Monthly Archives: August 2014

Elizabeth Arden posts biggest ever loss

Elizabeth Arden reported its biggest quarterly loss due to a steep fall in sales of celebrity perfumes, particularly the Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift brands, sending its shares plunging as much as 25 per cent.

The company said fourth- quarter sales fell 28.4 per cent, the steepest in a decade, and warned that the weakness, which started about a year back, would continue for the next six months.

Still, investment firm Rhone Capital agreed to invest nearly $100 million in Elizabeth Arden through preferred stock and warrants.

The company’s net sales in fiscal 2014 were hit by fewer perfume launches, retailers reducing inventory, heavier discounting and a decision to prune the distribution of its key brands, chief financial officer Rod Little said.

While teens and young adults still like celebrity- branded perfumes, they have less disposable income to spend on such discretionary items, given the high unemployment among youth, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.

Elizabeth Arden had five of the top 10 celebrity perfumes in the US last year, but the overall market for these perfumes is shrinking, Euro- monitor added. – (Reuters)


Nakheel awards Dhs146 million construction contract for new homes and retail centre at Jumeirah Islands

Nakheel has awarded a contract worth over Dhs146 million for the construction of 84 townhouses and a new retail centre at its high-end Jumeirah Islands community in Dubai.

The developer has appointed UAE-based Metac General Contracting to build the new homes and eight retail blocks that will form part of a new, 608,000 sqft water front park and recreational hub at Jumeirah Islands. Construction is expected to begin within two months and be completed in Q1 2016.

Metac will construct the four bedroom townhouses in two packages of 53 and 31 homes respectively, Nakheel said.

Set in a gated community among lush gardens with a large communal swimming pool, each townhouse covers3,630 sqft and comes with a double garage, maid’s room, study and private garden.

The eight retail units to be constructed by Metac cover 37,500sqft, and form the centre piece of Nakheel’s Jumeirah Islands Park, a new waterfront leisure, dining and shopping hub for residents of Jumeirah Islands and surrounding areas. The project comprises extensive communal parkland, a retail centre with a supermarket, cafes and restaurants, a fitness centre, sports courts, jogging track and ample parking. As with all Nakheel parks, the new facility will feature trees and plants indigenous to the UAE.

Nakheel has also appointed Metac General Contracting to build new retail and recreation centres at its Al Furjan and International City communities, with a combined contract value of over AED80 million.


John Lewis is to open two opticians,

DEPARTMENT store chain John Lewis is to open two opticians, as part of its strategy to extend its range of services.

The employee-owned firm said it will open the units at its Stratford City and Cardiff stores in the autumn offering the latest eye care technology as well as designer frames by Ray-Ban, Prada and Giorgio Armani.

The move follows the opening of eight Kuoni travel concessions in John Lewis branches and a Hotel Chocolat unit in the firm’s Edinburgh store.



H&M launches Spain online shop to challenge Zara on home turf

MADRID: Swedish fashion retailer H&M is launching a Spanish online store, adding to the competition faced in its home market by Spain’s Zara chain, owned by Inditex. The site will include home decor section H&M Home, just as Zara offers Zara Home.

H&M, which has been slower to launch online versus its rivals, has now invested heavily in its web business and plans sites in eight to 10 markets in 2015, after Spain, Italy and China later this year.

H&M has been gaining market share despite tough competition from discount retailers, especially in Spain where high unemployment has constrained consumer spending.


Hermes to expand in the U.S. in 2015

After having recently held its first catwalk show in the U.S., as part of an innovative bash ”Carnival” in New York, on Wall Street, French luxury giant Hermes will pursue next year its American focus, with seven expansions and openings, including a Manhattan perfume store near the World Trade Center and a new location in Miami.


Gap announces India expansion and higher quarterly profits

Launching in India is the latest step in the clothing retailer’s international expansion plan.

Gap plans to open its first stores in India in its latest international expansion.

The San Francisco-based retailer, which also owns the Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, said Thursday it will launch a total of 40 franchise Gap GPS 0.16% stores in Mumbai and Delhi in 2015 through a partnership with Indian textile company Arvind Lifestyle Brand Limited. The company said it has imported products from India for years and now it will look to tap into a market with 1.2 billion people.

“More than half of India’s population is under 25 and they are actively embracing fashion in today’s retail environment,” Ismail Seyis, VP of Gap’s global franchise, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to know that our brand awareness is very high and there is a deep affinity for Gap in India. We look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the marketplace and consumer needs to create the best possible Gap brand experience for the local consumers.”

The move to India is the latest step in Gap’s global expansion plan, which has placed the retailer in almost 50 countries. The company has 3,200 Gap-owned stores around the world as well as nearly 400 franchise-operated stores overseas. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to expand its presence in another ripe Asian market in China, where Gap expects to open 25 stores and 10 outlet stores this year. On Thursday, Gap said it expects to finish 2014 with a total of 110 Gap stores spread across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Last year, Gap expanded its presence in Latin America, opening stores in Mexico and Paraguay, and also in Europe with new locations in Hungary.

Also on Thursday, Gap released second-quarter profits of 75 cents per share, which was up 17% from the same quarter last year. The company’s sales came out just ahead of Wall Street estimates, hitting $3.98 billion for the quarter, up 3% year-over-year. The company also raised its earnings guidance for the full fiscal year to between $2.95 and $3 per share, after previously predicting it would fall between $2.90 and $2.95.

However, the company also reported that its comparable sales were flat in the second quarter after they increased by 5% during last year’s second quarter. Comparable sales for the Gap brand, specifically, were down 5% after rising 6% during the same quarter last year. Old Navy’s comparable sales were up 4%, while Banana Republic’s were flat.


Truworths Shares Jump Most Since 2009 as Profit Holds Steady B

Truworths International Ltd. (TRU), a South African clothing retailer, maintained full-year profit and boosted sales even as rising unemployment hampered consumer spending. The shares gained the most in five years.

Net income was little changed at 2.41 billion rand ($225 million) in the 52 weeks through June 29, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today. Sales increased 7 percent to 10.5 billion rand, while the company raised the final dividend to 1.69 rand, beating the 1.60-rand average estimate compiled by Bloomberg.

Truworths shares rallied 8.1 percent to 71.05 rand at the close in Johannesburg, the steepest jump since May 2009. The gain more than halved the stock’s decline for the year to 7.4 percent, in line with a 7 percent decrease on the FTSE/JSE Africa Food & Drug Retailers Index. About 8.5 million shares traded, almost 3.5 times the three-month daily average.

South African retailers are struggling as high unemployment and inflation force shoppers to cut down on major purchases. Retail sales were unchanged in June, the worst performance since December 2009. The South African Reserve Bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year on July 17, cutting disposable income for borrowers.

Consumer Pressure

Truworths credit sales, which account for more than 70 percent of total retail revenue, rose 5 percent, the company said. That compares with growth of 9 percent in fiscal 2013.

The year was “characterized by pressure on consumers as a result of high levels of unemployment, industrial action, consumer credit retraction and increased basic living costs,” Truworths said.

Massmart Holdings Ltd. (MSM)’s shares fell the most in more than eight years yesterday after the South African food and goods wholesaler owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said first-half earnings declined as much as 29 percent.

Shoprite Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s biggest food retailer, fell the most since January on Aug. 19 after full-year profit missed estimates.


Burberry chief executive sells more than £5m of luxury brand’s shares

Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey has sold £5.2m of shares in the luxury fashion company, four months after taking over from predecessor Angela Ahrendts.

