations

Tesco, Waitrose and parcel company InPost are set to launch click and collect facilities across the London Underground network as Transport for London (TfL) looks to “meet the wider needs” of its customers.

After a successful trial in London Underground station carparks with Asda Grocery Click and Collect services, TfL on Wednesday announced it would begin a partnership with Tesco, Waitrose and InPost, and is involved in discussions with Asda to expand the service originally on trial. The launch will mean thousands of customers will be able to place orders online, which they can then pick up from stations or station car parks on their way home.

TfL said that subject to final testing at locations, it plans to install the service at six stations for both Tesco and Waitrose, with InPost lockers set to arrive at 3 stations.

“Over 11 million journeys take place on our public transport network each day and there is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with commercial partners to deliver products and services that our customers want, and as a result also grow revenues that we then reinvest in improving the transport network,” Mike Brown MVO, managing director of London Underground said on Wednesday.

“The primary role of our stations must always be travel and we will never compromise that, but there is much more we can and will be doing to improve and modernise our stations to ensure they meet the wider needs of our busy customers,” Brown added.Robin Phillips, Waitrose director for ecommerce, said:

“Giving our customers as many ways as possible to buy and collect their groceries on the move is key to building on the phenomenal growth seen at

“Collection lockers will unlock the potential to reach customers in locations where we don’t have a shop and which are very convenient, such as on the way home from work or the school run.

Phillips added: “More and more people are adding an online shopping mission to their way of buying from Waitrose and we will continue to invest in making sure that we give them what they want, when they want it.”


Fashion chain Hobbs reports ‘tough trading’ over Christmas

Fashion chain Hobbs endured “tough trading” over Christmas, prompting its private equity owner 3i to write down the value of its investment by 40%.

The British investment firm said its 47% stake in the chain was worth £14m less than in September last year when it was valued at £35m, a figure that had already been cut from £47m in March. The company blamed “trading weakness in the last quarter of 2013” for the latest revaluation.

Hobbs was among a number of fashion retailers forced to discount clothing heavily before Christmas as mild weather and a squeeze on shoppers’ disposable income combined with competition from expensive must-have items such as tablet computers and gaming consoles.

The writedown means that Hobbs is unlikely to join the string of companies seeking to join the stock market despite being in 3i’s hands since 2004.

3i admitted that the market remained a challenge for a number of the companies in its portfolio as well as Hobbs but said that overall its businesses had seen a “good performance”.

The London-listed company said it had received £29m in proceeds from the sale of assets in the three months to the end of December bringing the total to £557m over a nine month period. It invested £247m in new acquisitions.


Dubai Mall records 75m visitors in 2013

The Dubai Mall received over 75 million visitors last year, driving a sales boost of 26 percent. Over 40 percent of the visitors to the mall were tourists with a majority of the overseas visitors coming from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, China, India, Russia and Europe,” Emaar Properties said on Wednesday.
Since the middle of January, due to the influx of tourists from Saudi Arabia, the Dubai Mall has extended its working hours. Currently the mall opens daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and food outlets until 3 a.m. This will continue till Feb. 2, according to sources.
Following the footfall of 54 million in 2011 and 65 million in 2012, the mall recorded a 15 percent growth in visitor numbers during 2013, with an average monthly footfall of 6.25 million.
The number of visitors surpassed the number of shoppers at the world’s other leading malls such as Mall of America and Bullring Birmingham, the UK (40 million each); Intu Trafford Centre, the UK (30 million); Part Dieu Lyon, France (29.4 million); and West Edmonton Mall, Canada (28 million).
The mall’s 1,200 plus retail outlets recorded a 26 percent rise in sales during 2013 compared to the previous year. More than 50 percent of all luxury goods sold in Dubai were purchased at the mall, with its dedicated Fashion Avenue hosting the world’s largest collection of fashion brands under one roof.
“The socioeconomic impact of the mall on the emirate’s economy is tremendous, having generated more than 25,000 jobs and consistently driving the growth of the city’s retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors the core contributors to Dubai’s GDP,” said Abdulla Lahej, group CEO of Emaar Properties.
Nasser Rafi, CEO of Emaar Malls Group, said: “The surge in visitor arrivals and the growth in retail sales are indicators not just of the popularity of the mall but also of Dubai as a preferred destination for shopping and luxury lifestyle experiences. Having established Dubai as a global fashion capital, we are now further enhancing the fashion and lifestyle choices at the mall with the expansion of the Fashion Avenue by another 1 million square feet, which will add 150 new brands to the mall.”


2014 US Retail Store of the Year: And the winners are …

2014 Retail Store of the Year: And the winners are …

New York — Liverpool, Mexico’s largest department-store chain, received top honors in Chain Store Age’s 32nd annual Retail Store of the Year design competition. The company’s stylish and contemporary 301,400-sq.-ft. store in Veracruz was named Store of the Year, and also took top honors in the Department Store category. It was designed by FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati.

In other top honors, Walgreens’ net-zero energy store — an industry first — in Evanston, Ill., was named Sustainable Store of the Year. And Build-A-Bear Workshop, Garden City, N.Y., was the top finisher in a category new to the competition: Digital In-Store Innovation.

Here is a complete list of the winning projects (all first place, except where noted), which will be featured in the February/March issue of Chain Store Age and celebrated at a reception during CSA’s annual SPECS Conference (March 9 – 11) in Dallas:

Retail Store of the Year:
Liverpool, Veracruz, Mexico (Design: FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati)

Sustainable Store of the Year
Walgreens, Evanston, Ill. (Walgreens, Deerfield, Ill.)

Digital In-Store Innovation
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Garden City, N.Y.

Soft Lines (up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
Sperry Top-Sider, Natick, Mass. (Callison, Seattle)

Soft Lines (Honorable Mention, up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
Volcom, New York (Interbrand Design Forum, Dayton, Ohio)

Soft Lines (5,000 to 10,000 sq. ft.) Tie
Nike, Seattle (Nike, Beaverton, Ore.)
Barbour, Chicago (Schiller Park, Ill.)

Soft Lines (over 10,000 sq. ft.)
H&M (H&M, New York)

Soft Lines (Honorable Mention, over 10,000 sq. ft.)
David’s Bridal, London (David’s Bridal, Conshohocken, Pa.)

Hard Lines (up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
Cannondale, Carle Place, N.Y. (Bergmeyer Associates, Boston)

Hard Lines (Honorable Mention up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
AT&T Store of the Future (Callison, Seattle)

Hard Lines (5,000 to 10,000 sq. ft.)
Real Madrid Official Store, Madrid (Sanzpont (arquitectura), Barcelona)

Hard Lines (over 10,000 sq. ft.)
Pirch, Glendale, Calif. (Fitch, Columbus, Ohio)

Department Store
Liverpool, Veracruz, Mexico (FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati)

Department Store (Honorable Mention)
Lord & Taylor, Boca Raton, Fla. (Lord & Taylor Store Planning/Design, New York)

Supermarket (up to 40,000 sq. ft.)
Whole Foods Market, Detroit (Design consultant: JGA, Southfield, Mich.)

Supermarkets (Over 40,000 sq. ft.)
Freson Bros. Fresh Market, Alberta, Canada (Shook Kelley, Los Angeles)

Supermarkets (Honorable Mention, over 40,000 sq. ft.)
HEB, Austin, Texas (HEB Grocery, San Antonio, Texas)

Drug Store
Walgreens, Boston (Shawmut Design & Construction, Boston)

Convenience Store
My Goods, Denver (King Retail Solutions, Eugene, Ore.)

DongFang, Xiangtan, China (rkd retail/iQ, Bangkok, Thailand)

Single Unit (up to 5,000 sq. ft.)
Jockey Bra, Schaumburg, Ill. (JGA, Southfield, Mich.)

Single Unit (over 5,000 sq. ft.)
Kid’s Cavern, Macau, China (Callison, Seattle)

In-Store Shop (up to 20,000 sq. ft.)
Adidas Originals Collective, Footaction (Big Red Rooster, Columbus, Ohio)

In-Store Shop (over 20,000 sq. ft.)
Lord & Taylor, menswear (Highland Associates, New York)

Timberland, New York (Leonard Ostroff Design Associates, Montreal)

Showroom (Honorable Mention)
Virginia Tile, Chicago (JGA, Southfield, Mich.)

Casual Dining
Café Barista, Guatemala (Interbrand Design Forum, Dayton, Ohio)

Casual Dining (Honorable Mention)
Starbucks, Montreal (Aefifica, Montreal)

Specialty Food
DFS Wine and Cigars, Macau, China (rkd retail/iQ, Bangkok)

Specialty Food (Honorable Mention)
Papa Murphy (Tesser, San Francisco)

Specialty Food (Honorable Mention)
Maybury, Dubai (Brand Creative, Dubai)

Food Court Restaurant
Kung Pao Wok, Richmond Centre, Richmond, B.C. (Dialogue 38, Toronto)

Florida International University (FIU) Restaurant Management Lab, North Miami, Fla. (Echeveria Design Group, Coral Gables, Fla.)

Restaurant (Honorable Mention)
New Generation, Toronto (Dialogue 38, Toronto)

Service (up to 10,000 sq. ft.)
Sterling Bank, Portland, Ore. (Callison, Seattle)

Service (Honorable Mention, up to 10,000 sq. ft.)
American Express Centurion Lounge, Las Vegas (Big Red Rooster, Columbus)

Service (over 10,000 sq. ft.)
The Red Door, New York (TPG Architecture, New York)

Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, McCarran Airport, Las Vegas (Fitch, Columbus, Ohio)

Exterior (freestanding)
Ja Bistro, Toronto (Dialogue 38, Toronto)

Exterior (in-line)
Sperry Top-Sider, Natick, Mass. (Callison, Seattle)
White House/Black Market, Toronto (Chico’s FAS, Fort Meyers, Fla.)

