Monthly Archives: July 2014

SA consumers vote Edgars as icon brand

Johannesburg – Edgars has been appointed winner in a number of categories in 2014’s Target Group International (TGI) Icon Brand Survey – the largest consumer survey of its kind in Africa.

The Icon Brand Survey had over 15 000 consumers interviewed across socioeconomic levels. Edgars has been selected by consumers as Best Mens Store, Best Ladies store, Best Jewellery Store and Best Loyalty Card.

According to TGI, iconic brands are ubiquitous and quintessentially South African. South Africans of all races, creed, or colour, irrespective of background or living standard, use them.

These brands define a common experience, often on a daily basis, to which South Africans are committed.

According to the TGI website, South Africans love these brands and are loyal to them, even looking for them when abroad.

“It is thanks to our customers that Edgars has been recognised as South Africa’s brand icon in four categories,” said Edcon Group CEO Jurgen Schreiber.


Harrods unveils ultra-luxury shoes section

Harrods London will unveil its largest project to date this week, a 42,000-square-foot shoes haven (three times the size of the previous space) designed by David Collins Studio. The space which is conceived to resemble a luxurious hotel suite will feature an array of the finest luxury ladies shoes brands, including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Charlotte Olympia, Nicholas Kirkwood, Balenciaga, Rupert Sanderson and many more.


Fascinating Facts About 10 Of The World’s Best-Selling Products


Joe Fresh stores expand in KSA

JEDDAH – Loblaw, owner of the Joe Fresh brand, in partnership with Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co., has announced the opening of the first three Joe Fresh stores in Saudi Arabia.
The first 4,800sq ft store in Mall of Dhahran opened on July 2, 2014, followed by the 4,500sq ft in the Sahara Mall which opened on July 11 and 5,200sq ft store which opened in Mall of Arabia in Jeddah on July 20, 2014. A 9,300sq ft store is slated to follow in the Al Nakheel Mall in Riyadh.

“We are excited to open our first stores in the Middle East, a dynamic new retail market for Joe Fresh. This signifies an important milestone for the brand as we continue to expand overseas and build on the strong foundation we have built in Canada and the United States,” said Joe Mimran, creative director of Joe Fresh.

The Middle East stores are designed to mirror existing Joe Fresh stores in Canada and the United States. Minimalist white walls and poured concrete floors create a clean and modern shopping environment that spotlights the colorful and contemporary designs of Joe Fresh.
In the fall, Alhokair will open two Joe Fresh stores in Festival City and the Mall of Arabia , both located in Cairo, Egypt.

“We look forward to building the Joe Fresh business with Alhokair, a global franchise company that possesses deep local knowledge within the Middle East, and wide expertise in retail. Together, we are committed to bringing the Joe Fresh formula of smart style and compelling value to a broad audience,” said Mario Grauso, chief operating officer of Joe Fresh Apparel Canada, an affiliate of Loblaw.
Joe Fresh and Alhokair announced a partnership in February that will bring the brand to 17 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Under terms of the agreement, the company plans to open at least 96 stores by 2018 in these markets, including 40 stores within Saudi Arabia alone.

Simon Marshall, chief executive officer of Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co., said: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with Joe Fresh and to bring its unique design sensibility and exciting retail format to our customers.”


Aldi poised to overtake Waitrose

Aldi is poised to overtake Waitrose to become the sixth largest grocery retailer in the UK as initiatives to expand its customer base helped it to double-digit sales growth, according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

Video: Aldi’s latest campaign encouraging consumers to switch to the discounter.

For the 12 weeks to the 20 July, Aldi’s sales increased by 32.2 per cent year on year to £1.2bn, giving it a highest ever market share of 4.8 per cent, up from 3.7 per cent a year ago. That puts Aldi’s market share just behind Waitrose on 4.9 per cent and means it could overtake the upmarket grocer in the next quarter.

Aldi has made a concerted push to appeal to more affluent consumers, most recently running a print campaign for its newly launched equestrian clothing range. It has also highlighted products such as Italian prosecco and prosciutto ham in its advertising, focusing on the savings shoppers could make by switching to Aldi without compromising on quality.

Lidl also reported double-digit growth, with sales up 19.5 per cent to give the discounter its highest ever share at 3.6 per cent. Meanwhile Waitrose saw sales increase 3.4 per cent, a “testament to its policy of maximum differentiation” according to Kantar Worldpanel director Ed Garner.

In an attempt to see off the threat of the discounters, the big four supermarkets are increasingly focusing on price with Tesco and Morrisons announcing multi-million pound investments in bringing down prices and launching high-profile marketing campaigns to shout about the changes. Sainsbury’s has also lowered its prices although it is maintaining its values messaging.

That has led to the grocery market posting its 10th successive quarterly fall in inflation, which now stands at 0.4 per cent, the lowest level since Kantar Worldpanel began recording the metric in October 2006. Market growth stands at just 0.9 per cent, the lowest level for 10 years.

“This reflects the impact of Aldi and Lidl and the market’s competitive response, as well as deflation in some major categories including vegetables, bread and milk,” says Garner.

Despite the price focus, Tesco saw its sales decline widen to 3.8 per cent in the period and its market share fall to 28.9 per cent. It has recently replaced its CEO Philip Clarke with Unilever exec Dave Lewis in an attempt to turnaround its fortunes.

Morrisons also saw its sales drop 3.8 per cent to give it 11 per cent of the market. Both Sainsbury’s and Asda managed to maintain market share on 16.6 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.


Selfridges London launches new designer menswear area

Selfridges has unveiled a new designer menswear area at its London store as part of its multimillion pound ‘Menswear Masterplan’. Created in collaboration with architect Alex Cochrane, the new 290 sq m space, called Designer West, houses 12 new labels to Selfridges along with carefully selected brands such as Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons.

The new space is located on the first floor in the central atrium of the store and is anchored by three sculptural plinths, dividing the overall area in two sides of equal proportions. The floor echoes the physicality of the plinths with oversized geometrically cut stones.

A series of rails made of brass with a patinated bronze finish provide height contrasts around the central plinths, and play with the perimeter of the space.

Three blue neon strip lights are suspended from the ceiling, creating halos above the accessories on display in the fixtures below.

In addition, 11 custom-built bell jars run through the space, created to house an ongoing series of exclusive installations. For the launch of the department, British jewellery brand Hannah Martin London has created geometric landscapes of obelisk shapes and pyramid forms from DuPont Corian that sit inside each jar alongside a carefully chosen edit of the company’s work.

Terry Betts, director of menswear, comments: ‘This season we’ve recalibrated what designerwear means. The result is what we believe to be the most considered and unique offer of men’s fashion in any department store. To walk around this space will be to experience both the latest collections from revered fashion houses, and to discover new collections in amongst them. Striking that balance is something we take very seriously, and I’m incredibly proud of the integrity of the offer we’ve put together for Designer West.’

Selfridges has also launched a new shopping service especially for the male customer in search of an elevated and personalised shopping experience. The 120 sq m space, also designed by Alex Cochrane, comprises three elegant private suites, a reception area and a salon space complete with a floor-to-ceiling library.



Tod’s opens first men’s only store in Hong Kong

The store offers a large selection of Tod’s collection of men’s ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, leather goods, and the J.P.Tod’s Sartorial Collection. Located at the Landmark Mall, the store’s interior is modern understated luxury that features the use of materials such as Hamman leather on walls, and diamond patterns on the marble floor.



Christian Dior Couture first half year sales increase 13,4%

Christian Dior Couture, the parent company of Christian Dior SA and LVMH Group, reports first half year sales increased by 13.4% to 747 million euro, or 1.02 billion dollars at average exchange for the period.