Bailey has offloaded 68,667 shares and nearly three quarters of two sets of performance related shares granted in 2011 and 2009 when he was the company’s chief creative officer and which recently vested. It is understood that nearly half of the shares granted under the performance related schemes were sold to cover taxes. Of the remainder, half were retained and half were cashed out.

Bailey now owns 303,110 shares in the company worth £4.4m, 13% more than he owned prior to receiving the share awards.

The company said: “Christopher Bailey has exercised the option on a number of shares that he was awarded during his time as chief creative officer. As part of this process the number of Burberry shares he actually owns has increased. There are only certain times of the year when board members of a public company can sell shares which is why he is doing this now.”

The sale comes at a sensitive time after shareholders last month slapped down the company for handing Bailey share awards worth £20m – which he will begin to receive from next year. At Burberry’s annual shareholder meeting in London, 52.7% of investor votes opposed the brand’s pay report which laid out details of the share awards to Bailey which had no performance targets attached.

He is also in line for a potential one-off performance-related award of shares worth £7.6m, set outas part of his pay deal on promotion in May – in addition to his £1m salary and potential £2m annual bonus.

Chairman John Peace said at the annual general meeting: “We know the amount paid to Christopher is a lot of money but much of it is performance-related and he will receive it only if Burberry performs strongly.” Burberry argued last month that Bailey’s pay is in line with other luxury-goods companies. Prada’s Miuccia Prada reportedly earned £11.7m in 2013.

Asked at the AGM whether he would return some of the shares, Bailey said: “It’s not about giving something up. It is not something I made the decision on, it is the remuneration committee and the chairman and the board.”

Asked about the step up from chief creative officer to chief executive, he said: “I was never sitting there with a pencil drawing clothes. It’s about having a vision and leading the team and ensuring consistency around the globe.” Burberry, which dates back to 1856, has traditionally been known for its classic trench coats but has widened its appeal as a luxury brand using celebrity models such as Cara Delevingne and Emma Watson in its advertising campaigns.


Dubai, UAE will reportedly be home to the largest Apple retail store in the world

Apple is reportedly set to open its first retail store in the Middle East in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. What’s more, the upcoming shop is also said to be the largest Apple retail store in the world.

According to (via MacRumors), the Cupertino-based company is building the landmark store in what is currently the cinema complex of the pictured Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. “After regional media picked up on UAE-based job advertisements by the Californian company, we have insider knowledge that the Majid Al Futtaim owned mall will become home to Apple’s first flagship in the Middle East,” the site reports.

Late last week, Apple posted a number of job listings calling for potential members of its retail staff in the UAE.

The timing of the listings suggests that construction of the store is already underway and its opening is likely set to take place in the first quarter of 2015.

The location of the store was previously rumored to be at The Galleria at Sowwah Square, a high-end mall in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi.

In any case, now more than ever, the rumored store is believed to be one of the primary reasons behind Apple CEO Tim Cook’s visit to the UAE last February, during which he posed for photos at various Apple resellers and even met with UAE Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.


Asda trumps M&S as UK’s second largest clothing brand

Move over M&S. Asda’s George clothing brand has officially taken over Marks & Spencer as the UK’s second largest clothing brand by volume. George held an 11.1 percent share of the market in the 24 weeks to July 6, compared with Marks & Spencer’s share of 10.9 percent, according to Kantar data seen by Retail Week.
Primark is the UK’s leading clothing brand

Primark holds the number one spot in clothing by volume. Analysts suggested the change was not down to a seasonal blip, value fashion retailers tend to perform better over the summer months when consumers stock up on cheaper items such as T-shirts, but rather that the fashion market was undergoing structural change towards value, noted WGSN.
Asda, which is owned by US giant Walmart, saw 0.5 percent same-store sales rise for Q2 on Thursday. Asda executive Andy Clarke told Retail Week that a focus on quality as well as service, for example the clothing label’s 100-day guarantee and same-day delivery on some of the range, helped propel George’s sales.

Marks & Spencer is number one in terms of sales by value, followed by Next and Debenhams.


Lloydspharmacy opens first store for Betterlife brand

Lloydspharmacy parent company Celesio UK has opened its first bricks and mortar store for its independent living brand, Betterlife.

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company Celesio UK opened a first dedicated store for its Betterlife brand on Friday, offering customers an interactive shopping experience.

The shop is adjoined to the existing Lloydspharmacy branch in New Wortley, Leeds, and comprises 3,229 sq ft of retail space, featuring hundreds of the company’s healthcare and mobility aids.

Established in 2005, Betterlife has primarily sold products such as adjustable beds, bath lifts and mobility scooters via its catalogue and online, but the new store represents a switch to omnichannel retailing for the healthcare business.

Cormac Tobin, managing director of Celesio UK, commented: “The store is the first of its kind in an omnichannel approach, where you can buy in the store, have a delivery organised or click & collect.

“We offer all these choices for the new consumer who wants this intersection point of retailing, where the virtual world meets the real world, all handled in an authoritative and authentic manner through knowledgeable colleagues.”

Tobin said all Celesio UK brands, including Lloydspharmacy, are looking to establish a more omnichannel retail approach to help their customers access products and services “wherever they want”, and explained that all products are the same price whether they are ordered in-store, online or over the phone.

The Betterlife store has been designed with customer usability in mind, and provides visitors with a chance to test and see mobility products in a similar environment to which they will be used in.

In-store there is a multi-surface track, a mock kitchen and lounge area and a car boot loading bay, which Betterlife boss Grant Abrahams called “the ultimate try-before-you-buy experience”.

Betterlife from Lloydspharmacy has opened its first store, allowing customers to test products in real-life environments

“A comprehensive range will be demonstrated in the store, with more considered purchase products such as beds and stair lifts on display right alongside other popular products such as the Style Mobility Scooter, tri-walkers and recliners,” he explained.

Celesio recently announced its results for the first half of its financial year, with revenue in its consumer solutions division increasing by 6% year on year from $1.68 billion to $1.78 billion. The group said that Lloydspharmacy performed well and in line with expectations.



Smaller Wal-Mart Stores Could Replace Supercenters

Supercenters are on the decline as shoppers seek out smaller, more convenient stores.

Wal-mart said yesterday that sales at U.S. mega-stores have been falling.

But there’s still a bright spot in its business — the Neighborhood Market concept.

Sales at the markets were up an impressive 5.6%.

“I think convenience is where the consumers have been looking, [especially] if you look at the Baby Boomers,” Wal-Mart CFO Charles Holley said on a call with reporters Thursday.

Wal-Mart has about 400 Neighborhood Markets, compared with more than 3,300 Supercenters, notes Kyle Stock at Bloomberg Businessweek. The average store is about 20% the size of a Supercenter.

Big box stores are becoming irrelevant as Americans downsize and purchase big-ticket items like furniture and televisions online.

Wal-Mart’s marketplace concept focuses heavily on fresh produce and groceries. While traditional Wal-Mart stores are situated on large patches of land, the Neighborhood Markets are primarily in urban areas.

Wal-Mart shared some photos of its new concept. Chances are, one will be coming to a neighborhood near you in the future.

Here’s a Neighborhood Market in California. Note how the store closely resembles a Whole Foods Market.





IKEA to open its first store in Bahrain

IKEA Saudi Arabia have announced plans to open a 30,000 square metre flagship store in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

With the land already purchased and the first initial design phase finalised and submitted, the Swedish retail outlet will open in Bahrain in the next three years.

Since its establishment in the region, IKEA has opened three stores in Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dhahran and is planning ten more stores in the kingdom in coming years.

The Dhahran store in the Eastern Province, at such close proximity to Bahrain, will serve the Saudi market as well as the Bahraini market until the launch of the store in Manama.

