Monthly Archives: November 2014

Miu Miu opens 2 new stores in China

Miu Miu continues its expansion in mainland China with two new stores located within Shin Kong Place, the most busy and prestigious shopping destination in the city.

Both stores have been designed by the architect Roberto Baciocchi and are located on the fourth floor of the mall. The first, dedicated to ready-to-wear, covers an area of 180 square metres and the second, home to footwear, extends a little over 100 square metres.

The aesthetic signatures of Miu Miu’s retail environment are all in place: gold damask and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, niches backed with more mirror and polished steel display counters dominate and a sense of warmth and intimacy is achieved by the presence of damask clad lounge areas.

A backlit perforated ceiling and brown marble floor finish the interior ensuring that the collections are showcased at their best and lending the space the perfect balance between classic elegance and modernity, femininity and playfulness that Miu Miu is known for.

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Fortnum & Mason opens first airport store at Heathrow Terminal 5

UK. Luxury food retailer Fortnum & Mason has opened its first ever airport store at London Heathrow Terminal 5. As reported, the 1,000sq ft store forms part of a new luxury area at the terminal due to be fully open by Christmas.

The new store caps a period of remarkable expansion for Fortnum & Mason. The company opened its first new location in 300 years in 2014, at St Pancras International rail station. And eight months ago it opened its first international store, in Dubai. Terminal 5 is the retailer’s fourth location.

Fortnum & Mason CEO Ewan Venters said: “At Fortnum’s we have three centuries’ experience of serving customers travelling the globe, so it’s fitting we should now serve passengers flying to some of the world’s most glamorous locations.”

Heathrow is just the fourth location for iconic food retailer Fortnum & Mason

The shop features a selection of Fortnum’s food, drink and gifts, including its iconic hampers, teas and preserves. The exclusive Explorer’s Blend Tea – comprising high-grown Ceylon Orange Pekoe from Sri Lanka, tippy leaves from Assam Valley and jasmine-scented green tea from China – is available only at T5.

The Bar at Fortnum & Mason will open at the store in December, offering an extensive collection of Champagnes, wines and spirits as well as seasonal dishes from the retailer’s famous food hall.

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Truworths Expands South Africa Kidswear With Naartjie Deal

Truworths International Ltd. (TRU) agreed to buy the South African clothes-retail business of Naartjie, boosting its childrenswear offering with a second acquisition in as many months.

The purchase for an undisclosed cash amount will add a network of 26 South African stores to Truworths’ 600 across the country, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today. The deal has been approved by courts in the U.S., where Naartjie’s closely-held owner Naartjie Custom Kids Inc. is in bankruptcy proceedings.

South African retailers have been struggling to grow organically as high inflation and unemployment of more than 25 percent hurt consumer spending. Truworths announced the purchase of high-end kidswear chain Earthchild Clothing (Pty) Ltd. on Oct. 7, also without stating the price. The company generates most of its sales on credit, which has been in short supply as customers battle to pay back loans.

“Naartjie has excellent growth potential after an initial consolidation phase and will reinforce our growth prospects in the kidswear market,” Truworths Chief Executive Officer Michael Mark said in the statement. “Earthchild and Naartjie together with our highly successful L.T.D Kids range enhance the Truworths children’s emporium brand appeal.”

The company plans to improve Naartjie’s finances before adding stores and introducing a credit facility, Truworths said. It will then consider expansion outside South Africa, where the retailer has stores in countries including Nigeria, Namibia and Botswana.

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Steinhoff to buy Pepkor for $5.7bn

South Africa-based Steinhoff, a furniture and household goods manufacturer and retailer, looks to increase its footprint in the discount market by purchasing a controlling stake in Pepkor for 62.8bn rand ($5.69bn).

Pepkor is a South African operator of retail stores in 16 countries. It was founded in 1965 and posted revenue of 38.2bn rand in fiscal 2014 ending June.

Steinhoff wants to own the company “to accelerate its expansion throughout Europe.” Pepkor operates a range of brands including Pepco, a discount clothing and everyday basics chain that has become Poland’s top non-food retailer. It also runs Pep, Africa’s largest retailer.

Steinhoff has already received support to acquire a 92.3 per cent controlling stake in the company. It will purchase a 52.5 per cent stake from Titan, a 37 per cent stake from Brait and a 2.8 per cent stake from Pepkor management.

Steinhoff has been listed in Johannesburg since 1998 but its operations outside of South Africa accounted for three-quarters of last year’s revenue. It said of Pepkor:

Pepkor is an attractive acquisition opportunity for Steinhoff given its strong market position, robust operating model, well executed multi-brand strategy, positioning for future growth opportunities and highly experienced management team.

… Customers across the spectrum are “trading down” as discount retailers have become more socially acceptable, offering improved variety and quality. In addition, discount retailers have expanded operations through rapid new store openings, thereby gaining market share from traditional retailers. This underlying consumer trend is expected to continue even after the anticipated economic recovery

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Sephora will open its first Australian store on 5 December

Sephora store opens in Sydney on 5 Dec

Source:

The Sydney Morning Herald Online
Cosmetics giant Sephora will open its first Australian store on 5 December in Pitt Street Mall, and will increase pressure on nearby department stores.

Located in the former Esprit site, it will offer the largest range of cosmetic and beauty products in the country under one roof, from La Mer creams (pots of which sell for more than AUD250) to other well-known brands to make-up, lipsticks and accessories.

It is expected the store will get the same “rock star” opening as nearby Zara, where queues stretched around the block. Uniqlo, which opened last week, has forecast daily sales of about AUD300,000.

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Zappos opens first brick-and-mortar store

Amazon-owned Zappos has opened a 20,000 sq-ft store near its Las Vegas headquarters.

The e-retailer’s first-ever physical store is a pop-up developed with logistics company OrderWithMe that will be open 24-7 from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31, and that features entertainment and food and drinks.

At the “Zappos.com Pop-Up Shop Showroom Store,” shoppers can scan items at kiosks or on their phone to check inventory, including various colors and sizes. Items not in the store can be shipped.

Dive Insight:

Zappos is known for its nimble e-commerce logistics, attractive shipping policies, and excellent customer service. The retailer is apparently taking that customer-friendly approach to its first brick-and-mortar venture. This is another example of how e-retailers often demonstrate brick-and-mortar innovations that traditional physical retailers may want to emulate.

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Selfridges’ Christmas window wonderland conjures magic of fairytales

A glittering golden spider’s web fills the window of Selfridges in Oxford Street, London. Hanging from its skeins are shoes with impossibly high heels, jewel-encrusted bags and a pair of designer sunglasses. At the base is a spinning wheel, its drive wheel slowly turning under the warm glow of the lights. Next to it sits a mannequin in a Simone Rocha dress, her legs crossed and a hand placed nonchalantly on one hip. Everything is spraypainted gold. This is Sleeping Beauty, Selfridges style.

The window was one of the store’s 25, unveiled on Wednesday night by workmen dressed in high-visibility jackets as they peeled back sheets of vinyl to reveal the eye-catching displays.

This year, the theme of the store’s Christmas window display is storytelling, and the Selfridges design team has gone to town with surreal scenes from fairytales – with a twist, of course.

Inside, 197,000 baubles in five colours are draped across balconies and ceilings.
Inside, 197,000 baubles in five colours are draped across balconies and ceilings. Photograph: Linda Nylind/Guardian
The centrepiece of the Ugly Duckling window display is a model dressed in an exclusive AF Vandevorst dress made from feathers, which customers can order by request. The Rapunzel window contains three long-haired mannequins, their cascading tresses handmade in pink and auburn. Even Little Boy Blue gets a look in. The story is depicted by the only male mannequins on display, dressed in designer black and blue suits, sitting on top of a pile of gift boxes next to – with, no doubt, a nod to the overseas tourists – an old-fashioned red letterbox.