The French fashion house said profits from recurring operations increased 47% in the second half of its fiscal year to 84 million euro, or 115.2 million dollars. Sales in directly operated stores increased 19% at constant exchange rates compared with the same period in 2013 “thanks to the excellence of its products,” the group said.

Highlights of the second half of the fiscal year (January 1 – June 30, 2014) include:

– Good resilience in Europe and continued growth in the United States and Asia

– Strong negative exchange rate effect, particularly on Fashion and Leather Goods and on Watches and Jewelry activities

– Continued exceptional growth for Christian Dior Couture, particularly at its network of directly operated stores (up 19% at constant exchange rates compared to the same period in 2013), thanks to the excellence of its products)

– Wines and Spirits’ sector performance impacted by continued destocking by distributors in China,

– The qualitative development of Louis Vuitton, where profitability remains at an exceptional level

– Continued investment in the fashion brands

– Strong innovation momentum at Parfums Christian Dior

– Sustained investment in communication for Watches and Jewelry,

– Excellent performance of Sephora and continued expansion plan of DFS,

– Cash from operations before changes in working capital of 3.3 billion euros,

– Net debt to equity ratio of 26% as of the end of June 2014


Michael Kors opens new store in Palermo, Italy

Michael Kors opened this week its first store in Sicily, in the city of Palermo. Situated on via della Libertà, the new Michael Kors lifestyle store which covers 380 sqm, features the Michael Kors and MICHAEL Michael Kors labels, with a wide rannge of product categories: ready to wear, watches, jewellery, shoes and eyewear.


Pepe Jeans Said to Hire Morgan Stanley to Sell Business

Pepe Jeans Group, the clothing retailer known for its denim and sportswear brands, hired Morgan Stanley (MS) to explore the sale of the business, according to people familiar with the matter.

The sale will include both the Pepe Jeans and Hackett brands and could fetch as much as 700 million euros ($941 million), the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. The company has attracted interest from bidders including KKR & Co. (KKR), Permira Advisers LLP, CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and PAI Partners SAS, the people said.

Pepe Jeans, which was started by three brothers on a stall in London’s Portobello Market in 1973, is now owned by private-equity firms Torreal, Arta Capital, L Capital and its management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ortega. Ortega will stay on as CEO of the company, the people said.

Pepe Jeans, which is a sponsor of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team and has run high-profile advertising campaigns starring actress Sienna Miller and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, now has a presence in more than 60 countries. Its annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are about 60 million euros, the people said.


Chief executive of Net-A-Porter Mark Sebba to stand down

Chief executive of Net-A-Porter Mark Sebba to stand down | City A.M.

Mark Sebba, the chief executive of online luxury fashion retailer Net-A-Porter is to stand down later this week after 11 years, during which the company’s innovative approach has grown it into a major player in the sector.

Sebba joined the company in 2003, only three years after it was founded by Natalie Massenet in 2000, and will step down from his position as chief executive at Net-A-Porter Group on 31st July 2014.

The online fashion retailer, which currently has over 2,500 staff, was bought in 2010 by Richemont, the huge Swiss based luxury goods and jewellery company, in a deal worth about £225m, which valued Net-A-Porter at £350m at the time.

Earlier this year Bank Vontobel AG estimated that Net-A-Porter could be worth as much as €2.5bn (£2bn), with the online fashion retailer having made sales of €550m last year.

As well as its primary Net-A-Porter site targeted at luxury women’s fashion, the group has also diversified and runs the Outnet site set up in 2009, offering fashion ranges at more discount prices, and the MrPorter site set up in 2011, expanding to target the male market by providing a range of fashions and menswear.

In February 2014 Net-A-Porter also launched its own fashion magazine, Porter, which the company promoted as the first globally distributed, fully shoppable fashion magazine. The launch of the magazine, costing £5 per issue and going on sale in 220 cities in 60 countries, followed its digital weekly fashion magazine, The Edit.

Commenting on his retirement, Mark Sebba said: “ I am stepping down at a time with the company is stronger than ever. Our revenue is growing, we are market leaders and we continue to innovate and raise the bar in terms of our customer experience. We reach an audience globally of over 9m customers across multiple channels: web, mobile and app platforms.”

Natalie Massenet, chair of Net-A-Porter said “Mark Sebba has been the best CEO this company could have hoped for and my greatest ally. Since 2000, Net-A-Porter has championed innovation, creativity, technology and customer service and at its heart has been a man of incredible integrity, wisdom and strength. Not only has he grown our business exponentially and healthily and guided us through our sale to Richemont – he has also brought calm and confidence to the core of our group.”


Mark Sebba, aged 65, may not have had a strong background in fashion when he joined Net-A-Porter in 2003, but he already had a wealth of business experience and flexibility developed working from the world of investment banking, to video on demand, and the smooth sound of Jazz radio.

Having studied accountancy at the City of London College and became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

He then went on work as an investment banker for Wertheim Schroder, before becoming director of Charterhouse Bank.

In the mid nineties he became finance director of Golden Rose Communications, operator of Jazz FM, before becoming finance director of Video Networks Limited, provider of video on demand and online services.

During his time at Net-A-Porter the business grew from a promising start-up to a major global online fashion retailer, with sales growing from around £6m in 2003 to around £120m by 2009, before the company was acquired by Richemont in 2010.

Though he will this week step down from his position as chief executive of Net-A-Porter Group, he will still remain on the board as a non-executive director. At the start of July he was also appointed by the Prime Minister to the board of trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum, to hold the post for four years to June 2018.

He is married to Anne Sebba, a historian, and has three children, Adam, Amy and Imogen.


Dollar Tree to merge with Family Dollar in $8.5 billion deal

Discount variety-store retailer Dollar Tree Inc., based in Chesapeake, VA, will acquire Charlotte, NC-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. for $8.5 billion in stock and cash, the companies said Monday.
Dollar Tree will have more than 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada once the companies are combined. There’s no word on whether or how many stores might be closed.
The deal was approved unanimously by both boards of directors, but will have to be approved by Family Dollar’s shareholders.
Dive Insight:

Activist investor Carl Icahn has been pushing for a deal like this since he acquired a 9.39% stake in struggling Family Dollar earlier this year. Rival discount retailer Goodlettsville, TN-based Dollar General was considered a likely suitor until news of CEO Rick Dreiling’s retirement next year. This presumably scratches Icahn’s itch, and gives Dollar Tree a physical store presence in the U.S. and Canada that rivals Wal-Mart Stores.


Wishing all our readers a blessed Eid Mubarak


Louis Vuitton to open at London’s Heathrow its second airport store globally

Louis Vuitton has confirme the opening of its second airport store in London’s Heathrow Airport this December. The Louis Vuitton which will be located within Terminal 5 and will cover 200 sqm, will feature leatherwear and accessories for men and women, as well as women’s ready-to-wear. The first Louis Vuitton airport store opened in 2011 at Incheon Seoul Airport.


Donna Karan to close its Manhattan store as DKNY continues to expand

US designer Donna Karan is set to close the doors of her Collections New York flagship store on August 31, the same day when the lease expires for the three leveled retail unit. Located at 819 Madison Avenue, the 11,000 square foot flagship store offers Donna Karan’s women’s wear collection, accessories range as well as home line and features a private garden complete with a bamboo forest.

“After careful consideration, the company has decided not to renew our Donna Karan Collection store lease at 819 Madison Avenue, which expires Aug. 31,” explained a spokeswoman from the label to WWD. “At this time, we are exploring other opportunities for a space more reflective of the spirit of our brand today.”