Cash Wrap
Real Madrid Official Store, Madrid (Sanzpont, Barcelona)

Fitting Room
Sperry Top-Sider, Natick, Mass. (Callison, Seattle)
David’s Bridal, London (David’s Bridal, Conscho)


Costa Coffee, has set up shop in Kochi.

Costa Coffee keen on expansion

After Chennai and Bangalore in South India, Costa Coffee, one of the largest retail coffee chains in the world, has set up shop in Kochi.

The British Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, Bharat Joshi, opened the Kochi outlet at Lulu Mall. Santosh Unni, CEO, Costa Coffee-India, said the outlet would serve 25 varieties of coffee and flavoured drinks.

Judd Williams, a senior Costa Coffee official, said, “We plan to continue our expansion strategy and build a pan-India presence to make Costa the first choice for coffee amongst the consumers.”


Sarah Jessica Parker’s debut shoe collection

“I’ve taken inspiration from things in my life such as the grosgrain ribbons I tied in my hair as a girl, to the flower accents from the Sex and the City wardrobe, to references to classic styles from the late ’70s and early ’80s,” says Sarah Jessica Parker of her debut shoes collection, unveiled in full today.

The SJP brand has been created in collaboration with Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus and will go on sale exclusively at the US department store on February 28 – UK customers can get a piece of SJP by shopping online.
The range of shoes will also be accompanied by handbags and a versatile trench coat, named ‘Manhattan’.
We’ve taken it upon ourselves to hand-pick our 10 favourite shoe styles in preparation for the launch…


Garden City Mall, new shopping development in Nairobi, Kenya

The International Finance Corporation and UK government-backed CDC Group have injected $32 million (Sh2.75 billion) into the Garden City real estate development.

The $250 million (Sh21.5 billion) development being put up by private equity firm Actis integrates retail, residential and office space on a 32-acre parcel of land on Thika Road in the outskirts of Nairobi.

It is touted to host the largest shopping mall in East Africa of 50,000 square metres and will be built in two phases. It comprises 420 units of apartments and townhouses, 20,000 square metres of office space and a 3-acre park.

“The project will meet retail needs in one of the fastest growing areas of Nairobi. An estimated 1.5 million people live within the immediate, primarily residential, catchment area,” the IFC said in a statement.

The first phase will see construction of 33,000 square metres of retail space and 76 two- and three-bedroom apartment units by end of this year. The second phase will be completed in 2017.

Garden City has already attracted the attention of major tenants such Nakumatt and Tile & Carpet, “with possibility of housing Game, a South African chain store”, according to the developer.

“Few investors have an appetite for greenfield real estate projects in sub-Saharan Africa, so this investment sends a strong signal of our commitment to Kenya’s development and our confidence in its economic potential,” said Dolika Banda, CDC’s regional director.

IFC’s board of directors approved an indicative investment of $45.2 million in the project last July, including equity ($8.2 million) and a senior debt ($37 million). The project company’s ownership structure comprises Actis Real Estate Fund 2 which has a 53 per cent stake, IFC (12 per cent) and CDC Group (35 per cent).

“The Project will provide a modern and innovative shopping centre expected to be the reference in Kenya and East Africa and also attract reputable international retailers to Kenya,” reads a summary review of the project on IFC’s website.

It is anticipated that Garden City will stimulate two key sectors of the economy – retail and property – with multiplier effects on other segments of the economy such as transport, food processing and banking/mortgage finance.


Dubai’s MAF to build more indoor fake ski resorts

The popular Dubai Ski concept is set to be rolled out across the Middle East, with developer Majid Al Futtaim Group signalling plans for several new facilities in coming years.

Ski Dubai at MAF’s Mall of the Emirates has become a must-do tourist attraction since it opened in 2005.

A unique concept given its location in a hot, Arabian city, it includes an 85m-high man-made mountain with five runs. It has 22,500 square metres of snow, according to its website, with temperatures kept at between -1C and -20C.

George Kostas, Majid Al Futtaim CEO of Properties, said as part of MAF’s expansion plans, which was estimated by MAF chief Iyad Malas at $5bn over the next five years, it aimed to replicate the Ski Dubai concept around the region.

MAF is already building a version, known as Ski Egypt, as part of the under-construction Mall of Egypt in Cairo, which is due to open in 2016.

“We’re looking where else we can take it,” he told Arabian Business on the sidelines of MAF’s rebranding launch.

“I think it would work wonderfully in Saudi Arabia. We’re looking for our first site and once we’ve got it, I’m sure, hopefully we’ll be able to open a Ski Dubai facility there as well.”

Kostas had earlier told media that the company’s rebranding, in which all of its diverse group of companies will unify under one umbrella corporate brand with the symbol “M”, was also a “promise” to customers on the standard of service they would receive from a MAF product.

“One of the things that we now need to do with this public pledge to the market is make sure that we are looking across every single asset, every single business and deliver on those promises,” he said.

“That will mean in places like Egypt where we’re expanding the Ski Dubai concept… we’re going to look now beyond just Egypt.

“Can it apply to Saudi Arabia? Can it apply to Oman? Can it apply to Bahrain? But, it’s more than just that – it’s all the other experiences around food and beverage, around retail, around lifestyle and around entertainment.”

Malas said despite 20 years of history, the rebranding would make clear that Majid Al Futtaim was behind brands and experiences provided to 250 million customers across the Middle East each year.

Its assets included City Centre Malls, VOX Cinemas, Carrefour, Magic Planet, Najm Credit Cards, Ski Dubai and Mall of the Emirates.

Malas said the company, which had about $10bn in assets, planned to double in size by 2018, after similar growth over the past two decades, and was in a position to make investments totalling $1bn a year for the next five years.

The company’s expansion will be driven by new malls opening in Saudi and Egypt, residential projects in Lebanon, hypermarkets, cinemas, family entertainment centres and snow park openings.


Indian retail market set to touch $865 billion by 2023

Foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational food processing companies has shot up to $2.14 billion in the country between April and October 2013, and continues to increase significantly.

The Indian retail market, currently estimated at $490 billion, is project to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 6 per cent to reach $865 billion by 2023.

The opportunities in food and grocery retail in India are immense, given that it constitutes about 69 per cent of India’s total retail market, according to panel members at the seventh Food and Grocery Forum India.

Head honchos of top food and grocery brands spoke on the opportunities that lay ahead for the growth of modern retail. In a session anchored by Shivnath Thukhral, Group President of Essar Group, retail CEOs, experts and consultants shared their insights on the business of food production in the country and some consumption patterns.

The Government on FDI in food processing:

Union Ministry for Food Processing Joint Secretary J.P. Meena said the food processing sector is growing annually at 7.2 per cent compared with 3.9 per cent in agriculture for the last five years, ending 2013.

Growing at a faster rate than the agriculture sector, more and more agriculture produce is getting processed, he said, adding that investment in the food processing sector has been increasing annually at 21.66 per cent.

Foreign direct investment has also been increasing significantly at the rate of average inflow of $117 million for 11 years ending 2011-12. In 2012-13, it was $401 million, the Minister said. He added that exports were increasing at the rate of 20.4 per cent per annum.

Heads of various food and grocery brands:

“Consumers shopping at modern trade have grown from 54 per cent last year to the current 68 per cent, driven by increasing consumption, comfortable shopping experience, new categories, wide variety of brands under a single roof and attractive prices”, said Devendra Chawla, CEO of Food Bazaar.

He noted that a whopping 55 per cent of the modern trade shoppers actively seek promotional deals, 35 per cent of them make bulk purchases, of which 30 per cent are male customers.

Jamshed Daboo, CEO of Trent Hypermarkets, added that the country is moving at a fairly fast pace and that consumers are creating their own opportunities and are becoming exposed to information. The challenge, he noted, lies in serving this change.

While Mark Ashman, CEO of Hypercity, added that consumer demand had seen the growth of Hypercity to the current 15 hypermarkets pan India, since operations started in 2006.

Ajay Kaul, CEO of Domino’s added that a good 50 per cent of the market continued to sit on the sidelines, and that there was a huge opportunity in the migration of traditional to modern trade.

Nestle’s Vice President, Sales of Organised Trade, A.S. Chadha, said mass media has a big role in bringing the rural market to the center-stage, which is setting the actual consumer aspiration. “The key element to be focused on is the supply chain and infrastructure in the Tier-II cities. The potential of these cities can be tapped only by facilitating supply chain and logistics,” he added.

Sharing Chadha’s view, Sumit Chanda, Chief Merchandising Officer of Aditya Birla Retail, said, “Before we talk about consumer engagement, we need to measure consumer’s adaptability and spending power in the Tier II cities. Around 5-6 years ago, television soaps captured the lifestyle of the metros, whereas today all the soaps are showcasing Tier-II and Tier-III cities. This proves that there is a huge aspiration level among the people in these cities which the retailer has yet to tap.”


JD Sports to roll-out gyms across the UK

JD Sports is to open a chain of gyms as it announced plans to capitalise on the growing fitness market.

The high-street retailer, which will open its first 21,000 sq ft gym in Hull next month, says it will be fitted out with the latest gym equipment.

JD Gyms managing director Alan Peacock told the Hull Daily Mail that it was planning to open further gyms across the UK.

