Monthly Archives: June 2014

American Eagle confirms UK arrival

American Eagle Outfitters, one of the biggest fashion retailers in the US, has confirmed that it is going to open its first stores in the UK at Westfield’s London shopping centres and Bluewater in Kent.

Simon Nankervis, executive vice-president for American Eagle, said there is “a tremendous global appetite” for the American Eagle brand and its lingerie brand aerie.

American Eagle, which is advised in the UK by property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs, will be the latest in a line of US fashion chains to cross the Atlantic.

Hollister, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and J Crew have all opened stores in the UK, although they have enjoyed mixed success.

American Eagle has more than 1,000 stores in the US and targets 15 to 25-year-olds with affordable fashion.

The fashion chain will open at Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City and Bluewater this autumn.

Mr Nankervis added: “We are excited to officially announce the upcoming launch of the American Eagle Outfitters and aerie brands in the United Kingdom.

“We see a tremendous global appetite for the American Eagle Outfitters and aerie brands and believe that having a presence in Westfield’s iconic London centers anchoring east and west London, will provide great exposure for us in this significant new market.”

The retailer has been hugely successful in the US as a youth fashion chain but faces competition in the UK from European heavyweights such as Zara and H&M as well as UK chain Topshop.

Bill Giouroukos, director operations at Westfield, said: “With more than 30 American Eagle Outfitters stores already in many of our US centres including San Francisco, Century City and Garden State Plaza, we are honoured the company has chosen to open two of its first UK stores in Westfield centres.”

Westfield provide the group access to more than 66 million shoppers a year in the heart of the UK market, while Bluewater serves one of the largest and most affluent parts of Britain and has more than 28 million visitors a year.

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Prada opens new mega-store in Turin, Italy

Prada opened this week a new store in Turin, in Northen Italy, within a historical palace. The new Prada store covers an impressive 1,200 sqm on two floors and is situated in the heart of the city in Piazza San Carlo, with an entrance also on via Lagrange. The new lavish Prada store in Turin (Torino) features the full range of Prada products, for both men and women.

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Argos Unveil New Head of IT, Commercial and Supply Chain

Iconic high street retailer, Argos, has announced Henrietta Baring as the new figurehead who will drive the company’s supply chain.

The newly created position of Head of IT, Commercial and Supply Chain has been designed especially for the arrival of Baring, in order to help the British brand become a ‘digital retail leader’ in the 21st Century.

She will report to IT director Mike Sackman and will help Argos deliver its ‘More Choice, Available Faster’ strategy by managing the integration of supply chain infrastructure and supporting customer facing developments, such as those in digital stores.

Commenting on the appointment Sackman said: “I am delighted that Henrietta has joined the IT leadership team. Technology is at the heart of the Argos Transformation and as we build our capabilities to ensure we have a fully integrated supply chain. This is crucial to allow us to respond quickly and effectively to the marketplace.

“Her areas of focus will be on systems that show real time product availability and reduce lead times to customers, and systems that process millions of customer orders for local in store pickup or for home delivery. She is a great addition to an already strong team.”

Astonishingly, an estimated 18 million UK households have an Argos catalogue; and 96 percent of the population is never further than 10 miles from a store. It also employs more than 51,000 people throughout the UK and Ireland and is now looking to

Baring, who previously worked for Ardagh Group, said: “In my experience, it is crucial to have cross-business support and collaboration for major complex infrastructure projects to work and that is absolutely what we have here.

“With such passionate stakeholders involved I know that customers are starting to see the benefits of the plan working for them.”

In 1979, Argos’s turnover topped £100 million. Its annual turnover to March 2013 was £3.29 billion. But Argos’s parent group, Home Retail, has seen its profits fall from £426 million in 2008 to just £130 million in 2012. Argos itself has had a difficult recession with its overall sales figures have only just started growing again, for the first time in more than five years. From 17 stores at the end of 1973, it now has 735.

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Juicy Couture expands in the Middle East

Dubai: Following the recent announcement that it will close all of its US stores, Juicy Couture, an American brand known for its women’s tracksuits, is expanding in the Middle East with the opening of two stores, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Doha, by the year-end, the company said on Thursday.

The store in Abu Dhabi will open in Yas Mall in November, while the one in Doha, its first in Qatar, will open in Lagoona Mall in December.

Juicy Couture is owned by Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a brand development and licensing company, and operates in the Middle East through a partnership with Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Fashion, the retailing arm of Majid Al Futtaim, a Dubai-based retail and leisure conglomerate.

“Customers that travel regularly throughout the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] have visited our other stores throughout the region in order to purchase Juicy Couture, so we are confident the brand resonates with them and will be a success,” Ahmad Galal Esmail, chief executive of MAF Ventures, told Gulf News in an emailed statement.
The American brand has 18 stores in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

“The Juicy Couture brand is strong and thriving globally, and Authentic Brands Group is committed to driving a comprehensive, multidimensional strategy to expand Juicy Couture across our international markets,” said Jamie Salter, chairman and chief executive of ABG, in a statement.
The company said that it has developed “new concept” stores that will open in the US and Canada, replacing the existing ones in the US, starting next year. The new stores will be in cities that include New York City, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

“[The existing US stores] are currently being phased out, as they were opened by the previous owner of the brand and are no longer representative of the Juicy Couture brand today and ABG’s vision for the brand’s future,” the company said in a statement.

Last year, Fifth & Pacific sold Juicy Couture to ABG for $195 million (Dh716 million) after the brand saw sliding sales in recent years.

In the US, the brand has not been successful due to high media exposure, product saturation and its failure to keep pace with changing fashion trends, according to Colin Beaton, managing director at Limelight Creative Services, a boutique retail consultancy.

In the Middle East, “the brand will build sales and market shares,” Beaton said.

He expects the new concept stores that the brand plans to roll out in the US to eventually come to the UAE so that it can have global brand continuity, but it will take time.

Juicy Couture, which has 200 stores worldwide, aims to open more than 100 stores and shop-in-shops globally over the next five years.

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Ramadan Kareem

A blessed Ramadan Kareem to all our followers

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Versace opens in Hong Kong largest store in Asia

Versace opened last week its second store in Hong Kong, its largest in Asia, at the Gateway Arcade. Spread over 720 sqm, the new Versace store was designed by Donatella Versace in collaboration with British designer Jamie Fobert. The store features both men’s and women’s ready to wear, handbags, shoes and other accessories. To celebrate the opening Versace launched a limited edition of its Signature handbag, in only 6o pieces – ”Versace for Hong Kong_Limited Edition”.

