Monthly Archives: October 2014

Trollbeads announces first UK concept store

Danish charm bead jewellery brand Trollbeads announced it will open its first UK concept store at 21 Market Street, Cambridge, this November.

Trollbeads announces first UK concept store

Trollbeads UK chief executive said: “The location, in a busy shopping street at the centre of the beautiful city of Cambridge, is a perfect beginning for us to build our high street presence which is hugely important in increasing consumer awareness of our product and will benefit our business and that of our retailers.

“Cambridge is our first franchise in the UK and we look forward to opening further stores throughout the country in the future.”

A franchise agreement was signed at Trollbeads’ international headquarters in Copenhagen with the owner of the Cambridge store, Shay Ginat

With 12 years of experience trading in contemporary jewellery Ginat said: “With many years experience of retailing composable jewellery, we are ideally placed to work with the original charm bead company.

“The quality and craftsmanship of Trollbeads is what originally excited us about the brand and the ethos of the company is a great fit for our own.

“Looking forward we are thrilled to be part of this new and exciting chapter for Trollbeads in the UK.”

The first franchise dedicated to selling the Trollbeads’ jewellery collection is scheduled to officially open its doors to the public on November 21, preceded by a VIP launch evening on November 20.

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Tesco to be investigated by Serious Fraud Office

The Serious Fraud Office is to investigate Tesco over the accounting irregularities that created a £263m shortfall in the company’s profits.

The SFO has notified Tesco that it will launch a formal criminal investigation into accounting practices at the company.

The intervention by the SFO heightens the crisis facing Britain’s biggest retailer, which attempted to draw a line under the accounting scandal when it presented interim results last week. It means that the company and individuals could face criminal charges.

As a result of the SFO’s intervention, the Financial Conduct Authority will halt its own investigation into Tesco.

In a stock market statement, Tesco said: “Tesco confirms that it has been notified by the Serious Fraud Office that it has commenced an investigation into accounting practices at the company.

“Tesco has been cooperating fully with the SFO and will continue to do so. Tesco has been notified by the Financial Conduct Authority that, in light of the SFO investigation, its investigation will be discontinued.”

Tesco hired accounting firm Deloitte to conduct its investigation into the scandal and these findings have been handed to regulators.

The retailer has declined to comment on the conclusions of the report, however a source close to the probe said it had found evidence there was “inappropriate behaviour” and had been a “deliberate intention” to mislead auditors.

It is understood Tesco booked supplier contributions that were conditional on hitting sales targets that it was not going to reach. The source claimed that a “small group” of employees, realising these sales targets would not be hit, struck deals with suppliers to still make these payments by offering benefits in the next financial period. These benefits were then kept secret.

The SFO also confirmed it had launched a formal investigation. It said: “The SFO confirmed today that the director has opened a criminal investigation into accounting practices at Tesco plc.”

Tesco has suspended eight executives, including UK boss Chris Bush, while an investigation into the scandal takes place. It is also withholding payments worth £2m to Philip Clarke and Laurie McIlwee, its former chief executive and chief financial officer.

Some of the world’s biggest consumer goods groups have flown in audit teams to run the rule over their UK operations following the accounting scandal at Tesco.

It is understood that companies including Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola are checking their UK businesses on the back of Tesco uncovering the shortfall.

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Alibaba shares rocket as CEO hints at potential m-commerce deal with Apple

Shares in Alibaba climbed above USD 100 during yesterday’s trading after executive chairman Jack Ma said he would consider working with Apple on m-commerce strategies.

The rocket in stock price meant the e-commerce giant’s market capitalisation exceeded the USD 248 billion mark. Conversely, Wal-Mart’s market capitalisation fell to around USD 247.5 billion, according to intraday prices.

Ma – who is officially China’s richest person, with an estimated £12 billion fortune – made the announcement as he prepared to visit Hollywood in search of media partners.

Earlier this month Apple unveiled Apple Pay – its first mobile wallet – to the world. Alibaba already has Alipay – China’s largest payments service – under its belt, leaving plenty of scope for a potential global partnership between the two technology giants.

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke of a potential deal between the two companies earlier this week, saying “We’re going to talk about getting married later this week,” said Cook. “I have the utmost respect for Jack. We love to partner with people who are wicked smart, that have flexible teams, that are product based and that push us.

“And we like to push them. Those partners we work the best with, and I think Jack has a company that is exactly like that.

“I love what he’s done. I think he’s a brilliant guy, I think he has brilliant people in the company. So if we can find some areas of common space, I love it.”

Ma added “I hope we can do something together”.

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Hackett London posts record EBTID increase of 42 percent

Torreal Group’s Hackett London recorded in fiscal 2013/14 , ended on March 31 , an increase of 42.6% ebit reaching 6.8 million pounds ( 8.6 million Euros) and worldwide total sales of 152 million pounds (192 million Euros) , an increase of 4 % compared to the prior fiscal year. Direct sales in the UK and Ireland have reached 107 million pounds (135 million euros) , up 9.5% from a year earlier , thanks to the good performance of both the retail (+ 17 %) and the wholesale (+ 7 %).

The brand is preparing open this November its new flagship store in London, a space of 180 square meters at 55, Old Bond Street. Madrid based Torreal Group S.A. acquired Hackett from Richemont Group and it also owns Pepe Jeans.

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Alibaba is now the biggest retailer in the world

Alibaba is now the biggest retailer in the world

Woman walking past an Alibaba advertisement on a wall in Hangzhou
Alibaba has overtaken Wal-mart as the biggest retailer in the world.

The Chinese ecommerce business, which went public last month, leapfrogged the US supermarket giant as its valuation soared past $251bn.

Alibaba started the day a hair’s breadth behind Wal-Mart, with a market capitalisation of $245bn to Wal-Mart’s $246bn. However, the supermarket giant, which owns Asda in the UK, slipped backwards whilst Alibaba jumped.

Shares in Wal-mart fell 0.6pc to $76.09 in morning trading in New York, handing the business a market capitalisation of $245bn.

By contrast, the Chinese retail giant saw shares rise more than 2.5pc to a record high of $100.50 after its executive chairman and founder, Jack Ma, told a conference that he wanted to work with Apple on electronic payments.

Tuesday’s increase caps a steady ascent since mid-September, when Alibaba floated at $68 a share, raising $25bn and hitting a valuation of $170bn – the largest initial public offering in history.

The company, which was founded in Hangzhou, operates a string of online marketplaces in China. They include the Amazon-style Tmall, eBay rival Taobao, and Juhuasuan – a discount sales website similar to Groupon. Together the three sites have amassed a huge audience, with 279m active buyers a year.

The sprawling business also runs Alipay, an electronic payments operation which has around 300 active users.

Alibaba plans to use some of the cash it raised in its blockbuster IPO to expand into different territories, potentially competing with Wal-mart on its own doorstep.

The US supermarket giant, which is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, operates 11,000m stores in 27 countries around the world, including Asda in the UK.

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Macy’s to Open First International Location in Abu Dhabi

American department store Macy’s on Tuesday announced it plans to open its first outlet outside the US at Al Maryah Central, on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island.

The agreement with Gulf Related and Al Tayer Group also includes plans for the second Bloomingdale’s department store in the UAE at the same location, which at 230,000 square foot will be the largest department store in the Middle East. The first Bloomingdale’s store in the region opened at The Dubai Mall in 2010.

Both landmark stores will be located at Gulf Related’s $1 billion, 2.3 million square foot retail development at Al Maryah Central and are scheduled to open in Spring 2018.

Each department store will be divided across four levels, with the Macy’s outlet set to take up 205,000 square foot of space.

“We are delighted to be launching the first Macy’s outside of the United States, as well as our second Bloomingdale’s, in Abu Dhabi. Having recorded almost five successful years with Bloomingdale’s – Dubai, we are confident that the offering from Macy’s will have an equally strong appeal in the Middle East region,” said Khalid Al Tayer, CEO – Retail, Al Tayer Group.

“Both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have entrenched themselves as market leaders in department store retailing in the US, and we look forward to delivering the same unrivalled shopping experience to customers in Abu Dhabi,” he added.

“As a spectacular new world-class shopping destination, Al Maryah Central provides an outstanding opportunity to introduce Macy’s to customers who live and work in the booming UAE market, as well as to visitors who come from around the world for events, business and holidays,” said Terry Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. Chairman and CEO.

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Gap agrees franchising deal to take Old Navy to Middle East

Saudi Arabian retail conglomerate Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co to bring its Old Navy brand to the Middle East.

Fashion retail group Gap Inc has agreed a franchising deal that will see the company open Old Navy stores across Saudi Arabia.

Two stores will open – in the Riyadh and Dammam districts of the kingdom – in spring next year, but several more Old Navy shops are set to open over the coming months.