He added: “We are investing £1 million in the site and when you make that kind of investment you are committing to that project. We also have a couple of other sites under offer in other big cities but those are deals we are working on at the moment.”

The UK fitness market inched up 0.5 per cent on 2012 after it was revealed that 12.6 per cent of the UK population is a registered member of a health club or gym


Smiggle kids stationery retailer expands to UK

The Smiggle chain’s bright colours and cheap and cheerful stationery have proven a hit with Australia’s nine-year-old girls and boys. Now Mark McInnes is hoping youngsters in Britain will have the same appetite for Smiggle’s rucksacks, pencil cases, lunch boxes, drink bottles and erasers.

The former boss of department store chain David Jones, who has been chief executive for almost three years at ­Premier Retail (the retail business owned by billionaire and BRW rich lister Solomon Lew’s listed Premier Investments ­vehicle), believes Smiggle can be a ­global champion.

He’s about to find out if Smiggle, which has 124 stores in Australia, can become a serious player in the $2.4 billion British market. The first Smiggle store is set to open on February 20 in Britain in Westfield Stratford City, the giant shopping centre which opened in 2011 and is adjacent to London’s Olympic Village.

McInnes, Smiggle group general manager John Cheston and the Premier Investments board are aiming to have 200 Smiggle stores operating in Britain within five years. This will make the British Smiggle business much larger than the Australian operations, which are rapidly approaching saturation point with 124 stores.

Smiggle also has 17 stores in Singapore after first entering that market two and a half years ago, and that business is tracking solidly. Mr McInnes thinks Smiggle has the right stuff to become a highly pro­fitable global brand as it attempts to muscle in on Britain.

“We’re not competing with the Zaras of the world. There aren’t many global companies that can talk about their ­target market being nine-year-old girls and boys.”

Smiggle’s biggest competitor is the private equity-owned Paperchase, which has about 100 stores in Britain and much larger store footprints of about 200 to 250 square metres. Paperchase has 70 per cent of its range focused on adult stationery. Another competitor is WH Smith, a newsagent, bookseller and stationery group.

Cheston says large shopping centre landlords are keen to have Smiggle as a tenant because there is little risk of sales leaking away to the internet. The average transaction size of Smiggle customers is about $20 each visit, as children shop with a parent and younger teenagers make purchases of fashionable stationery with their pocket money. Smiggle has a small internet presence but makes most of its sales in stores.

The former Just Group paid $29 million for Smiggle in 2008 when it was just 20 stores and sales revenue has risen from $19 million to more than $90 million. Premier Investments bought Just Group for $800 million in late 2008.


Shareholders Sue Starbucks For $2.8 Billion Over Dispute With Kraft

Starbucks shareholders have filed a $2.8 billion lawsuit against the company following its alleged breach of contract with Kraft Foods.
The lawsuit claims that Starbucks’ board of directors and executive officers breached their fiduciary duties and “grossly understated the impact of the contract breach in the company’s financial filings with the SEC,” Courthouse News Service reports.

Starbucks was ordered to pay Kraft $2.75 billion in November after an arbitrator determined that the coffee chain had breached its contract with Kraft regarding the distribution of its packaged coffee in grocery stores.

The shareholder lawsuit calls the award a “crushing blow which severely harmed the company.”

“Significantly, this award represented more than the $2.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents defendants had reported on Starbucks’ balance sheet on September 29, 2013,” the lawsuit claims, according to CNS. The award “eviscerated” the company’s positive financial results that had recently been announced and dropped the 2013 profit to “a dismal” penny a share, the lawsuit adds.

A Starbucks spokesman told Business Insider that the company is aware of the lawsuit.

“We take our responsibility to our shareholders seriously,” the spokesman said. “We are aware of the complaint are we’ll respond in due course.”

Lead plaintiff Mary Davis is seeking $2.8 billion in damages from the company’s officers and directors. She is also asking Starbucks to amend its bylaws to strengthen oversight and allow for greater shareholder input. We have contacted Davis’s attorney and are waiting to hear back.


EE to open 50 new retail stores through 2014

Mobile operator EE will be opening a further 50 high street stores through 2014.

EE has announced plans to grow its number of retail and franchise outlets over the next 12 months.

The mobile operator will open a further 50 high street shops in 2014, it said on Friday (17 January), bringing the total number of EE stores in the UK to around 650 – 100 of which will be franchised outlets.

It expects to hire around 350 new members of staff in the process and will also be commencing a multi-million pound investment programme to modernise the chain.

The news comes shortly after EE revealed it had signed up some two million 4G subscribers by the end of 2013 – twice the target it set at the start of the year.

Deirdre Burns, the operator’s Retail Director, commented: “This is a truly exciting time for our business.”

Regarding the 4G rollout, she added: “Our retail team has played a key role in this success and we have no intention of standing still.”

EE’s superfast mobile data network reaches almost 70 per cent of the UK’s population. Over the Christmas period, the carrier expanded coverage to an additional 29 towns and cities, bringing the total number of connected locales to 160.


Victoria’s Secret to arrive in London’s Brent Cross

Famous lingerie and sleepwear retailer Victoria’s Secret is set to add another store to its UK portfolio, opening in London’s Brent Cross shopping centre in November this year.

Made up of four existing units, the 12,000 sq ft store will feature in a prime location in the mall, which is joint owned by Hammerson and Standard Life Investments UK Shopping Centre Trust.

Sheila King, leasing director, new business at Hammerson said: “Adding this world-renowned brand to the line up at Brent Cross demonstrates global retailers’ continued confidence in our long term plans for the centre as well as the strong trading opportunity the scheme offers today. Continuing to attract international brands and diversify our retail offer is key to maintaining Brent Cross’s appeal amongst its loyal catchment.”

Victoria’s Secret made its UK debut back in July 2012 at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, before adding a flagship store in New Bond Street later that summer. Founded in 1977 by Roy Raymond, Victoria’s Secret is the largest American retailer of lingerie and has singled out an expansion into the UK as one of its key focuses for strengthening the brand on an international scale.


Dubai’s MAF says to invest $2.3bn in Egypt projects

Dubai retailer Majid Al Futtaim, which holds the Carrefour franchise in the Middle East, plans to invest about $2.3 billion in Egypt in the next few years, its chief executive said on Wednesday, a sign of Gulf investors’ growing interest in the Egyptian economy.

“Total investments on the plan, including Carrefour, should be around 16 billion Egyptian pounds over the next four to five years,” Iyad Malas told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The investment plan is positive for Egypt’s army-backed government, which is trying to attract foreign money back to the country and create jobs to ease social discontent as it manages a difficult transition to elections this year.

MAF, the sole franchisee of French retailer Carrefour in the region, will expand one of its shopping malls in Cairo’s Maadi district at a cost of 3.2 billion pounds, and begin construction next week of another mall next to Cairo’s main airport that will cost a similar amount, Malas said.

In addition, the company expects to complete construction of its ‘Mall of Egypt’ project near Cairo by the end of 2015 at a cost of 4.9 billion pounds, while the Carrefour operation plans further investments, he said.

New foreign investment in Egypt almost dried up after the revolution which overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011 – though Malas said Carrefour had continued to open new stores over the past three years.

The economy has begun to stabilise, helped by billions of dollars of aid which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait provided after the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last July.

While Western investors remain cautious, some Gulf Arab companies are returning to the country, encouraged by their governments, which see political advantage in supporting the army-backed authorities who replaced Mursi.

“We definitely receive support from the UAE government to invest in Egypt. We’ve been asked if we need help,” Malas said. “We also have a very good relationship with the government in Egypt. We’ve managed to work with different governments and clearly this government is going the extra mile. That’s what we need.”

While Majid Al Futtaim is a private group, much of the Gulf’s investment in Egypt this year looks likely to come from state-linked investors.

Ahmed Heikal, chairman and founder of Citadel Capital , a big Egyptian investment firm, told Reuters inDavos that sovereign wealth funds from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were expressing interest in Egypt.

“Sovereign wealth funds from this region are starting to look at opportunities. Energy is a sector they’re certainly looking at, as well as real estate and food.”

He added, “These SWFs before the revolution were investing as normal sovereign funds, looking at opportunities at arm’s length. Now investing in Egypt has proven necessary to safeguard their geopolitical interests.”

Qatar had good relations with Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and as a result its ties with the currentEgyptian government have been cooler. Heikal said he did not expect Qatar to invest additional amounts in Egypt for now.

Visiting the UAE this week, Egyptian Investment Minister Osama Saleh said he expected net foreign direct investment in his country to rise by a third to about $4 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends in June, versus the previous year.

“It is a mix of investments, but a large portion of it is Gulf investments,” said Saleh, adding that he was talking to UAE companies in sectors ranging from real estate to shipping.

Before Egypt’s 2011 revolution, it was attracting net foreign direct investment of around $8 billion annually, so even with aid from the Gulf, the economy is not yet back to normal.

“The operational environment remains challenging,” Heikal said. “The best advice I would give investors is to stay out of politics.”


Superdrug posts 1.5% Christmas sales upturn

Superdrug has posted a rise in like-for-like sales over Christmas thanks to consumers’ tendency to buy beauty gifts, like perfume, over the period.

The health and beauty retailer said like-for-like sales increased by 1.5 per cent over the period in the nine weeks to 28 December compared with figures from a year ago.

1.7 million bottles of perfume were sold, buoyed by sales of One Direction’s scent Our Moment.

Superdrug boss Joey Wat said: “Our Christmas trading figures show a solid performance during challenging times which is good news as we head into our 50th birthday year.”