Donna Karan to close boutique in New York
According to a report from the Real Estate Board of New York, the average rent for a retail unit between East 57th and 72nd street was nearly 1,400 dollars during the fall of 2013, an increase of 42 percent from the same period in 2012. A sharp increase in rent could be a contributing factor to the store’s closure, although no further details surrounding the reasoning behind the store’s impending closure, or a potential relocation site have been revealed.

After the flagship store closes its door, Donna Karan will remain present in the city through her concession stands, DKNY stores, as well as her Urban Zen fashion and wellness center in West Village, a store concept which Donna Karan owns separate from Donna Karan International.

Some industry insiders have hinted that the store closure could be due to a slowdown in demand for the Donna Karan New York Collection label, which has lost some of its luster since being acquired by French conglomerate LVMH in 2001. In a recent interview with the NY Times, the designer revealed that she is not as “deeply immersed” in the daily running of the labels and depended on veteran design teams at Donna Karan and DKNY.

Since LVMH stepped into the picture, the brand appears to be less of a influence in the international fashion scene. Although premium department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman still sell its main label, Bloomingdale’s, which was once closely knitted with Donna Karan’s core customer, stopping offering its Donna Karan label eight months ago. The luxury department store continues to offer a large selection of DKNY.

DKNY gains global momentum
“Bloomingdale’s does an excellent job with a big presence for DKNY,” she said at the time, adding that the label’s main customer is “more a woman on the go and on the street.” In comparison to the Donna Karan label, its younger, mid-market fashion label sister DKNY appears to be doing quite well and is currently expanding overseas into core and existing markets.

Donna Karan’s sister label is slated to open a 2,265 square foot standalone store in Trinity Leeds shopping center this October, its first store in the city. DKNY currently operates over 250 stores around the world, with more global openings planned for this year.

DKNY recently unveiled its inaugural Ramadan collection and first ever regionalised campaign starring two popular Middle Eastern fashion bloggers, not long after the launch of its Middle East website. The label also announced its upcoming collaboration with British model Cara Delevinge, who is set to launch a 15 piece capsule collection for the label this fall. It also tapped artist Rita Ora as the face of its FW 2014 ad campaign, which has helped increase the brand’s presence and appeal among today’s millennials.


Qatari investors could acquire Plaza New York and Grosvenor House hotels

Subrata Roy Sahara, chairman of the Sahara Group, is putting up for sale the Plaza Hotel and Dreams Downtown Hotel in New York, as well as London’s Grosvenor House, to make the US $1.66 billion bail to get him out of jail.

According to The Economic Times, at least one of the properties, the Marriott-operated Grosvenor House, could be the subject of a three-way bidding war. It reports that Indian billionaire father-son duo Cyrus and Adar Poonawalla has already made a firm offer, while sources directly involved in the negotiation have identified an investor group linked to the Qatari royal family and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei as rival bidders.

A successful offer from the Qatari party would mark another major high-profile hotel acquisition by investors from the GCC.

According to global hotel consultancy HVS London, total hotel transactions across Europe reached a value of €7.7 billion (US $10.6 billion) in 2013, with Middle Eastern buyers accounting for 30% of the activity.

Qatar-based Katara Hospitality recently acquired five IHG properties in key European markets, including the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes and the Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam.


Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales

Gigantic retailer Amazon grew sales 23 per cent, year on year, in its second quarter of 2014 – and managed to lose even more money than usual.

The e-retailer and cloud giant reported an operating loss of $0.27 per share on Thursday on revenues of $19.34bn for the three-month period, compared with analyst expectations of a loss of $0.15 per share.

This is par for the course with Amazon, which has typically failed to report profits on its mammoth business as Bezos & Co invest everything back into the biz itself, while also taking part in numerous and highly creative financial engineering schemes.

Amazon shares are, at time of writing, trading down 11 per cent.

For its next quarter, Amazon expects sales of between $19.7bn and $21.5bn, with an operating loss of between $810m and $410m.

There also seems to be trouble ahead in the cloud, as growth is apparently slowing in the company’s Amazon Web Services division.

Though Amazon doesn’t explicitly disclose figures for its cloud business, it’s possible to come up with a credible estimate. AWS revenues are squirreled away in the North American part of the company’s “Other” revenue bucket. This quarter, those revenues were reported to be $1.168bn, compared with $1.204bn in the previous quarter, and $844m a year ago.

It looks like revenues are slowing in Amazon’s cloud-concealing “Other” segment

This marks the first time since Amazon started filing public financial statements that there has been a Q1 to Q2 decline in “Other” revenue in North America.

This is likely because of increased competition from rivals like Microsoft (Azure), Google (Google Compute Engine), VMware (vCHS), and startups like Digital Ocean. Along with this, there’s been a series of furious price drops that are likely to have hit revenue.

“We had very substantial price reductions for customers starting in the second quarter,” explained Amazon’s chief financial officer Tom Szkutak in a conference call discussing the results.

“AWS continues to grow very strongly. In Q2 we had usage growth of close to 90 percent year over year for the quarter.”

It could also be headcount. “The AWS team grew by thousands of employees this past year, expanding AWS infrastructure, enterprise and public sector sales capabilities and allowing the team to innovate at an accelerating pace,” Amazon explained in a press release issued alongside the earnings.

Along with this, “purchases of property and equipment,” which consists mostly of data centers and distribution centers, grew to $1.290bn in the quarter, compared with $855m in the same quarter a year ago.

Though AWS is likely still growing rapidly, the rise in competition in the marketplace is putting a crimp into its revenues. Given that the margins Amazon enjoys from AWS are thought to be much higher than it gets from its retail business, it looks like the part of Bezos’s empire that could give him profits should the Street demand it is coming under sustained pressure. This, if the market loses confidence in Amazon’s shares, could be a problem. ®


Britney Spears ventures into the underwear business

A picture instagrammed by Britney Spears gives a sneak peek of what’s to come from the line Photo: Instagram/ Britney Spears

Britney Spears is much more than just an entertainer these days; she’s released 15 fragrances with Elizabeth Arden and now she’s added the role of lingerie designer to her bow.

The 32-year-old’s foray into the world of underwear is being aided by Change Lingerie, a Danish company, reports WWD, and will be called The Intimate Britney Spears.

The collection of classic sets, vintage-inspired bustiers and kimonos and loungewear will be sold on in the US and in some of Change Lingerie’s worldwide outposts. Currently, The company doesn’t have any outlets in the UK. Prices will range from approximately £5 to £50.

Spears, who has spent much of her professional life performing in lingerie commented: “Every woman should feel confident and beautiful in everything she puts on. My vision for The Intimate Britney Spears is to create pieces that are sexy, luxurious and comfortable at the same time.”


Wal-Mart US CEO Bill Simon to retire

Dive Brief:

Wal-Mart Stores announced Thursday that the CEO of the Wal-Mart US division will retire, effective Aug. 8.
Bill Simon, who has been in the role since June 2010, will receive $4.5 million as part of his retirement agreement.
Greg Foran, currently president and CEO of Wal-Mart China, will take over Simon’s position.
Dive Insight:

Simon was rumored to be in the running for CEO of Wal-Mart Stores before Doug McMillion was chosen in February, and he will stay with the company in a consultant role for the next six months.

For Foran, he will be heading a division much larger than the one he is currently overseeing. But Wal-Mart US has seen sluggish growth, with sales and profits last quarter lower than projected. Perhaps the company is hoping that Foran’s 30 years of retail experience can add new growth to the division.


ONLINE baby retailer Direct2Mum is opening its first store

ONLINE baby retailer Direct2Mum is opening its first store as it aims to strengthen its position in the market.

