Monthly Archives: April 2014

Uniqlo to enter Los Angeles market in September; announces five locations

New York — Uniqlo will continue its expansion in the United States by entering the Los Angeles market. The Japanese retail powerhouse announced it will open five stores in the Los Angeles area, starting in September, with locations at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa; Northridge Fashion Center, Northridge; and Glendale Galleria, Glendale.

In October, the company will open at the Beverly Center, Los Angeles, followed by a store at Los Cerritos Center, Cerritos, in spring 2015.

“The response to our northern California stores has been fantastic, so we are thrilled to bring the Uniqlo experience to our fans in Los Angeles, a city known for its diversity and energetic lifestyle,” said Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA and senior VP Fast Retailing Group, parent company of Uniqlo.

The retailer plans to open more stores in 2014, including the new markets of Boston and Philadelphia, and the existing markets of Northern California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

Currently, Uniqlo operates are 20 stores in the U.S., as well as Uniqlo.com, which offers nationwide online shopping.

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Next Raises Forecasts After Beating Estimates

Next Plc (NXT), the U.K.’s second-largest clothing retailer, raised its full-year profit forecast little more than a month after setting it, as sales for the first quarter of the year exceeded analyst estimates.

The retailer also increased its sales predictions for the second time this year after the early part of 2014 benefited from warmer spring weather and a more favourable economy, Chief Executive Officer Simon Wolfson said today by phone.

“We expected the first quarter to be much better, but as it turned out not only was the weather not cold, it was actually unusually warm,” Wolfson said. “Not only did last year’s trend reverse out, it actually reversed out and got better.”

Next’s earnings have surpassed those of its main U.K. competitor Marks & Spencer Group Plc, (MKS) helped by a business model that’s adapted more quickly to the shift in consumer habits toward online shopping. Next Directory has grown to become Britain’s biggest home-shopping business, while the company’s stores had a particularly strong first quarter.

“With unparalleled forecast visibility, Next continues to be a high quality, low risk investment,” Simon Bowler, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said in a note today.

The shares eased 0.5 percent to 6,450 pence at 11:30 a.m. in London. Prior to today, the stock had risen 19 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 10 billion pounds ($16.8 billion), about 40 percent more than Marks & Spencer.

Next Directory

Pretax profit for the year through January will be 750 million pounds to 790 million pounds, Next said today in a statement. The company had forecast a figure of 730 million pounds to 770 million pounds on March 20.

Next forecast sales growth of 5.5 percent to 9.5 percent for the year, compared with a prior forecast of 4 percent to 8 percent. Revenue rose 11 percent in the first quarter, outpacing the median estimate of analysts for an 8.6 percent increase.

Next Directory sales increased 14 percent in the quarter. The unit, established in 1988, now accounts for more than a third of sales and half of earnings as increasing numbers of shoppers choose to order from home and either have products delivered or collect them from a store.

Quarterly sales at the retailer’s stores gained 8.8 percent. With more than 500 outlets across the U.K. and Ireland, Next is adding new shops, which are highly profitable and provide a boost to online sales as shoppers collect orders.

Like-for-like sales at Next stores increased 5.4 percent in the quarter, analyst Jamie Merriman at Sanford C. Bernstein, estimated. That’s the best performance since the third quarter of 2002, she said.

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Hermes beats expectations with 15% rise in Q1 sales

Iconic luxury goods maker Hermes on Tuesday revealed it had beaten forecasts for its first quarter as like-for-like sales rose 14.7 per cent.

Demand for both its fashion and leather goods and accessories drove the increase, with a particularly strong performance in Japan, one of Hermes’ biggest markets.

Revenue in Japan, where Hermes retails in more than 20 locations, rose 22 per cent in the first quarter, while it noted trading in the US and China remained buoyant.

Chief executive Axel Dumas said sales had improved to an extent in its southern European markets such as Italy, thanks to higher demand from local consumers and the popularity of the brand’s new Milan store.

Leather goods products, Hermes’ largest stream of revenue, generated sales growth of 15.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis, while ready-to-wear and fashion accessories rose 19.1 per cent.

Despite the encouraging signs, Hermes warned last month that it expects a slight drop in operating margin for 2014, in part due to foreign exchange variations.

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Coach Shares Are Plunging — Here Are Three Reasons The Company Is In Trouble

Coach shares dropped more than 9% Tuesday after the company reported a disappointing decline in third quarter sales.
North American comparable store sales plunged 21%, marking the fourth straight quarter of declines. The company also reported a 7% decline in third quarter revenue to $1.1 billion.

Here’s why the company is in trouble:

1. Coach’s core business in North America—the sale of women’s handbags and accessories—is failing. The company is trying to ramp up sales of men’s footwear and accessories in Europe and Asian markets to offset that weakness.

2. The company is continuing open new stores and grow its inventory in North America despite plunging sales in the region. Coach executives said in October that the company was planning to increase its square footage in the region by 7% through 20 new store openings and 20 expansions, including two new store concepts at flagship locations in New York and Southern California.

3. Coach continues to face fierce competition from its much smaller rivals, including Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Kate Spade. Coach shares have dropped 10% in the past year, compared with a 72% jump in Kors and a 67% gain in Kate Spade. Michael Kors also overtook Coach this year as the most sought-after handbag brand among teens, according to a Piper Jaffray survey.

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Tesco to sign UAE partnership deal

Tesco, the world’s third largest retailer, will this week formally sign an exclusive partnership with Dubai-based supermarket chain Choithrams, sources have confirmed.

The partnership will be officially announced at a press conference in Dubai on Wednesday and will pave the way for Tesco-branded products being exclusively sold in Choithrams’ 31 stories across the UAE, a source told Arabian Business.

In late 2012, Choithrams, which also has operations to Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, announced a major expansion plan to open 32 new outlets across the Gulf by the end of 2014.

Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket chain and third globally behind Carrefour and Wal-Mart, is looking to boost its bottom dollar after earlier this year reporting a second year of falling profits.

Tesco, which has a market valuation of £23bn ($38bn), has 530,000 staff and 6,351 stores worldwide, has suffered on several fronts in recent years.

Overseas, failed attempts to break into the United States and Japan and troubles in China and Europe have proved a distraction to its home market, where it still makes over two-thirds of sales.

Alongside a 6 percent fall in annual group trading profit announced in early April, Tesco took a £734m write-down on the value of its European businesses, where trading has slowed, and a one-off charge of £540m pounds in China. That puts charges and write-downs for its overseas forays at close to £3bn in two years.

Trading profit for the year to February 22 was £3.3bn, in line with analysts forecasts, Reuters said.

Overseas, group trading profit was down 5.6 percent in Asia and down 28 percent in Europe, with a slump in trade in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey and Ireland.

Group underlying pre-tax profit fell 6.9 percent to £3.05bn in the year, and according to Reuters data will fall 5.8 percent to £2.87bn for its 2015 fiscal year.

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La Perla opens in Hong Kong and Macau

Italian luxury lingerie specialist La Perla pursues its international retail expansion with two new store openings in Hong Kong at Harbour City and in Macau at The Venetian. Both stores feature the lingerie and ready to wear lines of the house. The stores reflect the new retail store concept signed by Roberto Baciocchi.

La Perla is owned since 2013 by Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, the founder of telecoms group Fastweb.

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Gap Inc sees China sales hitting $1 billion in three years

Gap Inc expects its sales in China to hit $1 billion in three years and become its second largest market, the retailer said on Wednesday at its analyst day.