The Selfridges team must have been relieved the night was not colder. If the temperature had dropped too low, the glue would have frozen under the vinyl window coverings and they would have to be snapped off – somewhat tempering the dramatic “reveal”.

Inside, 197,000 baubles in five colours were being draped across balconies and ceilings and 1,005 Christmas trees were being dressed. Outside, tourists and passersby stopped to photograph the scene, some tweeting pictures to their followers. “Selfridges have absolutely killed it on the window displays this year. Unreal,” tweeted one.

Workmen toiled through the night at the iconic department store.
Workmen toiled through the night at the department store. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex
But for some, 22 October is just too soon to announce the countdown to Christmas. “Christmas lights are up – I love it, but perhaps a little too early?” tweeted another.

Certainly, Selfridges’ Christmas spectacle stands out like a beacon on Oxford Street, where the trees are still holding on to their green leaves and the festive lights have not yet been turned on. The window display is, however, months behind the fourth floor of the store which, for the second year running, was turned into a Christmas emporium – in August.

Slightly bemused-looking shoppers were wandering around the emporium before closing time. A man from Kuwait and his two young children were shopping for Halloween “not Christmas”, he laughed; while a Japanese couple were hoping to find a birthday present. “It’s much too early for us to think about Christmas,” the man said.

A slightly spooky-looking Red Riding Hood.
A slightly spooky-looking Red Riding Hood. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex
Only one, Faaria Monk from Essex, had the festive season in mind. “I’m not really shopping, just browsing for things,” she said. “I am usually a bit more last minute, though I have noticed in lots of places that I’m now seeing Christmas stuff advertised in the summer. That’s a bit early.”

Poor sales and fewer autumn shoppers because of the unseasonably warm weather have piled pressure on retailers to make the most of Christmas.

Research released on Thursday by Shoppercentric, a research agency, reveals that 65% of consumers believe they are influenced by TV adverts, while 19% say a Christmas window display has triggered them to make a purchase. And, if the stats are to be believed, an early start seems to pay dividends. A third of shoppers claim to have started their Christmas shopping in September and, of those, one in five has completed a quarter of their shopping.

Santa gets a helping hand with a few London maps.
Santa gets a helping hand with a few London maps. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex
“Excitement around Christmas does seem to start a bit earlier every year,” said a spokeswoman for rival department store John Lewis, which will reveal its Oxford Street Christmas windows on 4 November. “On 3 September ‘Christmas’ was the most popular search item online.”

Back in the West End at midnight, no amount of bah humbug over Christmas displays would have slowed the 200 staff and contractors assembling the windows.

As the passersby changed from late-night shoppers to early morning revellers, the enormous two-tonne canopy installation was hoisted into the roof over the main entrance to the store. At its heart sits, perhaps, one of the most decadent fairytale characters – the Golden Goose. Only this one, in a nod to the store’s famous founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge, wears a monocle and top hat.

Linda Hewson, Selfridges’ creative director, said: “This year, we have gone back to the simple pleasure of a great story well told and have decided to celebrate the art of storytelling. We are doing fairytales and enchanted stories with a Selfridges twist.”

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Abercrombie & Fitch to enter Mexico in 2015

New Albany, Ohio – Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has entered into a franchise agreement with Grupo AXO to establish a retail store presence in Mexico. The franchise arrangement, the first in the company`s history, will encompass both the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands.

The first Hollister store is set to open in late spring 2015 and the first Abercrombie & Fitch store is expected to open in late summer 2015. The company anticipates a continuing rollout that will include stores in cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancun and Playa Del Carmen.

“This partnership is an important step for our company,” said Gillian Ferguson, group VP of strategic planning for Abercrombie & Fitch. “We already have a customer base in Mexico and we are excited for them to experience our unique brands firsthand. Grupo AXO has established a great reputation for developing brands in the Mexican market, and we are delighted to be partnering with them.”

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Amazon signs deal for 470,000 square feet in Manhattan

Amazon has signed a deal to lease 470,000 square feet in Manhattan for 17 years, a real estate trust confirmed today.

Rumors are that the location will serve as the retail giant’s first brick-and-mortar location, which will include a small warehouse for same-day delivery in New York. Amazon says it will use the space as corporate office space and sublease the retail portion.

“We have leased this building primarily as corporate office space and we intend to sublease to other tenants the ground floor retail space,” spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said in a statement.

Vornado Realty Trust confirmed in a short statement that Amazon signed the deal for 7 West 34th St., which is in the shadow of the Empire State Building.

Reports last month indicated Amazon was planning to open an experimental retail store in New York, which would showcase a few of the retailer’s flagship products. It would also offer a space for customers to return products in person.

Amazon could also use the space as offices for its growing publishing arm. That would be incredibly controversial in the publishing capital of the world, where many publishers set up shop. Amazon had a recent battle with Hachette Publishing Group over ebook pricing.

Retail analysts told the PSBJ last month that it’s doubtful the store will function like a traditional retail store. Instead, it will act more like a service center.
The move into physical retailing would be a big move for the e-commerce giant. Retailing is an entirely different beast that requires a new strategy and costs, such as employees, real estate and managing inventory.

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Gap Names New Presidents for Ailing Banana Republic, Gap

Gap Inc. (GPS) incoming Chief Executive Officer Art Peck is overhauling management at the ailing Banana Republic and Gap brands.

Jeff Kirwan, 48, will replace Stephen Sunnucks as global president for the Gap chain in December, and Andi Owen, 49, will succeed Jack Calhoun on Jan. 5 as global president for Banana Republic, the retailer’s upscale chain.

The move marks Peck’s first major decision since CEO Glenn Murphy said last month that he will step down in February. New styles at Gap have failed to connect with customers inundated with discount offers from brick-and-mortar and e-commerce rivals. Sales at the chain’s stores open at least a year and online have declined 5 percent in every quarter this fiscal year. Banana Republic hasn’t boosted sales on that basis for the last seven quarters.

“I’m impatient, and I’m never satisfied — I want them to be better and better,” Peck, 59, said in an interview today. “That means consistency season after season, not just across product but across the stores and marketing, the whole thing.”

The new leaders could be positive for the struggling brands, Anna Andreeva, a New York-based analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., said in an interview.

“Fresh blood is not a bad thing,” said Andreeva, who has a market perform rating on the shares. “The writing is on the wall with what happened there.”

Source: The Gap Inc. via Bloomberg
Andi Owen, 49, will become global president for Banana Republic on Jan. 5.
Gap Chief

Sunnucks, who will leave Gap on Dec. 19, has led the unit since November 2012. Kirwan joined the San Francisco-based retailer in 2004 from Target Corp. and has led Gap’s greater China business for three years.

“He’s a global executive, he’s been super innovative in the digital space,” Peck said. “In every assignment, he’s brought a team together where the whole is way more than the sum of the parts.”

Calhoun, who will depart the company on Feb. 1, has headed Banana Republic for eight years. Peck said the two agreed it was time for a new leader at the chain, which has struggled to stock trendy products that also fit with the brand’s personality.

Owen joined Gap in 1991 from Macy’s Inc. (M)’s Bloomingdales and currently leads the Gap brand’s global outlet business.

At Banana Republic, Owen will have to focus on product assortments, working with the the brand’s new creative director, Marissa Webb, who joined the company in April, Peck said.

“With Marissa and Andi’s breadth, that’s going to be a really strong partnership,” Peck said.

Peck, who serves as president of Gap’s growth, innovation and digital unit, says he’s trying to build a team that can execute on the company’s most basic goal: selling apparel.

“You want your whole team lined up and ready to roll,” he said. “I’m looking at 2015 right now and making sure my team shows up with clear priorities and a clear focus.”