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Dolce&Gabbana expands Milan menswear store and opens Sartoria

Dolce&Gabbana has expanded its menswear flagship store in Milan on Corso Venezia 15 and inaugurated its first atelier for bespoke clothes.

The new space, which is housed in the same 16th century neoclassical palazzo, which has been home to the men’s flagship store, is the result of a meticulous restoration project of all the remaining rooms.

Celebrating male vanity, the rooms are the ideal place where the modern man can satisfy all his desires in terms of style. The floors are an alternation of five different types of marble with parquet floors in typical 19th century fashion.

Various design pieces chosen for their uniqueness decorate the rooms. A one-of-a-kind bookcase designed byGio’ Ponti for a luxurious hotel in Saint Tropez, a table by Ignazio Gardella, and chairs by Gio’ Ponti for Reguitti adorn the room at the entrance. A masterpiece by Ercole Barovier illuminates the space. In the adjacent room is a unique piece: a majestic Palmengarten chandelier with 140 light bulbs arranged in a radial pattern reminiscent of the palms in the outdoor garden.

Other rooms have works by Gio’ Ponti: some were designed for Nino Zoncada and installed on luxury cruise liners, such as the recessed ceiling fixtures that sailed the seas before landing in Milan. Several are from the Augustus cruise ship, while others come from the Conte Biancamano transatlantic ocean liner.

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Cabela’s plans 20 new Canadian stores

Sidney, Neb. – Cabela’s Inc. reportedly plans to open 20 new Canadian stores by 2016. According to the Financial Post, the retailer, which currently operates five stores in Canada, will open its sixth in Barrie, Ontario, on July 10.

Other planned locations for new Canadian stores include Nanaimo, British Columbia in fall 2014 and Moncton, New Brunswick in 2015. Cabela’s is planning slow growth in Canada, focusing on locations with favorable co-tenants and localizing product assortments at the store level.

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Uniqlo ready to set up 1000 stores in India

NEW DELHI: Japanese retail giant Uniqlo on Wednesday suggested that it will open up to 1,000 stores in India in the coming years to tap into the growing consumption story and announced a strategy to source garments from the country.

Two sources familiar with the development told TOI that Uniqlo chairman and CEO Tadashi Yanai, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers, disclosed the plan to open stores during these interactions. “We are looking to invest in the retail business in India… We will look to open 1,000 stores but it will take more than ten years as it is not easy to open so many stores,” said a source, who did not wish to be identified. When contacted, a company executive said Yanai was not available for comment.

Uniqlo, which started as a chain of suburban roadside stores in Japan, is targeting close to 1,500 stores across the globe by the end of August. Currently, it has 632 stores outside Japan and moved into malls a decade ago, the company website said. Now, its strategy involves opening flagship stores in the plush shopping districts of New York, London and Shanghai.

The Japanese chain has been looking at entering India for the past few years but had deferred its plans. It is not clear if it will rope in a partner for its single-brand retail foray or operate through a wholly-owned subsidiary in the country.

Several foreign retailers have set up shop in India through the single-brand window, which includes the likes of Marks and Spencer, IKEA and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M). But, most are moving ahead with their plans at a measured pace. For instance, IKEA is yet to open its first store despite getting government approval a year ago. H&M had said it plans to open 50 outlets in 2014.

Before Uniqlo enters the retail business, it wants to have a pool of vendors to source garments. The company is in talks with the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) to identify 10 garment exporters, which have scale and comply with international specifications and standards. Sources said that the Japanese firm may invest in some of the Indian companies, if required.

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Wonderbra owner sold for £320m

The owner of underwear brand Wonderbra has been sold for €400m (£320m) to US T-shirt company Hanes.

DBApparel, which also owns lingerie brand Playtex and sportsbra brand Shock Absorber, has been under private equity group Sun European Partners’ ownership since it bought the business from the US dessert group Sara Lee in 2006.

Since then, DBA has grown its market presence to become a lingerie leader in France, Germany, Italy, Spain Belgium and the UK as well as a number of emerging markets.

The group’s 1994 Wonderbra advert, which featured Czech model Eva Herzigova and the tag line “Hello Boys”, has been voted as one of the most iconic advertising images of all time.

The attention-grabbing advert was blamed for stopping traffic and causing accidents as commuters stopped to stare at the huge roadside posters, which propelled Ms Herzigova’s cleavage to international stardom.

DBA has since tried to replicate the same level of publicity by introducing 3D images of its range of padded “Full Effect” bras on billboards.

Hanes, which is most widely known for its classic T-shirts, said that the acquisition of DBApparel would propel the US company into Europe.

The €400m deal values the business at around 7.5 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

The acquisition reunites DBA and Hanes, who were once sister companies under the ownership of Sara Lee until DBA was sold to Sun and Hanes was spun-off into another listed company.

“We will be able to reunite two great companies to create significant growth and margin-expansion opportunities”, Hanes chairman and chief executive Richard A. Noll said. “Together, we will be a nearly $6bn company utilizing our disciplined Innovate-to-Elevate strategy and leveraging our global supply chain”

The deal is subject to the approval of European and French work councils.

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Fashion retailer Jane Norman stores placed in administration

Fashion retailer Jane Norman is to disappear from the high street after its owner put it into administration.

The UK brand has had financial problems in the past with its current owner, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, buying a pared down version of the chain out of administration in 2011.

In a statement confirming the appointment of a restructuring firm Grant Thornton, the company said it was “no longer able to continue to support its loss-making UK and Ireland retail stores”. It said the 24-store chain had been placed in administration in a move that puts 157 jobs at risk.

“Like many retailers, we have seen extremely challenging conditions on the high street for several years in what is a very competitive sector in young fashion,” said the company. “While we have made every effort for a number of years to makes those stores work, that part of the business is no longer viable.”

Jane Norman employs 57 full time staff and about 100 part-time. “We intend to continue trading the stores for as long as possible with a view to achieving the best outcome for all concerned, in particular those people based in the stores,” said Grant Thornton partner Les Ross. “It is likely, however, that store closures are inevitable.”

The brand will not be axed altogether. Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which also owns Peacocks, intends to sell its clothing online and in department stores overseas. “We fundamentally believe in the Jane Norman brand and its future as a web and international concessions business,” it said. “For that reason we have taken the difficult decision to restructure the business to focus on future opportunities.”

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Annual retail sales tops $66bn in the UAE

The GCC continues to show strength as a dynamic retail market with four countries ranked among the top 25 in the 2014 AT Kearney Global Retail Development Index (GRDI).

Factors influencing the growth of the regional retail industry include the construction and infrastructure boom, a growing and young population, strong GDP growth, and increasing consumer confidence and spending, AT Kearney said.

The UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman were all prominent in this year’s list with the UAE climbing one spot to claim fourth position.