Direct2Mum is a family-run business, launched in 2010 by its chairman professor Graham Leslie and his son and daughter, Alex Leslie and Fay Briddon. The store opening is part of the company’s five year commitment to build the Direct2Mum brand in the retail sector. It received significant funding from investment company One Degree Capital in 2013


Fortnum & Mason to open at Heathrow T5


Fortnum & Mason has announced plans to open its first standalone airport store and bar, at Heathrow Terminal 5. The 93 sq m outlet will carry an edit of products from the retailer’s Piccadilly store and is expected to open on 31 October.

The Fortnum & Mason Bar will celebrate the best of Fortnum’s Food Halls at Piccadilly and is due to open in December 2014.

Commenting on the impending opening, Ewan Venters, chief executive of Fortnum & Mason, says: ‘Heathrow is the UK’s hub airport and the first impression of the country for more than 35 million passengers a year. At Fortnum’s we have three centuries experience of serving customers travelling the globe, so it’s fitting we should now serve passengers flying to some of the world’s most glamorous locations, including the likes of New York, Hong Kong and Istanbul, and of course, Dubai.’

The move into Heathrow follows the opening of two new Fortnum & Mason stores over the past 12 months. In November 2013, the retailer opened its first new store in more than 300 years at London’s St Pancras International Station, and in March 2014 it launched its first standalone store outside the UK, in Dubai.

Versace opens new store in Moscow

The new 250 sqm Versace stand alone store in Moscow is located at in Stoleshnikov 12. The boutique, featuring mosaics inspired by Byzantine churches of the ninth century, houses the prêt-à-porter and accessories for men and woman of the house. The opening was celebrated with the launch of a limited edition of the iconic Signature bag, the Ciao Versace, made in black and white calf or python in gold.

This is Versace’s second mono-brand store in Moscow and fourth in Russia, with other locations in the cities of Yekaterinburg and Vladivostock.


Uniqlo is ready to open 1,000 stores in India

While Fast Retailing is currently looking for suppliers in India, its flagship brand Uniqlo may open a thousand stores in the country, over the next ten years.

Uniqlo has recently launched its new Paris flagship

That’s according to Times of India. Sources familiar with the matter told the newspaper that during the recent visit of the brand’s CEO Tadashi Yanai, he discussed this development with the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India is a large consumer market in the making. Valued at 58 billion dollars per year, the domestic textile and apparel market is expected to reach 141 billion dollars by 2021. Clothing giants such as Zara, Gap and recently H&M have successively made inroads into the country.


Givenchy opens new flagship store in Hong Kong

Givenchy opened last week its new flagship store in Hong Kong at Ocean Center shopping mall at Harbour City. The new store covers 220 sqm and features men’s and women’s ready to wear and accessories – shoes, handbags, eyewear etc. This is the second Givenchy store in Hong Kong, adding to the existing one dedicated to women’s wear and accessories at IFC Mall.



Gap to enter Slovenia, Austria

San Francisco — Continuing its global growth, Gap Inc. on Monday announced that it will introduce the Gap brand to Slovenia and Austria through agreements with new and existing franchise partners. Magistrat International, a new partner, has been selected for the launch of Slovenia. Gottex, which currently manages the Gap franchise business in Israel and Hungary, will launch Austria.

Gap has signed a new agreement with Magistrat International to open three stores in the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. City Park, Slovenia’s largest shopping center, will be the location for the first two free-standing stores; one for adult and one for kids and baby. The Emporium department store will feature the full collection of mens, womens, kids and baby. All locations are scheduled to open by September this year.

Gap will open its first store in Vienna, Austria this October. The free-standing location will be located at the Donauzentrum Mall.

“Gap is known all over the world and we have grown our store presence significantly in recent years to help bring our casual style to more and more customers. We launched into five new markets last year; Hungary, Paraguay Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica, and with the opening of stores in Slovenia and Austria we now bring our iconic brand to customers through stores in almost 50 countries,” said Gap brand president, Steve Sunnucks.


Clothing Retailer Truworths Posts $1bn Annual Sales

VENTURES AFRICA – JSE-listed clothing retailer, Truworths International, on Friday said sales for the 52 weeks to end-June this year surged 6.8 percent to R10.8 billion ($1bn).

Truworths said during the period under review the company posted a credit sales growth of 5 percent and a cash sales growth of 11 percent.

“The trade receivables book has increased by 11.8% over the corresponding prior period-end to R 4.7 billion. As a result of strategic credit-related decisions taken during the prevailing tough market conditions, growth in trade receivable costs slowed in the second half of the period,” Truworths said on Friday.

“The period saw continued movement from the 6 month interest free payment plan to longer term interest bearing payment plans,” it continued in the firm’s trading update.

Truworths International is an investment holding firm listed on the JSE which currently comprises Truworths Limited and the international franchise operations.

The retailer is a leading South African retailer of fashion merchandise. The operation has developed a range of specialised retail formats including Truworths Woman, Truworths Man, Daniel Hechter, Inwear and LTD.

Truworths has more than 500 stores in South Africa and 5 franchise operations in Africa.

The firm’s companies are engaged in the retailing of fashion apparel and accessories. The Truworths International Retail Group incorporates Identity, YDE and Uzzi.


Marc Jacobs appoints new CEO

Marc Jacobs appoints new CEO

Sebastian Suhl is leaving his role as CEO of Givenchy to take Marc Jacobs’s eponymous label into the next chapter

From September, Marc Jacobs International will have a new boss.

Step forward New Yorker Sebastian Suhl, the man described by WWD, who broke the news, as one of the “most promising young executives” at luxury conglomerate LVMH, which owns 80 per cent of the Marc Jacobs label.

46-year-old Suhl, who has been at the helm of Givenchy since 2012, will help prepare the label for an initial public offering in several years’ time.

Jacobs, who founded his label in 1993, recently left his position as creative director of French fashion house Louis Vuitton after 16 years to concentrate on the brand, and its diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs.

LVMH chairman and of its fashion group, Pierre-Yves Roussel told WWD that immediate projects would most probably involve broadening the brand’s e-commerce, retail outposts and developing its footwear range.

Jacobs’ long-time business partner, Robert Duffy, will remain as president of the company.


French retail giant signs up for Doha Festival City

Doha Festival City has announced plans to partner with Ali Bin Ali Group to bring the first full-sized Monoprix store to Doha.

Monoprix, which has 500 stores in France, and 85 stores outside of France, sells international food, cosmetic and fashion brands and will take a 7,100 sq m store on the ground floor of mall which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2016.

Kareem M Shamma, CEO of mall owners BASREC, said: “This is yet another milestone for Doha Festival City and we are honoured to be featuring one of the most sought after names in French retailing.

“Monoprix’s presence comes out of a valued partnership with the Ali Bin Ali Group, which for generations has focused on bringing leading global brands into the local market.”

Upon completion, Doha Festival City Mall will be Qatar’s largest shopping mall with a gross leasable area of some 250,000 square metres.

It will house 550 outlets including 85 restaurants and cafes, the country’s first-of-its-kind Entertainment Zone, which will include VOX Cinemas and a snow park, and will feature around 8,000 parking spaces.

Phase one of the mall was completed last March and included the construction of Qatar’s first IKEA store.

Commenting on the partnership, Ali Bin Ali Group’s vice chairman Nabeel Ali Bin Ali said: “We have been very pleased at how the market has received the Monoprix brand and we have no doubt that its presence as part of Doha Festival City Mall’s offerings will be a crucial step in its growth.”

Many new stores will be making their debut at Doha Festival City Mall which has already signed agreements with leading retailers Azadea, Alshaya, Landmark, Apparel, Rivoli, Dubai Holding Group, Al-Futtaim Group Retail Brands.

Vox Cinemas is also set to introduce a 16-screen cinema at the mall.