Last year, Gap opened 34 namesake stores in China, bringing its total there to 81. The retailer will open another 30 this year. The company recently opened its first Old Navy stores in China.

The company operated 3,539 stores across all its brands and markets as of Feb 1. It does not break out its sale figures for China.

Gap Inc also said it would expand a service that allows shoppers to reserve items online for pick-up in store to all of its namesake stores this year, as part of efforts to blend its e-commerce and store businesses.

The retailer, which also operates the Banana Republic chain, will also start testing a feature allowing shoppers to order items online while they are in a store.

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Miu Miu opens third store in Beijing

Miu Miu (Prada Group) opened this week its third store in Beijing at the recently renovated In88 Mall in Wanfujing district. The new Miu Miu store covers 420 sqm on two floors and features ready to wear, shoes, eyewear and handbags. Miu Miu operates its largest flagship store in Beijing at the Sanlitun Village and a second shop-in-shop at the Shin Kong Place Mall.

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JIMMY CHOO’S 1ST FREE-STANDING CANADIAN STORE TO OPEN AT TORONTO’S YORKDALE

Canada’s first free-standing Jimmy Choo store will open at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Interestingly, a Jimmy Choo shop-in-store is already located steps away, within the mall’s Holt Renfrew store. More Canadian Jimmy Choo locations are expected to follow.

Yorkdale’s new Jimmy Choo will be only steps away from Holt Renfrew’s Jimmy Choo shop-in-store

Jimmy Choo will locate next to Yorkdale’s Tiffany & Co. store, in part of the retail space formerly occupied by Mexx. We were first alerted to Jimmy Choo’s new Yorkdale store by an article in Womenswear Daily. ACT7 of Urban Toronto subsequently confirmed its location via this City of Toronto Building Application.

In December of 2013, a Jimmy Choo shop-in-store opened within Yorkdale’s Holt Renfrew. As can be seen from the floorplan in this article, the new free-standing Jimmy Choo will be mere steps away from Holt’s.

London-based Jimmy Choo is one of the world’s most well-known footwear and accessories brands. In Canada, it’s carried at selected Holt Renfrew stores. Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue stores will also likely carry Jimmy Choo when they open their Canadian locations. There are 26 Jimmy Choo stores in the United States, including three concessions within Bloomingdale’s stores.

Jimmy Choo shop-in-store at Holt Renfrew, Yorkdale. Photo credit: Jenna Marie Wakani for Toronto Life Magazine.

The shop will be designed and executed by Toronto-based dkstudio inc., which has designed some of Canada’s most prestigious stores including several Louis Vuitton location, Prada at Yorkdale’s Holt Renfrew, and De Beers in Vancouver. It will also design Canada’s first Vince Camuto store, also to be located at Yorkdale.

A source familiar with the company informs us that Jimmy Choo will likely open at least two more Canadian stores. A Downtown Vancouver store is foreseeable as well as another Toronto location, either in the Yorkville area or at the Toronto Eaton Centre.

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Burberry opens digital boutique on Chinese marketplace Tmall.com

Luxury British fashion house Burberry has become the first premium brand to join Chinese company Alibaba Group online marketplace, Tmall.com with the launch of its digital storefront. Burberry’s official Tmall.com store launched on Thursday and offers tailored selection of the brand’s product range, including menswear, womenswear, fragrance and accessories. The store opening coincided with the launch party for Burberry’s new Shanghai flagship store, bringing the brand’s physical store count in China to 78.

In order to provide their customers with a richer online experience the Tmall.com store also offers special customer perks such as a gift wrapping service and 24 hour customer service consultants, which brings the heritage brand closer to its Chinese consumers. The Tmall.com store also features visual content pages which share the brand’s heritage with its visitors.

The online store is compatible with all mobile, desktop and tablet devices across China and features a custom-built design which reflects Burberry online flagship store, Burberry.com. In honor of the store’s launch, a special limited edition of Burberry’s Petal bag is currently available exclusively at the Tmall.com store.

The Tmall.com collaboration lets “Burberry to connect digitally focused consumers”

“The official Burberry Tmall store offers the purest articulation of the Burberry brand on any of the Alibaba Group’s platforms to date,” commented Burberry in an official statement. “This innovative collaboration with China’s largest online retail platform, allows Burberry to connect digitally focused consumers to an authentic representation of the brand.”
“The new tie-up is a first for any luxury brand and reflects a shared commitment to offering Chinese consumers the best in luxury experiences across all of Alibaba Group’s platforms.”

Tmall.com is currently China’s biggest business to consumer marketplace and one of the three e-commerce sites operated by Chinese online giant Alibaba, offering custom-built brand platforms for a number of national and international brand such as Nike and Levi’s.

The e-commerce platform hosts over 70,000 retailers and over the past three years sales via Tmall.com have increased tenfold to 273.7 billion yuan (26 billion pounds), according to Euromonitor International. Burberry’s move to open a virtual store on Tmall.com highlights the booming e-commerce market in China and the brand’s desire to expand its reach in the country.

Data tracker iResearch Global Inc estimated that Chinese consumers purchased 1.84 trillion yuan (175.5 billion pounds) worth of online products in 2013, which could grow to 4.45 trillion yuan by 2017 (423.4 billion pounds). However being able to provide Chinese consumers a full online brand experience and assurance of the products quality is necessary in order to stand out in China’s expanding online marketplaces and stores.

Teaming up with Tmall.com means that Chinese consumers who purchase Burberry’s products from the digital store have the assurance that the products they purchase are genuine, as all Tmall.com merchants must guarantee the authenticity of their wares before joining the marketplace, which will undoubtedly help the British luxury brand in its struggling against the increasing tide of Asian counterfeit products.

Although Burberry may be the first luxury brand to open an online store on Tmall.com, they are not the first British company to work with the Chinese platform to enter the country. Last year Marks & Spencer launched its viritual store on Tmall.com and earlier this week, Asos announced the launch of a Tmall.com as a supplement for its current online flagship store in China.

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Morrisons CEO is “out of his depth” according to former director

Roger Owen, a former property director at Wm Morrison for 22 years, has launched a scathing attack on the retailer he left in 2009, describing current chief executive Dalton Philips as “out of his depth” and the business as a “supertanker heading towards an iceberg”.

It never rains but it pours, and for Morrisons, Owen believes there’s “rough water” ahead as he called for chairman Sir Ian Gibson to stand down from his position. The heavy criticism is the first time a former director has spoken out publicly about Morrisons’ struggles to come up to date with its competitors, as pressure from shareholders continues to grow on senior management at the supermarket giant.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Owen said that while he was not speaking on behalf of former chairman Sir Ken Morrison, he believed the strategies introduced under the current management team lacked focus and where getting the company nowhere. He added that it was time for the company’s chairman to take responsibility of its problems.

Owen, who left the firm in 2009, said: “He should not be putting himself forward for re-election. If he does put himself forward, I hope sincerely that he is going to be voted off the board.”

In response, Morrisons described Owen’s comments as “unhelpful and unwelcome” and suggested some of the problems now faced by the management team where apparent when he left the board five years ago. A spokesman said: “Judging modern retailing through the lens of the past is never very enlightening.

“These are unhelpful and unwelcome comments reflecting a different era in retailing.“He might be better served taking more of a thoughtful view of his role as a director of a board that left Morrisons, uniquely among the big grocers, with no online and no convenience offer.”