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Disney in talks to build first MidEast theme park in Egypt

The Walt Disney Company is in talks about building a theme park in Egypt, its first venture in the Middle East, according to reports in the country.

The state-run news agency MENA has reported that a member of Egyptian government said the park would be similar to the venue in Paris.

“There are discussions going on between Disney International to build in Egypt its first Disney Park in the Middle East, similar to Disney France,” said Ashraf Salman, Egypt’s investment minister, who was speaking while attending a live Disney show at the Cairo International Convention Center.

“Having a Disney show in Egypt at the moment sends a message to the world and to foreign investors that Egypt is safe and stable,” he added.

Tourism in the country plummeted following the unrest in the country after the downfall of former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

Walt Disney has been previously linked to the Dubailand development for its first theme park in the Middle East, but it did not materialise.

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The World’s Most Expensive Retail Address Is Now In New York City

York’s Upper Fifth Avenue is now the world’s most expensive place to lease retail.

Fifth Avenue has surpassed Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, according to Bloomberg News. Last year, Fifth Avenue came in a distant second behind Hong Kong.

Rents on the corridor rose 13.3 percent to a record of $3,500 per square foot in the 12 months through August, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield Inc. cited by Bloomberg. Causeway Bay rents dropped 6.8 percent to $2,735 a square foot. In the same report last year, average retail rents on Fifth Avenue were $2,500 per square foot, which was the same as the year prior.

“The arrival of brands such as Microsoft, which recently announced its first flagship store in New York’s Upper Fifth Avenue, further underlined the importance of these premier shopping destinations,” Matt Winn, global retail chief operating officer at Cushman & Wakefield told us

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Zara owner’s online sales jump 42% to €553m

Inditex – the company behind Zara – have soared by 42% to a record €553m (£442m).

While other chains in the fashion sector struggle, Inditex – which also owns Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius – appears to be recession-proof, even in Spain where consumer spending has slumped in recent years. The company reported a turnover of €16.7bn, up from €15.9bn last year.

Although online sales only account for 3% of overall sales, the internet now represents 20% of the company’s growth over the past year.

Although the company does not provide investors with separate results for online sales, the information has been obtained from the annual reports filed by its online subsidiaries Fashion Retail and ITX Fashion, which have their headquarters in Spain and Ireland.

Inditex began its online retail presence in 2007 with a website for Zara Home before setting up Fashion Retail in 2011 when all of its brands were made available on the internet. It currently has an online operation in 27 countries.

Last month the group surprised the industry by appointing 31-year-old María Fanjul as head of its entire online operation. Fanjul was previously chief executive at entradas.com, Spain’s largest online ticketing agency.

Last month, Inditex launched its Zara website in China on the Tmall platform, a subsidiary of Alibaba, China’s leading e-commerce group. Other retailers on Tmall include Burberry, Calvin Klein and Gap. Although it already had a Zara website in China, which accounts for around 8% of sales, the site was virtually invisible to Tmall users.

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Waitrose opens new concept ‘Food & Home’ shop

Waitrose has reopened its Salisbury branch as a new concept ‘Food & Home’ shop.

Employing 550 staff, the 55,000 square foot store includes a dedicated collection point where customers can collect online orders from Waitrose, John Lewis, and Waitrose Entertaining. There is also a soft-seating area showing Waitrose TV where customers can use fitting rooms to try on orders before leaving the shop.

The new trial concept has been introduced in response to the fact that fashion orders now make up 45% of John Lewis click & collect orders, and more during price match periods. In the year to date, John Lewis orders collected in Waitrose stores have increased by 75%.

To accommodate the increased orders, which are expected to build to 2,000 per week by the second half of the 2015 financial year, Waitrose has built a separate building with a 20 van delivery fleet.

The store also includes Waitrose’s second Cookery School, its first outside of London, and a wine bar serving tapas, wines and local beers. In addition, the shop is home to the largest ever Waitrose café.

The shop will also trial a new-look fruit and vegetable section with market-feel wooden fixtures, seasonal displays and tasting pods. In addition, TV screens have been placed around the shop with the aim of inspiring customers around the shop.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: “Food retail is undergoing huge structural change – driven by lifestyle changes and an increased use of technology. It is essential that our shops are at the forefront of our strategic response to these changes, preparing us for the future of retail and retaining our leadership in innovation and customer service in the grocery sector.”

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Hennes & Mauritz is set to enter eight online markets in 2015

Hennes & Mauritz is set to enter eight online markets in 2015 and open its first bricks-and-mortar stores in a further four countries.

The clothing retailer revealed that it will commence ecommerce operations in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia during 2015.

H&M also plans to open its first physical stores in India, Peru, South Africa and Taiwan during the year.

In October, the retailer recorded a 14% increase in sales including VAT. The total number of stores amounted to 3,437 on 31 October 2014, versus 3,081 on 31 October 2013

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MARKS & SPENCER poaches new Finance Director from JOHN LEWIS

Marks & Spencer has poached Helen Weir from the John Lewis Partnership to become its new finance director. M&S has been hunting for a new finance director since Alan Stewart quit in July

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Zara owner to open new Irish stores as retail recovers

giant that owns the Zara group, says it plans to open more Irish stores when it finds suitable outlets.

The group, which has global sales of about €17 billion, recently filed accounts for a number of its Irish operations, including Zara, youth fashion outlets Bershka and Stradivarius, Pull & Bear and the mid-market Massimo Dutti.

Inditex’s retail brands here all had flat or slightly lower sales in the year to the end of January, with the cost of store revamps hitting profits.

The group says it will open “stores as soon as suitable opportunities arise” to capitalise on the nascent retail recovery.

Inditex is known to have retained property consultants to find new locations in Ireland, including Dublin and Cork.

Za Clothing, the main Inditex company here that operates the nine Zara stores, had flat revenues in the year of about €56.7 million. Its net profits fell from €5.3 million to just over €3 million. The company, which has 31 Irish staff, paid a €3.3 million dividend to its Spanish parent.

Bershka, the youth fashion group that operates four stores in Dublin and one in Cork, accounts for 10 per cent of Inditex’s sales worldwide. Its sales in the year to the end of January slipped by €1 million from €10.2 million, while it more than tripled its Irish losses to €1.2 million.

Loss

Pull & Bear, Inditex’s brand that operates stores on Henry Street and in Dundrum, held sales at about €5.5 million but made a loss of €776,000. The Stradivarius brand, which operates in Dublin and Newbridge, made a loss of €234,000 from its two stores.

Massimo Dutti, which opened a store on Grafton Street in January to add to its Dundrum outlet, increased sales slightly to €4.5 million.

Overall, the Inditex group’s Irish retail outlets had combined sales of almost €80 million.

Inditex also operates its internet sales operation using an Irish company, ITX Fashion, which handles orders for Europe, Japan and the US.

It had revenues of €325 million in the year to the end of January, up from €307 million. The company made a net profit of €45 million, up 10 per cent on the previous year.

ITX Fashion, which has 21 staff, has retained earnings of €107 million and is sitting on a cash pile of €88 million. The company, which is owned by the Dutch arm of Inditex, paid about €6.5 million in Irish corporation tax last year.

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Mr Price grows earnings in tough retail climate

MR PRICE on Monday reported a 23% jump in first-half earnings as its focus on budget-conscious shoppers and cash sales helped it ride out weak retail and consumer credit markets.

Mr Price, which sells clothing, household goods and sporting equipment, has been on a push to boost its cash sales and insulate itself from souring consumer debt.

African Bank Investments, a lender to low-income South Africans, was toppled by bad debts in August, triggered in part by exposure to furniture sold on credit by its Ellerine unit.

Mr Price’s focus on budget-conscious shoppers has also helped it ride out a weak economic outlook. Consumers in Africa’s most developed economy are under pressure from high unemployment and rising food and fuel costs.