Gap’s franchise agreement is with Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co, a company that the fashion retailer has partnered with before to bring 41 Gap and Banana Republic stores to seven countries across the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Caucasus regions.

Robert Frank, executive vice president of Old Navy International, commented: “Entering the Middle East is an important milestone in our strategy to share Old Navy with a broader, global customer base.

“Given the family-centred culture of the region, we believe Old Navy’s iconic American apparel and focus on fashion, family and value will really resonate with customers.”

Alhokair, which also works with the likes of Zara, Topshop and Marks & Spencer (M&S), said that Old Navy’s offering “is just as relevant” to consumers in Saudi Arabia as it is for the US market.

“It is a retail success story that we can’t wait to develop and grow here, drawing on our own local market expertise,” explained Simon Marshall, CEO of Alhokair.

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Clicks eyes new stores as sales keep tills ringing

CLICKS Group is ploughing ahead with plans to open up to 25 new Clicks stores.

This has raised questions from analysts on why Clicks is focusing so intently on South Africa, perhaps at the expense of expanding in Africa.

“Most retailers look overseas when they’ve run out of road at home, and we haven’t,” CEO David Kneale said.

The numbers appear to attest to this. For the year to August, Clicks increased sales by 9.3% — driven mainly by promotions (as much as 27% of Clicks’s sales came from this) and price competitiveness. Pretax profit climbed 15% to R1.2-billion.

Wholesaler and distributor UPD was the strongest performer in the group, with turnover up 11.1%. Importantly, it raised its share of the private pharmaceutical wholesale market from 24.5% to 25.2%.

The Body Shop increased turnover by 8.5%, while Musica, struggling like all music retailers, increased sales 1.4%.

Sticking with Clicks also paid off for investors, who benefited from a 66% gain in the share price over three years — outpacing the more muted 51% rise in the JSE’s All Share index.

Kneale’s claim that Clicks still has “road” in South Africa is underscored by the fact that its retail pharmacy is gaining market share (up 18% from 17.6% last year) and generating lots of cash (operating cash inflow was R1.5-billion, up by R144-million).

The pharmacies are its strategic cornerstone and it now has 464 Clicks stores — including 339 dispensaries and 139 clinics — after opening 22 last year. T he first of its pharmacies opened in 2004, when large corporate-owned pharmacies were finally permitted in South Africa.

Since then, the rise of Clicks and its rival, Dis-Chem, have eaten into the ranks of the independent corner shop pharmacies, which say their business model is “under siege”.

Kneale, however, said pharmacies needed to become more efficient to survive.

But, he said, “we would urge the efforts of the Pharmacy Council to give pharmacies generally a wider role in the primary healthcare space”, such as allowing pharmacists to prescribe more medicines.

Kneale said the biggest challenge remained the skills shortage. “The country has about half the pharmacists it needs.”

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Victoria Beckham tops chart of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs

Victoria Beckham, the pop star, model and Wag who reinvented herself as a fashion designer, has topped a list of Britain’s 100 most successful entrepreneurs of 2014.

The woman formerly known as Posh Spice came in at No 1 in the list compiled for business magazine Management Today. The rankings are drawn up by assessing turnover growth and job creation over the past five years.

The magazine said of the designer, who opened a 6,000 sq ft (550 sq metre) boutique in Mayfair, central London, for her fashion brand last month: “Beckham is living proof that celebrity may be the most marketable commodity of all.”

Philip Beresford, who drew up the list, said it was “her finely tuned business acumen” that won her the top spot.

Since the 40-year-old mother-of-four and former Spice Girl set up her fashion business five years ago, her staff has grown from three to a 100-strong team with the latest turnover at £30m.

Offering leather credit card holders for £150, T-shirts for more than £700 and handbags for up to £18,000, she has seen sales growth of 2,900% and employment growth of 3,233%. “Deservedly she is number one in these two crucial measurements for success,” Beresford said.

The accolade follows her topping of a poll to find the greatest style icon at London fashion week in September.

Beckham spoke of her transformation from singer to designer in a recent Guardian interview, saying: “First time around I felt famous, but now I feel successful.”

She added: “I used to wear clothes which would make me stand out and now I don’t so much because I don’t feel I have anything to prove.”

Born Victoria Adams in Harlow, Essex, she burst on to the pop scene with the Spice Girls in the mid 1990s and married the England footballer David Beckham in 1999. The couple’s joint wealth is estimated at £380m, and she is credited as the driving force behind “Brand Beckham”.

She joined the other Spice Girls for a world tour in 2007/8, but chose not to perform a solo song, instead posing as though in a fashion show, in a nod to where her real ambitions lay.

Beckham launched her eponymous fashion label in 2008, and a lower priced diffusion label in 2011. As a businesswoman, she has demonstrated herself to be “an adept exploiter of her own celeb value”, according to the list. By 2011 she was a fixture at New York fashion week.

Her Dover Street shop opened in September, but she missed the official opening to speak to the UN general assembly in New York about her role in the UNAids campaign. Since then a steady stream of celebrities have been through its doors. It has been likened to an art gallery, with sparse interior, clothes hanging from chains on the ceiling or a jagged rail, and no cash tills as all purchases are completed through an iPad.

The “burgeoning entrepreneurial talent” of Britain’s Asian community is also evident in the list, said Management Today, with nine individuals or families making the rankings. They are led by brother-and-sister team Amit and Meeta Patel, in second place, just pipped by Beckham. The siblings’ London-based pharma operation, Auden McKenzie, specialises in the development, licensing and marketing of niche generic medicines, and is at the cutting edge of work into areas such as treating heroin addiction.

Mahmud Kamani, 50, of online fashion site Boohoo.com, is ranked third, while Julian Dunkerton 49, of clothing chain SuperGroup, claims fourth spot.

Apart from Beckham, the list includes 14 other women, up from 11 when the rankings were last published in 2011. Among them are software entrepreneur Suzanne Marshall-Forsyth and Cathie Paver, founder of Paver Shoes.

The top 100 were “real job creators”, said Management Today. “In five years, they have added more than 61,556 employees to their payrolls taking their head count to 158,189. This represents a 64% rise, and shows that in the critical area of productivity,(in which much of the UK economy is notably lacklustre) our MT 100 members are right on top of their game.”

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The ‘best-performing’ retail CEOs in the world

While retail can get swept up in the newest cross-channel strategy and payment technologies, it’s a company’s long-term vision that ultimately determines longevity in this sometimes volatile sector.

Harvard Business Review recently released its annual list of the 100 best-performing CEOs in the world, assessing the heads of companies in the S&P Global 1200 by the end of 2013. A group of researchers determined the increase in total shareholder return and market capitalization for each CEO’s tenure. Eight retail CEOs made the cut, with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos taking the top spot.

Who else made the list? Read on to find out.

Jeff Bezos

Company: Amazon

Rank: 1

Bezos long-term performance nabbed him the top spot on the list, and the distinction as the only retail CEO in the top ten. Despite ongoing disputes with publishers and a net loss in Q3, Bezos’ strategic vision for Amazon has consistently provided shareholders with results.

Tadashi Yanai

Company: Fast Retailing

Rank: 11

As Asia’s largest apparel company, Fast Retailing is now looking to expand to the United States with new locations for its Uniqlo brand. It doesn’t stop there: Founder and CEO Yanai has widely expressed his desire to surpass H&M and Inditex (owner of Zara) as the largest clothing company in the world.

Michael Balmuth

Company: Ross Stores

Rank: 25

As CEO of Ross Stores for 16 years, Balmuth stepped down from the chief executive spot this June. He is still actively involved with the company as executive chairman, and will no doubt have a hand in the opening of 95 new Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts stores.

Simon Wolfson

Company: Next

Rank: 43

Although less of a name in the U.S., Simon Wolfson took the top dog spot at British retailer Next in 2001 after starting at the company in 1991 as a sales assistant. Since then, he has helped the retailer expand its Next Home business and Next Directory online catalog, yielding over-performing share prices that have topped competitors like Marks & Spencer.

Carol Mayrowitz

Company: TJX

Rank: 51

One of only two women on the list, Mayrowitz became CEO of TJX, parent company of T.J. Maxx, Homegoods and Marshalls, in 2007. Since then, the company’s revenue has increased from $16 billion in 2007 to $27 billion in 2013. But the growth doesn’t stop there. TJX plans to expand its store base by 50%, with upwards of 5,000 new stores in existing markets.

Blake Nordstrom

Company: Nordstrom

Rank: 54 (tie)

Part of the fourth generation of Nordstrom family leadership, CEO Blake Nordstrom has been with the company since 1975 in various management and sales positions. The company continues to be a favorite for its customer service, and will continue to expand that service via text with the help of Twilio.