Luxury brand Kiton plans two stores in India

NEW DELHI: Italian luxury bespoke clothing company Kiton plans to open at least two exclusive stores in India to tap the country’s booming market for super expensive menswear, a top executive said.

Kiton, which entered the Indian garment market last year through a master franchisee deal with Mumbai-based Regalia Luxury Clothing, is also considering incorporating a joint venture with a local partner. “We soon plan to open mono-brand stores in India as it is a great market to tap into,” Antonio De Matteis, CEO at Kiton, told ET, adding that, for long, rich Indians have shopped for the brand outside the country.

Kiton makes made-to-measure suits, jackets and shirts for Indian consumers. The cost of customised Kiton suits ranges from about.`3 lakh to as much as .`25 lakh. Pratik Dalmia, founder of Regalia Luxury, said the brand will target 250 individuals to begin with. “These people are rich, looking for quality suits and already have exposure to the brand,” Dalmia said. He said besides made-tomeasure, the company plans to launch retail stores.

“We are looking at a few spaces in Delhi and Mumbai to open at least two stores by the end of this year or 2015,” Dalmia said. “Talks are also on to convert the partnership into a joint venture,” he said. Global sales at Kiton rose 10% in 2013 over the previous year to 105 million (.`882 crore). The brand has 45 exclusive stores around the world. “Despite the recession, the brand’s sales have grown drastically in the last 4-5 years,” De Matteis said.

Founded in 1968, Kiton garments are made at the company’s factory in Naples, Italy. According to consultancy firm Technopak, the size of the luxury menswear market in India is close to .`150 crore a year. “As Indian economy moves up and becomes more international, Indian businessmen and senior executives have started spending more than ever on their business wardrobe,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman at Technopak.

Specialised menswear brands available in India include Burberry, Versace, Gucci, Armani and Canali. Singhal said besides office wear, the wedding market in India offers a good potential to these brands. “Even the brands are pushing themselves in the market and also taking initiatives like India-inspired designs, for example the Canali Bandgala jacket,” he said.


Amazon to launch Sunday delivery service across the uk

Amazon is preparing to launch a Sunday delivery service across the UK in a move which is likely to strike fear into the hearts of independent retailers.

The service will be offered in London, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Online sales are expected to grow by 17 per cent in 2014 as e-tailers work to refine and expand their delivery and collection options. According to a recent survey by IMRG Capgemini, online sales already account for more than £1 in every £5 spent by consumers in the retail sector after a 16 per cent rise in sales in 2013.

Jamie Stephenson, UK director for Amazon Logistics, said: “At Amazon, we’re continually innovating on behalf of our customers. We know customers really appreciated the immediacy of Sunday deliveries during the Christmas period and we were able to deliver thousands more parcels in this way in those four weeks.”


Victoria Beckham confirms debut store

Victoria Beckham will open her first standalone shop on London’s Dover Street in the autumn of 2014, as she reveals she’s putting focus on the US market

Victoria Beckham has confirmed that she will open her eponymous brand’s first bricks-and-mortar store on London’s Dover Street in the autumn.

The designer has hired architect Farshid Moussavi, whose previous projects include the Olympic Park, to revamp the 7,000 sq ft, three-floor space, which sits opposite famed conceptual fashion store Dover Street Market. Plans include “drilling a massive hole through the middle” of the building’s interior, Beckham told WWD .

“I think the time is now because I know my customer,” she commented; her brand is now five years old.

“It’s young and cool,” she said of the location. “There are great galleries in the area. There’s Dover Street Market directly opposite of us, which is not a bad thing.”

The debut store will be home to all the collections that fall under the Victoria Beckham umbrella: Victoria Beckham, Victoria Victoria Beckham, denim, optical and accessories.

Beckham is also celebrating the appointment of a New York office, which was announced in November 2013. The US outpost signals her determination to focus on American market.

“I’m taking my business very seriously… To take it to the next level, I need a team on the ground living and breathing everything here in America.”

Of her high-fashion label, the former pop star believes it’s her determination that’s made it a success: “I did believe in creative visualization and I always had high hopes. I believed what I was doing and I think I have a strong point of view. I always hoped. I like to look at the big picture and I like to build things in the right way. I never went into this thinking that it would be a flash in a pan.”


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.


Fat Face steps up IPO plans

Clothing retailer Fat Face has taken a further step towards a London listing by drafting in a raft of bankers to advise on a possible flotation.

The company hired Lazard in December to explore options for the company. But following a buoyant Christmas trading period the business has now added Citi and Jefferies to work on a flotation, Sky News has reported.

An initial public offering would see former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose become chairman of two publicly listed companies as he also sits at the helm of online grocers Ocado.

Fat Face shrugged off the high street gloom by refusing to offer heavy discounts in the run-up to Christmas.

The move resulted in the company reporting a 5pc increase in sales over the five weeks to 4 January, while total sales rose by 15pc in the first half of the financial year to £98.8m.

A potential 2014 London listing of the activewear company would see it join ranks with a host of other private equity backed retailers considering flotations this year including Pets at Home, Card Factory, Poundland, and B&M.

Private equity group Bridgepoint acquired Fat Face for £306m in 2007. Typically, Bridgepoint takes a sale route for portfolio investment exits.

Bridgepoint had to inject fresh capital into Fat Face three years ago after tough trading led to it almost breaching banking covenants.

Chief executive Anthony Thompson, former boss of Asda’s George division, has since led a turnaround. The clothing company is now targeting an expansion into North America and will launch a dedicated US website next year.


Global retailer Wal-Mart sets up new company in India

New Delhi: Global retail giant Wal-Mart has registered a new company in India as it prepares to enter the country’s lucrative multi-brand retail market with a new partner.

The American retail major and Bharti Enterprises decided to part ways in October last year, bringing an end to their six-year long partnership.

The retailer has registered a new company called ‘Wal-Mart India Private Ltd’ in the country, according to the data available with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

According to the information, the new entity was registered on January 15, 2014.

After parting ways with Bharti group in October last year, Wal-Mart had said it was studying the feasibility of India’s FDI policy in multi-brand retail before finalizing plans to enter the segment.

The retailer and Bharti Enterprises had last year decided to independently own and operate separate business formats in the country. Wal-Mart is looking for a partner in India.

In December 2013, Wal-Mart received the green signal from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to purchase Bharti group’s almost 50 per cent stake in their Indian joint venture for wholesale stores business.

The joint venture — Bharti Wal-Mart Private Ltd – was set up to operate wholesale stores under the Best Price Modern Wholesale brand. It was not catering directly to retail consumers in the country.

Wal-Mart has been lobbying with American lawmakers since 2008 for facilitating its entry into the Indian market, according to lobbying disclosure reports filed by the company in the US.

A probe, ordered by the Indian government in December 2012, into lobbying activities undertaken by Wal-Mart to enter Indian retail market remained inconclusive.

The one-man inquiry panel, in its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha last month, could not “conclude in the absence ofany material evidence available on record up till now, that Wal-Mart indulged in any lobbying/bribery to Indian officials”.

Lobbying is a legal activity in the US, but all the companies and their registered lobbyists need to file quarterly disclosure reports with the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In its Action Taken Report on Wal-Mart probe, the government had said it would initiate fresh action against Wal-Mart if an ongoing ‘foreign corrupt practices’ probe by US authorities reveals any violation in India by the retail giant.


Dubai’s Palm Island Developer to Have Nine Hotels by 2016

Nakheel PJSC, the property developer at the heart of Dubai’s debt crisis in 2009, will have nine hotel projects under development by 2016 to benefit from the emirate’s growth as a regional tourist destination.

The builder of palm islands off the emirate’s coast may unveil plans to build four new hotels on Deira island along with its existing one, adding to four other developments across the rest of the city, Chairman Ali Rashed Lootah said at a news conference in Dubai today. The hotels will be part of new projects with a sales value of 6 billion dirhams ($1.63 billion) to 8 billion dirhams that Nakheel will unveil this year, including homes, retail and leisure destinations, he said.

“We are seriously thinking of expanding in hospitality, which goes along with the vision of the Dubai government of trying to build enough facilities,” Lootah said. “By 2016, we will have nine hotels and more to be announced.”

Dubai’s economy expanded 4.9 percent in the first half of 2013, led by the hotel and restaurant industry, as growth in the Middle East’s tourism and financial hub rebounded. Traffic through Dubai’s airport, the world’s second-busiest by international passengers, surged 15 percent to 60.4 million in the 11 months through November, official statistics show.

Nakheel reported today a 27 percent increase in 2013 profit to 2.57 billion dirhams, helped by a 20 percent rise in revenue to 9.4 billion dirhams as Dubai’s property sector rebounded from one of the world’s worst crashes after the credit crisis. The company, which was rescued by a government bailout in 2009, said earlier this month it will pay 4 billion dirhams of bank debt due in September 2015 this year as it generated cash.

Nakheel expects to deliver about 1,600 homes this year after handing over 3,150 homes last year, according to a statement distributed at the news conference today. At the end of December, it had a new development pipeline of almost 3,500 homes at an estimated value of 10 billion dirhams, about 3.6 million square feet of leasable retail space with an investment value of 6 billion dirhams and more than 1,200 hotel rooms at a value of 1.5 billion dirham


Mr Price’s shares fall after sales data

Johannesburg – South African discount retailer Mr Price failed to impress investors with a 15 percent rise in third-quarter sales on Thursday, reflecting the lofty expectations for one of Johannesburg’s most expensive stocks.