The low-cost retailer reported on Monday that its diluted headline earnings per share rose to 349c in the 26 weeks to September 27, up 23% from the year-earlier period.

Cash sales across the group’s operations increased by 14.4% to R7.9bn and now account for 80.9% of its sales.

Sales to customers outside South Africa grew by 25.4% to R690.9m and now represents 8.8% of group sales.

Mr Price declared an interim dividend of 211.5c per share, an increase of 25.9% from the previous comparable period.

At 2.29pm, the stock was up 0.2% to R245.

Shares of Mr Price finished flat at R244. The stock is the best performer on the benchmark top-40 index this year, up 50%.

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Retailers fight battle on two fronts as shop vacancies rise while footfall drops

The vacancy rate in UK town centres rose to 10.3 per cent in October, the first rise in shop vacancy rates since the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest statistics from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard.

While shops stood empty, footfall also faced a year-on-year decline, coming in 0.8 per cent lower than a year ago as the warm weather in October kept shoppers away from stocking up on winter wardrobes.

Speaking in light of the results, Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general, said: “It’s disappointing to see the first increase in shop vacancies since the first quarter of 2013. There had been some hope that the amount of empty shops would dip below the 10 per cent threshold for the first time since we began collecting this data. This has sadly not transpired.

She added: “Encouraging shoppers back to the High Street is crucial to reducing the number of vacancies. However, we’ve seen that visitor numbers on our High Streets are down again, this month by 1.4 per cent. In order to drive up footfall, some local areas need to continue to learn from more successful Town Centres by encouraging pop-ups, using empty premises as community spaces or even as arts venues to ensure that empty shops don’t become a blight on the local area.”

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: “Footfall has improved only very slightly over the last month which, while disappointing, is not surprising. The entire 0.8 per cent decline in October emanated from high streets and shopping centres – which is likely to be a fall out of the continuing mild weather adversely impacting fashion sales – whilst retail parks continued their charge with footfall increasing for the tenth month in a row.”

What’s more, news that Christmas dinners will cost even less than last year due to the supermarkets’ endless price battles, along with continued aggressive discounting on the high street, suggests retailers could be in for another fraught festive season as mid-November makes way for what is traditionally the busiest six weeks of the retail year.

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Discounter B&M In Talks Over Homebase Stores

growing discount chain B&M is in talks over a multimillion pound bid to take on dozens of Homebase DIY stores in a move that would underline the changing landscape of UK retailing.

Sky News understands that B&M, which listed on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year, has approached Home Retail Group (HRG) about buying “a substantial number” of the 80 Homebase stores that it has earmarked for closure during the next three years.

A deal has yet to be reached between the two companies, and other retailers have also approached HRG about taking on some of the sites following the announcement of its streamlining plan last month.

However, people close to the situation confirmed B&M’s interest and said they would be surprised if agreement was not reached for it to acquire at least some of the stores.

B&M, which is chaired by the former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, has been expanding rapidly amid growing consumer demand for discounters’ products.

Poundland, a competitor to B&M, also listed on the stock exchange this year and has set out similarly ambitious expansion plans.

Next week, B&M will report its maiden interim results as a public company, and is likely to be questioned about whether the pace of its growth is sustainable.

The company operates more than 400 stores in the UK as well as the JA Woll brand in Germany.

It has already taken on sites on an ad hoc basis from retailers including B&Q, Currys, Staples and Wickes as those chains react to structural changes in their sectors.

Earlier this week, J Sainsbury signalled a slowdown in its UK openings programme, mirroring a similar recent pronouncement by crisis-hit Tesco.

Last month, B&M appointed Karen Hubbard, a former Asda property executive, to lead its expansion strategy, which at the moment involves opening approximately 50 UK stores annually.

Announcing plans for Homebase’s downsizing, John Walden, HRG chief executive, said:

“Homebase will pursue a three-year plan through to the end of FY18 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.”

B&M and HRG declined to comment.

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Qatar retailer to open 8 new malls

Qatari retail chain, Al Meera, is on track to open all of its eight new malls by the end of this year.

The company announced the update at the launch of its new branch in Legtaifiya. The eight new malls will be located in Al Wakra, Al Thumama, Al Wajba, Muaither, Al Azizia, Zakhira and Al Muraikh.

The first of the eight to open will be the Jeryan Nejaima branch mall.

In addition to the eight malls, the retailer said it will also open a new store in the Gulf Mall.

The new Legtaifiya Mall consists of one ground floor of 3,125 square metres, comprising Al Meera supermarket, restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, as well as a shop for telecommunication services. The mall also has parking lots, extended on an area about 5,000 square metres.

Al Meera’s profits for the first half of this year has grown intensely, as net profit grew by 95.8 percent, from QR57.6 million ($15.5 million) to QR112.8 million ($30.9 million), compared to the same period in 2013.

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Giorgio Armani opens new store in Hamburg, Germany

Located at Neuer Wall 69, the new GIORGIO ARMANI store in Hamburg offers a selection of accessories, ready-to-wear collections for both men and women, as well as a Made to Measure service. To celebrate the occasion, a cocktail party was held and the new Luxury White capsule collection was introduced. The store features men’s and women’s wear and accessories collections of the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani labels.The new store features the new retail store design concept introduced earlier this month with the opening in Istanbul.

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Gucci opens renovated flagship store on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

Spanning 22,000 square feet, the newly renovated GUCCI store on North Rodeo Drive is one of three Gucci locations in Los Angeles. Designed by the label’s creative director Frida Giannini, the new store houses the brand’s entire breadth of menswear, womens-wear, children’s clothing, handbags, accessories, shoes, sunglasses, fragrance, timepieces and more. The new beauty line will also be available at the Beverly Hills flagship

The new location is also home to a wraparound terrace on the third floor, though few shoppers will have the honor of checking out the panoramic views of Rodeo Drive. Reserved for VIPs and celebrity dressing, the third story will house the Gucci Premiere line as well as made to measure services for men and women. Overseen by Gucci’s master Italian tailors, the third floor is a new addition to the space and is sure to be abuzz with activity come awards season.

To celebrate the reopening of the store, Gucci presented a citrus-colored Jackie Bag, which is only available at the Rodeo Drive location and comes with a numbered plaque inside to commemorate the store’s grand opening.

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Dunnes Stores profits tumble 13pc at UK division as sales decline

giant Dunnes Stores fell 13pc to £13.8m (€17.6m) last year after a slump in revenues.

Accounts just lodged by Dunnes Stores (Bangor) in the UK show the firm sustained the drop in profits as revenues decreased 11pc to £140.52m in the 12 months to the end of February 1 this year.

The firm paid dividends of £470,000 last year to Irish-based parent, Dunnes Stores (Henry Street). The firm’s profits narrowed after its gross profit margin last year fell from 38.28pc to 37.84pc.

The Newry-registered firm’s revenues are generated in Britain and Northern Ireland with Dunnes operating 34 stores in Britain and Northern Ireland, broken down between 23 in Northern Ireland, six in England and five in Scotland.

The accounts offer the only insight into the finances of the family-owned business as Dunnes Stores has unlimited status in Ireland and is not required to file annual accounts to the CRO.

Numbers employed by the UK arm last year fell from 1,944 to 1,724. Dunnes Stores is the third largest player in the Irish grocery market with a market share of 22.7pc according to the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel.

The UK firm’s accumulated profits stood at £317m with its cash more than tripling from £28.98m to £104.16m. Staff costs reduced by 7pc from £18.89m to £17.58m.

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Skechers opens 1,000th store; 35 to 40 more locations to open by yearend

Manhattan Beach, Calif. — Skechers is celebrating the opening of its 1,000th retail store. The company, which operates in more than 75 countries, hit the milestone mark with the opening of a new store in Mexico City on Wednesday, preceded by an additional store opening in Mexico earlier this week and two in California last week.