“We are excited to be partnering with such a high profile shopping mall in Qatar which is set to drastically change the country’s retail and leisure landscape,” added Christian Kestemont, general manager, Monoprix Qatar.

Mall owner BASREC is a joint venture which comprises Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Real Estate Services, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Aqar Real Estate Development & Investment Company and a private Qatari investor.


India Reliance posts record $1-billion Q1 profit

Indian retail-to-energy group Reliance Industries Ltd reported a record $1-billion net profit for the financial first-quarter, fuelled by a strong petrochemicals performance.

Reliance, controlled by the country’s wealthiest man Mukesh Ambani, announced net profit for the three months to June climbed by a better-than-expected 13.7 percent to 59.57 billion rupees ($1 billion) in the same period a year ago.

The group, which owns a supermarket chain and a telecommunications company but derives most of its earnings from its massive energy operations, has “delivered a record level of consolidated net profit this quarter,” Ambani said.

The company “has a great pipeline of new projects” that will keep Reliance ahead of rivals, Ambani said in a statement.

The performance beat analysts’ expectations that the company, which runs the world’s biggest refinery complex, would post a net profit of around 54 billion rupees during the first quarter of the 2014-15 financial year.

“The petrochemicals business performance highlights the strength of our portfolio-mix,” Ambani said.

“Alongside, this robust financial performance, we also made significant progress on our growth commitments,” he said.

The company’s strong lineup of new projects “will give Reliance “an enduring competitive advantage”.

He said that the company was further expanding its retail business in existing markets and “exploring newer markets”.

Reliance’s revenues jumped by 7.2 percent to 1.1 trillion rupees ($17.9 billion) in the first quarter from a year earlier.

The company said that gas output from offshore fields in the KG-D6 block on the country’s east coast had fallen by 15 percent during the quarter from a year earlier.

Earlier this month, the government refused to allow Reliance to recover $2.4 billion it had invested to develop the D6 offshore gas block as production had fallen dramatically and was significantly below expected volume.

The company said the fall in output was mainly due to the shutdown of wells in D1 and D3 fields in the D6 block.

The matter is under arbitration amid claims by the oil ministry that output has fallen because the company failed to drill the number of wells it had pledged.

The company says that gas, used widely in energy-hungry India for power, is far harder to extract than initially expected.


Switzerland’s Swatch ‘to open stores in India’

Swatch has applied to set up stores in India, a report said Saturday, as the Swiss-based watchmaker moves to tap a growing and increasingly accessory-conscious consumer class.

Swatch, with $10 billion in annual sales, has made a formal proposal to the commerce ministry under which the company would have 100 percent control of its business, the Business Standard daily said.

The watchmaker would be the biggest international group to seek entry into India’s 100-percent-owned single-brand retail segment after furniture-maker IKEA and fashion clothing firm H&M, both Swedish companies.

Swatch watches, including Omega, Longines and Tissot, are currently are sold in India through dealers and third-party stores.

Neither Swatch nor the Indian government could immediately be reached for comment.

Experts say the move is a sign that Swatch wants to create a stronger Indian brand identity.

The Indian watch market is forecast to rise to $2.7 billion by 2020 from $898 million now, according to a recent industry report.

India’s new right-wing government hopes foreign investors will start looking closely again at the country after turning away in the face of a sharp growth slowdown and corruption scandals under the previous left-leaning Congress government, ousted at the polls in May.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to improve India’s investment climate, ease bureaucratic red tape and create a more predictable regulatory and tax climate.

But introducing free-market change is politically fraught with many politicians, unions and civil society groups favouring government spending and protectionism over economic liberalisation.

The Modi government, despite its pro-business tone, has already said it opposes a law passed by the previous government allowing foreigners to own stores selling more than one brand of products because it wants to protect India?s many small shopkeepers from supermarket giants such as Wal-Mart, Tesco (Xetra: 852647 – news) and others.

Swatch’s reported application comes soon after French supermarket chain Carrefour (Paris: FR0000120172 – news) ‘s announced its departure. Carrefour, which operates five wholesale stores in India, made the announcement after the government reiterated opposition to foreign investment in multi-brand retail.

Wal-Mart last year ditched a plan to open retail stores to focus on wholesale activities and e-commerce.

The Economic Times separately said the government was unlikely to formally reverse Congress’s decision allow 51 percent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail for fear of sending negative signals to the foreign investor community.


Lisney : Dublin retail update q2 2014

download the report here”…….

Halfway through 2014 and the positive reports of
falling unemployment, good consumer sentiment
and increased retail sales has impacted on the retail
property market. The recovery is evident on the prime
high streets in Dublin and in key out of town shopping
centres where demand is strong and vacancy rates
low. However, this strong demand has not yet
filtered down into smaller town centres across Dublin
and provincial areas, where vacancy levels can be
high. The number of retailers entering receivership
or administration has fallen. Unfortunately however,
Jane Norman was put into administration by its
owner, Edinburgh Woollen Mills, in June and is now
undergoing restructuring with some store


Aldar inks deal to bring House of Fraser to Yas Mall

Aldar inks deal to bring House of Fraser to Yas Mall

Aldar Properties has announced a new partnership agreement with Retail Arabia, which will see a new concept House of Fraser department store open in Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi.

The deal will also bring the first Hamleys – the oldest and largest toy shop in the world – store to Abu Dhabi, as well as the first Joe Fresh – the international fashion brand – store in the UAE.

Mohammed Al Mubarak, Aldar’s CEO, said: “We are very pleased to announce our partnership with Retail Arabia as we continue to bring unique retail experiences to Yas Island and the wider Abu Dhabi retail landscape.

“We are particularly pleased to see House of Fraser’s continued expansion in the UAE and to be the first to market in Abu Dhabi with Hamleys and Joe Fresh demonstrates our commitment to creating the best and most unique shopping experiences for our customers.”

Nabil Daud, CEO, Retail Arabia International added: “This is a very exciting moment for Retail Arabiaand we are delighted to partner with Aldar on what we see as one of the region’s most exciting retail projects for some time.

“The House of Fraser at Yas Mall will give customers a new shopping experience as we roll out our new exciting concept and will be home to a range of international brands launching for the first time in the UAE. The first Hamleys and Joe Fresh stores in Abu Dhabi will also make a big contribution to the existing strong retail mix at Yas Mall.”

Yas Mall is scheduled to open in November with more than 300 stores, growing to over 400 stores and outlets including F&B brands, a 20 screen cinema operated by VOX Cinemas, the largest hypermarket in Abu Dhabi which will be operated by Geant and a family entertainment zone.

Another major department store signing is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, Aldar added.


UK retailer F&F opens first New York store in Bay Shore

International fashion retailer F&F has opened its first New York store, on Long Island, as it attempts to infiltrate the U.S. market.

The 6,571-square-foot store, which opened June 28 at the Westfield South Shore mall in Bay Shore, will hold a grand opening on Aug. 16, mall and company officials said. The store employs 20 people.

F&F, based in England, plans to open a second Long Island store at Westfield Sunrise mall in Massapequa in mid-August.

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The company, which bills itself as the world’s third-largest retailer, sells clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children designed exclusively for the F&F brand at affordable prices, similar to H&M and Old Navy. F&F, which launched in the U.K. and Ireland in 2001, has 1,600 corporate and franchise locations in 21 countries including Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

“The timing couldn’t be any better because the consumer is looking for new places to develop and personalize their products,” said Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with The NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research company. “The younger generation is looking to discover new fashion and new brands . . . Value is a key category decision-maker for younger consumers. The younger generation is clearly raised on a budget.”