Saud Ghassan Al Sulaiman, CEO of IKEA Saudi Arabia, said the new store is part of the company’s plan to expand its services in the region.

“Our expansion into the Gulf is part of our vision, to serve customers throughout the region and follow the needs of the market, as well as provide our home furnishing competency, and while still serving the growing Saudi market, we are committed to expand our services into the Gulf by opening our first branch in Bahrain,” said Al Sulaiman.


Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim to build new $74m City Centre mall

Dubai mall operator Majid Al Futtaim has revealed plans for its newest shopping mall, City Centre Me’aisem.

Located in the Me’aisem area of International Media Production Zone in Dubai, the first phase of the $74.8 million (AED275 million) mall will feature 60 international outlets on one million square feet of land, which the developers say will allow for planned future expansions by 2020.

Brookfield Multiplex has been awarded the construction contract for the mall, which is expected to be open by Q3 2015.

Included among the outlets will be a 91,903 square feet Carrefour Hypermarket, a 6,243 square feet Magic Planet family entertainment centre, a range of fashion and lifestyle brands and casual dining restaurants, in addition to cafés and fast food chains and convenience-oriented outlets such as banking and mobile services.

The new development will also include a community medical clinic and 750 car park spaces.

Located at the intersection of Al Khail Road and Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Road in IMPZ, City Centre Me’aisem is expected to cater for the surrounding communities of Victory Heights, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Jumeirah Village Triangle, Jumeirah Village Circle, Motor City and Arabian Ranches, as well as those working in IMPZ’s commercial zone.

“City Centre Me’aisem is another milestone in Majid Al Futtaim’s AED 3 billion investment programme, and fulfills a growing demand for an integrated shopping and lifestyle destination within the burgeoning IMPZ and surrounding areas,” said Dimitri Vazelakis, Executive Managing Director- Shopping Malls- Majid Al Futtaim – Properties.

“The mall’s considered retail mix will serve the immediate needs of residents and working professionals, and bearing the design and service excellence expected of the trusted City Centre brand.”


Apple Hiring for Future Retail Store in United Arab Emirates

Apple Hiring for Future Retail Store in United Arab Emirates

Apple today posted retail job listings for a future store to be located in the United Arab Emirates, indicating that the company may be soon opening its first store in the Middle East. The postings were initially spotted by ifoAppleStore and show typical openings for Specialists, Creatives, and Experts, as well as managerial positions for Store Leader and Market Leader. The report speculates that the store could already been under construction for an opening in February 2015 based on hiring schedules.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the UAE, posing for photos at various Apple resellers and meeting with UAE Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. While the reason for his visit was unknown, it is possible that Cook may have been meeting with officials about the possibility of an Apple Retail Store in the region.

Additionally, MacRumors received a tip last year that Apple was planning to open a flagship store at The Galleria in Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi, a luxury mall that opened late last year. The source claimed the store would not open for several years, but noted that it could be Apple’s largest retail store to date.


American Apparel adds Laura Lee to BoD

“Laura brings a deep understanding of the internet space and digital launch initiatives, combined with a strong background in major brand building and key partnership development, to the American Apparel board,” said Colleen Brown, nominating and governance board chair.

“She was recently recognized as a Next TV Digital Leader and honored by two separate organizations as a “40 under 40″ leader. Laura will be a tremendous resource and will bring a fresh perspective to the company.”

Lee is currently the head of East Coast content partnerships for Google/YouTube, where she oversees more than 150 television, film, new media and original entertainment partnerships. Prior to joining Google, she was a vice president and head of business development & operations for MTV.

Lee holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

About American Apparel
American Apparel is a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of branded fashion basic apparel based in downtown Los Angeles, California. As of May 31, 2014, American Apparel had approximately 10,000 employees and operated 249 retail stores in 20 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and China.


More South African Retail Shops To Penetrate Ghana.

Foschini Group (TFG), a Cape Town-based firm, says it will open five branches in Ghana by next march of part of a bigger plan to increase the number of stores in Africa. The Foschini group currently has 120 stores outside of South Africa.

The Foschini group is known it be the biggest seller of sporting brands such as Adidas and Nike Inc in South Africa. TFG’s plan is actually to double the number of stores that they currently have in Africa this however will be stretched across four years, the countries concerned will include Mozambique, Kenya and Angola. Africa has been seen as the fastest growing continent as other markets have been seen to have been saturated as far as sales are concerned.

The South African company operates 17 retailer brands ranging from women’s fashion to jewellery. It is worth nothing however that the company already operates in several African countries, including Nigeria, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.

It has been said that TFG intends to encourage their customers to spend cash in stores rather than credit cards because this will decrease the amount of credit card defaults.


Macy’s shares drop as sales forecast is cut

US retail giant Macy’s cut its full-year same-store sales forecast, after second-quarter sales failed to make up for weakness in the first quarter when harsh winter weather kept shoppers away.

Macy’s earnings for the quarter, ended August 2nd, also missed the average analyst estimate as the company discounted heavily to win business, squeezing gross margins.

The company said yesterday that margins would be flat to slightly down for the rest of the year.

Shares of the company, which also owns the high-end Bloomingdale’s chain, fell as much as 6 per cent.

“Many customers still are not feeling comfortable about spending more in an uncertain economic environment,” Macy’s chief executive, Terry Lundgren, said in a statement.– (Reuters)


IKEA may open first India store in 2017

NEW DELHI: IKEA may take another three years to open its first store in India, because the world’s largest furniture retailer is yet to sign up real estate for its usually sprawling facilities.

And, the Swedish company will adopt a cluster approach when it rolls out the stores by opening multiple outlets in places like the National Capital Region of Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana in the first phase, said IKEA India chief executive Juvencio Maeztu.

“We plan to open several stores around the same time because we need to have volume. Why we need volume? As we want to give a good price and in order to give good price we need volume,” he told ET in an interview at IKEA’s office at Gurgaon.

“We are targeting these bubbles and plan to develop around these bubbles our sourcing abilities and we want to have better distribution around them … from there we want to move to the rest of India.”

Maeztu said since the company is yet to sign any land deals, he doesn’t know where the first store would come up.

IKEA was under spotlight for making the previous UPA government to change contentious conditions in India’s single-brand retail policy involving foreign investments.

It got approval in May 2013 to invest around Rs 10,500 crore to build a chain of stores.

The company is working on understanding the country’s market and building its suppliers base, besides looking for land. IKEA is scouting for 5-10 acres in each of the locations. It wants to set up stores in places that are close to highways and are connected by metro or other mass public transports.

IKEA considers the longterm potential of each store and, therefore, purchases land only after heavy deliberations, Maeztu said. Since the land prices are high in India, each of stores on average will cost Rs 800-1,000 crore, including the construction cost. Depending on land availability, IKEA wants to set up outlets on 300,000-400,000 sq ft.

“We are hopefully closing some (land) agreements and the construction in itself would take around two years.

Location is very important for us as we cannot move the stores,” Maeztu said. IKEA will initially focus on its famed brick-and-mortar sprawling stores, and look at selling online whenever India allows foreign retailers to do so. “We will be happy to add e-commerce as well but our primary mandate is to build our physical stores here,” he said. “Initially, Indian consumers want the real IKEA that we are famous for and we will be loyal to our concept.

This is important to build the brand. It is the best way for us to secure the IKEA concept and it is the best way for us to offer low prices,” he said. “Today we have six stores in London. Look at NCR (the national capital region) and over the time NCR would need more IKEA stores then London, New York, Paris or any other city in the world,” Maeztu said.



Today marks the launch of the first airport personal shopping lounge at London Heathrow.