Mr Price, which sells clothing and household goods, said sales growth for the three months to end-December rose 14.8 percent, helped by strong growth in its apparel division.

The company also said it added a net 34 stores during the period, bringing its network to 1,075 stores.

Its shares fell 1.8 percent to 160 rand on Thursday.

After a thunderous rise that has seen its stock increase more than six-fold in the past five years, Mr Price is one of the 25 most expensive stocks on the 165-member All-Share index.

Some analysts have said they see little immediate upside for the stock, given its price-to-earnings ratio of around 24.

Retail sales in Africa’s biggest economy are likely to remain constrained by slow growth and high levels of household debt, analysts and economists say.

However, data on Wednesday showed industry-wide sales grew 4.2 percent year-on-year in November, well above expectations for an increase of just 1 percent. – Reuters


Laura Ashley sells Moss Bros holding for £8 million

Laura Ashley sold off its holding in Moss Bros yesterday – a move which netted the women’s wear and home furnishing brand £8 million.

According to City AM, Laura Ashley began to build its stake in the suit-maker in 2008 which fuelled rumours of a takeover, but a bid was never tabled.

On Tuesday the group posted a 13 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the five weeks to 11 January and boosted its dividend, leading to a share price increase of 20 per cent.

Laura Ashley said the sale will be used to “enhance the financial position of Laura Ashley and for additional working capital”.


Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has announced a ten per cent sales rise in December

Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has announced a ten per cent sales rise in December – figures neatly in line with analysts’ expectations.
The Swedish fashion retailer did not provide figures for comparable sales or same-store sales.
December is the first month of H&M’s fiscal first quarter.


Profit at McCabes pharmacy chain rises 40pc as retail sales increase

OPERATING profits at the company that operates the McCabe pharmacy group soared 40pc to €7.59m in the group’s last financial year.

Accounts just filed by Behey Ltd to the Companies Office show that the group saw operating profits jump after revenues increased 7pc to €57.9m in the 12 months to the end of January 2013.

The family-owned business, led by MD Sharen McCabe, operates 20 pharmacies across the country with the majority located in Dublin, while the group also runs the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate hotel in Co Cavan.

The figures show that the group recorded a modest pre-tax loss of €74,520 after interest payments of €4.97m and non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €2.7m are taken into account. The loss last year compares to a pre-tax loss of €3.4m in fiscal 2012. Numbers employed last year increased by 24 to 454 and the group’s staff costs rose from €10.1m to €10.8m.

According to the directors’ report on the performance of the pharmacy outlets, “turnover increased due to a good performance from the retail side of the business and increased volumes in the dispensary. Gross margins also improved due to careful purchasing and management of direct costs”.


The directors state that the outlook for the pharmacy sector in 2013 and beyond will be extremely challenging.

They point to imminent introduction of generic reference pricing legislation; depressed prescription volume due to rises in the GMS item levy; cuts in the number of medical cards in circulation; and continued private prescription pricing competition.

Other key factors cited include the continued review and reduction of the fees that pharmacies receive from the HSE for dispensing medicines and the escalating costs of maintaining pharmacies to comply with regulations.

On the performance of the Radisson Blu hotel, the directors state: “Farnham continued to perform well and its revenues increased in the year to January 2013. This is being driven by improvements in occupancy levels and the average room rate.

“Costs continue to be carefully managed. The directors are satisfied with the performance of the hotel and are confident that the hotel business will improve further and go from strength to strength.”

Group bank loans and overdrafts were €72m. Accumulated losses were €47.4m and there was a shareholder deficit of €46.1m. Cash fell from €4.8m to €3.9m last year.


Burger King to open first Gauteng stores on February 1st

BURGER King will open the doors of its first stores in Gauteng on February 1.

The global fast-food chain first launched in South Africa in May last year.

Local gaming and leisure group Grand Parade, through its subsidiary Utish Investments, holds the master franchise agreement to expand Burger King in South Africa.

The move is part of Burger King’s plans to expand into high-growth emerging markets.

Three stores will be opened on one day in Gauteng, at 60 Rivonia Road, at North Station Food Court at Park Station, and at the Sasol Circle Centre at the corner of the R55 and Theron Street in Centurion.

Burger King SA CEO Jaye Sinclair said this was in line with the company’s expansion strategy within southern Africa.

“We have seen overwhelming success since entering the local market and are confident that our offering will be well received,” he said.

Fast-food operators in South Africa have benefited from the cash-rich and time-poor phenomenon, where rising affluence among the country’s middle class has led to greater use of quick-service dining over formal sit-down restaurants and preparing food at home.

Burger King’s presence will heat up competition in an already fierce environment where established players such as Steers and Wimpy, owned by Famous Brands, and US giant McDonald’s have been pushing aggressive promotions to attract customers.

Burger King will also use South Africa as a platform to expand into fast-growing African countries. Its local licence agreement includes countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Mauritius.

Ramping up its expansion across the country, Burger King SA in July last year signed a deal with Sasol that will see an undisclosed number of its sit-down, takeaway and drive-through restaurants open at the oil and gas company’s petrol-station forecourts.

To boost market share, retailers have partnered with petroleum firms as the changing lifestyles of time-poor consumers have boosted the demand for convenience stores.

According to BMi Research, forecourt retailing is an ultra-competitive channel, with the economic environment and changing retail landscape significantly influencing where people shop and what they buy.

José Cil, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Burger King Worldwide, said the agreement with Sasol allowed the company to position its brand across new channels and, therefore, expand its number of “guests and restaurants in South Africa”.


UK’s Waitrose signs up to Damac’s Dubai mega project

Waitrose, the food unit of the UK’s John Lewis Partnership, is to open a 26,000 sq ft store in the Akoya by Damac Retail Centre, it was announced on Wednesday.

Set within the 42 million sq ft golf and lifestyle community in Dubai, Waitrose will be the anchor tenant of the precinct which will include high-end shopping outlets, a pharmacy and restaurants.

The shop will be the eighth Waitrose to open in the UAE under a licence through the retailer’s partnership with Fine Fare Food Market (FFFM), Damac said in a statement.

Akoya by Damac, which is set around the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, will include 4.3 million sq ft of private parkland, with luxury branded villas by Fendi, Paramount and Trump.

“Waitrose is the ideal anchor tenant for the Akoya by Damac Retail Centre,” said Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president, Damac Properties.

The retail centre will cover a total of 94,500 sq ft with upscale casual dining options, cafes, a pharmacy, travel agency, dry cleaners, opticians and a host of fashion stores.

Construction at the site is already well underway, with the first handover of units scheduled for completion by the end of 2015, Damac said.

There are more than 280 Waitrose branches in the UK and seven currently in the UAE.

“We’re delighted to be opening another Waitrose shop in the UAE, bringing the retailer’s quality food and great value to more people,” said Patrick Lawrence, property manager for FFFM.

“Combining the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop, Waitrose at Akoya by Damac is set to become the destination of choice for those who appreciate fine food, good value and great service.”

The Akoya by Damac master plan was unveiled at the end of April 2013 and the Dubai developer said “a great deal of work” has already been undertaken on site in the past eight months.

It said more than 100 work orders and packages have been placed and the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai is taking shape under the guidance of internationally-renowned architect and designer Gil Hanse.

Damac said it has completed 8,887 units to date and has a further 23,688 units at various stages of progress and planning across the Middle East region.


J.C. Penney to Cut 2,000 Jobs While Closing 33 Stores

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) plans to close 33 stores and eliminate about 2,000 jobs to help save $65 million a year as Chief Executive Officer Mike Ullman tries to turn around the money-losing retailer.

The closings and cuts will result in pretax charges of $26 million in the fourth quarter and $17 million in future periods, the Plano, Texas-based company said today in a statement.

Ullman, who returned in April to replace Ron Johnson, has reversed much of his predecessor’s legacy. He restored promotions, popular private-label brands and an old logo and ended a strategy of remodeling the stores into collections of boutiques. The chain has posted nine straight quarterly net losses.

The closings represent about 3 percent of J.C. Penney’s stores, and the job cuts would be about 2 percent of its workforce.

J.C. Penney rose 2.1 percent to $7.16 at 4:08 p.m. in extended trading in New York. The stock tumbled 54 percent last year.


Burberry Sales Exceed Estimates as Digital Outperforms

Burberry Group Plc, (BRBY) the U.K.’s largest luxury-goods maker, reported quarterly revenue that beat estimates as shoppers spent more through digital channels.

The shares rose as much as 7.2 percent, the most since July, after Burberry said retail revenue advanced 14 percent to 528 million pounds ($866 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31. Analysts predicted 518 million pounds, according to the median of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Burberry’s outperformance contrasts with comments by Italian suitmaker Ermenegildo Zegna SpA, which said last week that October and November “were not good months overall.” The luxury-goods sector expanded 2 percent in 2013, the weakest pace in four years, as unfavorable currency swings weighed on growth and demand softened in China, Bain & Co. estimates.

“This is a strong performance in a slowing sector,” Allegra Perry, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in London, said in reference to Burberry.

The stock was up 5.2 percent at 1,546 pence at 9:42 a.m., giving the London-based trenchcoat maker a market value of 6.9 billion pounds.

Sales at stores open at least a year increased 12 percent in the quarter. Investment in areas such as service and collect-in-store helped digital sales outperform, compensating for weak shopper numbers in its boutiques, Burberry said. Outerwear and large leather goods contributed about half of so-called mainline growth, the company said in a statement. Comparable sales gained by at least 10 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.