Earlier this year, F&F announced it would open seven stores on the East Coast with its U.S. operating partner, Manhattan-based Retail Group of America. It has already opened ones in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“The United States is the best place to expand your business if you’re outside of the U.S.,” Cohen said. “This is one of many international companies that would try to put stores in the U.S. and there is no better place than Long Island. Long Islanders spend more money than the average American per person, particularly on fashion.”

F&F plans to open a third New York store in West Nyack. Additional locations are planned for Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The F&F brand is owned by Tesco PLC, which opened its first F&F stand-alone store in Prague, Czech Republic in 2010. The UK original brand name was Florence & Fred, but it now strictly goes by F&F.


Stella McCartney to expand in China

Stella McCartney is expanding its retail presence in China with two more stores in China, reports WWD, adding to the existing stores (one in Beijing and two in Shanghai). Its first store in Chengdu at Daci Temple will open in November. A second Beijing store at the Shin Kong Place is slated for October.

Adidas by Stella McCartney opened its first store in Asia this month in Beijing at the World Trade Center. The British fashion designer is visiting three Asian cities this week – Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo.


H&M’s new 57,000-sq.-ft. Manhattan flagship is brand’s largest store yet

New York — Fast-fashion giant H&M on Thursday celebrated the opening of its flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. At 57,000 sq. ft., it is the retailer’s largest store in the world and 13th location in Manhattan. It also is the first H&M in the United States to offer a full concierge service, and to carry the full H&M Home collection.

The interior features a four-story atrium with clusters of mannequin groupings and a 740-sq.-ft. LED screen. It is H&M’s most upscale store to date, featuring chandeliers, leather seating, green and white marble tiles, an opulent wall of mirrors, and distinct herringbone wood work. Fitting rooms are outfitted with tufted-fabric walls.

H&M collaborated with American artist Jeff Koons on the opening. (The company is sponsoring the artist’s ongoing retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art.) Koons designed a limited-edition handbag featuring his iconic Balloon Dog. The façade of the store also featured two huge images of the dog, expected to remain in place for about a week after the opening.

H&M currently operates 318 stores in the United States, and approximately 3,200 stores in 54 markets worldwide.


Facebook’s ‘buy’ button lets you purchase products in posts

Facebook’s ‘buy’ button lets you purchase products in posts

Facebook has introduced a new feature that will let users buy products directly from its website.

Shoppers can click a “buy” button to purchase items in adverts or other posts without leaving the social network.

Facebook, which boasts 1.2bn users, said this will “help businesses drive sales”.

The website has followed rivals into the highly lucrative ecommerce sector, with eMarketer predicting that US online retail sales will total $304.1bn this year.

In May, Amazon launched a service that lets customers add products to their shopping carts through a Twitter hashtag, while the microblogging service itself has hired Ticketmaster executive Nathan Hubbard to explore ways to let people buy items directly

“Not so long ago, people assumed that Facebook would be best suited for building awareness and engagement, not for influencing conversion or sales,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.

“With this step, Facebook is becoming even more firmly established as a major player in direct response advertising.

“It’s a definite sign that Facebook wants to restart its efforts to become an ecommerce company as well.”

Facebook also made a point of reassuring users that the new feature is safe and secure. On Wednesday, online marketplace eBay said its sales had been hit by a well-publicised cyber-attack that exposed the data of around 145m customers. Earlier this year, US retailer Target revealed that the personal details of up to 110m shoppers had been stolen by hackers.

“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure,” Facebook said in an online post.

“None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.”

The service is initially being tested with a few small and medium-sized businesses but could be rolled out if successful.


Microsoft to sack 6,000 staff later today

Microsoft is set to announce over 6,000 job cuts later today as the electronics giant continues to trim its newly-acquired Nokia business. The job cuts are also a direct result of Microsoft’s ongoing plan to reshape itself as a cloud-computing and mobile-friendly software business.

The cuts come five months into new Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s tenure at the business. Nadella has previously spoken of plans to create a “leaner” business in a public memo to employees this month.

Most of the cuts are expected to come from the Nokia business, which Microsoft acquired in April for USD 7.2 billion. When Microsoft struck the deal to buy the Finnish phone maker it said it plans to cut USD 600 million in costs within 18 months of closing the deal.

Its Xbox game and entertainment arm is also expected to suffer job losses.

The CEO’s decision to cut thousands of jobs is reportedly designed to help Microsoft make the transition from a software-focused company to one that sells online services, apps and devices. Last week Nadella called Microsoft “the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.”

Court approves S.Africa’s Woolworths takeover of Australia’s David Jones

SYDNEY, July 17 (Reuters) – An Australian court on Thursday approved the takeover of Australia’s David Jones Ltd by South Africa’s Woolworths Holdings Ltd, clearing a final hurdle for the $2 billion deal.

Shareholders of both companies have already voted in favour of the A$4.00 per share bid for Australia’ No.2 department store by sales.

But the Australian Securities and Investment Commission had raised concerns about a separate bid by Woolworths for another Australian retailer, Country Road Ltd. Billionaire retailer Solomon Lew was a major shareholder in both David Jones and Country Road. (Editing by Stephen Coates)


Zara’s tagging system would mean even ‘faster fashion’ to the stores from factory

MADRID, – Zara, the Spanish-based chain whose “fast fashion” model has already helped make it one of the world’s biggest clothing brands, is to pioneer a new stock control system designed to make its supply chain even speedier.

The chain’s parent company Inditex SA told its annual shareholders’ meeting Zara was implementing a microprocessor-based tagging system allowing items to be tracked from factory to point of sale.

Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, long admired for the speed with which it imitates catwalk designs and sends them to stores around the world, said it had already put the tagging system into 700 of its more than 6,300 stores, with its flagship brand Zara going first out of a stable also including Massimo Dutti and Bershka.

It would roll out the new tags at the rate of 500 more stores a year, Chairman and Chief Executive Pablo Isla said in a presentation to the meeting.

The Spanish retailer gave no figure for the total investment of the radio frequency identification (RFID) system, intended to improve the group’s inventory management by instantly showing garments that need reordering.

Tags would also improve customer service and improve security, said Inditex.

Fast restocking of items and sizes that sell out is crucial to maximising retailers’ profits. When a Zara dress is worn by a celebrity, for instance, shops can sell out of the item fast.

A particular size may also be in more demand in one store in a particular neighbourhood and supplying it fast to a store nearby helps maximise sales.

Inditex pioneered fast fashion with Zara, where designer looks can be in shops at affordable prices within a fortnight of being conceived.

It operates a centralised distribution system in which suppliers from around the world send clothes to distribution centres in Spain before they are dispatched to stores in its 87 markets. (Editing by David Holmes)


La Perla opens new flagship store and showroom in London

Situated at 9, Old Bond St., the new La Perla flagship store in London is spread over 150 sqm on the 3 floors of a 5 storey building and reflects the new retail concept of the brand conceived by architect Roberto Baciocchi. The other two floors host the La Perla showroom and UK headquarters.

On the ground floor La Perla lingerie is exhibited in display cabinets with transparent gold metal hangers or presented to customers on trays lined with velvet.

The first floor is an “espace privé” dedicated to “VIP client”, with exclusive services such as the new collections “made to measure”. Even the dressing rooms with amethyst-colored walls are lined with backlit tulle panels. A gate marks this space dedicated to intimacy as if it were an exclusive territory where femininity is the protagonist and this is underlined by the metal grate that recalls ancient confessional and the bell “service” to call the lady at the sale.

La Perla has been undergoing a major expansion plan by its owner Pacific Global Management, which acquired the company in 2013.



Dolce & Gabbana launches skincare line

P&G Prestige (division of Procter&Gamble) which licenses the Dolce & Gabbana fragrances, is launching the first Dolce & Gabbana skincare with two collections, having as key ingredient Gold Flavo-Silk Tricomplex.