Morrisons chief executive Philips is set to update the City on the retailer’s strategy to turn sales around on Wednesday.

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Dublin Retail Update : Q1 2014

download the report here …. PDF

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Reliance Industries’s retail chain now largest in India

Reliance Industries Ltd today said its retail chain has become the largest in the country and reported a cash profit in 2013-14.
Revenue at Reliance Retail rose 34 per cent to Rs 14,496 crore in 2013-14 from a year earlier.
“Retail business has turned around and is now India’s largest retail chain,” Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.
The retail business’ profit before depreciation, interest and taxes was Rs 363 crore in FY14, the company said.
The retail business has established market leadership in mostly all of the sectors it operates in. The company added 225 stores and 2.7 million operating square feet in the year across the sectors, it added.
“As on March 31, 2014, Reliance Retail operated 1,691 stores across 146 cities, with 11.7 million of operating square feet,” it said.
For the fourth quarter ended March 31, Reliance Retail reported a 19.27 per cent increase in turnover to Rs 3,639 crore from Rs 3,051 crore a year earlier.
“The fashion and lifestyle sector delivered strong performance in the quarter, fuelled by its focus on providing customers with fashionable, high-quality products at great value. The focus on customer and product proposition delivered record revenues and growth, both in the quarter and for the year,” the company said.
In the digital sector, Reliance Retail said it has crossing 250 stores, while a new-format Digital Express Mini was launched in the quarter focusing on mobility and communication products and “being of a compact size, is eminently scalable across Tier 1 to Tier 3 cities.”
On its JV with Marks & Spencer, the company said it continued to grow robustly and Marks and Spencer enjoyed a year of record sales as well as new store openings.
The company said that given the macro environment challenges in the jewellery sector, Reliance Jewels continued to “focus on operational improvements in systems and processes that would result in building a robust platform for growth in the coming years.”
“We are excited about the fact this has been the first profitable year (for retail arm) with 30 per cent growth. But there is a lot of ground still to be covered,” RIL Chief Financial Officer Alok Agarwal told reporters here today.
“Based on what we have done, based on what we think we can do, 25-30 per cent compounded growth in terms of retail revenues over the next 2-3 years is a pretty safe assumption,” he added.

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Wal-Mart plans to open 50 wholesale stores in India over 4-5 years

Hong Kong – Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to open 50 additional wholesale stores in India over the next 4-5 years, company spokesman Anthony Rose said on Tuesday.

The world’s largest retailer already runs 20 wholesale stores in India. The retailer will also launch wholesale e-commerce operations this summer in the country, Rose added.

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Jimmy Choo’s store in Beverly Hills features the new retail concept

British luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo opened this week its new flagship store in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive, which features the new retail concept designed by David Collins Studio. A limited edition Candy bag was also launched for the occasion, exclusively available at the Rodeo Drive store.
Other Jimmy Choo stores are scheduled to be redesigned: Vienna, Las Vegas, Dallas, London, Toronto, Macau and Tokyo.

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Cartier opens new store in Venice, Italy

French jeweller Cartier opened this week a new store in Venice, Italy at 1474-1475 Calle San Moisè , steps from San Marco Square. The new store features the new retail concept of the brand and includes both jewellery and watches. The new store is larger than its former location.

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Bond Street commands priciest retail spot in Europe once again

London’s Old Bond Street, home to Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Saint Laurent and Ferragamo, has yet again landed the title of most expensive shopping street in Europe.

Property advisers Colliers International on Monday revealed retailers are now spending £838 per square foot per year as demand for space on Britain’s premium luxury street continues to outpace supply.

Old Bond Street managed to beat Bahnhoftstrasse in Zurich, which commands annual rents of £599 per square foot, and the iconic Champs Elysees in Paris, where tenants pay £536 per square foot.

“London is still the signature location for any brand that aspires to international luxury status,” Paul Souber, head of central London retail said.

“What we’re seeing is retailers paying key money – multi-million pound payments to take control of existing leases just to get a foothold on Old Bond Street. The leases changing hands may already be at current market rents, but retailers will still pay millions more for the rarity value to secure a store on the street,” Souber added.

Back in 2012, luxury watchmaker Breitling made headlines with its record-breaking £1 million-a-year tenancy rates. The same year, a report by Cushman & Wakefield found demand on both New and Old Bond Street outstripped supply by around ten to one.

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Gucci to launch direct operations in Russia

Gucci is the latest major international luxury brand to announce direct operations in Russia, taking over control of its 3 existing stores in Moscow (Tsum, Kutuzovskiy Prospekt e Barvikha Luxury Village) and preparing to open two new stores by the end of the year, one inside the Gum Department Store and a second one on Petrovka Street. For the time being, Gucci will maintain the franchising agreements for its mono-brand stores in St Petersburg, Sochi and Yekaterinburg.

Gucci marks the switch from franchising to direct operations in Moscow almost 17 years since the opening of its first store in Moscow. According to the the company’s CEO Patrizio di Marco, the move highlights the importance and the maturity of the Russian luxury market.

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Coffee chain Starbucks expanding aggressively in India

Coffee chain Starbucks expanding aggressively in India

NEW DELHI: The world’s largest coffee chain Starbucks Coffee Co. is expanding aggressively in India even as its competitors, including global rivals such as Costa Coffee and Gloria Jean’s Coffees, are having a tough time in the country’s cafe market.

Tata Starbucks Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between the US coffee chain and Tata Global Beverages, added seven stores in the last one-and-half months alone, four in New Delhi, two Bangalore and one in Pune, taking the total number of stores in the country to 43 at present. Tata Starbucks alliance opened only one store in India in February and three in January.

Tata Starbucks, which entered India in October 2012, said at the time of the launch that it plans to invest $80 million to begin with to roll out dozens of Starbucks branded cafes in India.

Starbucks is eyeing a big slice of India’s $300 million cafe chains market that’s growing annually by 20% and is currently dominated by the local chain Cafe Coffee Day that operates more than 1,000 outlets nationwide.

Starbucks’ expansion is coming at a time when India’s cafe business is in the doldrums. Dubai-based Landmark Group is seeking to terminate its seven-year-old franchisee agreement with Australia’s Gloria Jean’s Coffees amid heavy losses due to high rentals and competition from rivals, a person aware of the development said.

Another global rival, UK’s Costa Coffee, may end its exclusive franchisee agreement with New Delhi-based Devyani International as the Indian firm is not ready to cough up more capital into a business that is yet to turn profitable after nine years of operations.

Also, Lavazza Spa has been looking for a buyer for Barista, the country’s oldest coffee chain that the Italian group acquired in 2007.

Industry watchers say that the business is becoming difficult to turn profitable even after years of operations.

Coffee through bars is a sit-in concept in India where consumers generally hang around such outlets for hours compared to the global phenomenon of grabbing coffee on the go from generally tiny outlets and kiosks.

Industry experts say that coffee chains in India must maintain elaborate and plush outlets – and not kiosks – to give Indian consumers what they are looking from a coffee chain even if the proposition turns out to be very expensive, which is making it difficult for many companies to stay in the business and hard to scale up.

But Starbucks is doing just that. The world’s largest coffee chain is positioning itself as an aspirational brand in this largely tea-drinking nation, and is going over the top with its stores, some of the plushest it’s opened anywhere in the world.