Retail sales grew five percent in the UAE in 2013, boosting annual sales to $66bn, AT Kearney noted.

It added that Dubai’s winning bid for Expo 2020 “highlights the country’s bright future and the massive infrastructure and development projects in the pipeline”.

Kuwait also climbed one spot to rank eighth in this year’s index.

“The country’s rapidly growing GDP makes it a strong retail market, with high oil prices, strong trade and fiscal surpluses, and large government reserves creating a positive outlook,” the index said.

The index added that Saudi Arabia continued to remain “fundamentally attractive” to retailers looking to expand, and maintained 16th spot in this year’s GRDI.

The kingdom has the largest economy in the Gulf region and remains largely untapped by modern retail. However, hypermarkets and large shopping centers are expanding.

In Oman, retail sales have grown seven percent per year since 2011 and the grocery sector leads the growth. Despite its small population of 3 million people, Oman ranked 17th in the 2014 GRDI.

Commenting on the index findings, Dr Martin Fabel, partner and head of Consumer Industry and Retail Practice at AT Kearney Middle East, said: “The GCC retail sector continues to be considered among the leading markets globally. As a rapidly maturing market, the UAE has a growing need for more sophisticated formats to cater to changing consumer needs.

“Consumers are demanding more proximity and retail saturation has brought about some interesting and innovative concepts. In Kuwait, as a top luxury destination, high-end retail developments were the main drivers for market growth.”

“Retailers in Saudi Arabia have the opportunity to deliver creative formats and entertainment in addition to their current offerings. Grocery is the Kingdom’s largest retail sector, and although hypermarkets will continue to spread, small convenience stores will remain important.

“Despite its small size, Oman’s solid economy, increasing consumer confidence, and recent government moves to improve access to credit makes it a popular growth location for regional and global players,” added Fabel.

Globally, Chile, China and Uruguay were named the top three countries, ahead of the UAE. Latin America remained a strong retail market with eight countries — Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico — included in the 2014 list.

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South Africa’s Woolworths moves on Australia’s Country Road

South African retail giant Woolworths Tuesday announced a bid to buy out Australian fashion chain Country Road as part of its plan to takeover prestigious department store David Jones.
Woolworths already owns 87.88 percent of Country Road but is offering Aus$17.00 per share for the remainder — a 21.4 percent premium on Monday’s close, it said.
The offer amounts to a total cash consideration of Aus$213 million (US$200.7 million) for a stock that was trading at around $4.0 a share six months ago, before Woolworths’ David Jones bid was announced.
Woolworths said given its tilt for David Jones, it was a timely to seek full ownership of Country Road.
“Given the role of Country Road in realising a substantial part of the synergy benefits arising from the … acquisition of David Jones, achieving full ownership of Country Road is a logical next step and in line with Woolworths’ long-standing desire to acquire 100 percent of Country Road,” chief executive Ian Moir said.
If successful, the offer will allow Woolworths to delist Country Road, permitting the South African company to simplify its group structure and fully integrate the businesses, he said.
Woolworths hopes its Aus$2.1 billion takeover bid for David Jones will allow it to become one of the 10 largest department store operators in the world.
Its offer for Country Road is subject to the scheme of arrangement for David Jones becoming effective and approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The board of David Jones unanimously backs the Woolworths proposal, and has recommended that shareholders vote for it in the absence of a superior proposal.
However, the department store noted that entities associated with billionaire Australian business identity Solomon Lew hold about 11.8 percent of Country Road, as well as about 9.89 percent of David Jones.
Lew is reportedly the biggest shareholder in David Jones and The Sydney Morning Herald said he was believed to be threatening to block the David Jones deal unless Woolworths bought his Country Road stake at a premium.
Woolworths made a Aus$2.00 per share takeover for Country Road in 1997, the Herald said, which was blocked by Lew’s Australian Retail Investments.

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Toys R Us fires CFO

Wayne, NJ-based Toys R Us last week disclosed in a regulatory filing that it has let go its chief financial officer F. Clay Creasey Jr. The company didn’t state a reason for Creasey’s firing.
Michael J. Short, who recently left AutoNation as chief financial officer, replaced Creasey effective Monday.
The toy retailer is in the midst of taking steps to make its operations more efficient in the face of losses and falling sales due to heavy competition from Amazon and other online retailers.
Dive Insight:

Toys R Us, which has said it is struggling due to intense competition from online retailers as well as a slowing birth rate, is keen on stemming its losses and returning to profitably. Q1 sales were up, mostly due to heavy promotions, and the retailer will have to do more than cut prices and hold sales to complete a successful turnaround. No word on why CFO F. Clay Creasey Jr. is abruptly out after eight years at the company. But the hiring of Michael J. Short is no doubt part of Toys R Us chairman and CEO Antonio Urcelay’s stated strategy to streamline the company’s operations. Urcelay became CEO in October.

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Juicy Couture closing US stores

Juicy Couture is closing its U.S. stores and its merchandise will be available only through Kohl’s department stores in the U.S. and in stores abroad.
The brand had been sold late last year by Kate Spade & Co. to New York City-based brand development and licensing company Authentic Brands Group.
Juicy Couture was hard hit by the 2008 recession and has seen precipitously declining sales at upscale department stores, where it had once seen the bulk of its American business.
Dive Insight:

Once the epitome of faux-athletic leisure with a decidedly L.A. vibe, Juicy Couture is now closing stores and will be found in the U.S. only at Kohl’s department stores. Juicy Couture was an iconic brand of the nineties and early aughts, the uniform of Desperate Housewives AND of the actors who played them. But its glittery velvet track suit these days has giving way to the performance activewear craze of the likes of Lululemon Athletica and Under Armour.

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Waitrose to open first station branch

Waitrose is to open its first shop at a railway station this summer as it looks to grow its presence in both the travel and convenience sectors.

The retailer has reached an agreement with Network Rail to open a 2,500 sq ft little Waitrose branch at London’s King’s Cross station which will create up to 60 new jobs.

Waitrose said the store will focus on commuters by selling a range of ready meals, food to go, hot food to go, and key grocery essentials.

The new station shop will complement the new 21,000 sq ft Waitrose supermarket and Waitrose cookery school which is currently being built as part of the redevelopment taking place around Kings Cross station. The scheme received approval last month and is expected to open in spring 2015.

Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “This announcement underlines the flexibility of our formats today and sets out our ambition to take the Waitrose brand to new customers. The convenience sector will be integral to our growth and opening in King’s Cross Station feels like a natural step for our business as we’ve received so many letters asking us to open stores in stations.”