Terry Lundgren

Company: Macy’s

Rank: 66 (tie)

Even with the loss of the title of president in March, Lundgren still holds the positions of chairman, CEO, and chief customer officer at Macy’s, Inc. Previously CEO of Neiman Marcus, Lundgren has led Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s through many onmichannel initiatives that have helped the retailer increase sales and profits.

Michael Kowalaski

Company: Tiffany & Company

Rank: 92

Kowalaski has been with the iconic Tiffany & Co. since 1983, taking the title of CEO in 1999. He will step down March 31, 2015, to be replaced by Frederic Cumenal, currently president of the jewelry retailer.

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Tesco Gets More Bad News as Pension Fund Sues in U.S.

Tesco Plc (TSCO) and its directors misled investors about its financial health, according to a Texas retirement fund that sued the U.K.’s biggest retailer, adding to a year with which Tesco was plagued by accounting irregularities and increased competition.

The grocer’s sales have fallen under pressure from German discount rivals Aldi and Lidl, and its finances are being stretched. Yesterday, Tesco’s credit rating was cut to the lowest investment grade after the company reported a 41 percent decline in profits.

The Irving Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund, of Irving, Texas, blamed the “significant losses” it incurred by investing in Tesco on artificially inflated stock prices, which were based on overstated profits. The retirement fund sued to recover its losses in Manhattan federal court yesterday.

Tesco shares plummeted Sept. 22 after the supermarket chain said some income was booked before being earned and costs were recognized later than incurred. Warren Buffett was among investors to cut his stake.

Yesterday, the Cheshunt, England-based company said the accounting caused it to overstate profit by 263 million pounds ($423 million), with more than half of that amount predating this year.

Tesco declined to comment on the complaint by the fund, which has 463 members, according to its website. The lawsuit names former Chief Executive Officer Philip Clarke and Laurie McIlwee, the former chief financial officer, who resigned in April.

Clarke, who was replaced in September by David Lewis, a former Unilever executive, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. McIlwee couldn’t immediately be located for comment.

Class Action

The Irving fund is seeking to represent all Tesco shareholders who purchased American depositary receipts, each representing one ordinary share, from Feb. 2 to Sept. 22, according to the complaint.

Tesco’s ADRs fell about 43 percent during the class period from a high of $16.97, the fund claimed.

Tesco “carried out a plan, scheme and a course of conduct” which was intended to deceive the investing public, the fund said in the complaint.

Tesco has cut its profit outlook three times in two months after losing U.K. market share. The company’s net debt rose 7.1 percent to 7.5 billion pounds ($12 billion) in the first half of the year, while non-current liabilities, or long-term borrowings, increased 18 percent to 16.5 billion pounds, according to the retailer’s accounts.

Chairman Richard Broadbent said yesterday that he plans to step down.

Moody’s Investors Service lowered its credit rating on Tesco to Baa3, the lowest investment-grade level, and said the rating may be cut further to junk status. Fitch Ratings took similar action.

The case is Irving Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund v. Tesco Plc, 14-cv-8495, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Tesco Gets More Bad News as Pension Fund Sues in U.S.

Tesco Plc (TSCO) and its directors misled investors about its financial health, according to a Texas retirement fund that sued the U.K.’s biggest retailer, adding to a year with which Tesco was plagued by accounting irregularities and increased competition.

The grocer’s sales have fallen under pressure from German discount rivals Aldi and Lidl, and its finances are being stretched. Yesterday, Tesco’s credit rating was cut to the lowest investment grade after the company reported a 41 percent decline in profits.

The Irving Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund, of Irving, Texas, blamed the “significant losses” it incurred by investing in Tesco on artificially inflated stock prices, which were based on overstated profits. The retirement fund sued to recover its losses in Manhattan federal court yesterday.

Tesco shares plummeted Sept. 22 after the supermarket chain said some income was booked before being earned and costs were recognized later than incurred. Warren Buffett was among investors to cut his stake.

Yesterday, the Cheshunt, England-based company said the accounting caused it to overstate profit by 263 million pounds ($423 million), with more than half of that amount predating this year.

Tesco declined to comment on the complaint by the fund, which has 463 members, according to its website. The lawsuit names former Chief Executive Officer Philip Clarke and Laurie McIlwee, the former chief financial officer, who resigned in April.

Clarke, who was replaced in September by David Lewis, a former Unilever executive, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. McIlwee couldn’t immediately be located for comment.

Class Action

The Irving fund is seeking to represent all Tesco shareholders who purchased American depositary receipts, each representing one ordinary share, from Feb. 2 to Sept. 22, according to the complaint.

Tesco’s ADRs fell about 43 percent during the class period from a high of $16.97, the fund claimed.

Tesco “carried out a plan, scheme and a course of conduct” which was intended to deceive the investing public, the fund said in the complaint.

Tesco has cut its profit outlook three times in two months after losing U.K. market share. The company’s net debt rose 7.1 percent to 7.5 billion pounds ($12 billion) in the first half of the year, while non-current liabilities, or long-term borrowings, increased 18 percent to 16.5 billion pounds, according to the retailer’s accounts.

Chairman Richard Broadbent said yesterday that he plans to step down.

Moody’s Investors Service lowered its credit rating on Tesco to Baa3, the lowest investment-grade level, and said the rating may be cut further to junk status. Fitch Ratings took similar action.

The case is Irving Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund v. Tesco Plc, 14-cv-8495, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Gucci names Merinda Yeung as new China chief

Gucci’s new China chief has a tough task: Make the Italian brand’s name shine in a market where luxury is increasingly common. The luxury brand on Thursday named Merinda Yeung, its Taiwan division chief, to run its China operations.

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Bally opens flagship store in London

Swiss luxury brand BALLY (owned by JAB Holdings) unveiled today the new London flagship store designed exclusively by David Chipperfield Architects, located at 45-46 New Bond Street, London’s prime luxury shopping destination. The interior design has been inspired by a historical image from the archive of shoe boxes lining the wall in a Bally store in the town of Spiez in the 1920′.

Frederic de Narp, CEO of Bally, along with co hosts Lupita Nyong’o and Luke Evans celebrated the grand opening of Bally’s first London flagship store with a cocktail party on Wednesday 22nd October. The London store is the first flagship for the brand in over 20 years.

German family controlled JAB Holdings also owns luxury brands Jimmy Choo and Belstaff.

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Prada opens two new stores in Mexico

Prada opened this week two new stores in Mexico, one in Cancun (420 sqm) at the La Islae Mall and the other one in Mexico City (250 sqm) on Avenida Presidente Masaryk. Both new Prada stores feature men’s and women’s ready to wear, accessories and leather-wear. The two new openings bring the total number of Prada stores in Mexico to

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Mr Price shares rise as much as 3.51%

SHARES in cheap-chic retailer Mr Price rose as much as 3.51% on Thursday after the group said it expected earnings to increase as much as 24%.

The value retailer, whose budget-conscious offerings continue to appeal to shoppers, is bucking the broader retail trend of slower growth and stealing market share from higher-priced players such as Edgars and Truworths as high levels of consumer debt and rising living costs crimp spending.

For the 26 weeks ended September 27, Mr Price expects basic, headline, diluted basic and diluted headline earnings per share to increase between 20% and 24%. At 4:30pm the group’s shares were trading at R216.08 from Wednesday’s close of R208.75.

“In this kind of environment that’s nothing short of phenomenal,” Absa Investments analyst Chris Gilmour said. “Mr Price has got a very clever strategy into the rest of Africa and it has a remarkably high degree of recognition on the rest of the continent that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect.

“Also, I think we may well already be seeing some impact of their online business.”

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Amazon Q3 loss widens to $437 million; sales up 20% to $20.58 billion

Seattle — The red ink got worse at Amazon in its third quarter as the Internet giant reported a net loss of $437 million in the third quarter, worse than analysts expected, compared with a net loss of $41 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales increased 20% to $20.58 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $17.09 billion in the year-ago quarter. The metric was slightly lower that the average estimate from analysts, who forecast $20.84 billion, but in line with the company’s own forecasted sales range.

Amazon in the third quarter invested in numerous initiatives, including the acqusition of popular videogame tips and tricks site Twitch Interactive for $970 million.

Looking ahead, Amazon expects net sales between $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion for the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street’s forecast of $30.89 billion.

It also provided a wide range for its operating income — between a loss of $570 million and an profit of $430 million.

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Timberland’s Frisk Will Leave Company to Become Aldo Group CEO

Patrik Frisk, head of VF Corp. (VFC)’s Timberland business, is leaving the company to become chief executive officer of the shoe retailer Aldo Group.

“After over 10 wonderful years at VF Corporation, I have decided to move on and take on a new challenge,” Frisk said today in an e-mail. “From November, I will be based in Montreal, Canada, leading the Aldo Group.”