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Burberry opens in Shanghai largest flagship store in Asia Pacific

Burberry has recently unveiled in Shanghai its largest store in Asia Pacific. Spread over three floors, the new Burberry flagship store in Shanghai is located within Kerry Centre on Nanjing Road West and features the full product range of the brand. The new Burberry store features personal tailoring service as well as a space dedicated to beauty.

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UAE’s second largest mall to launch in November

Aldar Properties , Abu Dhabi’s leading listed property development, investment and management company, has announced that anchor tenants have accelerated fit-out of their units at Yas Mall in preparation for the scheduled opening in November to coincide with the 2014 Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Tenants are now actively engaged with the 2.5 million sq. ft. mall development, Abu Dhabi’s first super-regional mall and the UAE’s second largest mall after Dubai Mall, which is also the world’s largest.

Some of the units currently being fitted-out in the upcoming Yas Mall are by anchor tenants Debenhams, the UK high street department store, VOX Cinemas, and Geant, set to be the largest hypermarket in the capital. Meanwhile, Funworks, a family entertainment centre that will offer a unique edutainment concept, and The Cheesecake Factory have also begun fit-out.

Additional retailers are scheduled to move on site in the coming weeks as the momentum builds to the end of the year. Major retail groups, including Al Shaya, Majid Al Futtaim, Assadea, Dubai Holding, Fucom, Landmark and Royal Sporting House have all reiterated their commitment to the November opening as they progress with their fit-outs.
Talal Al Dhiyebi, Executive Director of Asset Management at Aldar said: “The mall offers a unique opportunity to retailers and the feedback has been very positive as we further engage with our committed tenants and potential new retailers. Yas Mall is set to transform the retail landscape in Abu Dhabi and will enhance the Yas Island proposition as a world-class destination. Local and international consumers alike will soon be able to enjoy a unique shopping, dining and leisure experience in the country’s capital.”

Meanwhile, Aldar recently hosted major retail groups representing over 150 fashion, leisure and F&B brands that are committed to Yas Mall. The visit included meetings with management and a tour of the mall, allowing partners to experience first-hand the unique features and grand scale of the up-coming retail development.

Duncan McLellan, General Manager of Dubai Holding Group, commented: “Yas Mall has been one of the most anticipated retail launches in our 2014 rollout and we are fully committed to opening on the mall’s scheduled launch date. I have no doubt that the Mall will take Abu Dhabi to the next level, making the capital one of the most prominent retail destinations in the region. We are pleased to show our support with our entire brand portfolio including Zara, which is set to launch its largest store yet in the UAE.”

David Reilly, Chief Executive Officer of RSH Middle East, added: “Yas has made leaps and bounds since we last visited the site. Once open, the mall is sure to be the most impressive shopping destination in Abu Dhabi. With its impressive retail offering, contemporary interior, effortless layout, and location; no doubt Yas Mall will bring countless visitors through its doors when it opens in November.”

Yas Mall will open an exciting range of leading international and regional retail and F&B brands, a 20 screen state of the art cinema operated by VOX Cinemas and a family entertainment zone by Funworks. With the completion of Yas Mall, Aldar will become the largest owner and manager of retail space in Abu Dhabi.

Yas Island is situated roughly 10 minutes from the Abu Dhabi International Airport and 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi, making it an attractive and accessible destination for both residents and tourists. A selection of seven hotels can be found on the island including the luxurious Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, as well as a range of top attractions comprising: Yas Marina Circuit; Yas Marina; Ferrari World Abu Dhabi; Yas Water World; Yas Links Golf Course; and Yas Retail Park which includes IKEA and Ace Hardware. © Emirates 24|7 2014

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House of Fraser could open up to 50 stores in China after Sanpower saleMonday, 14th April 2014

House of Fraser could open as many as 50 stores in China following its sale to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower.

Sanpower, which also owns China’s oldest department store, Nanjing Xinjiekou, revealed earlier this month that it was buying an 89 per cent stake in House of Fraser in a deal that gives the company an enterprise value of around £480 million. The supergroup is expected to make a more detailed statement about its acquisition on the Shanghai Stock Exchange this morning.

An initial 20 stores are already planned for House of Fraser’s potential Chinese expansion, although this could rise to as many as 50. According to the Telegraph, the company is also thought to be considering the name “Oriental Fraser” for the new stores.

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Dior opens new store in Vienna

Situated in the heart of Vienna in the Goldenes Quartier (1, Wallnerstrasse), the new Dior boutique in Vienna spreads over its two floors. On the ground floor, timepieces rub shoulders with the accessories, fragrances from the Collection Privée Christian Dior and leather goods creations, with a special area given over to precious skins.

On the first floor can be found the footwear and the most recent women’s ready-to-wear collections. As a reflection of these creations, the atmosphere is elegant and contemporary, refined and bold. The store, decorated with works of art and furniture designed by prestigious designers, recalls the highly specific spirit of 30 Avenue Montaigne.

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QUEBEC’S LARGEST MALL TO UNDERGO $150-MILLION EXPANSION

Quebec’s largest mall, Les Galeries de la Capitale, is expected to add about 150,000 square feet of retail space at a cost of about $150 million. An 11-screen Cineplex theatre will also be added, and construction could begin at the end of 2014.

Located in suburban Quebec City, Les Galeries de la Capitale has almost 1.5 million square feet of retail space and boasts over 280 stores. Its anchor stores include Hudson’s Bay, Sears, La Maison Simons and Target. The mall hosts about 11 million visitors per year, and enjoys annual sales of about $237 million, according to landlord Oxford Properties. It has the only IMAX theatre in the region, which is also the largest IMAX screen in Canada. The mall is also home to North America’s second-largest indoor amusement park, called Méga Parc. A roller coaster, ferris wheel and skating rink are among the 20 attractions at Méga Parc.

La Press reports that negotiations are still underway for the proposed 150,000 square foot mall expansion. The expansion would be on the south side of the mall. Rumour has it that Victoria’s Secret could open a store within the mall expansion. If so, it would be Victoria’s Secret’s second location in the province of Quebec, following the 2012 opening of an 11,000 square foot Victoria’s Secret at Le Carrefour Laval in suburban Montreal.

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South African group Massmart to enter Angolan market in 2015

Massmart, one of South Africa’s largest retail groups, plans to start operating in Angola in 2015 with two stores, the group’s director for Africa, Mark Turner said in Johannesburg.

During the Africa Investment Summit, organised by financial news agency Reuters, Turner also said that one of the stores would open in the first quarter of 2015 and the other would open in the third quarter of the same year.

The group plans to open two more stores in Angola in 2017, Turner said.

Massmart is 51 percent-owned by US group Wal-Mart Stores Inc, and is present in 11 sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana. It has sought to expand its presence in Africa and is currently building its first store in Kenya. (macauhub)

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Samsung’s First Retail Stores Open In The UK

Samsung’s First Retail Stores Open In The UK

The first Samsung store will open today. Samsung is planning to open up 60 stores across Europe in partnership with the Carphone Warehouse which will sell exclusively Samsung products.

Samsung Experience Stores have opened already in Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Ireland but now the UK stores will be opening. The stores will stock Samsung’s full range of mobiles, tablets, laptops, and wearables.

That will feature the new Samsung Galaxy S5 handset, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Fit smartwatches. All of the devices will be avaliable from today. More stores will be opening across the UK and Europe in the coming months but for now the UK stores opening today are below.