The opening will be followed by the launch of a new little Waitrose shop close to Manchester Piccadilly station in the late summer. This will be the first Waitrose convenience shop to open outside the South East in two years following the retailer’s focus on rolling out the format in central London.

Waitrose has been working to establish itself in the convenience travel market by opening 28 stores at Welcome Break service stations in the last five years and supplying food on the Eurostar since last year.

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Urban Outfitters opens largest store in New York

Urban Outfitters has opened its largest store on Broadway in the heart of Herald Square. The ​​56,000 square foot space spreads over several floors, bringing together Urban Outfitter’s clothing lines as well as beauty products, accessories, books and music.

It’s worth noting that a large section has been reserved for beauty, bringing together 45 national and international brands.

The store in Herald Square – Urban Outfitters’ thirteenth in New York – also houses independent retailers such as the Los Angeles-based Hairroin hair salon, the record store Amoeba Music and the eyewear brand Tortoise & Blonde. The cafe Intelligentsia Coffee can also be found on the second floor.

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Gucci, Vuitton, Prada reported to be actively seeking entry in Peru

Acording to local business publication El Comercio, major international luxury brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci are actively seeking entry into the Peruvian market, joining already operating luxury brands with mono-brand stores in Peru, in the capital city of Lima: Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss and Tag Heuer – all operating in franchising. Gucci would seek an entry with a franchise partner, while Prada and Louis Vuitton will operate directly.

Other brands reportedly interested in opening mono-brand stores in Peru include Dolce&Gabbana, Burberry and Omega – all in franchised operations.

The major challenge hindering faster development in Peru’s luxury market is the lack of infrastructure – there are neither specialized luxury shopping centres, nor streets to concentrate premium retail real estate.

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UK retailer ASOS suspends orders after suspected warehouse arson

LONDON (Reuters) – British online fashion retailer ASOS said on Saturday it had been forced to suspend orders and take down its website following a fire at its main warehouse which police believe was started deliberately.
About 500 workers were forced to evacuate the warehouse in Barnsley in northern England after the blaze broke out late on Friday. The fire comes just two weeks after ASOS warned that its full-year profits would miss forecasts by 30 percent.
Ten fire engines with more than 60 firefighters dealt with the fire which involved four floors of the 60,000 square metre warehouse, South Yorkshire Fire Service said.
“South Yorkshire Police are now treating the incident as deliberate, after initial investigations were carried out this morning with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue,” the police forces said in a statement.
ASOS said orders would be suspended while it assessed damage.
“Thankfully no one was hurt and we expect to be back to normal for you in the next day or so,” the company said in a message on its website.
A former darling of the retail sector, ASOS spooked investors in March when it announced plans to spend on infrastructure to meet future demand, at the expense of short-term profits.
Its profit warning two weeks ago wiped 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion) off its market value.
ASOS, which stands for As Seen on Screen, was founded in 2000 by current chief executive Nick Robertson and has grown rapidly as it met the demand for fast-changing fashions.
It is now investing to increase its offerings around the world, with international sales making up around 60 percent of the group total.($1 = 0.5876 British Pounds)

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Mulberry says like-for-like sales down 15 pct in 10 wks to June 7

PARIS, France – English luxury handbag maker Mulberry’s like-for-like retail sales fell 15 percent in the 10 weeks to June 7, it said on Thursday, after an ill-fated upmarket drive, now being reversed, took its toll on demand.

The brand, associated with its signature postman’s lock inspired by the catch on a English postman’s satchel, posted a pre-tax profit of 14 million pounds ($23.5 million) for its fiscal year to March 31, down from 26 million the previous year.

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Dior opens three renovated stores in North America

Following renovation and redesign works, Christian Dior has reopened this week three boutiques in North America – Aspen and New York (Americana Manhasset shopping centre) in the U.S. and in Toronto (Canada) at the Yorkdale Mall. All three stores have been remodelled following the new global concept which is inspired by the Dior flagship store in Paris on Avenue Montaigne.

Also this year, Dior will be renovating its flagship store on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. New store openings are planned for Houston, San Francisco and Vancouver. All stores are directly operated by Dior.

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A bunch of new Apple stores will open around the world between now and 2016

Apple’s new retail chief Angela Ahrendts is only in her second month at work, but she’s already preparing to make some big changes, according to a new report.

According to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, Ahrendts plans to launch a slew of new Apple stores around the world in regions such as China, Italy, and the United States, among others.

Through 2016, Apple will reportedly open 20 new retail locations in China, with four new stores expected to open within the next several months.

A new store is also expected to open in Mestre, Italy later this year or early next year.

Sources reportedly told Gurman that Apple is looking to staff up for new stores in the U.S. in Marlborough, Mass., Virginia Beach, Va., Trumbull, Conn., and Manchester, N.H.

These new stores are expected to open in the second half of 2014 or early 2015, and many of them will be located inside shopping malls rather than standalone retail locations.

Gurman’s report comes after Apple has already announced plans to launch a new store in Puerta del Sol, Spain, on June 21. According to Gurman, rumors about new Apple stores in France, Brazil, and the Netherlands are also underway.

Apple typically opens dozens of retail stores each year, and Gurman’s report aligns with indications that the company plans to boost its presence in China. In April, The Wall Street Journal’s Martket Watch reported that Apple plans to triple the number of retail locations in China within two years. Apple currently has 424 stores around the world, with 255 of those located in the United States.

Ahrendts is also changing the way Apple categorizes its retail locations as part of her new strategy moving forward, according to Gurman. Rather than grouping stores by location, Ahrendts plans to categorize them by sales volume.

Ahrendts officially began her role as senior vice president of Apple’s online and retail stores on May 1. Since then, we’ve already heard reports about her strategy regarding Apple’s retail efforts, which allegedly include focusing more on sales in China, expanding into the mobile payments space, and overhauling the end-to-end sales experience in Apple stores.

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National Geographic opens first Irish store at Dublin Airport T1

The National Geographic store aims to capture both children and adults with its Dublin outlet, which will carry books and magazines as well stationery, maps globes, luggage, clothing, accessories and children’s products

IRELAND. National Geographic opened its first Irish store on The Loop shopping street at Dublin Airport Terminal 1 this week. The 135sq m unit is National Geographic’s second airport outlet in Europe, following its opening in Rome Airport last year.

The store features a wide range of National Geographic’s books and magazines as well stationery, maps globes, luggage, clothing, accessories and children’s products.

“The National Geographic Society has been inspiring people to care about the planet for over 125 years and we’re thrilled that its first Irish store is in The Loop at Dublin Airport,” said Paul Neeson, Director of Retail at Dublin Airport.