Frisk helped revitalize the Timberland brand, which was acquired by Greensboro, North Carolina-based VF in 2011. Aldo, meanwhile, is a 42-year-old retail shoe chain with more than 1,750 stores around the world.

“The company is incredibly vibrant, dynamic and has a unique culture rooted in strong values, with lots of potential for future growth,” Frisk said.

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Debenhams FY profit down 21%

Debenhams on Thursday morning posted a 20.6 per cent decline in full year profit, in line with market expectations as the business focused on ‘long-term sustainable growth’ and addressing the issues it of its first half operational losses.

Britain’s second largest department store chain said underlying pretax profit came in at £110.3 million in the 12 months to 30 August, in line with analysts’ average forecast of £110 million, according to a Reuters poll.

Debenhams said its performance had improved in the second half of the year, but after a warm autumn and winter that damaged its run-up to Christmas 2013 trading, it remained cautious on its outlook.

“Whilst this has been a challenging year for Debenhams, the brand is strong and our improved second half performance gives us confidence that we are ready for the key Christmas period and can deliver sustainable growth over the longer term,” chief executive Michael Sharp said in a statement.

Gross transaction value rose 1.7 per cent to £2,823.9 million for the year, with group like for like sales up 1.0 per cent. The retailer said it had made good progress in its second half against strategic priorities to deliver long-term sustainable growth. As Debenhams looks to step up its game against the highly competitive multi-channel offers of John Lewis and House of Fraser, delivery options are now fully available including next day click & collect and a 10pm cut-off for next day delivery to home.

Looking forward to the changes at hand, Sharp added: “We achieved higher full price sales and fewer days on promotion as a result of greater clarity on our promotional calendar resulting in an improved gross margin. We have also made good progress on our work to drive better returns from our space. Developing a more convenient and competitive online fulfilment offer has been a key priority and we enter this year’s peak trading period with a much improved range of delivery options. We expect further benefits to accrue from these priorities going forward.”

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Tesco chairman quits with “profound regret” over profits error

Sir Richard Broadbent has announced he will leave the UK’s largest retailer following the announcement of a bigger-than-expected hole in its profits.

Reports emerged last month that Tesco had overstated its profits by an estimated £250 million. Even just a few days ago, rumours that this could be a ‘worst case scenario’ and that the figure actually stood at between £200 million and £250 million circulated.

However, Tesco this morning announced its profits for the first half of the year were overstated by £263 million, which has coincided with a sharp fall in sales and profits for the first half of its financial year.

Like for like sales excluding petrol fell 4.4 per cent for the first half, with pre-tax profit down to £112 million, a decrease of more than 90 per cent on the same period the previous year.

Deloitte, the accountancy firm investigating Tesco’s profit black hole, found the supermarket had overstated by £118 million in the first half of the year, by £70 million for the 2013-2014 financial year and by £75 million the year before that. The report has now been passed on to the Financial Conduct Authority.

Sir Richard said he was now preparing to leave the position he joined in 2011: “The issues that have come to light over recent weeks are a matter of profound regret. We have acted quickly to clarify the financial performance of the company.”

“A new management team is in place to address the root causes of the mis-statement and to develop and implement the actions that will build the company’s future,” Sir Richard added.

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Homebase: A Quarter Of Stores To Be Closed

The owner of the DIY chain Homebase is to close a quarter of its stores over the next three years, leaving thousands of jobs hanging in the balance.

Home Retail Group (HRG), which made the announcement as it confirmed its half-year results, said it planned to shut 25% of its 323 stores by 2018 through scheduled lease expirations and sales.

It said: “The result should be a more efficient and productive estate that can support future investments.”

Homebase currently employs 17,000 people.

A spokesperson told Sky News: “HRG has announced a three-year plan for Homebase to revitalise the business for the future.

John Walden, managing director of the Argos retail chain
Argos, also owned by HRG, was already getting a digital makeover

“Part of the plan will be to right-size the store estate through scheduled lease expiries and a series of sales to other retailers.

“Once they are identified, our colleagues will be the first to be informed about any of the affected stores, and where possible we will redeploy colleagues to other stores within the Group, or encourage retailers buying our leases to offer roles within their businesses locally”.

The transformation to a greater digital offering was confirmed against a backdrop of rising sales at Homebase.

Home Retail said group underlying first-half profit rose 13%, particularly reflecting sales growth at Argos.

Profit before tax reached £30.9m in the six months to 30 August though its full-year result would depend on Argos’ Christmas trading, HRG said.

Argos has itself undergone a turnaround, with Home Retail moving away from its traditional catalogue store offering towards digital click & collect.

Argos saw sales from mobile and tablet devices rise by 45%.

Homebase like-for-like sales grew by 4.1% over the six-month period.

Its improved website helped multi-channel sales rise 12% but it was also confirmed the chain’s managing director, Paul Loft, was to leave the business following the completion of the group’s review.

John Walden, chief executive of HRG, said “Homebase is a good business with the basis for future growth.

“In this context, Homebase will pursue a three-year plan through to the end of 2018 to improve the productivity of its store estate, strengthen its propositions and accelerate its digital capabilities by leveraging Argos’ investments.

“This will position Homebase as a smaller but stronger business, ready for investment and growth.”

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SuperGroup founder steps aside as Sutherland named CEO

ONDON (Reuters) – SuperGroup, the British company behind the Superdry fashion brand, on Wednesday named ex-Co-operative Group boss Euan Sutherland as its new chief executive, replacing its founder Julian Dunkerton.

Sutherland, who has over 19 years experience in the retail sector having held roles with firms such as B&Q, Dixons and Coca-Cola, had been a non-executive director at SuperGroup for two years.

Dunkerton, who started the business three decades ago on a market stall in Cheltenham, south-west England before floating it on the stock market in 2010, will move to the new role of Founder and Product and Brand Director with immediate effect.

“With the number of opportunities SuperGroup has available and the increasing complexity of the business, now is the right time to bring in a CEO of Euan’s calibre,” Dunkerton said in a statement.

Dunkerton will now focus on developing the group’s product ranges and protecting its brand as it expands internationally. Superdry products are sold in over 100 countries via its 135 UK and European standalone retail stores, concessions, franchised and licensed stores and website.

“Euan has a formidable retail reputation and a wealth of experience. We believe this shuffle gives insight into the board’s thinking on the future brand opportunity as it internationalises,” Investec analyst Kate Calvert said.

Sutherland quit as boss of Britain’s embattled Co-Op group in March after just 10 months in the role, describing the firm as an “ungovernable” organisation.

Last month SuperGroup forecast a year of profit growth, as sales of its trademark jackets, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms helped revenues rise 16 percent in its first quarter, and its autumn-winter season started well.

Shares in SuperGroup closed at 1,029 pence on Tuesday, down 7 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at 835 million pounds.

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Qatar to buy stake in HK department store operator

Qatar Holding LLC has agreed to pay USD616 million for about one fifth of Lifestyle International Holdings, a department operator in Hong Kong and mainland China – the latest addition of a high-end retail brand to the sovereign wealth fund’s portfolio.
Lifestyle’s stores include a Sogo branded store in Hong Kong’s bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay and four Jiuguang stores on the mainland.
A unit of Qatar Holding will pay HKD14.75 per share for the 19.9 percent stake, a 1 percent premium to Lifestyle’s last traded price of HKD14.60, the statement added. Qatar Holding will get one board seat on the completion of the transaction.

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Outfit signs deal for stores across four UK retail parks

Arcadia Group owned Outfit has signed deals with shopping centre operator British Land for a total of 50,000 square feet of space across four retail parks.

Outfit, which provides a one-stop shop for Arcadia brands such as Burton, Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis, has taken 12,500 square feet at both the Mayflower Retail Park in Basildon and the Orbital Shopping Park in Swindon. It has also re-geared leases at the Teesside Shopping Park in Stockton-on-Tees and the Fort Kinnaird Shopping Park in Edinburgh.

The leases have all been taken for a period of ten years and all of the stores have trading mezzanines.

John Maddison, head of retail park asset management for British Land, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this series of deals with Outfit, particularly at Mayflower Retail Park which recently saw Next upsize to a 47,500 square foot store. The openings will broaden and complement the existing fashion provision across these parks and strengthen our relationship with one of our key tenants.”

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Crocs shuffles management team

Niwot, Colo. — Crocs Inc. is enacting several key management changes, including the appointment of Bob Munroe to general manager of Crocs Americas region; Greg Sullivan to the new role of senior VP of global business transformation; Scott Yuan to general manager of Greater China; and Michelle Poole to senior VP of global product creation and merchandising.