Newcastle, Northumberland Street
Newcastle, Metro
Liverpool, Paradise Street
Bradford, Darley Street
Bristol, Cribbs
Manchester, Market Street
Bournemouth, Commercial Street
London, Oxford Street
Cardiff, Queen Street
Andrew Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of Carphone Warehouse said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Samsung as its preferred European partner for its experience store rollout. In line with the launch of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 this week we’re opening the first UK stores, including one in the heart of London’s shopping district on Oxford Street.”

Simon Stanford, Vice President of IT & Mobile division, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland said: “We are committed to providing the most innovative and exciting shopping experience for our customers and our partnership with Carphone Warehouse allows us to do just that. We will be able to offer a unique shopping experience tailored to our customers’ needs as well as giving them access to our wide portfolio of connected mobile products.”

Samsung has clearly taken the Apple store model and applied it to the Samsung brand, as you can see in the photos. It’s all a little clinical and futuristic but it’s bound to sell a load more devices.

Samsung Opening 60 Retail Stores Across Europe

Following in the footsteps of Apple’s retail stores, Samsung is going to open 60 dedicated stores in Europe. The outlets are going to open in conjunction with Carphone Warehouse but will exclusively sell Samsung products.

Three stores were trialed in Spain in 2013 and it seemed to be a success, so Samsung outlets will be opening on the streets of the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands this year.

CEO of Carphone Warehouse, Andrew Harrison, said, “We are delighted to have been chosen as Samsung’s preferred European partner for their store rollout. Our Connected World Services business will combine Carphone Warehouse’s retailing expertise and systems with one of the world’s biggest brands and will help us make even more lives better through connected technology.”

The stores are going to allow customers to experiment with Samsung products before buying them. On display will be the predictable smartphones and tablets from the company’s Galaxy range, alongside laptops and also some wearable technology, probably the Galaxy Gear.

The two companies believe there is even room to expand the deal in the future, meaning the stores could come to more European countries. Maybe even the USA will see some similar stores in the future. Carphone Warehouse is bringing its extensive retail experience to the partnership.

Although we know Samsung stores will be coming to a number of countries, there’s no confirmation on cities or exact locations. There are seven countries confirmed so we can expect about eight stores throughout the UK at least. Samsung is still being coy about when the stores will be opened as well, but with the success of the Spain store and this announcement we expect to see them opening before the year is out.

Would you like to play around with Samsung products in an Apple Store like environment before buying them? You’ll be able to get your hands on the Galaxy S5 without even having to buy it.

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South Africa’s Woolworths set to buy Australia’s David Jones for $2 billion

SYDNEY (Reuters) – South African retailer Woolworths Holdings Ltd (WHLJ.J) is set to buy Australia’s second-largest department store David Jones (DJS.AX) for $2 billion, trumping a merger proposal from Australian rival Myer Holdings Ltd (MYR.AX) with a hefty premium.

The deal, the biggest for Woolworths to date, creates a leading southern hemisphere retailer that will benefit from greater scale and a common fashion seasonality. It also provides David Jones, which has seen profits decline for the past three years as competition from overseas players heats up, with more expertise in online offerings and private brands.

Resilient consumer spending, fuelled by a strong local currency and record low interest rates, has encouraged the likes of Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST), and Japan’s Fast Retailing (9983.T), the operator of the Uniqlo clothing chain, to set up shop in Australia.

“The view that we take as a business is that the department store isn’t dead – mediocrity is dead,” Woolworths Chief Executive Ian Moir said at a briefing in Sydney.

“In short, we’re buying this business to build a bigger southern hemisphere brand.”

Woolworths, an upmarket retailer, offered A$4.00 per share for David Jones. That represents a 25 percent premium to its closing price on Tuesday and a 40 percent premium to its close on January 30 when the Myer offer was made public.

“This makes a huge amount of strategic sense, they can afford to pay a high multiple,” said Commonwealth Bank retail analyst Andrew Mclennan.

“There is going to be big synergies coming from this transaction.”

Woolworths’ profits have grown 20 percent annually in the past five years on investments in product development, tighter inventory management and through online sales, and the company plans to bring this expertise to David Jones, Moir said.

He estimated that the company could add at least A$130 million annually to David Jones’ bottom line within five years.

David Jones posted an annual profit of A$95.2 million in the last financial year.

Its shares jumped to match the bid price but later pared gains slightly to end the day 23 percent higher at A$3.91.

ALL ABOUT SCALE

The offer prompted Myer, Australia’s biggest department store, to withdraw its nil-premium all-stock proposal that valued David Jones at A$1.7 billion as of Tuesday’s closing price, and which it had touted as a merger of equals.

In 2013, in U.S. dollars, Woolworths revenue was $3.6 billion and David Jones was $1.7 billion, putting their combined sales above Myer’s $2.9 billion, although still far below rivals like Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) which garnered $15.3 billion.

“What we are seeing is like a global consolidation of retail,” said Morningstar analyst Tim Montague-Jones.

“That’s increasingly seeing stronger retail models expand offshore and take market share from weaker ones. It’s all about scale,” he said, noting Myer would be left in a much weaker competitive position.

Shares in Myer ended 3.9 percent higher, however, on relief that it would not be overstretching in seeking a deal with David Jones.

ATTRACTIVE AUSTRALIA

Analysts expect to see more competition in the Australian market as more players seek a slice of the pie. Marks & Spencer may also be planning to set up shop, local media has reported.

Australian retail sales rose 0.2 percent in February to a record A$22.97 billion, following a 1.2 percent climb in January. It was the 10th straight month of increases, the longest such stretch since 2006/07.

The retail sector accounts for 17 percent of Australia’s A$1.5 trillion in annual gross domestic product (GDP) and is the second-biggest employer, providing 10 percent of all jobs.

The deal also came on the same day that a measure of Australian consumer sentiment rose for the first time in five months in April as households became more optimistic on the near-term outlook for both the economy and their own finances.

Woolworths Holdings, which has no relationship with Australian supermarket chain Woolworths Ltd (WOW.AX), already has experience in the Australian market, owning 88 percent of upmarket clothing retailer Country Road Ltd (CTY.AX) as well as another clothing chain Witchery.

It said it would finance the deal with debt, cash and equity fund raising. It does not plan to reduce jobs at David Jones after the takeover, it added.

David Jones was advised by Gresham Advisory Partners Ltd, Macquarie Capital and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. Woolworths was advised by Rothschild and Standard Bank. ($1 = 1.0712 Australian Dollars)

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Interbrand Reveals The ‘Best Retail Brands’ Of 2014 (And The Biggest Losers)

Wal-Mart’s brand value is waning, as competitors like Amazon have dulled its low-price edge.

By contrast, the savvy use of big data to customize shoppers’ wants and needs has catapulted the brand equity of retailers as disparate as Whole Foods and Macy’s.

That’s some of what Interbrand’s 2014 Best Retail Brands report revealed.

The annual report from the brand consultancy, released today, ranks the 50 most valuable U.S. retail brands and the leading store brands internationally.

The biggest gainers on the North American list in terms of brand value (Macy’s, Whole Foods, Amazon.com and Cabela’s), as well as the biggest losers (Best Buy), place holders (Wal-Mart) and names that have dropped off the list entirely (RadioShack, Guess), paint a larger picture of the trends reshaping the retail industry.

Wal-Mart’s brand value is waning, as competitors like Amazon have dulled its low-price edge.