“National Geographic is widely known and respected for bringing the stories of our world to people in a vibrant and fun way and there’s something for everyone in its new Dublin Airport store, which I’ve no doubt will be very popular with passengers.”

National Geographic is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation.

Founded in 1888, the Society reaches more than 500 million people worldwide each month through its media platforms, products and events.

National Geographic is one of the brands working with specialist travel retail company Global Retailer, which is expanding its portfolio of branded stores across Europe and internationally.

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Aus puts $2bn Woolies takeover vote on ice

Sydney – Australian department store operator David Jones said it will postpone a shareholder vote on a $2bn takeover bid from Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] until mid-July, after Australian billionaire Solomon Lew took a 9.89% stake.

David Jones, the country’s No 2 retailer by sales, said on Thursday it has obtained court permission to postpone the originally scheduled June 30 meeting until July 14 “to allow sufficient time for the David Jones Board to assess the implications” of Lew’s investment.From Fin24.com

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American Apparel boots out founder CEO Dov Charney

(Reuters) – Clothing and accessories retailer American Apparel Inc ousted its controversial founder Dov Charney as chairman effective immediately and moved to fire him as CEO and president following an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.

Charney, who has been repeatedly targeted in sexual harassment lawsuits, will be terminated for cause after a contractual 30-day cure period, the Los Angeles-based company said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The company, known for its racy advertising and bright “Made-In-America” clothes, said it named CFO John Luttrell as interim chief executive as it works with a search firm to look for a permanent CEO. The retailer also appointed Allan Mayer and David Danziger as co-chairmen.

“We take no joy in this, but the board felt it was the right thing to do,” Mayer said in a statement.

Charney, 45, who founded American Apparel’s predecessor companies in 1989, has been at the helm since 2007 when the company went public.

American Apparel spokesman Terry Fahn declined to provide additional details. Charney did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

In 2011, a former employee had accused Charney of keeping her as a teenage sex slave, amid fear she might otherwise lose her job. She also sued American Apparel and its directors for failing to stop Charney from acting as a “sexual predator.” (http://reut.rs/1qudaUP)

The company, which is struggling with weak sales and heavy debt, said the management changes may have triggered a default under its credit agreements, adding that it will be in discussions with its lenders for a waiver of the default.

In February the company had tapped restructuring advisers after it had reached $240 million in debt and had come close to breaching loan covenants, debt terms designed to protect its lenders, according a media report.

The company’s shares, which have lost more than two-thirds of their value over the past year, closed at 64 cents on the American Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

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Diesel Black Gold launches new global store concept in London

Diesel Black Gold, the premium label of Italian denim-wear company Diesel (OTB Group), inaugurated today, durind London’s Men Fashion Week, its new global store concept. The new Diesel Black Gold store in London which covers 250 sqm is located in fashionable Mayfair at 21, Conduit Street. The store was conceived by Diesel Black Gold’s Creative Director Andreas Melbostad.

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Mothercare could cut up to 500 jobs

As part of restructuring plans, Mothercare Plc could cut as many as 500 customer service adviser roles.

According to The Times, the baby and maternity specialist plans to reduce the hours of staff who work 24 hours or more every week. Employees who do not accept the reduced hours could be made redundant, putting 500 jobs at risk. The Times cited restructuring plans seen by the paper which laid out plans for the retailer to attract customers, cut down costs and become profitable again.

The news comes after Mothercare managed to beat full-year profit forecasts in May as well as seeing an improved performance for its new financial year.

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Manchester Airport welcomes new Dubai retailer wizz

Manchester Airport has welcomed a brand new retailer to Terminal 1, toy and gadget retailer Wizz.

Wizz was established in the United Arab Emirates in 2002 and was a popular fixture in the major shopping malls of Dubai before expanding in airport duty free shops across the Middle East.

Steven Foster, head of retail for Manchester Airports Group (MAG), said: “We’re delighted to welcome Wizz to Manchester Airport, as they open their flagship UK airport store with us.

“Wizz bring something different to Manchester Airport and will provide a wide-range of toys, gadgets and gifts to keep the kids entertained both in the airport and on the flight.

“I know our younger customers are going to really enjoy it and from the feedback we receive we know that passengers want to have more child-friendly products while they’re waiting for their flights so Wizz will add to and complement our existing child-friendly offerings.”

Terminal 1 is the flagship terminal at Manchester Airport and hosts large airlines such as Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad, easyJet, Thomas Cook and TAP Portugal.

Passenger numbers have recently risen over the 21 million mark. Manchester remains the 3rd largest airport in the UK behind Heathrow and Gatwick and continues to invest in its retail offer for passengers using the gateway to the North.

Nigel Caddick, managing director of Wizz said: “Wizz offers a unique blend of toys, gadgets and gifts. We have a wide range of exciting novelties, from games to cuddly toys – everything to keep the kids entertained, plus there’s quite a lot for adults too.

“We are thrilled to be opening our first UK store in Manchester Airport and look forward to welcoming many of the millions of passengers who use the airport each year through our door.”

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Givenchy opens new store in Manila, Philipinnes

Givenchy opened this week a new store in Manila, Philippines within the Makati mixed-used complex. The new Givenchy store in Manila covers 110 sqm and is entirely dedicated to men’s and women’s accessories – shoes and handbags. The new opening is part of Givenchy’s accelerated international retail expansion, with mono-brand stores, the most recent openings being in Tokyo and Las Vegas. Givechy is fully owned by LVMH Group.

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PE Firm Sycamore Partners Offers To Buy Retailer Express

In pre-market trade, shares of Express are up more than 25%.

In a press release, Express confirmed receipt of Sycamore’s letter to the board, and adopted a “poison pill” provision which prevents any shareholder from acquiring more than 10% of the company.

Before Sycamore announced their intentions, shares of Express had been down more than 25% year-to-date.

On May 29, Express reported first quarter sales that fell 10% against the prior year, and said that its second quarter results would disappoint.

This deal will be upstaged by the huge deal for Priceline to acquire OpenTable for $2.6 billion, but its been a busy day of M&A activity to close the week.

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TK Maxx to create 90 jobs in Dublin

Fashion retailer TK Maxx has said it will create 90 jobs with the opening of a new of a new shop in Dublin today.
The shop, which is located in the Ilac shopping centre, will be the discount clothes retailer’s 17th Irish outlet and its fifth store in Dublin.
A typical TK Maxx store stocks an average 50,000 items with daily deliveries bringing up to 10,000 new items to store every week .
TK Maxx is also opening a new large store in Dundrum Town Centre. The Dundrum shop will be located in the ground floor of the office block occupied by the RSA Insurance Group (formerly known as the Royal and Sun Alliance).