“When we opened the first Skechers etail store almost 20 years ago, it was hard to imagine we’d one day hit this amazing milestone that truly showcases our global reach,” said Michael Greenberg, president. “As a key component of our distribution model, Skechers Sretail stores strategically grow our footprint and combine with marketing to support our wholesale business and build brand awareness worldwide.”

Earlier this year, the footwear retailer opened its first stores in Angola, Algeria, Belarus, Georgia, Latvia, Libya and Romania to be followed by Slovakia, Nepal and Zimbabwe later this year. By the end of 2014, an additional 35-45 Skechers stores will open worldwide bringing its total to approximately 1,050 stores.

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Ralph Lauren opens in Singapore , first Polo Ralph Lauren Flagship Store in Asia

The brand new store which is the first Polo Ralph Lauren Flagship Store in Asia is located at the newly refurbished Shaw Centre along Scotts Road in Singapore.

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South African restaurant chain Nando’s Peri-Peri is expanding to Chicago

chicken chase is just getting started.

South African restaurant chain Nando’s Peri-Peri is expanding to Chicago, with plans to open one establishment in the New City project at Halsted Street and Clybourn Avenue and another one at 945 W. Randolph St. in the West Loop, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

Nando’s sells Portuguese-style dishes made with chicken that’s marinated for a day and grilled with different sauces, including the extra-hot peri-peri option, according to its website. Prices range from $7.25 for a quarter of a chicken to $51.45 for a platter featuring two full chickens with two big sides, a menu shows. There are also salads and sandwiches, as well as beer and wine.

Like fast-growing Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Nando’s competes in the fast-casual segment, where diners can customize their orders and move quickly through an assembly line to get and pay for their food. Such restaurants are among the fastest-growing dining segments in the region, but building up a clientele here from scratch may take time.

‘A LOT OF COMPETITION’

In the Chicago area, “there’s 96 Chipotles and 111 Paneras and 101 Potbellys and 36 Five Guys,” said Allen Joffe, principal at Chicago retail brokerage Baum Realty Group LLC who isn’t involved with Nando’s but represents other restaurant groups. “You go down the line and pick a chain – there’s a lot of competition for that dollar.”

Chicken restaurants had a strong run in the city over the past couple of years, though the market isn’t nearly as crowded as the burger chain segment. Recent independent entrants in Chicago include Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale, Parson’s Chicken & Fish in Logan Square and Leghorn Chicken in River North and Ukrainian Village.

Skokie, meanwhile, is home to Fogo’s Peri Peri, a restaurant that serves chicken dishes similar to Nando’s.

It isn’t clear how big Nando’s Chicago restaurants will be, or how many will ultimately open here. The company’s U.S. subsidiary, Washington-based Nando’s USA, has formed a corporation with a name suggesting it plans a restaurant in Lakeview, according to Illinois corporate records. The address of that restaurant could not be determined.

‘MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT SOON’

“Nando’s Peri-Peri first moved to the United States in 2008 and has quickly opened 20 restaurants in and around the Washington, D.C., area,” a Nando’s spokesman said in an email. “We are actively interested in sharing our fiery peri-peri flavors with Nando’s fans around the country and will be making a major announcement soon.”

The firm long has wanted to expand to other cities.

“We’re not about leap-frogging or having one location each in New York, Miami and L.A.,” Nando’s USA CEO Burton Heiss told the Washington Post in January 2013. “Rather we’re looking to build a strong foundation in one city at a time and grow organically.”

The U.S. subsidiary is part of South African company Nando’s Group Holdings Ltd., according to Bloomberg LP. There are 1,100 Nando’s restaurants in 23 countries around the world, according to information from the company.

Michael Drew, principal at Structured Development LLC and part of the venture developing the New City retail-apartment complex, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Chicago-based Sterling Bay Cos., which owns 945 W. Randolph St., did not respond to messages.

Steve Frishman, principal at Oakbrook Terrace-based Mid-America Real Estate Corp. who’s working with Nando’s here, declined to comment. Retail brokers at Mid-America who are leasing Sterling Bay’s property at 945 W. Randolph and the New City project did not return calls.

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Graziashop.com launches online

International fashion weekly magazine Grazia on Tuesday launched its global e-commerce platform, bridging the gap between shopping and editorial for its 432,000 readers.

The Silvio Berlusconi-owned Mondadori Group on Monday announced that through its Grazia International Network, the magazine would add e-commerce fashion to its media platform, which already included print, web, social networks and television.

“The Grazia brand, an interpreter of Italian fashion and style around the world, has, in just a few years, become the centre of a global multi-channel system in 23 countries with over 17 million readers and 16 million online users,” declared Ernesto Mauri, chief executive of the Mondadori Group.

Mauri described the extension of the Grazia brand into e-commerce as “an area that fits perfectly with the identity of Grazia, with the aim of reaching an even bigger overall audience.”

Graziashop.com will stock products from over 250 international designers, as well as selling one-off items, limited editions and exclusive collaborations. The international editions of Grazia will also integrate the Graziashop.com catalogue within their websites, offering readers what Grazia sees as a ‘360 degree’ experience of the brand.

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Armani opens new mega-store concept store in Istanbul

Armani Group inaugurated this week a new flagship store concept in Istanbul, a mega-store on six floors, housing the Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, EA7, Armani Jeans and Armani Junior labels.

Giorgio Armani said: ‘I am very proud of this opening because it represents an important step in my brand’s expansion strategy, which is focusing on international world cities: as a transcontinental city, straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is, of course, truly cosmopolitan. The new shops within the concept store, including the first in the city dedicated to Giorgio Armani collections, follow a principle of integration and harmony while retaining recognizable, distinctive features that belong to the individual brands. I wanted the whole space to embody the articulated consistency of my world, particularly visually.’

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Aldi to create 35,000 jobs by 2022

Aldi plans to create 35,000 new jobs in the UK over the next eight years by more than doubling in size.

The German discount retailer said it would create the new jobs as David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and George Osborne, the Chancellor, visited its UK headquarters in the Midlands.

Aldi has already announced plans to expand to 1,000 stores by 2022, and the jobs will be created as a result of these new store openings.

Aldi is growing sales rapidly in the UK as shoppers desert the “Big Four” grocery retailers, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Wm Morrison.

Matthew Barnes, group managing director of Aldi UK, said: “Our expansion plans mean that we can accommodate growing shopper numbers, while ensuring that there is an Aldi store only a short drive away from people, no matter where they live in the country.

“We are opening our doors across the UK, making it even easier for people to shop and save with us.”

The latest industry figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed Aldi sales grew by 27.3pc in the 12 weeks to October 12. Sales for Aldi’s rival Lidl also rose 18.1pc.

These increases are in sharp contrast to the struggles of Britain’s traditional supermarkets.

This week, Sainsbury’s is expected to report a fall in sales for the last six months and a 12.5pc drop in profits.

Mr Cameron said: “Aldi’s plans to create tens of thousands more jobs across the country are a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create more jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.

“This news will mean more financial security for hardworking families and opportunities for young people who want to get on in life.”

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Qatar opens its first all-women shopping centre

Qatar has opened its first shopping complex run and managed by women for women in Doha.
The new complex, located at Al Shafi Commercial Street, has a total of 34 outlets, retailing in household items, beauty products, garments and perfumes, as well as food outlets, according The Peninsula newspaper.
The new mall, which has been devised by Qatari businesswoman, Sohaila Al Hareb, aims to ensure the privacy of Qatar women.

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Kurt Geiger plans London flagship in wake of sales growth

Kurt Geiger plans London flagship in wake of sales growth

UK luxury footwear and accessories brand Kurt Geiger will open a London flagship, continuing their recent expansion after solid sales growth in Q3.