By contrast, the savvy use of big data to customize shoppers’ wants and needs has catapulted the brand equity of retailers as disparate as Whole Foods and Macy’s.

That’s some of what Interbrand’s 2014 Best Retail Brands report revealed.

The annual report from the brand consultancy, released today, ranks the 50 most valuable U.S. retail brands and the leading store brands internationally.

The biggest gainers on the North American list in terms of brand value (Macy’s, Whole Foods, Amazon.com and Cabela’s), as well as the biggest losers (Best Buy), place holders (Wal-Mart) and names that have dropped off the list entirely (RadioShack, Guess), paint a larger picture of the trends reshaping the retail industry.

First, The Good News

Retail brands that have gained the most value are stretching beyond their core businesses to assume a new relevance, nimbly bridging the divide between brick-and-mortar stores and online/mobile shopping, and leveraging big data to personalize the shopping experience for consumers, as one-size-fits-all retailing no longer cuts it today in a market with infinite buying options.

Hot off the press, here’s Interbrand’s list of the 50 most valuable North American retail brands.
The Biggest Gainers: Macy’s, Whole Foods

Macy’s brand value surged 383%, the most of any retailer on the list, reflecting its swiftness in adapting to consumers’ ever evolving digital shopping behavior and a commitment to their growing demand for seamless in-store, online and mobile shopping options.

To that end, the department store will roll out a “buy online, pickup in store” concept to all of its stores this spring.

Macy’s has also been “a big adopter of RFID [radio-frequency-identification technology], tagging all of their SKUs with RFID tags so that they can track merchandise from the time it leaves the production facility to when it reaches the cash register, which has enabled them to reduce distribution centers and compete [better] with Amazon,” Dirk Defenbaugh, managing director of Interbrand Design Forum, told Forbes.

What’s more, Macy’s has invested in its private-label program with house brands like Charter Club, a key point of merchandise differentiation from other retailers.

“We’ve seen in the past consumers reward brands that get that mix right,” Graham Hales, chief marketing officer for Interbrand, told Forbes.

A common theme among the big brand gainers this year – be it Macy’s, Amazon or Whole Foods – is that they are expert at harnessing data to get a “better picture of their customer,” Hales said.

In Whole Foods’ case, the upscale supermarket chain has created “customized assortments for [local] store environments,” Defenbaugh said.

Despite their “Whole Paycheck” reputation, Whole Foods is attuned to the fact that the wellness trend means there’s a demand among low-income shoppers for healthful foods, hence their push to “provide lower-cost options for people by category, brands and price points, and big data plays into that [effort],” he said.

Whole Foods has moved into food deserts such as Detroit to serve shoppers in areas lacking in healthy-eating options.

Wal-Mart Stumbles

No merchant comes close to Wal-Mart in terms of its retail dominance. The company’s U.S. sales alone equal about 1.6% of the U.S. GDP.

And according to Interbrand’s 2014 rankings, Walmart is more than $100 billion more valuable than Target, a distant second on the North American list.

Still, retailers, most notably dollar stores and Amazon, have chipped away at Walmart’s raison d’être: its low price, competitive edge.

Many shoppers who defected to dollar stores during the recession haven’t returned, particularly for low-cost replenishment trips. “Then there’s the Amazon factor,” Hales said.

The online giant, also obsessively driven to offer shoppers low prices, dwarfs Walmart’s ecommerce business.

What’s more, as consumers can instantly price check items from their smart phones, all manner of retailers have gotten meaningfully sharper on price. It’s all added up to a 6% decline in Walmart’s brand value, the Interbrand report revealed.

The Biggest Losers: Lacking Relevance In A Changing Retail Landscape?

For chains that lost the most brand value, such as Best Buy, and ones that fell off the top 50 entirely on the North American list, like RadioShack and Guess, it’s a matter of “relevance in today’s market,” said Defenbaugh.

Best Buy and RadioShack, which is shuttering 1,100 stores, are battling concept obsolescence as shoppers flock to online merchants like Amazon to buy consumer electronics.

And despite a clever Super Bowl ad campaign that garnered some attention, “what role does a brand like RadioShack play in today’s environment?” Defenbaugh said.

Meanwhile, Guess, which reached its brand apex in the 80s, lost its cool and slipped into irrelevance.

Today it lacks a compelling brand story in a merciless fashion business “that’s so trend driven,” he said.

“Most great brands have a great story behind them,” Hales said.

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Versace sees good start to 2014 after sales rise 17% in past year

MILAN, Italy – Italian fashion house Versace said on Thursday it had started 2014 on a strong footing thanks to a double-digit rise in sales from its own shops in the first quarter, following a 19 percent increase for the whole of 2013.

Total revenue at the luxury group, which plans an eventual stock market listing after the recent sale of a stake to U.S. private equity group Blackstone, rose 17 percent last year to 479 million euros ($660 million).

Core earnings rose nearly 60 percent to 71 million euros once adjusted for currency effects, it said in a statement.

Versace said sales at shops it manages directly rose by nearly a third in the United States, adding to a strong performance in 2012, and by 18 percent in Asia. Direct sales accounted for nearly 56 percent of last year’s total.

The group, which returned to profit in 2011, last month agreed to sell a 20 percent stake to Blackstone for 210 million euros to fund expansion.

Versace, which competes with the likes of Kering’s Gucci, said it had invested 24 million euros last year to boost its retail and e-commerce presence. It plans to double the contribution from its e-commerce business this year.

“The main engine of the company’s growth continues to be the Versace Prima Linea (high-end collection), which accounts for 60 percent of overall sales,” it said.

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Miu Miu opens second store in Toronto

Located in the city’s prestigious Holt Renfrew Yorkdale department store, the new Miu Miu shop-in-shop features handbags and accessories collections.

In a sophisticated setup, the Miu Miu boutique features original, polished-steel and mirrored cellular polycarbonate display cases set against iconic damask fabric walls. The warmly-lit space sets off the two elements to perfection, framing and drawing attention to the products. The matt black marble floor designed by Italian architect Roberto Baciocchi, adds further elegance to the corner, while the crystal display counters with slim polished-steel frames complete the decor.

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Galeries Lafayette Owner Buys 6.1% Stake in Carrefour

Galeries Lafayette owner Motier SAS bought a 6.1 percent stake in Carrefour SA (CA), saying the “strategic” stake is for the long term and a reflection of confidence in the company’s future.

Motier, the holding company of the Moulin family, bought 44.2 million Carrefour shares, according to a statement sent after the close of French trading. At today’s closing price, the stake was valued at 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion).

Galeries Lafayette raised 1.18 billion euros from the sale of its 50 percent stake in Monoprix to Carrefour rival Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA (CO) in a deal reached in 2012. The purchase of a stake in Carrefour follows failures by Galeries Lafayette in the past year to acquire rival department stores Printemps and House of Fraser Plc.

“Motier is also actively pursuing its strategy of developing its core activity of department stores and will devote the necessary resources in the course of the coming years,” it said in the statement.

Lille, France-based Motier has no intention of increasing the stake, which was purchased on the open market, said a person familiar with the matter, declining to be identified as the plans aren’t public. The acquisition also won’t impact Galeries Lafayette’s plans for expansion, the person said.

Under Chief Executive Officer Georges Plassat, Carrefour is focusing on Europe, Latin America and China after retrenching from markets where it viewed prospects as weak. The company is considering selling a stake in its Brazilian business next year, Plassat said last month.