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Marks & Spencer Seeks Tokyo Stores to Spur Sales Growth

Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS), the U.K. clothing retailer and grocer, is seeking store locations in Tokyo as part of a plan to accelerate growth in Asia to offset sluggish growth at home.

Australia, Taiwan and Vietnam are also under consideration as new markets, Bruce Findlay, the London-based company’s Asia chief, said in an interview yesterday.

“Japan is always on our radar,” said Findlay, who joined Marks & Spencer in September after stints at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Gap Inc. (GPS) “I’ll be going there later this year to look at locations and opportunities. We think it’s going to be an instant success with food.”

Asia is among regions that Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland is targeting as he seeks to revive sales after years of stagnation at home. Marks & Spencer got 11 percent of sales from outside the U.K. in the 12 months through March. Overseas revenue rose at more than twice the pace of the U.K. over the past five quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Marks & Spencer intends to add at least 30 stores in Asia this year, part of the 250 it plans internationally over three years. Of those, 15 will be in India’s smaller cities beyond Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, and two in the Chinese city of Macau, the world’s largest casino gambling hub. The retailer has more than 140 stores across Asia including China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
A woman exits a Marks & Spencer Group Plc food store in Hong Kong.
Findlay is seeking to surpass last year’s 16 percent sales growth in the region in the current 12-month period, and expects revenue in India to increase 45 percent, more than last year’s 42 percent, he said.

Thai Coup

“We need to beat what we did last year,” Findlay said. The Asian economy “could be challenging,” particularly in light of a May 22 coup in Thailand, he said.

Marks & Spencer opened 22 stores in Asia in the last financial year, focusing on the priority markets of China and India, the world’s two most most-populous countries.

The retailer is seeking a partner in China, following U.K. competitor Tesco Plc’s (TSCO) footstep in creating a partnership in the world’s second-largest economy. Tesco formed an alliance in 2013 with China Resources Enterprise Ltd. (291) to combine hypermarket operations in the country.

Marks & Spencer will seek to hold a majority stake in any Chinese partnership, according to Findlay.

In India, the U.K. retailer has said it plans to double store numbers to 80 by 2016 and expand its lingerie offering, making the Asian nation its largest international market. It formed a venture in 2008 with Reliance Retail, controlled by the country’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
Customers shop in the wine section inside a Marks & Spencer Group Plc food store in… Read More
Marks & Spencer opened its first standalone outlet for women’s lingerie in India this year. It will consider doing the same in Hong Kong and Singapore, according to Findlay.

The company has been relying on food for growth as it failed to stem the decline in clothing business,

Food made up almost half of the company’s sales in the year ended March, compared with 40 percent in general merchandise, a division that mostly comprises clothing.

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Lidl to enter US market

Lidl is planning to move into the US market. While the retailer is currently represented in 26 European countries, the company is starting to look at the US for future growth. According to Aoife Clarke, head of Communications for Lidl Ireland, members of the Lidl team are currently in the US doing a feasibility study on that market.

Clarke told ShefLife: “I think it’s pretty much decided that we’ll go [into the US] but it’ll be 2018 before it happens. It’s a different market so you have to see if the same store concepts work, and if people are looking for the same sort of products. They have Walmart so they are used to the discount philosophy over there to a certain extent so it will be interesting to see how that goes. The US is in the long-term expansion plans. Before that there are a number of Eastern European countries to be captured.”

Clarke explained that Christine Rittner, former regional director in Ireland has just been announced as the MD of Lidl’s newest market, Lithuania. The retailer hasn’t opened there yet but the stores are under construction.

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Wal-Mart names new CEO of e-commerce

Fernando Madeira, who has been Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s president and CEO of Walmart eCommerce Latin America for the past two years, has been named to succeed outgoing walmart.com president and CEO Joel Anderson. Anderson is leaving to become president of teen discount retailer Five Below.
Madeira will retain his Latin America job and also take on Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-retail, based at the company’s e-commerce headquarters in San Bruno, CA. He reports to Walmart Global eCommerce president and CEO Neil Ashe, as before.
Wal-Mart Stores also announced it’s expanding its mobile-driven Savings Catcher program piloted this spring to stores nationwide, as well as its website and mobile app. The program automatically gives Walmart customers refunds for lower prices on items they bought that are cheaper at competing retailers.
Dive Insight:

Madeira will have his hands full as Wal-Mart steps up its efforts to expanding its e-commerce business. Indeed, the company expects another $3 billion in sales this year from its current $10 billion e-commerce business. The company is also expanding its fulfillment capabilities to meet that demand, and leveraging its loyalty program to glean customer data through mobile.

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Alexander McQueen opens first flagship store in Tokyo

Alexander McQueen opened this week its first flagship store in Tokyo in the district of Aoyama district. The new store which covers 390 sqm on two floors was designed by creative director Sarah Burton and David Collins Studio.

Inside the new Alexander McQueen flagship in Tokyo, the brand cites “flora and fauna, real and imagined; the warped perspective of Francis Bacon’s paintings of Popes; the Surrealist artist HR Giger; the Eighteenth Century salon and Rorschach ink blots; primitivism, the human skeleton and the female form” as inspiration for the space.

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Galeries Lafayette to open in Milan

According to several Italian media, French department store operator Galerie Lafayette has confirmed it will open a unit in Milan within the future Westfield Milan shopping complex, in the area of Segrate (10 minutes from Milan downtown), near the Linate Airport (closest airport to Milan). The project is jointly developed by Arcus Real Estate (Percassi Group) and Australian based Westfield. The site is estimated to have cost $160 million.

The first phase of the project will be cover 170.000 sqm and is scheduled to open before the 2015 Expo in Milan. The second phase will add 250,000 sqm. However, the project is heavily dependant on the execution of the Ring Road East Lambrate, a key infrastructure element in the area which is scheduled to be inaugurated late July.

Westfield Milan will include: 300 stores, 50 restaurants, 14-screen multiplex cinema and a luxury village.

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Dior opens in Paris new Dior Baby and Dior Kids store

French luxury maison Christian Dior inaugurated this week a new Dior Baby / Dior Kids boutique in Paris on Rue Royale. Under a ceiling painted by the artist Matthias Kiss, those entering have the illusion of looking out a window onto the rose garden of the house at Granville where Christian Dior, himself, grew up.

On the first floor of the boutique, at the top of a staircase that evokes the elegant and famous one of 30 Avenue Montaigne, evening wear and the most exceptional pieces are displayed. It might be a new Dior address, but here the world is totally that of 30 Avenue Montaigne – albeit it on a child’s scale.

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Sainsbury’s to launch tube station click & collect service

Sainsbury’s is to launch a new click and collect service where shoppers can pick up their online grocery orders from London Underground station car parks.