Luxury Traveler

Burberry is “achieving strong returns on its digitally focused marketing, whilst supply-chain improvements are enabling competitive service levels,” said Fraser Ramzan, an analyst Nomura in London.

Burberry doubled the number of orders it dispatched year on year after bringing fulfillment in house, Burberry Chief Financial Officer Carol Fairweather said on a call to reporters. Online accounts for “a little bit” more than 5 percent of sales, she said.

Sales to tourists increased in the last three months of 2013, according to Fairweather. “That is very much underpinned by the Chinese luxury traveling consumer,” she said.

Currency Challenge

Looking ahead, the economic environment “remains uncertain,” outgoing Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts said in the statement. “At current levels, exchange rates will be a significant headwind in the second half and beyond.”

If the current sterling-dollar rate persists, “we think that will adjust our profit by 5 million pounds through the rest of the year,” CFO Fairweather said.

Burberry is targeting a “modest” increase in full-year retail/wholesale operating profit margin, it said today, repeating a forecast made in November.

“There is no change to guidance and no change to our strategy,” Fairweather said. “We’ve constantly talked about investing for long-term profitable growth.”

Ahrendts will join Apple Inc. later this year. Burberry’s creative head Christopher Bailey will succeed her as CEO.


Retail in 2014 : SAS full report PDF

download the PDF here……


Retail in 2014 : SAS infographic







Karen Millen hails 10% jump in record Christmas sales

Karen Millen managed to shrug off wider concerns for high street brands this Christmas after posting a 10 per cent rise in sales in the five weeks to 5 January.

The Shoreditch-based fashion brand managed a 9 per cent increase on a like-for-like basis, compared with the same period last year.

On an international scale, where Karen Millen retails across the US, Indonesia, Europe and Russia, sales were strong, up 25 per cent in Spain and 22 per cent in France.

Despite managing to outperform a number of its competitors over the peak trading period, Karen Millen chief executive Mike Shearwood told the Independent that the brand had “lost its way in the UK”, and must refocus its efforts in its domestic market, if it can continue to expand overseas.

Shearwood told the paper that he believed not enough has been made of Karen Millen’s manufacturing process, whereby all 500 items of each collection are initially made in its offices in Shoreditch.

Looking ahead, Karen Millen plans to continue expanding internationally, adding 65 stores to its portfolio, across 58 countries worldwide, bringing its total up to 400. The company also hinted that a management buyout could be on the cards.


Valentino opens first men’s-only flagship in Paris

Luxury Roman fashion house Valentino has opened a men’s-only flagship store in Paris.

The 4,300 sq ft store is Valentino’s first store to accommodate men’s fashion exclusively, and is part of the retailer’s pledge to grow the menswear arm of the business.

The flagship will feature a new made-to-measure service, allowing customers to order bespoke suits, peacoats, shoes and jeans.

Menswear currently represents between 7 and 8 per cent of the business, but the company is aiming to grow that to 10 to 15 per cent in the next three to five years.

Speaking to WWD, chief executive officer Stefano Sassi, said: “This is a statement to tell everyone that we are quite ambitious about our men’s project”.


Asos sales jump 38pc in festive trading

Online fashion retailer Asos enjoyed a big jump in sales in the run-up to Christmas, putting it firmly among the sector’s winners from the key festive trading season.

Asos, whose shares have almost trebled in the last year, said in a trading update that its sales rose 38pc to £335.7m in the four months to December 31.

That compares with a rise of 47pc in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year and forecasts in the City for growth of 36pc.

Sales rose by 37pc in the UK, 28pc in the US and 69pc in Europe, with Nick Robertson, chief executive saying the retailer had benefited from better delivery options – such as an improved next-day delivery service – and additional payment methods.

However, investors expressed concerns about a slowdown in growth in the rest of the world to 19pc, which was impacted by a weakening of the Australian dollar.

Mr Robertson said he was “not overly concerned” by a slowdown in the US and Asos’s rest of the world division, in which Australia accounts for 40pc of sales.

But shares in Asos dipped 210p, or 3pc, to £66.50 following the trading update.

Analysts at Barclays said: “The release has something for both the bulls and the bears to pick up on.

“The bulls would point to the very strong markets in the UK and EU which are far from mature, while the bears could say that the US and Australia have weakened a bit more than anyone would expect and hence some of the long term growth could be endangered.

“In our view the quarter showcases the strength of Asos’s business model and its online superiority but investment for longer term growth is necessary.”

Asos, founded in 2000 by former advertising executive Mr Robertson, has been the big success story in British retailing in recent years. Its fast-changing fashions have been snapped up by internet-savvy twentysomethings and attracted fans including United States First Lady Michelle Obama and singer Rita Ora. It has almost 8m customers around the world.

The company’s shares have soared 164pc over the last year, giving it a market value of almost £6bn – the equivalent of six Debenhams and only £2bn less than Marks & Spencer, Britain’s biggest clothing retailer.

Asos said retail gross margin rose 90 basis points year-on-year in the period, reflecting tighter stock control.

“These results were driven by significant improvements to our customer proposition, including better delivery options, additional payment methods and the roll out of our premier service in key international markets,” said Mr Robertson.


Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct acquires near-5% stake in Debenhams

The sportswear empire of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has snapped up almost 5% of shares in department store Debenhams, it emerged today.

Sports Direct International said the stock market purchase, worth around £46million, would allow the companies to consider ways to work together.

Debenhams, which issued a profits warning on New Year’s Eve after poor Christmas trading, said it was open-minded about the offer of exploring operational opportunities in order to improve its performance.

As well as 409 stores in the UK, Sports Direct has a portfolio of 28 internationally recognised sports, fashion and lifestyle brands including Dunlop, Slazenger, Everlast, Lonsdale and Karrimor.

Mr Ashley set up the business on leaving school in 1982 and was the sole owner until a stock market listing in March 2007 which netted him £929 million. He is executive deputy chairman but receives no payment.

The company, which has purchased 56.8 million shares in Debenhams, has a history of buying strategic stakes in other retailers, most recently JJB Sports. It is the current owner of a near 12% holding in rival JD Sports Fashion.

It said today: “Sports Direct wishes to explore options at an operational level to work together with Debenhams to create value in the interests of both Sports Direct’s and Debenhams’ shareholders.

“This acquisition of shares has taken place without the prior knowledge of the Debenhams board of directors, but Sports Direct has communicated to Debenhams’ board its desire to work together and its intention to be a supportive shareholder.”

Debenhams which has 240 stores in 29 countries. In the UK, where it has more than 150 stores, the chain has a top five market share in womenswear and menswear and a top 10 share in the market for childrenswear.

The company said: “Debenhams notes that Sports Direct intends to be a supportive shareholder and that it wishes to explore options at an operational level to work together.

“Debenhams is open-minded with regard to exploring operational opportunities to improve its performance, alongside its own existing and planned initiatives, in order to create value for all Debenhams shareholders.”

Debenhams’ shares rose 5% today, although Cantor Fitzgerald retail analyst Freddie George said today’s developments did not mean the company was “in play” from a takeover perspective.

Mr Ashley’s Sports Direct business is believed to have looked closely at acquiring House of Fraser in the last year.


Czech retail sales growth fastest in three years

Sharp growth attributable to Czech National Bank’s controversial forex interventions, analysts say

Prague, Jan. 10 (ČTK) — Czech retail sales grew 6.1 percent year on year in November 2013, showing the fastest increase since January 2011, after a 0.6 percent year-on-year drop in October, the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) said today.

The November growth was driven mainly by purchases via mail order houses and the Internet, and by sales of cars and nonfood goods, statisticians said.

The reason behind the sharp growth in retailers’ sales was forex interventions by the Czech National Bank (ČNB), according to analysts.

The overall development of retail sales was influenced the most by purchases by mail order and in Internet shops which grew by 36.4 percent and were the highest in the last four years.

Retail sales grew in all surveyed categories of goods except for sales of automotive fuel and pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetic goods.

Retailers’ food sales also increased in November.

High consumer spending was triggered by the ČNB’s interventions launched Nov. 7, analysts said.

People stormed shops and stocked themselves up thoroughly amid fears of future price hikes, Raiffeisenbank analyst Václav Franče said.

“They probably bought a large amount of Christmas presents in November already. In the short term, the CNB’s plan to force people into spending more due to an expected price growth had worked out perfectly. The question is how long the shopping spree will last,” Franče said.

But the excitement about the November statistics should be reined in, because such a sharp growth in sales is only one-off, analyst Marek Dřímal of Komerční banka said.

“We think there should be a correction in December already. And we even expect a quarter-on-quarter decline in household consumption in the first quarter,” Dřímal added.

UniCredit Bank’s chief economist Pavel Sobíšek said only the coming months will reveal to what extent shoppers’ intentions were driven by one-off panic and to what extent November was a part of a longer-term turnaround in consumer sentiment.

Month-on-month, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 3.6 percent in November.

Working days–adjusted retail sales increased 7.8 percent year on year in November.

The growth of November retail sales in the Czech Republic markedly surpassed the European average.

According to data from Europe’s statistical office Eurostat, retail sales in the EU-28 rose 1.2 percent on the month on average, and 2 percent in November on the year.

“This shows results in the Czech Republic are above the average. According to the statistics, the overall development of Czech retail sales was influenced the most by a 36.4 percent growth of sale of goods via the Internet and mail order, which was the fastest increase in the past four years,” Marika Konečná of company KPMG said.



Sears Holdings is down 15% after hours after the company warned of Q4 losses.
The retailer sees Q4 adjusted loss of $2.01-$2.98. Analysts were looking for earnings of $0.26 per share.