The service is available for all passengers flying through the airport – irrespective of class of travel – allowing them to enjoy tailored appointments with an accredited stylist in a private consultation suite. The best part of all? It’s completely free of charge.

The lounge is an extension upon the airport’s successful personal shopping service which launched last year, only now, visitors no longer have to travel between the individual terminals to visit the various different outlets; no matter which terminal a particular store is located in, all the items will be tracked down by the personal shoppers and brought to you (while you wait and sip complimentary champagne). The team speak a combined 38 languages between them and are able to pull any item from the 400 stores on offer – whether Louis Vuitton or Zara.

“Our shopping habits are evolving, we’re now looking for that quick fashion fix more often, more socially connected and with a more bespoke or personal feel,” says Max Vialou-Clark, Heathrow’s retail director. “As a result of these trends, we’ve launched our Personal Shopping Lounge for the 73 million passengers a year that pass through our doors. Now everyone can enjoy VIP treatment, whether you’re a business traveller on the go or are just hunting for that perfect gift.”



Harrods has unveiled what it describes as the world’s most luxurious shoe destination

London department store, Harrods has unveiled what it describes as the world’s most luxurious shoe destination. Spanning almost 3,900 sq m, Harrods Shoe Heaven features 17 plush boutiques, presenting collections from more than 50 leading designers and brands, including Chanel, Dior, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.

Located on the fifth floor of the Knightsbridge store, the department is designed by the late David Collins, with velvet banquet lounge seating, private shopping suites and beautifully edited displays.

Helen David, Harrods fashion director of womenswear, accessories, fine jewellery and childrenswear, comments: ‘With shoes becoming an ever increasingly important part of the way a woman dresses, and indeed a key part of our business, we are creating a truly fabulous shoe destination in Harrods, to celebrate this. From stilettos to sneakers, Harrods Shoe Heaven will be home to all the best shoes from the world’s leading and need-to-know designers. The space will be more “penthouse” and less “shoe floor”, creating a luxurious and sophisticated environment with flagship shops for all of our biggest brands.’

Simon Rawlings, creative director at David Collins Studio, adds: ‘We have worked closely with Harrods to create a retail concept that reflects the brand’s global reputation for delivering a superlative shopping experience to the world’s most discerning clientele.’


H&M launches Newborn line

Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M is set to launch a sustainable babywear collection, crafted for the smallest infants. The collection, named ‘Newborn Exclusive,’ consists of clothing and accessories needed for the first few months of an infant’s life, such as blankets, socks and diaper bags in the lights colors. Sizing for the line is set to range from 50 to 74 and 80 percent of the items available were produced using biological cotton.

H&M aims to support Unicef with the new collection and will donate ten percent of the retail price of each item to the charity’s global vaccination programme, which is equal to the cost of one polio vaccination.

‘Newborn Exclusive’ is set to launch online at on September 11.


American Apparel Appoints Laura A. Lee To Board of Directors

American Apparel, Inc. (NYSE MKT: APP) today announced the appointment of Laura A. Lee to the company’s board of directors.

“Laura brings a deep understanding of the internet space and digital launch initiatives, combined with a strong background in major brand building and key partnership development, to the American Apparel board,” said Colleen Brown, nominating and governance board chair. “She was recently recognized as a Next TV Digital Leader and honored by two separate organizations as a “40 under 40” leader. Laura will be a tremendous resource and will bring a fresh perspective to the company.”

Lee is currently the head of East Coast content partnerships for Google/YouTube, where she oversees more than 150 television, film, new media and original entertainment partnerships. Prior to joining Google, she was a vice president and head of business development & operations for MTV.

Lee holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

About American Apparel

American Apparel is a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of branded fashion basic apparel based in downtown Los Angeles, California. As of May 31, 2014, American Apparel had approximately 10,000 employees and operated 249 retail stores in 20 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and China. American Apparel also operates a global e-commerce site that serves over 60 countries worldwide at In addition, American Apparel operates a leading wholesale business that supplies high quality T-shirts and other casual wear to distributors and screen printers.

This press release, and other statements that the Company may make, may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and include statements regarding, among other things, the Company’s future financial condition and liquidity including the impact of compliance with, and availability under, our debt instruments, results of operations, and future business plans and expectations, including statements related to our ability to obtain waivers of any default under our credit agreements resulting from management changes, the effect of, and our expectations with respect to, the operation of our new distribution center and future cost, inventory and sales impacts related thereto. Such forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of American Apparel’s management, but are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results and/or the timing of events to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements, including, among others: our ability to generate or obtain from external sources sufficient liquidity for operations and debt service; our financial condition, operating results and projected cash flows; consequences of our significant indebtedness, including our relationship with our lenders and our ability to comply with our debt agreements and generate cash flow to service our debt, and the risk of acceleration of borrowings thereunder as a result of noncompliance; disruptions in the global financial markets; our ability to maintain compliance with the exchange rules of the NYSE MKT, LLC; adverse changes in our credit ratings and any related impact on financial costs and structure; continued compliance with U.S. and foreign government regulations, legislation, and regulatory environments, including environmental, immigration, labor, and occupational health and safety laws and regulations; loss of U.S. import protections or changes in duties, tariffs and quotas, and other risks associated with our foreign operations and foreign supply sources, including disruption of markets and foreign supply sources; changes in import and export laws, currency restrictions, and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the highly competitive and evolving nature of our business in the U.S. and internationally; changes in the level of consumer spending or preferences or demand for our products; our ability to pass on the added cost of raw materials and labor to customers; our ability to attract customers to our stores; the availability of store locations at appropriate terms and our ability to identify locations and negotiate new store leases effectively and to open new stores and expand internationally; loss or reduction in sales to our wholesale or retail customers or financial nonperformance by our wholesale customers; risks that our suppliers or distributors may not timely produce or deliver our products; changes in the cost of materials and labor, including increases in the price of raw materials in the global market and increases in minimum wage; our ability to effectively carry out and manage our strategy, including growth and expansion both in the U.S. and internationally; technological changes in manufacturing, wholesaling, or retailing; our ability to successfully implement our strategic, operating, financial and personnel initiatives; changes in key personnel, our ability to hire and retain key personnel, and our relationship with our employees; our ability to maintain the value and image of our brand and protect our intellectual property rights; our ability to improve manufacturing efficiency at our production facilities; our ability to operate our distribution facility located in La Mirada, California without further unanticipated costs or negative sales impacts, including the ability to achieve, as and when planned, labor cost reductions; location of our facilities in the same geographic area; the risk, including costs and timely delivery issues associated therewith, that information technology systems changes may disrupt our supply chain or operations and could impact our cash flow and liquidity, and our ability to upgrade our information technology infrastructure and other risks associated with the systems that operate our online retail operations; our ability to effectively manage inventory levels; our ability to renew leases at existing locations on economic terms; risks associated with the recent downturn in apparel spending in the United States; litigation and other inquiries and investigations, including the risks that we, our officers, or directors in cases where indemnification applies, will not be successful in defending any proceedings, lawsuits, disputes, claims or audits, and that exposure could exceed expectations or insurance coverage; tax assessments by domestic or foreign governmental authorities, including import or export duties on our products and the applicable rates for any such taxes or duties; the adoption of new accounting standards or changes in interpretations of accounting principles; seasonality and fluctuations in comparable store sales and wholesale net sales and associated margins; general economic conditions, including increases in interest rates, geopolitical events, other regulatory changes and inflation or deflation; disruptions due to severe weather or climate change; disruptions due to earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis or other natural disasters; and other risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. The Company’s filings with the SEC are available at You are urged to consider these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements herein and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.