Bucking the tough retail climate in the UK, with bellwether retailers such as Next, SuperGroup and Marks and Spencer all announcing low demand for new season offerings, Kurt Geiger has reported a 13 per cent increase in like-for-like sales, with a forecast of double digit growth in revenues for the year and “strong” profits, to boot.

A management buyout in April this year was backed by US private equity firm Sycamore Partners and headed by the Kurt Geiger chief executive Neil Clifford. Clifford spoke of a “tremendous year” following the buyout, adding that “the company’s new strategic direction has facilitated a renewed focus on growth and international expansion.”

The growth in revenues takes turnover up to GBP 210 million in the first seven months of the year, which compares very favourably with GBP 230 million for the entire of last year. Internet sales growth of 30 per cent means 20 per cent of all sales are now made online.

Expansion continues in the shape of a London flagship, which is planned for the area around Oxford Street in London, following 28 store openings worldwide this year, including a flagship in Milan. The footwear brand now has 59 of its own stores, with close to 200 concessions at locations such as Selfridges, Liberty and Harrods.

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This Is What Sears Will Look Like In The Future

Sears has been shuttering stores amid a decades-long decline in its business.

To offset losses in the retail department, the company is planning to ramp up e-commerce and make the most of its extensive real estate properties.

Sears has been leasing store space to other retailers and is considering “spinning off hundreds of its properties as a real estate investment trust,” reports Lauren Coleman-Lochner at Bloomberg News.

Selling and then leasing back retail space would be a way for Sears to generate some quick cash, analysts told Bloomberg.

The new Aventura mall project illustrates what Sears’ new real estate plan might look like.

Located in South Florida, the new development would be similar to an outdoor mall with retail stores (including Sears), parking, restaurants, a hotel, and offices.

Sears provided Business Insider with an image of what the development will look like:

sears new mallSears HoldingsThe Aventura, Florida Sears store concept.

Sears currently owns 1,800 locations. The new plan would mean that Sears would own 400 to 500 and lease the rest, Bloomberg writes.

It’s unclear when the retailer will begin construction on the new mall.

The creative plan bodes well for the retailer’s future.

Sears’ plan to create a REIT sent shares soaring 31% — the biggest gain in more than a decade.

Despite recent store closures, Sears Holdings, which also includes K-Mart, still has a huge real estate portfolio.

Here’s a map showing locations in the US.

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Zara to open menswear store at Bullring

Zara is to expand its presence at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham by adding a new 20,000 square foot menswear store on the Upper Level. The new store will open in time for Christmas.

The existing Zara store on the Upper Level will be transformed into a women and children’s store across its three floors.

Zara’s expansion is the latest in a series of additions to the Upper level at the Hammerson operated centre. Michael Kors and Whistles have both opened stores this year while Ted Baker and Victoria’s Secret will launch their new shops before Christmas.

Sarah Mander, assistant director for retail leasing at Hammerson, said: “We are very pleased that Zara will be expanding its presence at Bullring. This reflects the centre’s position as the heart of Birmingham’s retail and leisure offer. The expansion is also key to Hammerson’s focus on securing international brands and bringing new concepts to the UK.”

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Insights: Top 10 retail predictions for 2015

Framingham, Mass. — By 2017, three times as many retailers as now will explicitly underpin their customer and operations strategies on 3rd platform technologies. That’s one of IDC Retail Insights’ top 10 worldwide retail predictions for 2015. IDC revealed the predictions during a Web conference, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail Agenda 2015 Predictions.

The top 10 predictions from the IDC FutureScape for Worldwide Retail FutureScape are:

1. By 2017, three times as many retailers as now will explicitly pin their customer and operations strategies on 3rd platform technologies.

2. In 2015, CIOs will invest in omni-channel integration technologies as a top priority to support growth in the omni-channel shopper sales premium of 30%.

3. Over the next three years, half of CIOs across the top 250 retailers will adopt omni-channel IT governance fit for a 3rd platform era to combat shadow IT.

4. By 2016, the top 150 retailers will improve their return on investment (ROI) on hyper-personal loyalty based on unified customer engagement.

5. By 2018, 60% of omni-channel retailers will have launched customer mobile payment initiatives to enhance existing ecommerce, loyalty, and in-store mobile point of sale (MPOS) investments.

6. As cyber attacks increase, 50% of the top 250 retailers will have reduced exposure and loss by more than 50% by the end of 2016 with intelligent sense and respond security strategies.

7. By the end 2016, product intelligence (PI) will inform 80% of the top ten e-commerce retailers’ pricing decisions and drive mainstream adoption of high-velocity pricing.

8. By 2018, on demand socially networked delivery services (including Uber, EBay Now, Shutl, Deliv, Postmates, Instacart, Amazon, and Alibaba) will perform 90% of all intra-day direct-to-consumer deliveries.

9. By the end of 2015, at least 25 retailers with location-based services will increase same shopper sales impacted by location-based services (LBS) by 5% via analytics-driven agile engagement and operations.

10. By 2016, even as private brand growth flattens in the U.S., consumer driven private brand product innovation will drive a 10% improvement in customer visit frequency.

“Relentless technology innovation underpins consumers’ participatory behavior and expectations,” said Leslie Hand, VP of IDC Retail Insights. “The most successful retailers will find opportunities by putting mobility, analytics, cloud, and social to work in their customer and operations strategies, adopting omni-channel integration technologies and IT governance, unifying customer engagement for hyper-personalized loyalty, adopting product intelligence for marketing and competitive insight, employing location-based services via analytics driven agile engagement and operations, utilize socially-networked on-demand delivery services, and gain share with private label merchandise.”

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Going abroad: 7 realities retailers should know before global expansion

Many American retailers, facing slumping sales, discount pressures, and market saturation at home, are turning to expansions in Latin America, Europe, and Asia to build up their business. Technology is making that more possible than ever, especially when it comes to swift and easy communications.

But there are many challenges that can take companies by surprise when they wander far from home. Here are seven things retailers should be aware of before taking the big leap.

1. Operate globally, act locally

Before opening stores or e-commerce to shoppers outside the U.S., retailers should do their homework. There are often customs and laws that a retailer must or should follow. Sometimes that means running company slogans or logos past marketing experts who know the local ways well.

When Ford Motor Co., for example, wanted an ad campaign for Europe that emphasized the sturdy build of its cars, it came up with “Every car has a high-quality body.” In Belgium though, it read “Every car has a high-quality corpse.”

2. Trademarks

The words, phrases, symbols, and designs that are carefully crafted for the good of a retailer’s brand are essential, and should be protected. In the United States, using an element of a brand proffers trademark protection (although anyone interested in protection will also register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). In many foreign countries, however, first-to-file beats first-to-use.

This recently happened to, of all companies, Apple. The company cannot use the name “iWatch” for its much anticipated wearable because an Irish software company previously trademarked the name before the device’s big reveal. So it behooves companies even considering a presence or product in a country to register trademarks well before their global launch.

3. Corruption

In some areas of the world, bribing officials is an accepted practice to obtain building permits and licensing and close business deals. It’s not exactly copasetic from the perspective of the U.S. government, however, as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its Mexican division, Walmart de México, has found. The retailer’s bribery scandal is ongoing and includes investigative press reports, government inquiries on both sides of the border, and criminal court proceedings that have cost the retailer dearly.

There are grey areas, however. In some countries, “gifts” are expected during business negotiations. The U.S. Department of Justice has a guide — including case studies — on how to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, which outlaws the kind of activity that has Wal-Mart Stores in so much hot water, while still keeping up with business gift customs.

4. Data protection policy

There’s an argument to be made that retailers in the U.S. must move more swiftly and forcefully to get ahead of the data hacks that have put their systems and their customers’ information at risk.