Based on gold silk sericin extract, the active ingredient complex provides intense hydration while enhancing the skin’s radiance. Other ingredients in the new products include Italian olive oil extracts and vitamin B3.

The new skincare line includes two ranges: Aurealux and Essential. The Aurealux range consists of five products: a skin-firming cream, an eye gel, a moisturizing mask, a serum to enhance the skin’s radiance and an essence formulated to brighten the complexion.

The Essential range, meanwhile, includes seven products geared more towards cleansing and prepping the skin, all formulated to complement the benefits of the Aurealux products.


CVS Caremark to acquire Navarro Discount Pharmacy

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS Caremark said Monday that it has agreed to buy the assets of Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy, the largest Hispanic-owned drug store chain in the U.S. The transaction includes Navarro’s 33 retail drugstore locations and Navarro Health Services, a specialty pharmacy serving patients with complex or chronic diseases.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including necessary regulatory approvals. Upon completion of the transaction, the acquired stores will remain under the Navarro Discount Pharmacy brand. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“The acquisition of Navarro will strengthen CVS/pharmacy’s position in the Hispanic marketplace, the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., and we are excited to be adding the Navarro Discount Pharmacy brand to the CVS/pharmacy family,” stated Helena Foulkes, president, CVS/pharmacy.

“Like CVS/pharmacy, Navarro is committed to improving patient health and providing individualized attention,” added Juan Ortiz, CEO, Navarro Discount Pharmacy. “The combination of our stores will continue our tradition of excellent pharmacy care and high quality products.”

Navarro Discount Pharmacy has annual sales in excess of $340 million. Navarro caters to Hispanic and ethnic marketplaces and further differentiates themselves by offering many products and services that are not found in traditional drugstores such as wireless phones, designer fragrances and a large assortment of over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.


John Lewis to open pop-up tea garden

John Lewis will open a pop-up urban garden tea house in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square from Thursday 24 July to Sunday 3 August to coincide with the XX Commonwealth Games. The space, called Tea on the Green, will serve complimentary afternoon tea, with the option for customers to book in advance online.

Situated in the heart of Glasgow’s cultural and artistic hub, the venue will also showcase two Commonwealth Games inspired art installations, custom-made by designer and creator, Billie Achilleos, and her team from Set Square. The installations depict a high-jumper and a cyclist, and are made entirely out of everyday household items.

Lindsay Ironside, operations manager, John Lewis Glasgow, comments: ‘At John Lewis we always aim to bring unique and enjoyable experiences to our customers and “Tea on The Green” will allow customers in the city centre to soak up the spirit of the Games. We are hugely honoured to be a part of the XX Commonwealth Games and want to celebrate by bringing something really special to the people of Glasgow.’

John Lewis is the official department store provider of the XX Commonwealth Games.


Shoprite climbs after saying turnover to surpass R100bn

AFRICA’s largest supermarket, Shoprite, on Monday catalysed a strong rebound among listed retail shares, recently hit by a wave of selling pressure on views they are too expensive.

The JSE’s biggest retailer leapt nearly 4% to an intraday high of R164.45 after it said in an operating update that total turnover for the year ended last month would surpass R100bn for the first time despite a slowdown in sales from its South African operations. By the market close, the stock had pulled back slightly to close 2.96% higher at R163.05, valuing the company at R93.4bn.

Total turnover was expected to show an increase of 10.5% to about R102bn, when the retailer publishes its results next Tuesday, from R92.7bn in the previous financial year, the company said.

Turnover growth from its stores outside SA — including Nigeria, Botswana, Mozambique, Ghana and Zimbabwe — is expected to rise 26.3% during the period, sustaining the momentum achieved last year when turnover grew 27.9%. Shoprite has 169 supermarkets on the continent, which account for about a fifth of total turnover.

The profit guidance pushed the JSE’s food and drug retailers’ index — including Shoprite, Woolworths, Spar and Massmart — to its highest close since June 2. The general retail index closed at its highest level since last October.

“Shoprite, like most other retailers, has had a terrible start to the year,” Investec Asset Management’s head of dealing for emerging markets, Ryan Wibberley, said, noting that investors were using the company’s operational update as a catalyst to bounce back from what looked like oversold positions.

In 2012, the general retail index surged over 40% due to increased demand from foreign investors looking for exposure to the continent.

Since then, rising consumer indebtedness, weak employment growth and higher inflation have affected sentiment towards the sector. The surprise hike to local interest rates announced by the South African Reserve Bank earlier this year saw the share prices of some retail shares plunge as much as 15%, a Johannesburg-based retail analyst said.

The above headwinds are still being faced by the local consumer, as noted by Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson, who warned that turnover from its South African supermarkets — the group’s largest division — would grow at a slower pace of 8.7% this year from the 9.8% recorded last year.

Should the Bank announce another 50-basis-point hike in interest rates on Thursday, listed retailers may be in for another turbulent period.


Sainsbury’s to convert part of supermarket into Netto

J Sainsbury is to convert part of one of its supermarkets into a Netto store as the company relaunches the discount chain in the UK.

This means the Netto venture, which is a partnership with Dansk Supermarked, will help Sainsbury’s tackle two challenges in the grocery industry – the rise of the discounters and declining sales for out-of-town hypermarkets.

Sainsbury’s announced last month that it would open 15 Netto stores in the UK in attempt to take on the German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

The FTSE 100 company declined to reveal where the stores would be located, but it has now emerged at least one Netto will be opened on an existing Sainsbury’s site.

One of the first Netto shops to be opened will be colocated with a Sainsbury’s at Heaton Park in Manchester.

The Sainsbury’s store at Heaton Park covers 100,000 sq ft at present, but the company will convert 10,000 sq ft into a Netto. The discount supermarket will have a separate external entrance to the Sainsbury’s store.

When the venture was announced, Mike Coupe, the new chief executive of Sainsbury’s stressed that Netto would operate as a stand-alone retailer.

However, the opening of a store on a Sainsbury’s site highlights how the company could use its assets to assist Netto.

Mr Coupe said Netto will expand “as well as, not instead of” traditional Sainsbury’s stores and that it was a “very different format appealing to a different customer at a different time”.

A second Netto store will open in Moortown, Leeds on a stand-alone site, with the specific location of the other 13 stores not publicly known.

The City is split on Sainsbury’s tie-up with Netto. Bruno Monteyne, analyst at Bernstein, said it was a “strategic masterstroke”. However, David McCarthy at HSBC, said it is the “wrong answer” to the growing popularity of Aldi and Lidl, claiming that Sainsbury’s should focus on making its own supermarkets more “compelling”.

He added: “Sainsbury, it seems, would sooner accelerate the problem than make its offer more compelling.

“The discounters and pound stores are succeeding because of what the supermarket players are not doing, not just because of what they are doing.

“Sainsbury’s has the attitude ‘if you can’t beat them join them’, but to us this is a tacit admission its core model can’t compete.”



When CEOs speak, they speak to only one magazine – CEO Middle East. In the past seven years, the publication has become the leading voice of business leaders. From Sir Richard Branson to Donald Trump, and from Mohammed Alabbar to Prince Alwaleed, CEOs from across the world have chosen the publication for exclusive interviews.

The CEO Awards recognise and reward outstanding success, innovation and ethics across Middle Eastern Business. The awards will again honor CEO’s through the appreciation of innovative business, business excellence and overall business success, plus acknowledge publicly the vital contribution made by individuals and their companies to the vibrancy of business across the region.

Attendance at the awards is strictly by invitation only.