MIchael Kors expands further in India

Michael Kors has already opened four stores within a year after its entry into India, and its retail networks presently counts stores in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Michael Kors stores and operated by local partner Genesis Luxury. Given the positive feedback of the Indian market, Michael Kors aims to open additional stores later this year.


Wet Seal launches Wet Seal + Plus banner Aug. 16

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. is launching its new Wet Seal + Plus banner with 30 new stores opening Aug. 16. The stores are opening in California, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Wet Seal initially announced it would open the Wet Seal + Plus banner in April 2014, when the retailer exited its Arden B business. The chain is aimed at plus-sized girls. An online contest is allowing girls to submit photos and entries for the chance to become a Wet Seal + Plus model.


Cotton On says SA is its fastest growing market

Cotton On says SA is its fastest growing market

AUSTRALIAN retailer Cotton On Group this week said South Africa was its fastest growing market of the 17 countries in which the company operates.

SA has attracted a range of global brands such as Zara, Gap, Topshop and River Island, many of which see the country as a new income stream in a relatively untapped market, as well as a stepping stone to other sub-Saharan markets.

The upsurge of consumer culture on the continent presents a compelling investment case for international companies which are progressively looking at rising emerging-market wealth to offset sluggish growth in traditional economies.

Labels such as H&M and Forever 21 are due to open in South Africa.

According to global consultancy McKinsey & Company, by 2030, Africa’s top 18 cities could have a combined spending power of $1.3-trillion as the consumer culture grows.

Cotton On, which has been operating in South Africa for three years, has 100 stores.

“South Africa plays a critical role in the ongoing success of our business, and is a key contributor to the 30% growth we have achieved globally for the past three years,” Michael Hardwick, chief financial officer at Cotton On said.

Last year, the group opened 27 stores in 27 days in the lead up to Christmas, surpassing R1bn in sales.

Robert Kenny, the company’s group executive of property, said Cotton On’s 1,200m² Sandton City store ranked among its four top-performing stores globally. The store is being refurbished — its size will increase 30%.

“With Eastgate and Gateway opening this year, we will have flagship stores in the top 10 centres in the country. There are at least another 50 centres on our target list in which we can open multiple brands. And with plans to expand our store footprint into southern Africa, we’re confident that within the next five years we’ll have 300 stores in the region,” he said.

The privately owned group was founded in 1991 and has more than 13,000 stores in locations such as Brazil, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the US. The retailer is now eyeing locations such as Vietnam, Colombia and Panama.

Over the past 12 months, it opened more than 200 stores across the globe and acquired the iconic Australian women’s apparel brand, Supré. Cotton On has seven brands, including Cotton On Body, Rubi shoes, TBar, Factorie and Typo.

As part of this growth plan, over the next 12 months it will launch its e-commerce platform in South Africa.

Unlike Mango, Zara and Topshop, its local drive has been more aggressive, moving beyond just major capital cities to towns such as Secunda, Port Elizabeth and Kimberley.

Cotton On’s affordable fast-fashion and cash-based model has seen it perform well in South Africa, where the country’s credit-heavy retailers are under pressure due to consumers’ indebtedness.

Independent analyst Syd Vianello said local operators such as Truworths, The Foschini Group and Edgars were losing market share to the likes of Cotton On.

“A typical store will do R50m a year. With 100 stores we’re talking a lot of turnover. Where is that coming from? Established players. They can’t grow at the previous rate because the growth in the market is going to the newcomers; that will happen as long as they keep rolling out.

“H&M is coming next year and I don’t think it will stick with one store either,” he said.



Pharmacies lure consumers from LVMH beauty retailer Sephora – Zee Report

PARIS, France – Sephora, the top seller of Dior lip gloss and Lancome face creams, is under attack in continental Europe from far less glamorous competitors: pharmacies.

New data shows specialist beauty retailers such as Sephora, one of the fastest growing companies at world No. 1 luxury group LVMH, are losing market share to pharmacies offering cheaper products.

Ubiquitous in big European cities, they have been elbowing their way into what used to be the preserve of big beauty retail chains such as Sephora in France and Germany’s Douglas, controlled by U.S. private equity group Advent.

More and more pharmacy shelf space is dedicated to organic, natural cosmetics brands such as Weleda, Caudalie and Garancia in France, Dr. Hauschka in Germany and Louis Widmer in Switzerland, which cost 30-50 percent less than brands such as Clarins or Lancome sold at the specialist beauty retailers.

Pharmacies’ buoyant beauty business appears to be both the result of their efforts at energetically promoting these cosmetics products as well as consumers’cautious spending against the backdrop of a still very fragile and uncertain economic recovery in the euro zone.

“Pharmacies are a place where people go regularly, where the pharmacist’s advice is well regarded and the value for money proposition of the brands they sell is appreciated by consumers,” Jean-Paul Agon, head of L’Oreal, the world’s biggest cosmetics group, told Reuters last month.

“The pharmacy, when it comes to skin care, is the most dynamic retail network in Europe.”

L’Oreal’s Vichy and La Roche Posay skin care products, and Roger & Gallet perfumes, which are mainly sold in pharmacies, generate the fastest growing sales, Agon said, and they are likely to remain the main growth engine in the years ahead.

The price difference is clear. A day cream from Vichy costs 15-17 euros, one from Caudalie or Garancia costs 20 to 30 euros, while Clarins and L’Oreal’s Lancome are priced at 55 euros.

Specialist beauty retailers such as Sephora and Marionnaud in France have seen their share of the cosmetics retail market drop to 35 percent from 40 percent over the past three years, according to consumer research company Kantar Worldpanel.

In contrast, pharmacies’ market share has gained 3 percentage points to 18 percent.

“Pharmacies are the number-one retail network attacking specialist beauty retailers and taking revenue away from them, particularly in skin care,” said Stephanie Poupineau, account manager at Kantar Worldpanel.

Pharmacies have been pushing beauty products in recent years attracted by higher margins: 30-32 percent against 21 percent in their core prescription drug business, which has been hit by cash-strapped governments pruning the number of treatments covered by national insurance and the rise of cheaper generics.

Clouds for Sephora

The trend is a concern for LVMH as Sephora’s success has been helping ease investors’ worries about slowing growth at the luxury group’s flagship Louis Vuitton brand.

Sephora is estimated to generate about 15 percent of LVMH’s total revenue – with a quarter of that in western Europe – and roughly 7-8 percent of group operating profit.

“Pharmacies gaining market share in western Europe is a worrying trend,” said BNP Paribas luxury goods analyst Luca Solca.

Beauty product manufacturers are all too aware of the shift away from specialist retailers to cheaper outlets and believe the stores should find ways to reverse the flow.

Clarins Chairman Christian Courtin-Clarins, whose family took the beauty brand private in 2008, does not hide his concern about specialist retailers’ dwindling market share in Europe as he relies heavily on them.

“Instead of losing our time fighting on margins, we should focus on how we can convince clients to come back to the beauty specialist network,” Courtin-Clarins told Reuters by telephone.

Whereas 10 years ago Sephora paid 50 euros for a beauty product from a manufacturer and sold it for 100 euros, today it makes more profit by paying only 40 euros but still sells it at the same price, according to industry executives.

Sephora could also have a reversal in fortunes in France and other Western European countries if economic recovery takes hold and consumers veer back to more expensive products sold at specialist beauty retailers.

Analysts also said that even if Sephora faced headwinds in western Europe, it would still continue to enjoy strong growth in the United States and emerging markets, as well as through its push online.

Kiko threat

Sephora generates half of revenue at LVMH’s selective retailing unit, which includes Paris department store Le Bon Marche and the DFS duty-free shops. The division has more than doubled in size between 2007 and 2013 and now generates more than 31 percent of LVMH sales.