Quarter to date comparable store sales are down 7.4%. Year-to-date sales are down 3.9%.

For the full year ending February 1, 2014, the Company expects our reported net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders will be between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.

Once an iconic brand, it was reported in 2012 that Sears said it would close 120 Sears and Kmart stores in an effort to get the company back on track.

Here’s the press release:


HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Sears Holdings Corporation (“Holdings,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or the “Company”) (SHLD) today is providing an update on our quarter-to-date performance and financial position.

During the quarter, we continued to proactively transform our business to a member-centric integrated retailer leveraging our Shop Your Way™ (“SYW”) program and platform. As previously stated, we are transitioning from a business that has historically focused on running a store network into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them: whether in store, in home or through digital devices. We are driving this transformation by investing in capabilities to enable members access to the broadest possible assortment of products and services, enhancing our membership benefits associated with SYW, developing digital and social relationships with our members, using data and analytics to make targeted offers and decisions delivered in real time and expanding our reach through Marketplace and delivery options.

We believe that we are making progress in this transformation, as we are seeing continued increases in our SYW member engagement metrics with 69% of our sales in the nine-week period ended January 4, 2014 derived from members as compared to 58% last year. We are intentionally transitioning business models in a thoughtful manner and are making the investments which we believe will demonstrate the value of SYW to our members. Throughout this transition, we have continued with traditional promotional programs and marketing expenditures while investing in our member-centric model, which has impacted our margin and expenses. For the nine-week period ended January 4, 2014 we spent $69 million more on SYW points expense compared to the same period last year.

Comparable store sales for the quarter-to-date (“QTD”) and year-to-date (“YTD”) periods ended January 6, 2014 for its Kmart and Sears Domestic stores were as follows:






Sears Domestic






Total domestic comparable store sales for the quarter-to-date period declined 7.4%, comprised of decreases of 5.7% at Kmart and 9.2% at Sears Domestic. Kmart’s quarter-to-date comparable store sales decline reflects declines in most categories including consumer electronics, grocery & household and toys. Sears Domestic’s quarter-to-date comparable store sales decline is attributable to decreases in most categories including consumer electronics, tools and home appliances. Sears Canada comparable store sales for the quarter-to-date period ended January 6, 2014 were -4.4%.

We currently expect consolidated Adjusted EBITDA, which excludes certain significant items as set forth below, for the fourth quarter will be between $(65) million and $65 million, as compared to $429 million in last year’s fourth quarter. We expect fourth quarter domestic Adjusted EBITDA of between $(80) million and $20 million, as compared to $365 million for last year’s fourth quarter. We expect that Sears Canada fourth quarter Adjusted EBITDA will be between $15 million and $45 million, as compared to $64 million last year. Please see the Adjusted EBITDA reconciliation below.

For the full year, consolidated Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $(284) million and $(414) million, as compared to $626 million last year. We expect domestic Adjusted EBITDA of between $(308) million and $(408) million, as compared to $557 million last year. We expect that Sears Canada Adjusted EBITDA will be between $(6) million and $24 million, as compared to $69 million last year.

We currently expect our reported net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders for the quarter ending February 1, 2014 will be between $250 million and $360 million, or between $2.35 and $3.39 loss per diluted share. This includes $41 million of pension expense, $29 million for store closures and severance and $12 million from gains on sales of assets. Adjusted for these items, net loss is expected to be between $213 million and $316 million, or between $2.01 and $2.98 loss per diluted share. The ranges exclude the impact related to the Sears Canada real estate transactions previously announced, restructuring activities including severance, store closings and impairment charges, an estimated non-cash charge of approximately $145 million related to the establishment of an additional valuation allowance against our state separate entity deferred tax assets, as well as other tax related matters and any non-cash impairment charges for fixed assets. In the fourth quarter of the prior year, the Company reported a net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $489 million, or $4.61 loss per diluted share, which included a non-cash charge of $455 million related to pension settlements, non-cash impairment charges of $330 million and other adjustments which can be found in our 8-K filed on February 28, 2013. Adjusted for these items, the Company reported net income of $119 million, or $1.12 per diluted share.

For the full year ending February 1, 2014, the Company expects our reported net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders will be between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, or between $11.85 and $12.88 loss per diluted share, which includes the fourth quarter-to-date items noted above, as well as the year-to-date adjustments disclosed in our third quarter 10-Q report filed on November 21, 2013. Adjusted for these items, net loss is expected to be between $811 million and $914 million, or between $7.64 and $8.61 loss per diluted share. The ranges exclude the impact related to the Sears Canada real estate transactions previously announced, fourth quarter restructuring activities including severance, store closings and impairment charges, an estimated non-cash charge of approximately $145 million related to the establishment of an additional valuation allowance against our state separate entity deferred tax assets, as well as other tax related matters and any non-cash impairment charges for fixed assets. For the full year ended February 2, 2013, the Company reported a net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $930 million, or $8.78 loss per diluted share, which included a non-cash charge of $455 million related to pension settlements, a non-cash impairment charge of $330 million and other adjustments which can be found in our 8-K report filed on February 28, 2013. Adjusted for these items, net loss was $215 million, or $2.03 loss per diluted share.

As of January 4, 2014, we had total cash of approximately $1.0 billion and availability under our credit facilities of $2.3 billion ($1.8 billion under our domestic facility and $0.5 billion under our Sears Canada facility, prior to taking into consideration possible reserves) and $6 million in commercial paper outstanding, with commercial paper capacity of $500 million. The cash balance does not include $300 million Canadian in proceeds from the Sears Canada real estate transactions announced on November 11, 2013, which are expected to be received January 10, 2014.

As previously announced, we are evaluating separating both our Lands’ End business and Sears Auto Center (“SAC”) business. On December 6, 2013 we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a registration statement on Form 10 related to the spin-off of Lands’ End through a potential pro rata distribution to Holdings’ shareholders. We are considering strategic alternatives for our SAC business, any of which would be subject to approval by Holdings’ Board of Directors and other conditions. In addition, we continue to reduce unprofitable stores as leases expire and in some cases accelerate closings when circumstances dictate.

Finally, as previously announced in October, we also are continuing to work with the board and management of Sears Canada with a goal of increasing the value of our 51% interest and realizing significant cash proceeds to support our transformation and to create value for our shareholders. As of January 8, 2014, the market value of this interest was $670 million.

Fourth Quarter Earnings Release

The Company currently plans to release financial results for its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter and full year on or about February 27, 2014, before the market opens and hold an analyst and investor conference call on that date. Instructions for participating in the call will be provided in February in advance of the call.

Adjusted EBITDA Reconciliation


Q4 2013


Q4 2012

expected net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders




plus other significant items not included in Adjusted EBITDA




plus income statement line items not included in EBITDA consisting of noncontrolling interest, income taxes, interest expense, interest and investment income, other income/loss, depreciation expense and gain on sales of assets through January 4, 2014




Adjusted EBITDA




Forward-Looking Statements

Results are preliminary and unaudited. This press release contains forward-looking statements about our expectations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, our transformation through our integrated retail strategy and possible transactions discussed elsewhere in this press release. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: our ability to offer merchandise and services that our customers want, including our proprietary brand products; our ability to successfully implement our integrated retail strategy; our ability to successfully implement initiatives to improve our liquidity through inventory management and other actions; competitive conditions in the retail and related services industries; worldwide economic conditions and business uncertainty, including the availability of consumer and commercial credit, changes in consumer confidence and spending, the impact of rising fuel prices, and changes in vendor relationships; our ability to complete possible transactions with respect to Lands’ End and/or Sears Auto Centers on terms that are acceptable to us, on intended timetables or at all and the impact of the evaluation and/or completion of those transactions on our other businesses; the potential impact on our business and our relationships from any such transactions; our ability to successfully achieve our plans to generate liquidity, reduce inventory and reduce fixed costs; conditions and possible limits on our access to capital markets and other financing sources; vendors’ lack of willingness to provide acceptable payment terms or otherwise restricting financing to purchase inventory or services; the impact of seasonal buying patterns, including seasonal fluctuations due to weather conditions, which are difficult to forecast with certainty; our dependence on sources outside the United States for significant amounts of our merchandise; our extensive reliance on computer systems, including legacy systems, to implement our integrated retail strategy, process transactions, summarize results and manage our business, which may be subject to disruptions or security breaches; our reliance on third parties to provide us with services in connection with the administration of certain aspects of our business and the transfer of significant internal historical knowledge of such parties; impairment charges for goodwill and intangible assets or fixed-asset impairment for long-lived assets; our ability to attract, motivate and retain key executives and other associates; our ability to protect or preserve the image of our brands; the outcome of pending and/or future legal proceedings, including product liability claims and proceedings with respect to which the parties have reached a preliminary settlement; and the timing and amount of required pension plan funding; and other risks, uncertainties and factors discussed in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We intend the forward-looking statements to speak only as of the time made and do not undertake to update or revise them as more information becomes available.


Hackett opens store in Jeddah

HACKETT celebrated the grand opening of its store in Saudi Arabia alongside Car Maker Aston Martin at an event on Tahliyah Street, Jeddah. Part of Hackett Tradition with Aston Martin, Sheikh Abdullah Binzagr arrived at the event in an Aston Martin to open the store officially to the public, as guests were invited to the store to partake in the Quintessential ‘Hackett’ experience.
Hackett designs are quickly becoming staple wardrobe pieces. Smart casual is redefined through Hackett’s use of bold patterns, fabrics and tribute to British heritage.
Located on the ground floor of the Yamama Building, the full range of the brand’s collection is displayed by themed concession. From Hackett Mayfair to Aston Martin Racing, the store interior takes one through the different personas of the Hackett man. The store also includes a “Little Briton” section for the younger Hackett customer.