Veteran footwear and consumer products executive Bob Munroe has been named the new general manager of Crocs Americas region. Before joining Crocs, Munroe spent 10 years with Reebok, most recently as president following the brand’s acquisition by Adidas, Since leaving Reebok, Munroe has led a number of startup companies, including most recently serving as president of IdeaPaint. As general manager of Crocs Americas region, Munroe will be responsible for managing the region’s wholesale, internet and direct-to-consumer channels.

Former GM of the Americas Greg Sullivan is assuming the new role of senior VP of global business transformation. Sullivan joined the company in Oct. 2013.

In Asia, the company has named Scott Yuan to general manager of Greater China for Crocs. Yuan is an experienced consumer products executive and has been serving as assistant general manager of the company’s China business since earlier this year. He will be based in Shanghai and replaces Ted Lee, who will leave the company later this year.

Dale Bathum, chief product officer for Crocs since 2012, will transition product leadership responsibilities to Michelle Poole through Nov. 20, 2014, when he will depart to pursue other interests. Poole has been appointed to the lead global role for product and merchandising, as senior VP for global product creation and merchandising. Poole joined Crocs in Aug. 2014 after five years as senior VP of product for Sperry Top-Sider. In addition to her merchandising role, she will assume all product responsibilities previously led by Bathum.

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H&M opens first store in the Philippines

Thousands queued for the grand opening of H&M’s flagship store in the Philippines on 17 October following a shopping party two nights before. Dance music, surprises, best prices and a giant shopping bag sitting on top of SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall greeted shoppers.
CEO Karl-Johan Persson led the ribbon cutting ceremony with Magnus Olsson, Country Manager for Greater China and South East Asia; Line Juhlin, Regional Sales Manager; and Gene Fajardo, Store Manager for Philippines.
An estimated 2,000 eager shoppers flocked to the line-up prior to the store opening and the first three shoppers in queue as early as the day before received PHP6,000 (USD133.8), PHP3,000 (USD66.9), and PHP2,000 (USD44.6) worth of shopping, respectively.
“The anticipation over our launch in the Philippines has been intense, and I am proud to welcome Filipino shoppers into our very first store. We hope that we can offer our customers added value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price,” said Persson in a media statement.
The store offers a full assortment of fashion items for women, men, teenagers and children, including athletic wear and lingerie. The fashion crowd was also greeted with H&M Studio and the Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection.

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Retail Congress Africa18 – 19 November 2014 Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg

The 2nd year Retail Congress Africa will provide a deeper insight into the African retail opportunities and challenges by identifying the new African consumer, analysing key market trends and practices and examining country specific case studies.

The founding aims of Retail Congress Africa are to provide an insight into African retail, a vision of best practice and an opportunity to benchmark performance plans against performance of other retailers.

The only platform to discuss the future of the pan-African retail industry.

The 2nd year Retail Congress Africa will provide a deeper insight into the African retail opportunities and challenges by identifying the new African consumer, analysing key market trends and practices and examining country specific case studies.

The founding aims of Retail Congress Africa are to provide an insight into African retail, a vision of best practice and an opportunity to benchmark performance plans against performance of other retailers.

What’s new for 2014?

Transformed agenda
In-depth research with international and regional retail stakeholders is shaping the Retail Congress Africa agenda from scratch. Experts share their thoughts and beliefs on what will make the exciting African retail industry tick and actively define the topics for discussion

More retailers
Meet the right people to do business with in Africa. With over 75% of attendees being retailers, you’ll meet your peers and be part of the crucial discussions around the future of African retail

Facilitated networking activities
Lunch briefings, roundtables, drinks and networking activities are at the core of the Retail Congress Africa to ensure you meet the right people to grow your business

Enhanced speaker faculty
The 2014 speaker faculty will feature over 70 retail expert speakers including inspirational keynotes and real how to case studies of entering new markets and understanding the new African consumer

2014 Speaker confirmations include:

Greg Azzopardi
Group Real Estate Director
Mr Price Group

Idy Enang
Managing Director
L’Oréal Central West Africa

Greg Solomon
Managing Director
McDonald’s South Africa

David North
Group Executive – Strategy and Corporate Affairs
Pick n Pay

Neel Shah
Business Development Manager
Nakumatt

Keith Brouze
Chief Executive Officer
The House of Busby

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convenience stores could start to come together across the UK

convenience market experience to bear on 700 chemists bought from Co-operative Group as Boots is also tipped to join the fray, reports today’s Independent Retail News.

Pharmacies and convenience stores could start to come together across the UK following the £620m takeover by Bestway of the 700-strong Co-operative Pharmacy chain, which completed last week.

The line between c-stores and pharmacies has already become blurred in other major convenience markets around the world, including Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. In the USA, Boots’ parent company Walgreens is said to be the number one convenience store for female shoppers.

Bestway said it intended to make the most of its expertise in convenience retailing as it looked to grow the pharmacy business. “This was one of the reasons we felt we were well placed to make the acquisition,” a spokesperson told Independent Retail News.

“Our years of experience in the convenience sector, much of which is community-based just like the Co-operative Pharmacy, has given us a strong basis for operating in this environment, as we have a good understanding of the local customers and their needs.

“We will be looking to expand the range of products currently available in the pharmacy stores, looking specifically at the over-the-counter range, for example. We believe our learnings and successes within the convenience market will aid us in implementing this strategy.”

Bestway’s wholesale division already serves 125,000 independent retailers and caterers around the country and its retail club business is the largest in the UK with more than 4,000 members. Its Best-one symbol group has over 1,000 stores.

Consultant Scott Annan, who runs the Convenience and Drug Retail Leaders Forum for senior UK executives, said Bestway was now well placed to enter high street convenience using the acquired pharmacies.

He said: “I think they will become more convenient and beef up the female-oriented elements – more health and beauty, more feminine care, more female snacking and female beverages. “My forecast is they will take advantage of their heritage and their expertise and bring both together, because it’s been successful in some of the biggest convenience markets in the world. In markets like Japan, the big drugstores are über-convenient; they are targeting females and the big retailers are now opening combined convenience and drug stores.”

Sainsbury’s Local is already testing the waters in the UK, having opened a combined c-store and pharmacy at Guy’s Hospital in south London in September.

Annan also predicted that Boots, which has 2,500 UK stores, could become a leading high-street convenience player, drawing on the expertise of Walgreens.

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Tesco probe finds evidence of inappropriate behaviour by staff

Tesco probe finds evidence of inappropriate behaviour by staff

THE INVESTIGATION into Tesco’s £250m black hole is understood to have found evidence that a small group of staff deliberately misled its auditors as they struggle to meet sales targets.

The UK’s largest supermarket chain is due to report its delayed half year results on Thursday, with chief executive Dave Lewis set to update the market on the initial findings of the probe being carried out by auditor Deloitte and law firm Freshfields.

It is expected to blame the profit overstatement on “inappropriate” behaviour” by certain members of staff rather than an accounting issue.

The profit overstatement relates to the booking of commercial income from suppliers that was conditional on hitting sales targets that it was not going to reach, reports this weekend said.

Eight members of staff have been suspended so far, including UK managing director Chris Bush.

The retailer is expected to report profits of £850m for the six months to the end of August compared with the £1.1bn originally forecast.

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Furla partners with Harrods for Heathrow and Gatwick airport stores

Furla has extended its global travel retail presence with the opening of two outlets within Harrods stores at London Heathrow Terminal 3 and London Gatwick South Terminal.

The stores officially opened in September and showcase Furla’s Autumn Winter 2014/2015 collection.

Furla Global Travel Retail Director Gerry Munday said: “It has been a delight to work with Harrods. We have seen phenomenal sales so far which have exceeded all expectations.”

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Gucci opens first directly operated stores in Moscow

Since gradually taking over direct operations in Russia, starting with last year, Gucci has now opened two new stores in Moscow, on the prestigious Petrovka Street (1,000 sqm on 3 floors) and within the GUM Department store (250 sqm). Besides men’s and women’s ready to wear and accessories collections, the stores feature the “Made To Order” service for shoes and “Made to Measure” for men’s tailoring. To celebrate the openings, Gucci has created a limited edition capsule collection made of the finest furs, exclusively available at the two stores.

Gucci stores in other Russian cities such as Yekaterinburg, Sochi and St Petersburg are still being operated in franchising. The company has not confirmed whether and if will also take over direct operations of the currently mono-brand franchised stores in Moscow – Kutuzovsky Street and Barvikha Village.

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Pick n Pay to expand into Ghana

As Ghana’s growth surpasses that of South Africa and its consumers become more receptive to new brands, Pick n Pay has decided to grab the opportunity to expand into this market

South African retail gian Pick n Pay says it is casting its net wider to catch more business opportunities as it looks to venture into Ghana

“We plan to extend our operations in the medium term by opening stores in Ghana, one of the most rapidly growing markets in Africa,” said the group in a statement.