In any case, there are much tighter rules and higher expectations of data security in some countries, particularly in Europe, where data protection is an extension of privacy rules related to human identity and civil liberties. Rules and regulations vary in each country, too.

5. Language

Getting the language right is not just about branding and messaging. As e-commerce grows, a retailer may have a presence in some countries where it has no brick-and-mortar stores, and will have to adjust their website to local languages.

While many global consumers expect to find English as the only language on retail sites, it turns out that retailers that localize their sites by providing information and logistics like shipping in local languages increase their conversion rates significantly.

While it seems intuitive, this can be tricky because a retailer has to try to maintain its own tone while balancing that with what can get lost in translation.

6. Logistical realities

Currency fluctuations, webs of import-export regulations and taxes, and other legally logistical nightmares can take a greater toll than a retailer might anticipate. That goes for e-commerce, too.

7. It goes both ways

The state of global retail efforts is especially intriguing because, just as American retailers look overseas to capture new growth, foreign retailers are looking to the U.S.

“This is a country of shopaholics,” Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Douglas Elliman, which has consulted Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian retailers about coming into the U.S., told the New York Times. “It’s a fickle market here — the consumer always wants something new.”

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Sainsbury’s and Netto open first new discount store

discounters Aldi and Lidl as it opens the first of 15 stores with Netto in Moor Allerton, Leeds.

If the venture proves to be a success, the partnership will roll the format our across the UK.

The deal marks Netto’s return to the UK after it withdrew in 2010.

The discount sector is the grocery market’s fastest-growing area. It is currently worth approximately £10 billion in annual sales and is forecast to double in value to around £20 billion in the next five years, according to IGD.

In recent months German discounters Aldi and Lidl have been snatching market share from the “big four” – Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons – by taking advantage of their customers’ desire for budget-friendly buys.

Some analysts have raised concerns about the value of the deal to Sainsbury’s because Netto may well undercut its own ranges, but the stores will initially be based in the north of England, where the Sainsbury’s brand is weak.

Netto and Sainsbury’s are investing £12.5 million in the venture which is expected to make a loss of between £5 million and £10 million up to 31 March 2015.

Morten Moberg Nielsen, head of Netto UK, said: “We think everyone should be able to buy nice things, in a nice shop, at a nice price.”

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Truworths announces successor to CEO Michael Mark

2014, named Jean-Christophe Garbino to succeed current CEO Michael Mark effective March 2015.

Mark‚ who has been CEO of the group for 23 years‚ has decided not to renew his contract‚ which expires in 2015.

Truworths said that Garbino was CEO of prominent French fashion retail group Kiabi and had been in its employ since 1992. He was appointed CEO in 2007 after serving as general manager of the group’s Spanish division.

“Kiabi is a fashion retail chain that sells commercially priced fashion apparel to ladies‚ men and children.

“It employs more than 7‚500 people and delivered revenue of approximately €1.5bn in its most recent reporting period‚” Truworths said in a statement.

The company said Garbino would work closely with Mark for as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition. It said it envisaged Mark continuing to serve on the board of the company after his retirement as CEO.

Source: BDpro via I-Net Bridge

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Truworths slides following trading update

Truworths slides following trading update

SHARES in Truworths International fell more than 6% in early trade on Thursday in the wake of the release of its latest trading update.

The fashion retailer said it expected sales in the 18 weeks to November to increase 4.7% to R3.7bn from the year-earlier period, with cash and credit sales lifting 5.4% and 4.5%, respectively.

Gross trade receivables were up 9% to R4.7bn due primarily to transition by account customers to 12-month interest-bearing payment plans.

At 9.35am, the stock was off 6.05% to R69.99, valuing the company at about R29.5bn.

The interim results to December 28 this year are expected on February 29.

The mid-cap company also announced the appointment of Jean-Christophe Garbino as its new CEO, replacing Michael Mark, who has been at the helm for 23 years.

The company said that Mr Mark had decided not to renew his contract‚ which was due to expire in 2015.

Truworths said Mr Garbino was CEO of prominent French fashion retail group Kiabi and had been in its employ since 1992. He was appointed CEO in 2007 after serving as general manager of the group’s Spanish division.

“Kiabi is a fashion retail chain that sells commercially priced fashion apparel to ladies‚ men and children. It employs more than 7‚500 people and delivered revenue of approximately €1.5bn in its most recent reporting period‚” Truworths said in a statement.

The company said Mr Garbino would work closely with Mr Mark for as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition. It said it envisaged Mr Mark continuing to serve on the board of the company after his retirement as CEO.

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River Island to pull out of Russia

River Island is to close its Russian stores after its joint venture partner, Maratex, decided to cease trading.

A River Island spokeswoman said it would gradually shut its 10 stores over the coming months, but plans to continue its online operation.

She told Drapers: “Earlier this year, Maratex, a 50% owner of the River Island business in Russia, decided to exit fashion retailing. In the current situation it was difficult to find a buyer for their shares and River Island was not able to become the sole owner. Therefore, with great reluctance, both owners have decided to close the retail business in Russia.

“River Island’s online business in Russia through its own website and local ecommerce partner La Moda is unaffected.”

It is understood that Russian fashion retail group Maratex is winding down its operations. Maratex was not available for comment.

Maratex also runs the franchises for Esprit and Italian retailer Ovs in the country. While Esprit declined to comment on its business in Russia, the company said in its first quarter update last month that wholesale turnover in its rest of world franchise markets was down by 21.5%, “mainly due to loss of business in Russia”.

River Island said in September that it is focusing on international expansion this year, after moving into South Africa, Sweden, Malta, Estonia and the Philippines. It also launched country-specific websites for Australia, France and Germany.

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Foschini sees improved earnings

THE Foschini Group, which has moved decisively into the more upmarket segment as it aims for a 50-50 split between credit and cash sales, is expected to report its half-year results on Thursday.

Debt from store cards, microloans and unsecured credit has crimped disposable income, particularly of those in the lower-middle income segment. There is scant respite on the horizon from lower interest rates, higher wages or easier credit.

The company — whose retail brands include Totalsports, Fabiani and @home — expects headline earnings per share from continuing operations for its half year to be between 5% and 8% higher than those reported for the previous corresponding period.

To manage its books through the tough credit cycle and prevent impairment rates rising any further, Foschini and rival Truworths (which has 71% of sales on credit) have already made it tougher to get credit at their stores. Foschini’s shift away from being a mass-market credit retailer will render the group more defensive in tough credit cycles, such as SA is in now, by reducing the effect of card defaults.

Basic earnings per share for the group’s half year are seen to be between 33% and 36% higher than last year. This is largely as a result of the inclusion of the profit of about R270m on disposal of consumer finance business RCS Group.

France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, in August bought the private label retail-card joint venture from Foschini and Standard Bank. Foschini established RCS in 1999 and sold 45% to Standard Bank in two tranches in 2005 and 2006. The deal allowed for the group to reduce its overall gearing levels and focus on its core retail business.

RCS, which was established in 1999, has more than 1-million cardholders and serves a network of more than 18,000 retail outlets, including Massmart’s Game, Spitz, and Tiger Wheel & Tyre.

“RCS started to cloud what our balance sheet looked like … it sucks a lot of capital … people were starting to think we were a financial institution and not a retailer,” CEO Doug Murray said in August. “We saw the opportunity to start it because we have expertise in lending and it has proved to be a success, but at the end of the day that business has to grow. It was noncore to us and at some stage we had to move it on.”