Carrefour shares have advanced 1.2 percent this year, giving it a market value of 21.1 billion euros. Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, controls about 14 percent of the company in concert with Blue Partners and Colony Capital, France’s market regulator said in September. A Carrefour spokeswoman declined to comment on the purchase.

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Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy

Nigeria has “rebased” its gross domestic product (GDP) data, which has pushed it above South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy.

Nigerian GDP now includes previously uncounted industries like telecoms, information technology, music, online sales, airlines, and film production.

GDP for 2013 totalled 80.3 trillion naira (£307.6bn: $509.9bn), the Nigerian statistics office said.

That compares with South Africa’s GDP of $370.3bn at the end of 2013.

‘Changes nothing’

However, some economists point out that Nigeria’s economic output is underperforming because at 170 million people, its population is three times larger than South Africa’s.

On a per-capita basis, South Africa’s GDP numbers are three times larger than Nigeria’s.

And Nigerian financial analyst Bismarck Rewane called the revisions “a vanity”.

He added: “The Nigerian population is not better off tomorrow because of that announcement. It doesn’t put more money in the bank, more food in their stomach. It changes nothing.”

Rebasing is carried out so that a nation’s GDP statistics give the most up-to-date picture of an economy as possible.

Most countries do it at least every three years or so, but Nigeria had not updated the components in its GDP base year since 1990.

Then, the country had one telecoms operator with around 300,000 phone lines. Now it has a whole mobile phone industry with tens of millions of subscribers.

Likewise, 24 years ago there was only one airline, and now there are many.

International aid donors are keen for more African countries to undertake this process regularly because it enables them to make better decisions when it comes to aid.

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House Of Fraser Bought By Chinese Tycoon

A Chinese tycoon has bought British high street chain the House of Fraser, according to sources.

Reuters said a 89% stake was bought by Sanpower, a Nanjing-based conglomerate controlled by Yafei Yuan.

Sources have told Sky News an announcement is expected imminently.

House of Fraser will now seek strategic growth in mainland China as part of a wider, global expansion.

The deal values the department stores at more than £450m.

The two sides are thought to have been in secret discussions for several months.

This follows a protracted search for investors led by House of Fraser’s chairman, Don McCarthy.

Just months ago the company was tipped for a public flotation.

But Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman reported in February that Mr McCarthy apparently had no desire to chair a publicly-listed company.

Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was also tipped as a making a possible move for the company.

The British group enjoyed strong Christmas trading, with like-for-like sales at its 61 stores up more than 7% during the three weeks to December 28 and more than 4% in the nine weeks to the same date.

Established during the 1850s, House of Fraser was taken private in 2006 for £351m by a consortium led by Baugur alongside Mr McCarthy and entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter.

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LVMH invests 600 million euros in Ginza, Tokyo

World’s largest luxury group LVMH has partnered with Japanese Group Mori to invest over 600 million euros in a major real estate project in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The project expands over 147,600 sqm and will be structured on 13 floors. The new complex led by LVMH will include luxury retail and offices, marking a series of similar investments expected in Tokyo ahead of the 2020 Olympics. Speaking about the project, LVMH board member Yves Carcelle said ”LVMH has acquired a share of the building. This is a clear financial commitment”.

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Shiseido to launch ‘Za’ brand in India

NEW DELHI: Japanese personal care products maker Shiseido Co is foraying into the high-end skincare and makeup segment in India with its brand ‘Za’ and plans to sell products through 250 sales points across the country by the end of 2014.
“The ‘Za’ brand will be launched in the second quarter of the year,” Shiseido Corporate Executive Officer & Director of the Board Yu Okazawa told PTI.

Stressing on the importance of the market here, he said: “India is a strategic market for the company. Having been present since 2001, Shiseido aims to further strengthen its foothold with the entry of Za.”

At present, products under the Za brand are sold in 12 markets worldwide.

Sounding bullish on the long-term growth, he said: “We are fully confident that Za has high potential for success in the Indian market.”

The company has been studying the Indian market closely and there is a change in the Indian beauty market, he added.

“Today, various factors like higher disposable incomes, development of modern urban lifestyles and increase in consumer awareness have affected buyer behaviour across the country. As a result, we see a larger demand for international brands in the country,” Okazawa said.

On the company’s strategy for Za, he said it will be sold through 250 retail outlets, mostly shop-in-shops, by the end of 2014.

Okazawa said the firm’s flagship brand ‘Shiseido’ would continue to be handled through its local distributor Baccarose Perfumes & Beauty Products.

“Brand ‘Shiseido’ is focusing on building strong brand equity in very selected stores in luxury segment,” he said, adding that presently Shiseido products are available at over 30 point of sales.

Founded in 1872, Shiseido is a leading global cosmetic group with more than 100 brands in its family, including NARS, Bare Escentuals, and Beaute Prestige International (BPI).

It has an annual sales of over $7 billion with presence in 121 countries.

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Claire’s names new CEO

Chicago — Claire’s Stores on Tuesday said its CEO, James D. Fielding, has resigned. He will be replaced by Beatrice Lafon, currently president of Claire’s Europe, effective April 2. The specialty retailer also posted a lower profit for the fourth quarter amid a drop in sales.

Fielding joined Claire’s from The Walt Disney Co. in June 2012.

“We thank Jim for his contributions as CEO of Claire’s over the past two years. Under Jim’s leadership, the company has made important strides in merchandising and extending our e-commerce platform to Icing (stores), Canada and Europe,” said Peter Copses, chairman of the Claire’s board. “We wish Jim well in all his future endeavors. In Beatrice, we have a strong leader with deep retail experience. She has an intimate understanding of our business, and a track record of driving sales in existing locations and successfully opening new stores.”

For the quarter ended Feb. 1, Claire’s reported a profit of $7.4 million, down from a profit of $42.2 million a year earlier. Total sales for the 13 week period fell 11.7% to $435.5 million, when compared to the 14 week period in the prior year. Same-store sales in North America fell 12%; Europe same-store sales decreased 8.5%.

Claire’s also announced that it is the process of closing its 17 company-operated stores in China and Shanghai office. It is considering reintroducing the brand to China using a franchise model.

In a statement, Lafon said she was very grateful for the opportunity to lead Claire’s as CEO.

“As president of Claire’s Europe over the last three years, I have operated a multinational business across 15 countries in a challenging macro-economic environment,” Lafon said. “As CEO, I look forward to creating value by leveraging best practices, by maximizing the unique talents of both our North American and European teams as well as by harnessing the strength of our sourcing teams based in Asia.”

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David Cameron In Waitrose Shoppers Row

David Cameron In Waitrose Shoppers Row

Last Updated 14:36 03/04/2014
Anushka Asthana, Political Correspondent
Labour has branded David Cameron as “stuck-up” and “out of touch” for saying the most friendly supermarket shoppers are found at the high-end Waitrose.

Michael Dugher, the shadow cabinet office minister, said: “There’s nothing wrong enjoying shopping at Waitrose but Cameron seems to be saying that at Waitrose you get a better class of shopper.”

The comments placed the Prime Minister a “world away” from squeezed families shopping around to watch every penny, he said.

He added: “This is a bizarre and empty-headed intervention from a Prime Minister who increasingly gives the impression of being stuck-up and out of touch.”

Mr Cameron made the remarks during a visit to a Manchester branch of the supermarket’s parent company John Lewis.

He said: “I have got a piece of supermarket sociology, which is that there is something about Waitrose customers … they are the most talkative.