In three years, broker Bernstein sees that unit overtaking LVMH’s fashion and leather goods division – which includes Louis Vuitton and now makes up 36 percent of total sales – as its No.1 business in terms of revenue.

Looking ahead, another battleground in Europe for Sephora is the rapid expansion of low-priced Italian chain Kiko, regarded as the “H&M of make-up” with its fashionable colours a fraction of the price of luxury brands Chanel and Dior.

Kiko, offering nail polish at 2.50 euros, competes head on with Sephora’s low-priced private make-up label, which analysts believe is one of the fastest growing categories for Sephora.

In terms of volume, Kiko already features as much in the make-up basket of 15- to 24-year-olds as Sephora in France, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Kiko declined to comment, while Sephora said it continued to gain market share against rival selective distributors.

Data shows specialist distributors such as Sephora are also suffering in Italy. Market data compiled by NPD, IMS and IRI shows that in 2013 their sales fell 3 percent while revenue from various forms of generalist drugstores and pharmacies rose by mid-single to high single-digit percentages.

Europe-wide, sales from beauty and personal care products at retailers such as Sephora and Nocibe, which just merged with Douglas, fell to 18 billion euros in 2013 from 18.9 billion in 2008, while at pharmacies and drugstores they rose to 14.6 billion from 13.6 billion.


Spar South Africa to buy 80pc of BWG for €55m

Spar South Africa has entered into an agreement to buy an 80pc stake in BWG group for €55m.

BWG owns Spar in Ireland and services more than 1,100 stores with annual revenues of €1.2bn.

Its brands here include Spar, EuroSpar, Mace, ValueCentre and XL and it has 35pc of the Irish convenience store market.

Spar South Africa is a wholesaler and distributor to over1,800 independent retailers spread across Southern Africa with annual sales of around €3.5bn and a market capitalisation of approximately €1.5 billion.

Today’s announcement also secures a further reduction in BWG’s borrowings following a buyback of exiting banks’ debts. This further reduction in debt comes on top of that achieved as part of a successful refinancing concluded in November 2013, which also saw BWG agree new five year banking facilities.

These facilities have been reaffirmed by BWG’s lenders as part of this transaction with Bank of Ireland and AIB increasing their commitment, the company said today.

The new partnership will have up to €100m to invest in the expansion of BWG’s leading wholesale and convenience retailing operations over the next five years.


Valentino’s largest global store opens in New York

Located within the former Takashimaya department store at 693 Fifth Avenue, the new Valentino flagship store in New York city covers 20,000 sqf and is spread over three floors. While the first two floors showcase accessories and women’s clothing, the third floor features men’s clothing and accessories.

The store features the Valentino Garavani accessories line which includes the new Camubutterfly pieces and Zodiac finger clutches – exclusive to the Fifth Avenue store. The new Valentino flagship store will offer a made-to-measure denim program, as well as a selection of men’s couture outerwear.

Valentino creative directors Pierpaolo Piccoli and Maria Grazia Chiuri worked with David Chipperfield Architects to redesign the John Burgee and Philip Johnson-designed building, one of the highlights of the new store being the dramatic facade with the top tiers composed of black steel and aluminum and the lower part connected by vertical brass bars that incorporate a lantern, clock, and the Valentino logo. Interiors feature gray Venetian terrazzo marble, and furniture made from leather, wood and brass.





Tesco credit rating cut sends shares to 10-year low

There was bad news for Tesco’s incoming boss Dave Lewis from Unilever on Thursday as Standard & Poor’s cut the supermarket’s credit rating in the wake of last month’s profit warning, sending its shares down to a new 10-year low.

S&P cut its rating on the company by one notch with its analysts pointing to a picture of deteriorating sales and profitability. “The downgrade reflects our view that Tesco’s profitability will continue to weaken because market competition in the UK will remain persistently high, and even intensify, over the next 12 months,” it said in a note. “Tesco’s market and financial positions have not tangibly improved, despite extensive restructuring and substantial spending on a long-term program to improve its stores and customer service.”

Last month Tesco announced that chief executive Philip Clarke was being replaced by the Unilever executive – the first outsider to lead the business – in October. At the same time the company warned sales and trading profits for the first half of the year “were below expectations”. During a three-year tenure Clarke ploughed more than £1bn into revamping its UK supermarkets and product ranges, yet failed to stem the tide of shopper defections to discount rivals such as Aldi and Lidl. When Clarke took over in March 2011 Tesco’s UK market share was 30.7%, but that has now shrunk to 28.9%, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

“We anticipate that increased competitive and price pressures in the UK from both traditional and discount retailers could suppress any benefits from various management strategies oriented toward improving trading performance,” continued S&P’s analysts who added they did see a “material turnaround” in Tesco’s international operations this year or next. The downgrade meant Tesco’s rating was lowered from “BBB+” to “BBB” – one notch above the lowest investment grade – with a “negative outlook”. The outlook reflects S&P’s view that lower profitability could lead to a further deterioration in its credit worthiness.

Earlier this week HSBC analyst Dave McCarthy warned Lewis was taking on the “biggest turnaround project in British retail history” with “drastic action” required to reverse its declining fortunes. “We expect Tesco to cut UK profits, dividends and capex by circa 50%,” he predicted of Lewis’s turnaround plan. “These cuts look extreme but we suspect Tesco is in worse shape than first appears.” He also predicted Lewis could sell off peripheral activities such as movie streaming service BlinkBox and restaurant chain Giraffe as it refocuses on being a “grocer to the mass market”. The shares closed down nearly 2% at 243.8p.


Adidas looks to outrun Nike with its biggest advertising campaign ever

Adidas is planning its biggest-ever advertising campaign next year as it fights back against rival Nike.

The world’s second-largest sportswear maker has admitted that it needs to invest more in its brands to catch up with market leader Nike, after losing ground in developed markets. Herbert Hainer, the chief executive of the German company, promised the “most ambitious” brand campaign in the company’s history for 2015.

“It is with disappointment that after such a great summer of sport, I have to report that our group has not been able to meet the high expectations we laid out,” he said. “We take full responsibility to rectify our shortfalls swiftly.”

He added: “We need to raise our game. I’m a striker and I want to win. It is obvious that we will have to go back to the training ground.”

Hainer said Adidas would lift its marketing budget from 13% to 14% of sales in 2015, raising it by up to €200m (£159m).

Adidas on Thursday cut its profit margin outlook for this year after a 13% slide in operating profits to €220m in the second quarter. It took a hit from volatile emerging markets currencies, in particular the weaker Russian rouble, coupled with disappointing golf sales. It plans to restructure its golf arm, TaylorMade, at which sales fell by 18%, but Hainer refused to give details on job cuts.

The company already lowered its sales and profit estimates last week despite receiving a boost from the World Cup in Brazil, the advent of which is expected to lead to record sales of €2bn in football products – from replica shirts to footballs. Adidas sold more than 14m of the official World Cup “Brazuca” balls, and more than 8m football jerseys. It kitted out nine teams, including champions Germany as well as Argentina and Colombia.

Adidas recently won a 10-year contract to be Manchester United’s kit sponsor for a record-breaking minimum guarantee of £750m. The deal will kick in at the start of the 2015-16 season, ending Nike’s 13-year relationship with the club.

Nearly two-thirds of its sales are made through third-party retailers, but Adidas has now invested in opening more of its own shops because they are more profitable. However, it has scaled back store openings in Russia, where it runs about 1,000 shops. Russia is its third-biggest market. The escalating crisis in Ukraine has made Russians more reluctant to shop.