The service will start operating this summer from seven stations which will include Oakwood, Totteridge & Whetstone, Woodside Park, Leytonstone, Loughton, Debden and South Woodford.

Customers who place their order before 1pm will be able to collect it on the same day.

Sainsbury’s director of online Robbie Feather, said: “We are always looking at new ways to serve our customers and make their lives easier so we are delighted to launch this new service. We are confident that the combination of Sainsbury’s quality and great service combined with the convenience that this brings will be a real hit with customers.”

The service will be offered free of charge throughout July and August. After that, it will be available for all online grocery orders over £20 with a charge of £1.99 per collection. Customers with a Sainsbury’s Delivery Pass will be able to use the service free of charge.

Over the last year Sainsbury’s online grocery business grew by 12% and reached the milestone of £1 billion in annual sales.

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In pictures: Iran’s biggest shopping mall keeps growing

Isfahan City Center, a commercial and entertainment centre, is the largest shopping mall in Iran. Covering approximately 6,500,000 square feet, the mall which is still under construction will include a five-star hotel, a financial centre and an entertainment centre with cinema and fair complex.

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American Eagle to open UK stores

One of the biggest fashion retailers in the US, American Eagle Outfitters, is poised to arrive in the UK

The fashion chain is in talks to open a store at Westfield’s Stratford City shopping centre, as well as at its west London centre and Bluewater in Kent.

American Eagle, which is advised in the UK by property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs, will be the latest in a line of US fashion chains to cross the Atlantic.

Hollister, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and J Crew have all opened stores in the UK, confirming London’s position as the most popular destination for international retail brands.

American Eagle has more than 1,000 stores in the US and targets 15 to 25-year-olds with affordable fashion.

The company has filed documents at Companies House to create a UK subsidiary called American Eagle Outfitters UK Limited, paving the way for it to open stores.

However, US fashion retailers have a mixed record in the UK.

Forever 21 racked up a £66.5m pre-tax loss in the UK last year as it was forced to take impairment charges on the value of its assets.

The retailer has been hugely successful in the US as a youth fashion chain but faces competition in the UK from European heavyweights such as Zara and H&M as well as UK chain Topshop.

Forever 21’s accounts show that in the year to February 28, 2013 its revenues grew from £23m to £37.1m on the back of new store openings.

However, pre-tax losses grew from £7.6m to £66.5m because of a £44.5m writedown on the value of lease acquisitions and lease improvements.

Nonetheless, data from property agent CBRE claimed that London is the most popular city in the world for international retailers.

A total of 31 international retailers opened stores in London for the first time last year, including US fashion retailer J Crew and luxury brand Tom Ford.

This means that 57pc of international brands – almost three in five – have a presence in London.

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Christo Wiese creates UK shell company ahead of retail acquisitions

South African retail billionaire Christo Wiese has created a shell company in the UK, as he looks to begin discussions about taking over fashion retailers in the country.

Pepkor UK is named after Wiese’s retail investment group Pepkor, which manages a portfolio of value-market chains including Pep and Ackermans in South Africa and Best & Less in Australia. It will be headed by former Asda boss Andy Bond and his business partner Mark Elliott.

It was revealed in November that Wiese, who is worth around £2.2bn, was eyeing up Sir Philip Green’s value chain BHS. The team is now thought to be considering a number of possibilities in the clothing market involving smaller chains.

Any acquisitions would be reversed into the Pepkor UK shell and would become part of the wider Pepkor network, which extends from South Africa to Nigeria, Australia and Poland.

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Primark to convert £60m Birmingham mall into giant store

Primark is said to be close to completing a deal to buy an entire shopping centre in Birmingham for £60 million.

The fast fashion discount retailer is said to be looking to transform the Pavilions shopping centre in Birmingham into one of the country’s biggest Primark stores.

According to the Telegraph, Primark has been in talks with Pavilions owner UBS Triton Property Fund, with a deal expected to be confirmed within days.

Covering 250,000 sq ft in the centre of Birmingham, the Telegraph reported that Primark intends to convert half of the centre into a Primark store, leaving the rest to sub-let to other retailers.

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French footwear brand Faguo picks up UK agent

North and South Footwear has been appointed as UK and Ireland agent for footwear and accessories brand Faguo.

Founded in 2009 by then 22-year-olds Frédéric Mugnier and Nicolas Rohr, the Paris-headquartered brand is currently sold in 450 stores across 23 countries. The spring 15 collection will be premiered at the next edition of Who’s Next, with retail prices ranging from €55 to €105 (£45 to £85).

Kevin Buck, owner of London-based North and South, said: “This is a beautiful line from a young duo who have been looking at footwear in a new and fun way. It has more than 200 concessions in France, selling in Colette and Galeries Lafayette.”

The brand also has seasonal collaborations with Johnstons of Elgin, Agnès B and Archiduchesse.

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US garment retailer Gap set to enter India with branded stores next year

New Delhi: American garment retailer Gap Inc. is set to open its stores in India early next year. The company is close to signing a franchisee deal with Arvind Ltd which is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, people familiar with the development told ET.

Gap has almost sealed the deal with Ahmedabad-based textile conglomerate Arvind Ltd to open its branded stores in India, a person privy to the talks between the two companies said. “It is more or less a done deal and will be announced in a week or ten days,” said the person, who did not wish to be identified.

“Initially it will be a franchisee model with Gap having the call option to buy stake in the company in future,” the person said, adding that a group of senior Gap officials was expected to visit India to announce the deal.

Arvind Ltd has been scouting for about 10,000 outlets in various malls across the country for Gap brand and the group is on the verge of securing spaces in several malls in New Delhi and Mumbai, ET has learnt.

A three-member team of Gap’s global operations is set to visit India next week and along with Rajiv Malik, general manager of Gap’s sourcing office in India, expected to finalise the spaces lined up in malls by Arvind in India.

“Initially Arvind will run the stores, but Gap will be very much involved,” said the second person with direct knowledge of the matter. “The business will be structured in a manner that Gap will have say in real estate, look of the stores and the merchandise…Gap will control all aspects of the operation,” he added.

Malik declined to comment on the matter while J. Suresh, MD of Arvind Brands was not immediately available for comments.
Gap will join global fashion apparel brands such as Zara, Mango and Marks & Spencer, among others, that already have presence in India. Gap’s other global rival, Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz, last year received approval for a fully-owned subsidiary in India and is planning to open its H&M-branded stores in the country later this year.

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Burberry award chief executive shares worth almost £15m

Fashion company Burberry handed Christopher Bailey, promoted to chief executive last month, a one-off award of shares worth almost £15m last summer.