According to BDLive Ghana’s growth is forecast is 6,9% this year, well ahead of South Africa’s own lagging growth, which has been affected by countless strikes over the last year.

Pick n Pay is not the first South African business to expand into Ghana. Its peer Shoprite is currently operating in that market and fashion retailers Mr Price, Truworths and The Foschini Group are already taking advantage of Ghana’s growing markets.

The Pick n Pay group says Africa is its second engine of growth. Pick n Pay CEO Richard Brasher told BDLive, “Ghana . . . has a lot of the similarities to the business we’re developing in Zambia. I think Pick n Pay can add value to that marketplace. We have signed leases. The developers are building during the course of the year. We will get there as quick as we can.”

They are also looking to get into Nigeria and have opted to do their homework in the West African country first instead of going with the ‘one size fits all’ approach for opening stores.

I think Pick n Pay can add value to that marketplace

“We are also close to completing our analysis of the opportunities available to us in Nigeria. Our approach outside our borders remains measured, and no investment will be undertaken without a comprehensive understanding of a market and its supply chain capacities,” says the group.

Pick n Pay has franchises in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, including a company-owned business (or privately owned business) in Zambia. And these African operations continue to perform well. But their investment in Zimbabwe, where the group holds about half (49%) of TM Supermarkets, has faced a turbulent time with group’s share of the income falling by 22,9% to R11,1 million.

“This reflects significant deflation in Zimbabwe, resulting in price decreases across a broad range of categories. We remain confident of the prospects for this business, which has embarked on a substantial store refurbishment programme.”

The group pulled the plug out of its Mozambique and Mauritius operations last year as part of its exit strategy, making a segmental profit of 43% to R135,1 million.

But besides expanding outside of South Africa, the group is also dedicated to penetrating new communities. They have opened 46 new Pick n Pay and Boxer stores in the past six months in communities that did not have access to these stores before. They also closed five stores whose performance was not up to standard and invested R110 million into improving the exiting stores.

The group has 1 117 stores of varying retail formats in six countries across southern Africa. The group plans to open 80 new stores in the second half of their financial year.

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Sears Will Lease Retail Space in Northeast to U.K.’s Primark

Sears Holding Corp. (SHLD), the unprofitable department-store chain seeking fresh ways to raise money, will lease space to Primark Stores Ltd., a British budget-clothing retailer that’s expanding in the U.S.

Primark will set up shop in seven Sears stores in the Northeast, according to a statement today. Separately, Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears announced a rights offering that could generate as much as $625 million for general corporate purposes.

“Sears Holdings is strategically transforming one of the largest retail real estate portfolios in the United States over time while continuing to operate its existing stores in large, but rationalized selling space,” Jeff Stollenwerck, president of real estate for Sears, said in the statement.

Edward Lampert, Sears’s chief executive officer and its biggest investor, is squeezing more cash out of the company following nine straight quarters of losses. His recent transactions include a $500 million dividend from the spinoff of the Lands’ End clothing unit and a rights offering for most of the stake in Sears’s Canadian division.

The offering announced today consists of 8 percent senior unsecured notes due 2019 and warrants to purchase shares of common stock. Sears lost $975 million in the first half of its fiscal year. That follows a combined $2.3 billion in losses in the past two fiscal years.

Sears shares rose 5.1 percent to $29.85 at 9:56 a.m. in New York. The stock had dropped 28 percent this year through the end of last week.

Primark’s Leases

At six of the seven locations in today’s real estate deal, Sears will continue to operate alongside Primark. At the seventh site — located at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania — Sears will close down. Primark will then share that space with another Sears subtenant, Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) Inc., which signed an agreement for part of the second floor in January.

Primark, owned by Associated British Foods Plc (ABF), will lease a total of about 520,000 square feet (48,310 square meters) from Sears. The British retailer will take over the space in the next 12 to 18 months as it continues to push beyond its home market.

Primark, one of Europe’s fastest-growing clothing chains, has said it was planning to add stores in the Northeastern U.S., the first of which is slated to open at the end of next year.

Primark stores are known as traffic drivers, said Matt McGinley, managing director at New York-based International Strategy & Investment Group, which has a sell rating on Sears’s stock

“That could help the Sears stores,” McGinley said.

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WHSmith to launch standalone budget greetings cards chain

WHSmith to launch standalone budget greetings cards chain

WHSmith plans to join the craze for budget retailing by launching a standalone chain selling cheap greetings cards.

The stores, branded Cardmarket, will target the lower end of the market not covered by WHSmith’s branches.

Introducing cheap cards to existing stores could eat into premium card sales so the group has decided to launch a separate chain to increase its share of one of retail’s most resilient markets, its chief executive, Stephen Clarke, said.

He unveiled the plan as WHSmith announced pre-tax profit up 9% to £112m for the year ended 31 August.

Clarke said: “The card market has been stable for the last four or five years and sales have been particularly strong at the value end for cards costing 29p, 49p, 89p. It’s been partly a sign of the times. We have seen the emergence of value retailers across many aspects of the retail landscape. We want to see if we can create a standalone card shop selling cheap, value cards and make money.”

Clarke pointed to the growth of Card Factory, the no-frills card retailer that listed on the stockmarket this year. Card Factory achieved unbroken sales growth during the economic downturn that forced its more upmarket rival Clinton Cards into administration.

Card Factory’s success has been part of the budget retailing phenomenon that has gripped UK shoppers whose living standards have been cut by stagnant wages and rising bills. Aldi and Lidl, the German value grocers, have taken market share from the big supermarkets while Poundland and B&M, the discount general merchandise chain, have grown quickly.

Clarke said Cardmarket would be a low-risk experiment in short-lease, low rent locations and there would be nothing to let customers know the shop was owned by WHSmith.

WHSmith’s strong results were helped by rising sales and profits up 11% to a record £73m at stores in airports and stations. Profits at high street stores also rose but sales fell. Clarke promised £21m of cost cuts at the business in the next three years.

The savings will include renegotiating marketing contracts, using more energy-efficient bulbs in storerooms and giving store managers tablet computers so they can work more efficiently and spend extra time on the shop floor.

The group increased its annual dividend by 14% to 35.0p and said it would use its spare cash to buy back £50m of shares after completing an equivalent buyback launched a year ago.

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Zara launches official store on China’s Tmall.com

Zara has launched its official online store on Tmall.com, hoping to put the brand’s products within easy reach of the online platform’s tens of millions of customers.
Zara.tmall.com will offer online Chinese shoppersthe same full range of products for women, men and kids as that found on http://www.zara.cn and in Zara’s stores across China.
The launch follows the opening in September 2012 of Zara’s own e-commerce site http://www.zara.cn, which will continue to operate as normal.
With 25 online stores in 35 markets, the Inditex Group announced last month that it is expanding its e-commerce foray, which includes opening of Zara’s virtual shopfront on Tmall.

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Hackett to open City of London store

British menswear brand, Hackett London is set to open a new store on Old Broad Street in the City of London in November. The 150 sq m space will incorporate Hackett’s signature Georgian influences as well as introduce new sleek and modern elements.

The store will be divided into five different rooms, all joined by panelled Georgian archways. Granite and limestone flooring will welcome visitors as they enter the store.

To add to the new interiors concept, contemporary handmade light wooden polished chairs from British furniture designer, James Harrison will sit alongside and complement the more traditional pieces in store. In addition, a selection of the late Brian Blow’s artwork, a British artist renowned for his 1950/60’s graphic prints, will feature among an eclectic mix of artist sketches, period prints and campaign photography.

Hackett’s extensive Bespoke, Made-to-Measure and Personal Tailoring services will all be available in the new store when it opens next month.

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Prada opens new store in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The new Prada store in Sao Paulo is located within the Citade Jardim Mall. It covers a total area of 415 square metres on a single level and houses the men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, bags, accessories and footwear collections.The façade, clad in black Marquina marble and framed by polished steel profiles, is characterised by a rigorous geometric composition, at the heart of which is the elegant main entrance flanked by curved windows.

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London’s Bond Street gets 20 million pound makeover

Bond Street will see a 50 percent increase in pedestrian space

There will be an increase in pedestrian space by 50 percent in addition to expanding on-street parking, as upgrading the look with new lighting, signage and public art installations. There will also be some re-landscaping of the public oasis between New and Old Bond Street.

According to recent finding by Atkins, 62 percent of traffic on Bond Street is from private car or taxi, the project will also introduce a two-way traffic scheme on New Bond Street and Brook Street, to enable better traffic flow and improved access for private vehicles.
Bond Street tube station is also currently being upgraded due to the new Crossrail being introduced. Customers will benefit from quicker and easier journeys with a new ticket hall and new station entrance on the north side of Oxford Street.