Stationary globes, vintage first editions, and travel trunks are some of the many accents that help realize the “Hackett Experience”. Mannequins are posed as off-duty professionals throughout the store and showcase the versatile nature of the brand.
The store design maintains Hackett’s quintessential British image through a skillful blend of contemporary accents and relics.


Macy’s To Cut 2,500 Jobs In Reorganisation

US retail giant Macy’s has announced it is cutting 2,500 jobs as part of a reorganisation to sustain profitability.

The department store chain says it will reassign or transfer some workers and add some positions, leaving its workforce level at about 175,000.

The Ohio-based company said it plans to close five stores and open eight others, leaving it with 844 stores nationwide once the changes are complete.

Macy’s says the moves will save the company $100m per year.

“Our company has significantly increased sales and profitability over the past four years, and we have created a culture of growth at Macy’s Inc,” said Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, president and chief executive.

“As the success of these strategies has unfolded, we have identified some specific areas where we can improve our efficiency without compromising our effectiveness in serving the evolving needs of our customers.”

The announcement comes on the tail of a solid holiday shopping season for the chain.

Revenue at stores opened for at least one year rose 4.3% in November and December.

The company is optimistic about 2014 as well, saying it expects earnings per share of $4.40 to $4.50.

Those figures outperform analysts’ prediction of $4.36 per share, according to FactSet.

News of the changes sent Macy’s shares up 5.5% in after-hours trading on Wednesday.


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The Children’s Place expanding into Egypt, Eastern Europe

Secaucus, N.J. – The Children’s Place Retail Stores has expanded its existing franchise agreement with Fawaz A. AlHokair & Co. SJSC covering retail stores in Saudi Arabia, to include opening a total of approximately 25 stores in Egypt and the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S. Region) of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan, beginning in mid-2014.

“After the successful openings of more than 20 stores in Saudi Arabia with Fawaz A. AlHokair & Co. SJSC, we are excited to expand our international footprint with them in Egypt and the C.I.S. Region, where they have a proven track record of successfully launching and operating major international brands,” said Jane Elfers, president and CEO of The Children’s Place.”


New shopping mall opens in Botswana

The mall, situated along the A1 road in Botswana, will house amongst other shops, Edgars, JB Sports, Jet, pharmacies, Choppies Supermarket and food outlets which would include Nandos and Wimpy.

The project manager, Mr Tony Montahna told stakeholders during a tour of the mall that work was progressing well and tenants were done with the finishing touches. However, Mr Montahna said they expected the Botswana Power Corporation to complete electrification work this week.

For his part, Kgosi Duncan Segotsi who appreciated the new developments said the long journeys to Gaborone and Francistown for shopping would be reduced.

Kgosi Segotsi said completion of the new mall facility was a welcome development as it would give the village a different shape together with other facilities such as the Cresta hotel, the hospital and police station. “It will look like a real town,” he added.

He also hailed the Josh Posh managing director and owner of the mall, Mr Seloma Tiro for establishing a mall of such magnitude in Mahalapye. For his part, Mr Tiro thanked the leadership of Mahalapye for accepting and accommodating him saying the project belongs to the community of Mahalapye for use.

He said he built the mall as an answer to the call of Botswana government to participate in the development of the country. Mr Tiro called upon other Batswana to support Botswana’s economic diversification efforts through expansion of needed infrastructure to contribute to the development in the country.

He said the mall would provide employment and investment opportunities for people, adding that during construction more than 400 jobs were created while more than 300 jobs are expected.


Like-for-like Christmas sales up 8.1% at The Fragrance Shop

Independent fragrance retailer The Fragrance Shop has posted strong sales figures across the festive period, with like-for-like Christmas sales up 8.1 per cent in the five weeks to December 28th compared with the same period last year.

The figures cap off a successful 2013 for the Manchester-based retailer, which opened its 150th store during the year.

Among the top-performing fragrances during the festive season were a cross-section of perfumes including Chanel No 5, Coco Mademoiselle; J’Adore by Dior and Our Moment, the fragrance by pop group One Direction.

The growth in like-for-like Christmas sales was also driven by The Fragrance Shop’s multi-channel offer. This includes Click and Collect, where customers order online and collect in-store, and Try It First, which allows customers to try a tester-sized fragrance via post before choosing whether to buy.

Sanjay Vadera, chief executive of The Fragrance Shop, said: “Fragrance has always been one of the most personal gifts people give at Christmas and it now appears to be more popular than ever.In the multi-channel age, customers are retaining their desire to try out the fragrance they are buying for a loved one, which is why services like Try It First are proving so popular.”

“After a very happy Christmas we are feeling confident about 2014.”

In its pre-Christmas forecast, the Centre for Retail Research said it expected UK retail sales figures to be just 2.1 per cent ahead of 2012.

The retailer, which began with a single store in 1995, now has 155 shops across the UK and plans to open 20 more during 2014. In the year to March 31, 2013, annual sales climbed 15 per cent to £81m.


Uniqlo USA announces five new stores for spring/summer

New York — Uniqlo will continue its expansion in the United States by opening five stores this spring/summer, including its first-ever location in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area.

The five new Uniqlo stores scheduled to open in spring/summer are:

King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pa.;
Stamford Town Center in Stamford, Conn.;
Serramonte Center in Daly City, Calif.;
Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord, Calif., and
Great Mall of the Bay Area in Milpitas, Calif.
“We are thrilled to announce our newest store openings and are eager to bring the Uniqlo experience to even more communities throughout the United States,” said Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA and Fast Retailing Group senior VP.

Currently there are 17 Uniqlo stores in the United States: three in New York City, five in New York State, three in New Jersey, one in Connecticut, and five in the San Francisco-Northern California area.

In the fall of 2014, Uniqlo plans to debut in new markets including downtown Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles-Southern California.

In addition, Uniqlo announced that it will close the second floor of its 5th Avenue store in New York City for renovations and will reopen the section in March. Customers will be able to shop the other floors during construction.


Inditex closes 61 stores in Spain to head overseas

Spanish holding company Inditex, whose portfolio includes fashion brand Zara, closed 61 stores throughout Spain during the first half of its fiscal year in 2013, yet has increased its retail space by 4 per cent over the past five years.

According to Spanish newspaper El Economista, the company is planning to open larger stores and expand overseas while consumer spending in its home country continues to decline.

Inditex had 1,930 stores in Spain on January 31 2013, yet by October 30 that number had declined to just 1,896.

A weaker economy and a new business model for Zara, which includes opening larger stores to house entire collections, is being blamed for the closures.

Inditex claims that the average store is now 20 to 25 per cent bigger than those in the previous years.

Inditex’s flagship brand Zara has closed 39 stores in Spain over the previous years.

Despite the closures, Inditex has opened 79 Zara stores throughout Europe, 54 in the Americas and 107 throughout Asia and the rest of the world as part of its overseas expansion plan.


Dubai Duty Free sales reach AED6.65bn in 2013

Dubai: Dubai Duty Free ( DDF ) on Thursday said it closed 2013 with sales reaching Dh6.65 billion, representing an 11.4 per cent increase over the previous year.

The year had already showed positive signs with December marking Dh700 million worth of sales.

DDF celebrated its 30th anniversary on December 20 with a 30 per cent discount on various products, which resulted in a record 215,000 transactions bringing in Dh111.88 million during the 24-hour period.

The revenue represents a 40 per cent increase over the anniversary in 2012.
The year recorded approximately 26 million sales transactions overall, which brings the daily average at around 71,000 sales transactions, the airport retailer said in a statement.

Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman at DDF , explained the growth in sales saying: “It’s a combination of things. The opening of Concourse A in January increased the retail footprint by 8,000 square metres and provided us with the opportunity to extend our current product range and introduce new brands, especially in the fashion sector, which is doing very well.”
He added that the opening of Al Maktoum International airport has also resulted in a positive impact on sales that is set to continue.

“Also, our shopfloor staff continue to provide terrific levels of customer service, which in turn drives our sales,” McLoughlin told Gulf News.

Perfumes retained its position as the best-selling category with sales reaching Dh1.06 billion, representing an increase of over Dh148 million over the last year. With a 16 per cent year-on-year increase in its sales, perfumes now contribute 16 per cent towards total sales at DDF , as per the company statement.

Meanwhile, the beverage and gold categories followed with gold reaching sales figures of Dh613 million, showing a five per cent year-on-year increase.

Confectionary sales also increased by 12 per cent, reaching Dh520 million.

Other categories where sales increased include watches, which rose by 16 per cent to Dh459 million; and cosmetics where sales reached Dh446 million, marking a 20 per cent increase over 2012.

Sales of delicatessen rose by 13 per cent to Dh298 million, whereas souvenirs, and handbags and leather goods have seen an increase of 22 per cent, and 46 per cent respectively.

Additionally, sales at DDF Departures rose by 11 per cent, while Arrival sales increased by 13 per cent compared to the previous year. Terminal 2, which was fully renovated by December, recorded a 22 per cent increase in sales.

Alongside record sales, 2013 witnessed the opening of Concourse A, dedicated to Emirates Airline fleet of A380 aircraft, and the opening of the passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport. This collectively provided DDF with over 28,000 square metres of retail space.

Looking ahead into 2014, DDF stated that it will continue to promote retail operations and major events such as the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, which is set to take place in 2014