The award of the shares, which are not related to performance, was revealed in the annual report, which also showed that Bailey was handed another one-off award of shares in December 2010 worth around £4m at the time.

The disclosure of the share handouts follows the revelation last month that Bailey, previously the company’s chief creative officer, was handed a golden hello in shares worth up to £7.6m. Following his promotion to chief executive, to replace Angela Ahrendts who has joined Apple, Bailey was awarded 500,000 shares, which are related to performance and could pay out between 2017 and 2019.

The share price last night was £14.95.

The UK-born executive, who remains both the chief creative and chief executive officer, is also receiving £440,000 of cash allowances on top of a £1.1m salary and annual cash bonus of up to £2.2m.

In total Bailey could receive up to £10.3m this year, depending on the company’s performance.

The company provides little disclosure about how many shares Bailey – who is in his 13th year at Burberry – owns or could own through share schemes. But it does reveal that – well before he became chief executive – he was handed 1m shares in July 2013 and 350,000 in December 2010, which he will receive between 2015 and 2018 and which are not related to performance.

In the annual report, Ahrendts – who is holding on to two share bonuses worth up to £6.2m and is receiving £40m in shares from her employer Apple – writes that she is looking forward to watching the company develop.

Sir John Peace, chairman of the company and nominations committee, said in the annual report that Bailey had been appointed to the enlarged role because of “unique qualities and deep experience” and that head hunters were not used to find a successor to Ahrendts.

Other annual reports released on Thursday show that the boss of Marks & Spencer, Marc Bolland, missed out on bonuses and rejected a pay rise. His salary was unchanged at £970,000 and his total pay down from £2.1m to £1.6m.

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Morrisons could cut 2,000 jobs under management restructuring

Morrisons is expected to reveal a management restructuring within its store operations in the coming weeks, with up to 2,000 jobs on the line under the changes.

According to the Guardian, the UK’s fourth largest supermarket has been looking at a slimmed-down structure for its management, with the job cuts likely to affect managers overseeing product categories such as fresh food and non-food across its 500 stores.

Industry insiders told the Guardian that the grocer has already trialled the cuts with three possible new management structures in around seven of its new stores.

Morrisons has declined to comment on the potential job cuts, but has stated in the past that changes would be made to simplify its store management structures.

The news comes ahead of the group’s annual shareholder meeting Bradford on Thursday, where chief executive Dalton Philips will come up against investors looking for a clear turn-around in results from the troubled chain.

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Halfords takes over Boardman Bikes for undisclosed sum

The cycling business run by former Olympic champion Chris Boardman has been bought by the UK bicycle and car parts retailer Halfords.

Chris Boardman has been designing Boardman Performance Series bicycles for Halfords since 2007.

Halfords would not disclose the value of the deal, but it’s thought to be worth around £15m ($25m).

Chris Boardman, who won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, will remain as chairman and design director.

Boardman Bikes and Boardman International were set up ten years ago.

“This step will take the brand to the next level and their backing will allow us to further develop our research & development and extend our award-winning cycling ranges,” he said.

Bike sales accelerate

Bicycle sales have sharply increased in recent years, thanks to the success of a number of British cyclists, including Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton.

Models in the Boardman Performance Series sell for up to £1,800. More expensive bicycles in the Boardman Elite Series are sold at independent retailers in the UK and US.

Worcestershire-based Halfords said it has no plans to sell the higher priced models in its stores.

The chief executive of Halfords, Matt Davies, said: “We have worked with Chris and his team since 2007; they have created one of the most important, fastest-growing and successful brands in UK cycling. We look forward to a continuation of the growth that both Boardman and Halfords have enjoyed with such a strong brand.”

Halfords said the deal would not change the guidance on its finances for its current fiscal year.

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Prada Group expands in Thailand

Prada Group has recently opened two new stores for its main labels Prada and Miu Miu in Bangkok, Thailand. Both new openings are located within the Central Embassy Mall.

The new Prada store in Bangkok, the fourth in the Thai capital, covers 530 sqm on two floors and offers ready to wear and accessories for both men and women. For Miu Miu, the new store opening marks the debut of the brand in Thailand.

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Hermès to open three new stores in China this year

French luxury house Hermès has recently confirmed its retail expansion plans for China in 2014. The landmark opening of 2014 for Hermès will be a Maison store, fifth in the world, in Shanghai. Other openings in China include Chengdu where Hermès will open a larger store in a new location, and Beijing with a new store, also by the end of 2014.

Axel Dumas, CEO of Hermes said: ”The Chinese buy less gifts due to the anti-corruption laws, but it mainly affects the watchmaking sector and wines and spirit. Moreover, the changing tastes of Chinese go towards more quality and expertise (savoir-faire) and therefore have no effect on our business in this region.”

Future store openings for Hermes in Asia include: Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

ARGOS LAUNCHES NEW HOME AND FURNITURE BRAND ‘HEART OF HOUSE’

Milton Keynes, UK, 2014-6-3 — /EPR Retail News/ — Argos is launching a new home and furniture brand designed to respond to modern living as part of its drive to significantly develop and grow its own-brand business.

The new brand – ‘Heart of House’ – will be available to customers this summer with a choice of 1,200 products across furniture, homewares and upholstery, making it Argos’ first cross-category brand in this market.

Products will offer customers high levels of quality and style at very competitive prices, including ‘super white’ porcelain, Egyptian cotton towels, and 200 thread count bedding fabrics. Robust furniture guarantees will also offer customers protection of up to two years on cabinetry and five years on upholstery frames.

Heart of House customers will be able to buy products through Argos’ websites and apps and take advantage of its convenient Check & Reserve service uniquely available at 734 Argos stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The brand will be supported by a multi-million pound launch campaign later this year.

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said: “This is a significant launch for Argos and heralds the introduction of our first cross-category, high quality private brand.

“Significant levels of research and planning have gone into the development of the brand. Customers told us they were looking for a brand which offered great products for the home at great prices. Heart of House will offer quality products which stand up to the rigours of everyday life but which are stylish and enable customers to easily coordinate and create the latest looks at home.

“We plan to develop Heart of House as a significant brand in its own right, which our customers recognise, connect to and desire.”

The launch is part of Argos’ transformation strategy to continue increasing its appeal amongst broader customer groups. Argos is committed to developing and growing its own brands to represent a third of its total sales by 2018.

Heart of House joins a broad range of brands for the home available at Argos for customers with a variety of needs for cost, quality and style.

Argos is one of the UK’s leading home and furniture retailers, offering around 4,500 furniture products and around 7,500 homeware products. Home and furniture accounts for around a fifth of total Argos sales.

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