Beverley Aspinall, managing director of Bond Street, part of New West End Company, said: “Bond Street is one of the strongest luxury destinations in the world. This is demonstrated through an ever-increasing demand from luxury powerhouse brands to locate here. Our plan will deliver significant commercial return as seen in other areas of London that have undergone a similar remodelling and investment over the last decade.”

Mark Fenwick, chairman of the Fenwick department store group and deputy chairman of New West End Company’s Bond Street Development Group, added: “Fenwick has been on the corner of Bond Street and Brook Street for over a hundred years and has experienced first-hand the unique complexities of the multiple property ownership on the Street. Our improvement plan is a significant milestone towards making this street a phenomenal world leading luxury destination.”

The delivery partners have now been appointed and will complete the improvement plans in time for the opening of Crossrail in 2018.

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Outlook for the Irish retail sector remains positive

The availability of retail space in prime locations continues to tighten, with some prime shopping centre schemes operating at 90-100% capacity and just 2.6% high street vacancy in Dublin city centre. Demand from overseas retailers remains strong as they continue to look to expand their operations in Ireland, but they are mostly focused on prime locations. In the last 3 months, we have seen evidence of demand broadening, with the location and sector type for lettings more mixed this quarter. There have been a number of high street, shopping centre and retail park deals signed in Q3. The interest in prime retail warehouse parks has picked up in response to people spending more again on their homes.

Hannah Dwyer, Head of Research at JLL said that „There has been no real change in the retail market in the last 3 months, with similar key trends to last quarter. The market continues to show stability, particularly in prime locations, with steady demand from occupiers, decreasing vacancies and positivity in turnover results“.

Hannah also added that, „The outlook for the final quarter of 2014 and for next year remains positive. Signs of stability in the retail park market have broadened the sector’s recovery, with high streets, shopping centres and retail parks now performing much more steadily than 12 months ago. Although there has been minimum rental growth this year, prime rents are expected to increase in the short-term as supply pressures continue to tighten on high streets and in schemes“.

The recovery remains most evident for prime, with some secondary and tertiary schemes and units struggling around the country. Positive news stories for the economy around GDP and employment have boosted confidence, with improvements in sentiment and retail sales volumes positively impacting turnover results for some retailers. This is expected to continue into 2015 as key economic indicators are forecast further growth.

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Yas Mall gives The National a sneak peek ahead of opening – in pictures

Developer Aldar plans to open the new 235,000 square metre mall a few days before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next month.

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Mulberry issues profits warning amid falling earnings

Even as a new report showed that global wealth had jumped to a record $263 trillion, shares in two of Britain’s biggest luxury goods groups were taking a battering yesterday.

The once high-flying Mulberry saw its stock market value slashed by more than a fifth at one stage, as the handbags and accessories group issued the latest in a series of profits warnings.

In an unscheduled trading update, it warned that full-year profits would fall “significantly below” current market expectations. They had already been reduced but now it seems annual profits could slide to as little as £4 million.

Larger rival Burberry, meanwhile, saw its shares shed 5 per cent as a warning of tougher trading conditions overshadowed healthy first-half figures. Unlike Mulberry, where interim sales declined 17 per cent, Burberry posted another double-digit rise, of 14 per cent.

Both companies are feeling the effects of a slowdown in worldwide demand for luxury goods, particularly in the previously hot Asian market.

Mulberry cited the lack of tourists in the UK for its dismal performance but the group is largely responsible for its own woes. Under former chief executive Bruno Guillon, it decided to concentrate its efforts at the top end of the handbags market, positioning itself alongside the likes of Prada – with prices to match.

It proved to be a disastrous strategy. Guillon exited in March and former boss Godfrey Davis was parachuted back in to oversee the launch of a new, more modestly priced range of bags. These are now on the shelves with price tags in the region of £600, rather than £1,200. Sales so far are said to be going well, but have come too late to rescue profits.

The £4 million analysts now expect Mulberry to make in the year to March 2015 takes its profits back to where they were in 2009, before it was lauded in the fashion press and began to believe its own publicity.

Profits reached a peak of £36 million in 2012, fell to £26 million the following year and virtually halved to £14 million last year. Its shares, which broke through the £23 level in 2012, closed last night at 675p.

In the fickle but lucrative luxury goods market, product is important but image and marketing even more so – and Mulberry has suffered self-inflicted wounds here too.

A promotional stunt featuring two of its new bags hanging from the gates of Kensington Palace, home to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, had to be cancelled after complaints from royal officials.

Although Kate and other royals are said to be Mulberry fans, they were not amused by the sight of their home being featured in adverts. “We do not allow commercial photography at Kensington Palace,” sniffed a royal official.

Troubles at Tesco

Next month former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy will address an audience of entrepreneurs at a conference in London, at which he will reveal his tips on “how to innovate and take your business to the next level
”.

Let’s hope he saves a couple of complementary tickets for Dave Lewis, who now has the mighty task of restoring both reputation and profits at Tesco after its series of disasters.

More senior executives were suspended at Britain’s biggest retailer yesterday, as investigations continue into its £250 million accounting scandal. On top of that, company secretary Jonathan Lloyd has handed in his notice and non-executive director Ken Hanna, who heads the audit committee, is also standing down when his six-year term comes to an end.

While Leahy was long gone at Tesco when the problems of overstated profits were revealed last month, there had been concerns in the City about some of the group’s racier accounting practices – and its treatment of suppliers – for years, and certainly during his lengthy tenure at the top.

Let’s hope his advice to the entrepreneurs next month includes treating their suppliers fairly and taking a cautious approach to adding up their own figures. Fiona Walsh is business editor of theguardian.com

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Sainsbury’s halves loyalty reward points – UK

London – British supermarket Sainsbury’s is to halve the number of Nectar reward points it gives holders of its loyalty card in the latest sign that an escalating price war is forcing grocers to re-evaluate the merits of shopper retention schemes.

Sainsbury’s, which is battling with Wal-Mart Stores’ Asda to be Britain’s No.2 grocer behind Tesco, told customers on Tuesday that from April 11 next year it will award only one Nectar point for every pound spent.

Nectar cardholders can use points to pay for their shopping, with 500 points worth £2.50 ($3.98).

Sainsbury’s is also scrapping the award of one Nectar point each time a customer uses his or her own bags, although shoppers will still earn one Nectar point per litre of fuel purchased.

Loyalty cards, pioneered by Tesco’s Clubcard two decades ago, are widespread throughout Britain’s retail sector, allowing store operators to garner information on the likes and dislikes of their customers.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said that despite the changes, there would be benefits to shoppers, including more “high-value bonus events” such as 10 times points on fuel and additional categories in its Christmas “Double Up” event.

Sector analysts said that they suspected the move reflected the need to cut costs and align the Sainsbury’s proposition to a market in which pure price and simplicity are becoming increasingly important.

However, the Sainsbury’s spokesperson said there are no cost savings from the first 12 months of the new Nectar scheme – the extent to which the promotions calendar is planned so far – and all cash will be redistributed into the bonus events.

Last month Sainsbury’s said, it would only benchmark prices with Asda, no longer including Tesco in its “Brand Match” price-comparison scheme – a move that will save on administration costs.

Falling sales

Like its big four rivals, which also includes No. Morrisons, Sainsbury’s has been losing market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl. All of the big four have responded by cutting prices.

This month Sainsbury’s posted a third straight fall in quarterly like-for-like sales, cut its annual sales forecast and said it would review its dividend as part of a wider examination of the business, adding to the turmoil in a sector reeling from an accounting scandal at Tesco.

Shares in Sainsbury’s, which have lost 38% of their value so far this year, were down 0.7% at 227 pence by 14:54 GMT.

Two weeks ago Morrisons launched its first ever customer loyalty card. Its “Match & More” card guarantees to match Aldi and Lidl as well as traditional rivals on price.

Some analysts have speculated that new Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis will review the retention of its Clubcard scheme.

In August John Lewis, Britain’s biggest department store chain, dropped one of the key benefits of its loyalty card scheme – regular free tea, coffee and cake – less than a year after introducing the perk. From Fin24.com

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M&S to open 80 stores in india

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has revealed plans to launch 38 brand new stores in India by the year 2016 – which will boost the number
of branches to 80. On the 9th of October this year it opened a new space in Hyderabad at Jubilee Hills, and the aim is to open two more Hyderabad stores by 2014.

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H&M September sales rise eight percent in line with forecasts

Reuters) – Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, reported on Wednesday an 8 percent increase in sales in September, in line with analyst forecasts.

The Swedish budget fashion retailer, which already reported sales for most of September in its third-quarter earnings results, was seen posting a 7.5 percent rise in sales according to the mean analyst forecast in a Reuters poll.