London based ‘The Organic Pharmacy’ opens in Soho NY, third store outside UK

The Organic Pharmacy, the London based organic beauty and wellness company expands in the U.S. with a new stand alone location in SoHo, New York at 353 Bleecker Street. This is the seventh stand alone The Organic Pharmacy store, with dedicated treatment facilities and counter stocking full range of products.

The Organic Pharmacy produces a wide range of organic based products: skincare (including body), dedicated men’s, children’s beauty products, make-up, fragrances and homeopathic relieves. All products are hand blended in the company’s London factory, to ensure the ultimate quality and exquisite texture.

Internationally, The Organic Pharmacy also operates similar stores in Los Angeles (453 North Beverly Drive) and Abu Dhabi (Al Wahda Mall Extension). In London, the company has 4 stores in London. The brand is also available at several top luxury hotel Spas such as Four Seasons Park Lane (London) or Raffles (Istanbul).


Hot online beauty company Birchbox opens first store

New York — Another online retailer has made the leap to the physical space. Beauty subscription company Birchbox has opened its first brick-and-mortar store, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The two-level store brings the company’s digital experience to life, with a big emphasis on new products, customer reviews and expert advice. It also offers hair, nails and make-up services and group classes on various topics. The first class, taking place the week of July 21, will focus on make-up contouring tricks.

According to Birchbox, the store leverages the insights and feedback gathered since the company’s launch in 2010 from its more than 800,000 active subscribers.

“Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle,” stated Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox. “We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers’ needs.”

The shop offers a curated product assortment of 2,000 products from 250 brands. Similar to the Birchbox site, the store is organized by category as opposed to brand. Testers of every product in the store are available. Shoppers can pick five sample size products of their choice for $15 in a dedicated B.Y.O.B. — Build Your Own Birchbox — section.

Technology helps create a personalized and seamless shopping experience. Touchscreens are located throughout the space that enable customers to answer a few questions about themselves to source product recommendations. There are plenty of iPads around the shop on which shoppers can view customer reviews and recommendations and video demonstrations to assist in their product selection.

Editorial content, videos and product reviews throughout the shop are designed to help customers learn and self-navigate. At the “Try Bar,” shoppers can experiment with different beauty trends and find the products that are right for them.

The classes, which are free for Birchbox subscribers and $30 for non-subscribers, are designed to appeal to all types of beauty consumers and allow them to sample, try and learn about the products.




Woolworths $2 Billion Deal Paves Way for Inditex Challenge

Woolworths Holdings Ltd. moved closer to creating a southern hemisphere retail giant after overcoming objections from some David Jones Ltd. shareholders to a A$2.15 billion ($2 billion) takeover.

About 90 percent of shareholders who cast votes at a David Jones meeting in Sydney today supported the offer, above the 75 percent required for the deal to proceed. Billionaire Solomon Lew, who had amassed a stake in the Australian department store chain large enough to potentially block the deal, abstained from voting, Cape Town-based Woolworths said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Some David Jones shareholders expressed concern at today’s meeting they weren’t being treated equally by the suitor. Woolworths last month offered Lew, the company’s largest investor, a record valuation for his stake in another Australian retailer, Country Road Ltd. (CTY), as long as he didn’t block a takeover of David Jones.

“Clearly Solomon Lew is being treated differently,” said Stephen Mayne, a spokesman for the Australian Shareholders’ Association who attended the meeting. “He’s getting a windfall in an unrelated transaction.”

David Jones shares, which had been suspended for the morning meeting, rose 1.3 percent to A$3.98 at the close in Sydney, just below the $4-a-share Woolworths offer.

Shareholder Support

“Woolworths is paying top price for David Jones,” Wayne McCurrie, a fund manager at Momentum Asset Management, said by phone. “You can buy a good company, but if you have paid too much it will put a strain on your shareholders.”

Addressing David Jones shareholders, Chairman Gordon Cairns today described Woolworths’ offer for Country Road as a “sideshow.”

The result “unequivocally demonstrates the overwhelming support among our shareholders” for a sale to Woolworths, Cairns said in a prepared statement read to reporters after the meeting. He declined to take any questions.

Woolworths Chief Executive Officer Ian Moir plans to create a retailer to compete with Inditex SA’s Zara and Hennes & Mauritz AB, better known as H&M, in the southern hemisphere. The combined group would have had about $6 billion in revenue during its 2013 fiscal year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, giving it greater buying power than Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) or Debenhams Plc.

Woolworths may now buy Lew’s minority shareholding in Country Road, having offered A$17 a share to add to its existing 87.88 percent holding. Lew hasn’t publicly responded to the offer, which the South African retailer said today remains on the table.

The billionaire, who has blocked Woolworths from taking full control of Country Road since 1997, had assembled a 9.9 percent David Jones stake. The former board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia hasn’t made any statement about his intentions regarding David Jones since the department store revealed he’d bought a 0.65 percent holding May 30.

Lew is seeking to ensure the continuity of contracts such as that held by his Premier Investments company to supply Peter Alexander nightwear to David Jones, Luis Colaco, an analyst at BPI Capital Africa in Cape Town, said June 24. Woolworths will only speak to David Jones suppliers after the deal is scheduled to complete on Aug. 1, it said.

Woolworths Holdings isn’t related to Woolworths Ltd., the supermarket chain that’s Australia’s biggest retailer.


Mall of the World ‘critical’ to unlocking Dubai retail potential

The unveiling of Dubai Holding’s proposals for The Mall of the World will form part of a strengthening mall development pipeline that is critical to unlocking Dubai’s vision, according to Cluttons.

Dubai Holding last week unveiled the details behind its Mall of the World project, which is set to also include the world’s largest indoor theme park and a theatre district to rival London’s West End, or New York’s Broadway.

It followed Nakheel’s recently revealed plans for a 6.15 million square feet mall on the Deira Islands, complete with a night market and amphitheatre.

Cluttons added that it currently expects some 7 million sq ft of new malls over 1 million sq ft in size to enter the market over the next two years, excluding all current city wide mall expansion activity.

Faisal Durrani, international research and business development manager at Cluttons, said: “Shopping is already synonymous with Dubai and has proved to be one of the city’s key lynchpins in its meteoric rise as the Middle East’s business capital.

“Dubai has a very significant portfolio of existing shopping malls and the string of new mall developments looks set to push Dubai further ahead of the region’s other emerging economies.”

He added: “Dubai’s malls have thus far been fairly traditional, offering global retail brands in a single ‘shopping destination’. During the last property cycle, we witnessed the inclusion of leisure attractions at some of the city’s malls, with Ski Dubai, iFly and the Dubai Aquarium all helping the Emirate’s malls position themselves as leisure destinations in their own right.”

As development across the city ramps up in the lead up to the 2020 World Expo and the emirate’s vision of playing host to 20 million tourists annually, the focus of activity has moved strongly towards the retail and hospitality sectors, Cluttons said.

Durrani said: “With authorities working towards an ambitious annual visitor target, the current hotel and serviced apartment portfolio in the emirate of approximately 80,000 keys is going to have to grow significantly.

“And it’s not just a question of swelling the hotel development pipeline, but a complex infrastructure of leisure and entertainment facilities have to be built to help drive Dubai’s vision.”

The Mall of the World will also include 100 hotels and some 20,000 keys, as well as offering visitors 7km of climate controlled promenades, something that is offered nowhere else in the world.

Durrani added: “I see this as Dubai’s answer to London’s Oxford Street and Paris’ Champs Elysee, which are both iconic shopping avenues. The added climate control element will for the first time allow the emergence of what will effectively be Dubai’s answer to a high street.

“At the same time, The Mall of the World will pave the way for the next generation of the city’s malls, where the shopping element is combined in equal parts with entertainment and leisure facilities.”