“I found that if I shop in Waitrose it takes me about twice as long as everyone wants to stop you and have a chat. Whereas in other supermarkets I find I can dart round very quickly and get everything.

“It is something about your customers, they are very talkative, engaged people.”

Mr Cameron said he opts for Waitrose whenever possible and also uses Ocado, the online store that delivers Waitrose goods as well as its own.

However, he said he went to Sainsbury’s near his constituency home in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, “because there isn’t a Waitrose”.

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Sing’pore retail rents edge higher in Q1: Colliers

Singapore retail rents edged higher in the first quarter of 2014, helped by continued store openings by local and international brands which offset an expected surge in new retail space, property consultant Colliers International said on Tuesday.

SINGAPORE: Singapore retail rents edged higher in the first quarter of 2014, helped by continued store openings by local and international brands which offset an expected surge in new retail space, property consultant Colliers International said on Tuesday.

From January to March, the average monthly gross rents of prime ground floor retail space in Orchard Road rose by a slight 0.1 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis to S$36.50 per square foot, Colliers said.
The average monthly gross rents of prime retail space in regional centres also increased by 0.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter to S$33.50 per sq ft, after remaining flat at S$33.46 per sq ft in the last three months of 2013.
Firms that are planning to make their forays into Singapore include New York-based Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet, which will open a 1,500 sq ft boutique at Ion Orchard — its first Southeast Asia store.
American fashion label, Proenza Schouler, will take up 1,250 sq ft of space at Marina Bay Sands.
Looking ahead, Colliers said Orchard Road rents are likely to remain muted within a range of minus 1 per cent to plus 2 per cent for prime ground floor retail space. Rents in regional centres could edge slightly higher by 1 to 3 per cent for the whole of 2014.
An influx of new retail offerings is expected this year, with an estimated 2.7 million sq ft of new lettable retail space in the pipeline, the property consultancy said.

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10 best retail companies in India to work for in 2014

Research and consulting firm, Great Place To Work Institute and Retailers Association of India (RAI) came together to recognise India’s Top 10 Best Retail Companies To Work for in 2014. The companies were considered on the basis of five dimensions: credibility, respect and fairness, pride and camaraderie. By executing practices across areas such as inspiring, speaking, listening, developing, caring, thanking, hiring, celebrating and sharing, an organization can create and maintain a good workplace environment.

The Top 10 companies are:

LIFESTYLE INTERNATIONAL PVT. LTD.
TITAN COMPANY LIMITED
SHOPPERS STOP LIMITED
UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON INDIA
FUTURE RETAIL
METRO CASH & CARRY INDIA PVT. LTD.
MARKS AND SPENCER RELIANCE INDIA PVT. LTD.
PUMA SPORTS INDIA PVT. LTD.
JUBILANT FOODWORKS LTD.
LEVI STRAUSS (INDIA) PVT. LTD.

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Marks & Spencer plans massive international expansion

Marks & Spencer intends to open 250 new stores outside the UK in the next three years as part of significant global expansion plans.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, revealed that the high street retailer is looking to grow its international sales by 25pc and profits by as much as 40pc.

Although it is retrenching in China – closing or relocating up to a third of its existing stores in Shanghai and seeking help from a local partner before it expands nationwide – it will open new stores in western Europe, India and the Middle East. Its plans include flagship stores in major cities but also 20 standalone food stores in Paris and a collection of new dedicated lingerie and beauty stores.

Marks & Spencer Lingerie & Beauty has already opened at two locations in Saudi Arabia, with 10 further stores planned in the next two years.

M&S has also earmarked 20 sites in India for the lingerie and beauty concept, which is smaller than the company’s traditional stores. In total, M&S wants to have 100 stores in India by 2016.

The company has 455 stores around the world, compared with 337 when Mr Bolland took over in 2010, meaning he will have more than doubled its footprint overseas.

Mr Bolland told investors and analysts at a presentation in Paris on Tuesday that fresh food, beauty and lingerie offered “great opportunities” for international expansion. Steve Rowe, executive director for food, said: “Britishness is as saleable as ever in any part of the world.”

However, while M&S ramps up openings in western Europe, India and the Middle East, it is considering its options in China, which is on course to become one of the biggest retail markets in the world.

Other British retailers have already conceded defeat in their bid to expand in China alone, and Mr Bolland admitted that M&S can’t succeed in isolation and will seek help from a local partner. Tesco has already sold a majority stake in its Chinese business, while DIY retailer Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q, said it would look to form a joint venture.

Mr Bolland has always been cautious about M&S expanding in China beyond Shanghai, citing the diversity of the country and specific regional challenges.

The M&S boss said the company will conduct an “evaluation” over the next year to decide whether to find franchise partners to operate the Chinese stores or agree a wider joint venture with another retailer or investor.

Mr Bolland also stated that a joint venture could include the existing Shanghai stores, although M&S was “comfortable” keeping the sites.

He said: “It could be in future that if there is a partner who wants to join it [the Shanghai business], then we don’t exclude it.”

The company is also looking at relocating up to five of its 15 stores in the Shanghai area. Some of the stores are located on the outskirts of the City where proposed commercial developments are yet to be completed. M&S will explore closing these shops and targeting sites at the centre of other major cities.

However, Mr Bolland insisted: “We have seen that where the stores are open they are working.”

M&S’s overseas expansion comes as it continues to struggle in its traditional UK market. Annual profits for M&S were recently overtaken for the first time by Next, the high street clothing retailer.

Next reported that sales increased 5.4pc during the year, including 12.4pc for its online and catalogue business Next Directory. As a result, pre-tax profits for the year to the end of January rose from £667m to £695m, ahead of the £630m that the City estimates M&S will report in underlying profits in May for its financial year.

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Hugo Boss ….. opening of two new stores in Hong Kong

BOSS Womenswear Creative Director, Jason Wu hosted a cocktail party in Hong Kong to celebrate the opening of two new Hugo Boss one at the Central Building and one on Canton Road. Solange Knowles was the DJ for the evening. The new stores carry a complete range of Hugo Boss labelled product categories and the location at Central Building is the second largest in Asia.
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La Perla opens flagship store in Beijing, with new retail concept

Italian luxury lingerie and ready-to-wear house of La Perla opened this week its brand new flagship store in Beijing, a store that reflects the new global retail concept of the brand. The new La Perla store is situated within the Shinkong Palace Mall in Beijing and covers 180 sqm, featuring lingerie, swimwear and ready to wear. Supermodel Cara Delevingne fronts the image of La Perla SS 2014.

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LOUIS VUITTON MOËT HENNESSY (LVMH) ON THE HUNT TO BUY CANADIAN REAL ESTATE

French luxury group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) is looking to buy Canadian real estate to open stores. The company is looking to own retail space as rents continue to skyrocket on some of the world’s most expensive luxury retail streets.

LVMH is apparently in talks to purchase a large substantial space on Toronto’s Bloor Street West to house a large Christian Dior store, as well as possibly other LVMH brands. The company already leases space in Canada, including Louis Vuitton and De Beers. Construction starts soon on its Christian Dior store in Downtown Vancouver. Buying retail space may also be the first step for LVMH to open Canadian branches of brands that it owns including Bulgari, Givenchy, Céline, Fendi and others.

We’ll keep this article brief while we continue researching this topic. Check back for updates on this potentially exciting development in Canadian luxury retailing.

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