H&M said in September unusually warm weather in the month led customers to delay purchases of cold-weather gear.

(Reporting by Mia Shanley, editing by Anna Ringstrom)

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Pelipod launches smart home-parcel pods to UK consumers

Pelipod launches smart home-parcel pods to UK consumers

Pelipod
Smart home-parcel pod

Pelipod, a smart home-parcel box with built-in proof-of-delivery that saves time, money and worry for consumers, couriers and retailers, is launching in the UK with a free 60-day trial.

Designed and funded in Britain using English and Welsh manufacturers, Pelipod is claimed to be the first home delivery pod of its kind. It is a secure 61cm x 61cm x 70cm pod with an in-built electronic keypad that communicates to a central system, so only authorised users have access, and smart sensors and a camera to give all parties proof of delivery (POD). Initial trials are being undertaken with residents and businesses in St Albans and Radlett.

Karl Wills, CEO of the London-based Pelipod team, said: “In 2013 UK consumers spent more than £91bn on the internet. Yet 20% of parcels bought online are returned or re-delivered – a figure that shoots up to 60% for higher-value purchases. Undelivered parcels aren’t just frustrating and inconvenient to consumers – they’re a waste of money and resources for retailers and courier companies.”

When buying online, Pelipod users can simply add an easy-to-generate unique parcel code to their address. The courier uses the code to open the pod and place the parcel inside before securely closing it. A camera provides ‘delivery audits’ (POD) with photographic evidence of the opening, parcel placement and lid closure. The shopper then receives an email to let them know their delivery has arrived, with details and times. On their return home they simply open the pod with their unique user code. The pod can also be used to return parcels, removing consumer hassle.

A standalone secure unit with in-built technology, the Pelipod has a battery that lasts for a year, a cable lock to secure the container, electronic locking and GPRS technology to run the data transfer and communication updates of the pod’s opening, closing and parcel delivery.

Each pod comes with access to an online ‘Pelipod Portal’ where consumers can track the status of deliveries expected and returns to be picked up. Pelipod has developed sophisticated proprietary technology that generates and tracks the secure codes used for parcel deliveries and pick-ups, and the company continuously monitors each pod via GPRS and provides free service and support.

As part of its UK roll-out, Pelipod is offering pods on a free 60-day trial, followed by an introductory price of £5.99 a month on a subscription basis with no upfront delivery or installation charges. UK consumers can sign up or register interest here: https://www.pelipod.com/pelipod-customers/user-registration/register/

Wills said: “Our view is ‘why wait?’ and to give British consumers a proven, easy-to-use alternative to waiting in for deliveries. Everyone knows how inconvenient missed deliveries can be. There are constant discussions about how to better ship, receive and return packages. Online shopping trends are only set to increase, and retailers and couriers need to have a more efficient way to deliver and give consumers much-needed peace of mind. We know from our initial field trials that Pelipod works, that consumers want to use it, and that courier companies are keen to partner with us. Meanwhile we’re proud to bring a British product to solve a problem for British consumers.”

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Jessops stores to open in Sainsbury’s

Camera retailer Jessops has today (8 October) opened the first of a number of shops in Sainsbury’s supermarkets. The Jessops Photography Store in the Sainsbury’s Superstore in Newport, South Wales, will be followed by further sites at Waterlooville in mid-December and Maidenhead in January 2015.

The new Jessops Photography Stores will include a photo-print service with instant print kiosks, large format printing and a photo lab offering 25 minute express prints, as well as a facility for the taking of approved passport photos. The shop-in-shops will also offer a carefully tailored accessory range plus a comprehensive range of cameras and camcorders.

‘This is a very exciting landmark deal for Jessops,’ says Jessops chairman, Peter Jones. ‘It is a natural next step for our multichannel strategy, which is all about giving consumers the choice on how to buy. Our partnership with Sainsbury’s gives us the opportunity to extend our collect at store coverage, as well as bringing some unique new services to Sainsbury’s shoppers – like our plans for a ‘Junior Photography Club’ for under 18s which will be run by our own expert staff .’

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Interbrands : Best Retail brands of 2014 ( PDF Download )

Download the full pdf here

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Rents at Dubai’s major malls surge 25%

Retail rents in Dubai’s major malls have risen by 25 percent in the last year, according to industry sources.

Demand from retailers is outstripping supply, with rents having reached over AED6,000 ($1,633) per square metre, compared to AED4,800 per square metre last year, according to David Macadam, the chief executive of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres.

“The rates for malls other than super-prime vary from AED1,600 to AED5,000 [per sq metre] depending on the shop, the size and the turnover,” Macadam was quoted as saying by The National newspaper.

“Rent is a function of sales achieved in each store. The more people who come through the doors and the more people who buy, the steeper the rent,” he added.

A recent report by Ventures Middle East predicted that the UAE’s retail sector is expected to grow by over 33 percent by 2015, and is driving growth in other Gulf markets.

Released in conjunction with The Big 5 building and construction exhibition, the report said that UAE growth is attracting investment into other countries in the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, and to a smaller extent Qatar and Bahrain.

Dubai is the region’s leading retail destination, with the second largest number of global brands after London, according to the report. The Dubai Mall and the Dubai Shopping Festival alone attract close to 35 million visitors per year.

Oman Arab Bank said retail sales in the UAE were expected to grow from its current $65 billion this year to $92 billion in 2017.

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Harrods faces backlash against Qatari owners

London’s famous department store Harrods is facing a boycott in a protest against its Qatari owners.

The protest is centred on Qatar’s alleged links to funding terrorist organisations or turning a blind eye to financiers operating out of Qatar, according to the UK’s The Telegraph newspaper.

Harrods was bought by Qatar Holdings, part of Qatar Investment Authority in 2010 for a reported £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion).

Now the world famous store is facing a backlash from protesters, particularly in light of recent executions of Western hostages carried out by ISIL, and increased violence in the region.

Leading UK solicitor Mark Lewis, who represented the family of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler during the News of the World phone hacking scandal, is among those calling for a boycott of the store.

“We can stand back and do nothing, but when we do, we are paying for that terror… People need to know where their money is going,” he was quoted as saying.

Simon Cobbs, from Sussex Friends of Israel, which has previously held a protest outside the Qatari embassy, said: “We will now target other Qatar-owned businesses including Harrods. We will ensure that Harrods customers know that the money they spend ultimately ends up in the hands of a regime that funds terrorism.”

Qatar has denied funding terrorist groups.

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Landmark to open 20 stores in Egypt

Dubai: Landmark Group is planning to open 20 stores in Egypt in the next 12 to 24 months, according to the group’s top executive.

The Dubai-based retail and hospitality group is investing around Dh400-500 million for the expansion, said Vipen Sethi, the group’s chief executive.

“We will bring [the stores] into Cairo, we will see how the market goes, and then we will expand in the natural, normal course,” he said.

Landmark has been operating in Egypt for past five years, but expansion had slowed down due to the country’s political instability during that period.
“Egypt had its ups and downs with the new government coming in, and at that point of time we could not push expansion in a normal course, but now that there is stability and things are looking up, we are looking to add up new stores and expand our footprint there,” Sethi said.

Landmark’s portfolio of retail brands includes Centrepoint, Splash, Babyshop and E-max, among others. In 2009, it took up more than 150,000 square feet of retail space for Centrepoint, Home Centre, New Look and Max in Alexandria City Centre in Egypt.
The group also hopes to bounce back in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, which it entered three years ago.

“[Expansion in Erbil] has had a little setback because of the political situation there. We are still looking at retail space because we hope that this problem gets sorted out soon,” Sethi said.

The group’s losses in the market are “not significant. You’re down one month, then you pick up,” he added.

Landmark expects a 15-20 per cent growth in revenue for the Middle East and North Africa in the current fiscal year ending June 2015 compared to the previous fiscal year (Landmark’s fiscal year starts on July), driven by new stores and brands and entry to new markets, according to Sethi.

The group is looking to expand to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

It also expects to open around 200 stores across all of its brands in the region during the current fiscal year, which will be financed using its own funds and bank loans, he said.

Last June, Landmark said it is planning to open 50 stores in the UAE by the end of 2015 — half of those are expected to be at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall, which is due to open next month. The new stores will bring the group’s total number of stores in the country to over 550, expanding the total retail area from 6.3 million square feet to eight million square feet.

It is also investing Dh1 billion for a new corporate office building in Tecom in Dubai, which is due to open in 12 to 15 months, and a distribution centre in Jebel Ali.

Sethi expects Dubai’s retail sector to grow by between 15 and 20 per cent per year by 2020, but said it “might take time” for it to reach pre-2008 levels because the size of the market today is larger.

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