The company’s shares tumbled more than 11% after last week’s profit warning and traded down 3.5% Thursday afternoon. Adidas expects to make a profit of €650m this year, down from the €820m to €930m previously forecast. Analysts at Citi said they remained sceptical about the outlook for the stock, given the scaled-back investment in Russia, higher marketing costs and adverse currency trends.


Karen Millen opens US flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue

Women’s fashion retailer Karen Millen has opened a new US flagship shop on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

The 5,000 sq ft store forms part of the retailer’s US growth strategy which includes the opening of further stores over the next three years and the extension of its partnership with Bloomingdales from 15 to 20 locations.

Karen Millen currently has 400 stores across the world and is planning to launch new stores in Mexico, Norway, India and Taipei in 2014.

The US opening follows the launch of a UK flagship store on London’s Brompton Road in April.

Karen Millen chief creative officer Gemma Metheringham said: “There’s strong demand for British – especially London-led – creativity and design expertise across the world and particularly in the US. With every Karen Millen piece designed, cut and finished in our Shoreditch atelier, the new 5th Avenue flagship is the perfect destination and backdrop for our collections.”

The retailer is also planning to recreate its Shoreditch atelier in Bloomingdales on New York’s 59th Street. The pop-up atelier will create bespoke leather jackets for four weeks from 10 September.

Karen Millen chief executive Mike Shearwood said: “With around 70% of our sales coming from international markets, our new flagship on 5th Avenue is an important milestone in our global expansion strategy. Alongside our Bloomingdales partnership, and 13 other stores across the US, it gives us a strong foundation to realise the exciting opportunity we can see in the US market.”

Karen Millen has undergone a transformation over the last year, including the launch of a refreshed brand identity and campaign collaborations with photographer David Bailey and stylist Katy England.


Harvey Norman unveil state-of-the-art showroom in flagship Dublin store

Harvey Norman unveil state-of-the-art showroom in flagship Dublin store

Launch: The Harvey Norman flagship Dublin store in Swords

Ireland’s leading retailer of computers, electrical, furniture and bedding, Harvey Norman, this week officially launched its newly renovated technology showroom in Airside Retail Park, Swords.

Following a hefty investment of over half a million, Harvey Norman has created a dynamic state-of-the art showroom designed to heighten the customer shopping experience. This is a technology store like no other, the entire store has been methodically thought out and the execution speaks for itself.

Tuesday night’s event was the ultimate showcase of the store. The guest list saw the who’s-who of technology in Ireland descend on Swords to experience the next generation of technology retail.

Highlights from the launch event included a glimpse in to the future of wearable tech with Oculus Rift and Google Glass demonstrations, 3D printing at Harvey Norman with the MakerBot® Replicator™ Mini Desktop 3D Printer and an Electrolux cooking demonstration from Michelin Star Chef Simon Hulstone.

Speaking at the event, Blaine Callard (below), CEO of Harvey Norman Ireland had this to say, “Despite the downturn in retail spending over the past few years, Harvey Norman has continued to invest in the vibrancy and quality of the customer in-store experience. We believe that vibrant interactive stores are at the heart of successful retail.

“We are today, very proud to celebrate the complete renovation and re-opening of our Swords Airside computer and electrical departments. This completes what has been a massive renovation of our entire airside shop, making it a showcase store for us in Ireland.”

First opened in 2003, Harvey Norman Airside was the first Harvey Norman store in Ireland and quickly became known as the company’s ‘original’ or flagship store.

Speaking about the store Mr. Callard had this to say, “Our new look Swords store is now the benchmark for cutting edge computer and technology retail in Ireland.

The new store format is incredibly vibrant and inviting, much brighter, more modern, with easier navigation and access, and much more use of colour and lifestyle imagery.

“Huge changes have swept the technology and appliance sectors in recent years, with products now becoming as much about design and style, as about features and function. Tired and uninspiring technology shops will not survive these changes; consumers are looking more for retailers who understand design and presentation.”

Noteworthy features of the store include a full cooking demonstration area, Sony 84” 4K TV (Ireland’s largest 4K TV), world class Apple area, Ireland’s first wifi washing machine – the WW9000 Crystal Blue washing machine from Samsung, Carphone Warehouse shop-in-shop, LoveTech technology service area, photo printing centre, in-store ‘Harvey Norman TV’ retail channel and product information tablets at the checkouts.

Mr. Callard concluded, “We are very bullish about the continued role of retail in the educating and distributing of technology to consumers. Great products need to be seen in great stores, and in Ireland we are leading the way in that regard making us an attractive destination for customers to shop, and our suppliers to showcase their new products.”

This week’s launch event kicked off the opening celebrations in Harvey Norman Swords, customers can expect a series of events, offers and activity throughout the month of August. Harvey Norman stock hundreds of top computer and electrical brands including; Apple, Toshiba, HP, Canon, Sage, Nespresso, Delonghi, Russell Hobbs, Babyliss, Miele, Dyson, Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Monster, Sennheiser, Beats, Neff and many many more.

In the Republic of Ireland, Harvey Norman employees 721 staff across 12 stores; four in Dublin at Swords, Carrickmines, Rathfarnham and Blanchardstown. There are two stores in Cork at Kinsale Road and Little Island and additional stores around the country at Castlebar, Drogheda, Limerick, Naas, Tralee and Waterford.



Coach Inc. profits drop 24,4% in fiscal Q4

Coach Inc. reported today net sales of $1.14 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter ended June 28, 2014, compared with $1.22 billion reported in the same period last year, a decrease of 7%. On a constant currency basis, total sales declined 6% for the period. Net profits fell by 24.4% to 781 million dollars (584 million euros).

Coach sales in China sales increased by 20 percent in the quarter compared to the same period a year ago, helped by double-digit growth in comparable store sales. For the year, China sales jumped by 25 percent to US$545 million, accounting for about 10 percent of total sales. By comparison, sales in North America fell by 16%, to 691 million dollars.

Victor Luis, CEO of Coach, Inc. said, “The fourth quarter capped a challenging year for the company, most notably in the North America women’s bag and accessory business. However, it was also a year of many accomplishments for Coach, including the successful integration of our retail businesses in Europe, surpassing $500 million in sales in China, and driving Men’s to about $700million in sales globally. Most importantly, we laid the groundwork for our brand transformation. A crucial milestone was the arrival of Executive Creative Director Stuart Vevers last September, who has already had a significant impact on the creative direction of the brand. We also developed our new retail concept, inspired by our New York City heritage, using an iconic materials palette that is distinctively Coach.”

Coach recently unveiled its first shoes men’s collection, comprising of 15 models, which will be avaialable in stores from September.


Nine West’s New Ad Campaign For Women Backfired

Nine West is advertising a pair of its leopard-print pumps as a perfect accessory for “starter husband hunting.”
The ad is part of a new headline-grabbing marketing campaign that also suggests a leather tote bag for the “anticipatory walk of shame” and booties with 4-inch heels to help “Mommy” wipe away “happy-sad tears” as she sends her kids to their first day of kindergarten.

The campaign, which rolled out this month online and in stores, has sparked some outrage among customers who say it’s degrading to women.

“As a professional woman, that’s an offensive campaign based on an outmoded ideal,” Facebook user Caroline Tippens wrote on the company’s page. “Apparently, your marketing team must be comprised of misogynists.”

User Nancy Crichlow added, “If this is your attitude toward your customers, I no longer consider myself one. Really disgusted that my previous purchases of Nine West shoes have enriched the bottom line of a company that has so little respect for its customers.”

A majority of the hundreds of comments on the company’s Facebook page are negative.

Erika Szychowski, Nine West’s senior vice president of marketing, told The New York Times that she expected the campaign to “make noise and get attention.”

“We have to change the way we talk about occasions because women are modern now and shop for a different reason,” Szychowski told the Times.

For Nine West, the risk of offending people with the campaign could be worth the buzz it’s creating for the brand.
“Over the course of the last decade, as we’ve started to have competitors which didn’t exist when we were founded, we lost some of that little sparkle that occurred in someone’s eyes when they talked about the brand,” Szychowski told the Times.

It doesn’t look like the company is planning to take down the ads. They went live on the website on Friday and they were still prominently featured by Wednesday.




British retailer launches in Germany

LONDON, United Kingdom –, the British own brand online fashion retailer that floated in March, has extended its international presence with the launch of a German language website, it said on Tuesday.

The new site, which will be supported by a marketing campaign in Germany, will see the firm compete in another market with bigger rivals Zalando and ASOS.

It is the firm’s third foreign language site following the launch of a French site in October 2013 and a Spanish site in May this year.

For boohoo’s year to Feb. 28 2014, international sales accounted for 35 percent of its total sales of 109.8 million pounds.

Shares in boohoo, which listed at 50 pence on March 14, were up 2.7 percent at 38.4 pence at 0836 BST, valuing the business at about 434 million pounds. boohoo also said it has added three further currencies; Swedish Krona, Danish Krone and Norwegian Krone.

This adds to the existing six currencies already available: euros, U.S. dollars, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, New Zealand dollars and pounds sterling.


£400m Birmingham city centre development set for major leap forward

A long-awaited £400 million pound city centre development project is set to take a major leap forward tomorrow.

Plans for the first building on the Arena Central site are set to get the green light from the city council’s planning committee.

Previous attempts to redevelop the former ATV studio land, facing Centenary Square, stalled during the economic downturn.

A blueprint for an eight-storey office block, with ground floor shops fronting Broad Street, have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The building will comprise 135,000 sq ft of office space, 5,000 sq ft of ground floor retail units, 2,500 sq ft of top-floor balconies and an underground car park with space for 68 vehicles and 54 bikes.

It has a curved façade with chequerboard motif which developers hope will encourage people onto the site.

In his report, planning officer Nicholas Jackson said: “The proposed office building would provide high quality, robust architecture, setting a suitable benchmark for the development as a whole.

“The use of neutral materials is consistent with its immediate neighbours and would help frame Centenary Square. The curved and recessed entrance feature marks the access into the building in an effective and striking manner.”

The wider, £400 million masterplan covers just over nine acres and has planning permission for 2.3 million sq ft of mixed-use space, including 860,000 sq ft of grade A office accommodation, over 200,000 sq ft of residential units, 2,500 car parking spaces and more than 1.2 million sq ft of retail and leisure units.

It is being delivered by Arena Central Developments, a joint venture between Miller Developments and Bridgehouse Capital.




Prada opens its first flagship store in Amsterdam


Located on Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s prestigious shopping avenue, the new Prada flagship store covers 550 sqm on two floors. The new Prada mono-brand store in Amsterdam features both men’s and women’s ready to wear, shoes, handags

The main entrance leads to an area where leather goods and women’s accessories are showcased in unique display niches, on floating steel-framed crystal cases, or nestled in black marble and mirror alcoves. From here, the visitor passes into a glass room dedicated to the travel accessories collections. The black and white marble chequered floor, green fabric-clad walls and the display counters’ bright and lively hues create an exclusive atmosphere, specially designed for each product.

The footwear space features a unique reinterpretation of Prada’s iconic display niche: a polished steel and crystal unit is inserted into an alcove cut into the wall draping. Vivid green velvet “Clover Leaf” sofas, designed by Verner Panton and reproduced exclusively for Prada, complete the setting.

Gap moves into Austria and Slovenia

Gap Inc had already chosen the company Gottex Brands to develop its Gap franchise store business in Israel and Hungary. Now, the American company has put its faith in the Israeli group in expanding into the Austrian market. It will open its first store in Vienna in October in the Danube Mall.

Another new market for Gap: Slovenia, the northernmost ex-Yougloslav country. The group has signed an agreement with its new Slovenian partner Magistrat International (which works with Inditex, Mexx and Desigual) to open three stores in Ljubljana, the capital.

The three stores should be opened by September. The first will be set up in the Emporium shopping center. The other two (one for adults and one for children), will be opened in the largest shopping mall in the country: City Park, to the east of the city.

Last year, Gap expanded into Hungary, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica. With these new agreements, Gap will now have a presence in some 50 countries. The company has over 300 franchise stores worldwide.


Givenchy opens new store in Seoul, South Korea

French luxury house of Givenchy opened this week a new mono-brand store in Seoul, South Korea. The new Givenchy store is situated within the prestigious Galleria Mall (East Hall) in Gangnam-Gu and is dedicated entirely to women’s wear and accessories, including shoes and handbags. This is the 16th mono-brand point of sales of Givenchy in South Korea.


In pictures: Megaprojects coming to the UAE

With a raft of new developments underway and economists warning about possible risks, we take a look at the construction projects the country is embarking upon.

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Ghana is next stop in TFG’s African plans

The Foschini Group’s (TFG’s) Africa agenda is on track, with five store openings in Ghana on the cards for October, as it eyes the continents other high-growth markets such as Kenya, Angola, and Mozambique.

The retail group — whose brands include Markham, Totalsports and American Swiss — has 132 shops in countries like Zambia, Botswana and Swaziland.

“Africa for us is long-term…. It isn’t going to drive the needle on our profits in the next two to three years,” TFG CEO Doug Murray said on Monday.

Setting up an African strategy is de rigueur for retailers looking to diversify their income streams but there is a caveat: Africa is not an easy place to do business. Risks include poor transport and infrastructure, high rentals, corruption and red tape.

Mr Murray said operating in Nigeria, where the group has two stores, “had been tough”.

“Woolworths have pulled out … Truworths I think are pulling out as well…. It is a compelling story, but for the long term… we have got to be there. We will keep Markham in Nigeria, and introduce Fabiani and G-Star, but we may pull Foschini out,” he said.

Nigeria has just four malls, compared with South Africa’s more than 500. The market is also fragmented, and shopping behaviour and spending power varies.

Truworths, which has four stores in Nigeria, did not respond by the time of going to print. Last month, however, Truworths CEO Michael Mark told Bloomberg the group would not follow Woolworths out of Nigeria. “We were making losses, but I don’t think we will in the future.” He said the retailer would reduce the size of its stores in the country and reconsider its merchandise offering to appeal more to local customers.

TFG has also looked at expanding into other markets such as Brazil and Australia.

“We went to Brazil three years ago, and we went back a year later and met with retailers and merchant banks, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t doable. They have many regional legislation and tax laws. There are many family-owned companies, which are not easy to buy because you have to get all the family members to agree. The CEOs tend to speak English, but one layer below that and it is Portuguese only. On top of that there’s a time difference and corruption is big in Brazil,” Mr Murray said.

Brazil’s high barriers to entry also deterred Woolworths, which went on to buy Australia’s David Jones for R23.3bn.

Mr Murray was not “an Australian retail fan”, he said. “It is dog-eat-dog there. Rentals and salaries are high, most of the retailers battle to make money, in a way they are overtraded, and e-commerce is having a huge impact (there).

“I wouldn’t even have dared consider David Jones, it’s far too big a transaction, and you’re betting the farm … I’m not good at going to the casino. You have to get size-appropriate businesses. (For us), David Jones would be far too high risk.”From DFM Publishers (Pty) Ltd