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British shoe maker Clarks eyeing African opportunities

British high street footwear brand Clarks is set to double the number of stores it has in Africa over the next year. Clarks will open standalone outlets in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Namibia and Botswana. The shoe maker will also increase its presence in countries it already has stores, such as Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

Clarks wants to double its number of stores in Africa.
Clarks wants to double its number of stores in Africa.
The company is targeting upwardly mobile clients with an eye for stylish British shoes. At its new store in a mall in Nairobi a pair of shoes retail for around US$100.

Company president for the Middle East and Africa, Irfan Porbanderwalla, tells How we made it in Africa they intend to have stores in countries where “retail is evolving”.

“Africa is an important growth strategy for Clarks. Africa is moving from bazaars to high streets and shopping malls. We want to be part of that revolution and growth,” he explains.

Clarks was established in 1825 by brothers James and Cyrus Clark. It is one of the leading global footwear retailers with sales in excess of £1.4bn (about $2.24bn).

Risk vs opportunity

Although it is “expanding quite heavily” in Egypt, Algeria and Morocco, Porbanderwalla says it has been challenging to do business in some countries in North Africa post the Arab Spring.

“There is always something going on in the region. The security and safety of our staff, partners and our brand is pivotal, so we will not go where the risks outweigh the opportunity. Libya is one of the countries we entered very recently, and we had been studying the market before the recent events. We are of course concerned about what is going on there.”

Since August, Libya has endured heavy fighting amongst Islamist terrorists, Arab nationalists and regional militias. Parts of the country are now under the control of terror groups.

To launch new stores, Clarks works with franchisees involved in retailing such as supermarket chains. Porbanderwalla notes their partners’ local knowledge and understanding of the market and consumers comes in handy in decision making, particularly in volatile environments.

“We will not open in areas that are prone to attacks. We will go into safer places within the region. We don’t want to expand for the sake of expansion,” he adds. “Thankfully the situation in Algeria and Morocco has settled. Egypt is stabilising and we are trying to avoid obvious areas which we don’t have to be in. In the capital and in key cities where it is not that risky, we feel okay to venture in.”

Good partners are vital

By the end of next year, Clarks plans to have a total of 25 stores in Africa. Although in some markets, such as Turkey, Clarks operates its own stores, that model won’t be used in Africa just yet.

“In Africa it is challenging because it is new to us. We believe that the quickest route to market is through a franchisee because they are on the ground and understand the psyche and consumer sentiments. It is better to work with partners as opposed to setting up on our own without having enough knowledge,” he says.

In East Africa, for example, Clarks has partnered with regional supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings. The two companies launched the first Clarks stores in Kenya in September 2013 and have since sold over 18,000 pairs of shoes. They now operate four stores in Nairobi with plans to launch two more in the city.

Nakumatt managing director Atul Shah says Clarks stores will also be launched at the supermarket’s branches in Mombasa, Kampala and Dar es Salaam in coming months.

Porbanderwalla notes that e-commerce is an important part of the shoe maker’s strategy. However, it is evaluating whether to work with third party wholesale online retail platforms or to build its own e-commerce sites.

Some of the challenges Clarks has faced in Africa include high import and freight costs. “There is significant red tape that we have to go through just to get products into the market. And it is also challenging to get quality locations and the right partners,” he notes.

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International Retail Franchising Summit, March 11th 2015, Olympia London

more information click here

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The White Company debuts stylish new store concept

concept that delivers a lifestyle-led experience modeled on a journey through the home. The 4,000 sq.ft. store, in Norwich (United Kingdom), builds on the British home goods retailer’s heritage to create an aspirational, curated retail experience. A feeling of accessible luxury permeates the welcoming space.

Designed by Dalziel and Pow, London, the space It is fashioned as a series of ‘rooms’ that are spread over the store’s two floors, with the architecture and contrasting floor finishes shaping natural thresholds. Each area features distinctive materials and individually controlled lighting that changes according to the time of the day.

Found furniture enhances the domestic ambience. Cross-merchandised products are presented in lifestyle collections for a more intuitive way of shopping.

On the digital side, small projectors throw illuminated messages and words onto select products, including teapots and pillows, expressing a hint of technology in a homely store environment. In the clothing department, a life-size projected canvas is brought to life with nature-inspired moving imagery, while interactive projected characters keep children entertained.SLIDESHOW : PICTURES

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Foot Locker Shares Fall After CEO Announces Retirement

after saying Chief Executive Officer Ken Hicks is retiring and will be succeeded by Richard Johnson, the sneaker chain’s chief operating officer.

Hicks, 61, who joined Foot Locker in 2009 from J.C. Penney Co., plans to step down on Dec. 1 and will continue as executive chairman through the annual shareholder meeting in May, the New York-based company said today in a statement.

Since arriving at Foot Locker, Hicks has revamped store layouts and merchandising while closing weaker locations. He also added more running footwear just as the category took off. In August, the company’s stock reached an all-time high after earnings beat estimates for the 17th time in 18 quarters. The shares have surged almost fivefold during his tenure.

“People liked Ken and they are afraid about what happens next,” said Sam Poser, a New York-based analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. who recommends buying the shares. But “he has set up a very good team, and that will show itself going forward.”

Foot Locker’s shares declined 4.5 percent to $53.63 for the biggest drop since Feb. 3. The stock had gained 36 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a gain of 9.2 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The stock closed at $11.35 on Aug. 14, 2009, the last trading day before Hicks became CEO. In the same span, the S&P 500 roughly doubled.

Johnson’s History

Johnson, 56, joined Foot Locker in 1997, when it purchased sports-equipment seller Eastbay. Before becoming COO in 2012, he oversaw the company’s retail stores and headed up the Foot Locker chain in the U.S., its largest division.

One of the biggest early tasks for Johnson will be developing the next phase of the company’s long-term strategic plan that will be released early next year.

Johnson said the company has several opportunities to keep driving sales growth and highlighted its kids and women’s businesses.

The retailer is in the process of making its SIX:02 chain its main play to go after women. While Lady Foot Locker focuses on sneakers, SIX:02 is concentrated on athletic apparel, which is one of the fastest-growing parts of the industry. There are 14 stores open with another 20 slated for next year.

“We are starting to see it start to bear fruit,” Johnson said in a joint interview with Hicks. It will be “our women’s banner of the future.”

Johnson led the sales improvement in the U.S. by redefining the target customers for the company’s various chains so that each was going after a more specific demographic, preventing them from stealing sales from each other, Hicks said.

Sales Improve

For example, Johnson shifted Foot Locker to target sneaker enthusiasts while its Champs unit catered more to young male athletes, Hicks said. Johnson made similar moves with Foot Locker Kids and Footaction, according to Hicks. That helped sales per square foot grow to $460 last year from $333 in 2009.

“By defining that, our real estate became much more productive,” Hicks said. “We’re much more targeted and focused.”

As for Hicks’s future, he said he’s not looking for a job but would be open to another executive position. He had been mentioned as a possible candidate to become CEO at J.C. Penney, a position filled last month.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Hicks said. “I’m young enough that I could do something else but old enough that if I didn’t, that would be fine too.”

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Ninth Woolworths store opens doors in Namibia

By 2020 nearly half of all Africans will live in cities and‚ as disposable incomes rise‚ consumer spending will grow to about $1-trillion‚ spurring local retailers to expand their presence in Africa.

The 2‚400m² Woolworths store located at The Grove mall in Windhoek offers clothing‚ general merchandise and beauty products. The store has the largest food market to date in Namibia at 480m².

In comparison to other sub-Saharan countries surveyed by research group Nielsen‚ it was easier to attract consumers in Namibia as they were better educated and connected through media.

“The affluent consumer segments in Namibia are brand loyal and willing to pay more for better and faster service. The low population density in rural areas can be a hindrance for making deep inroads into the country‚ but a fast-growing urban population in Namibia and a large‚ affluent consumer base offers a multitude of opportunities for potential investors. Also‚ the popularity of supermarkets can ease distribution challenges‚” US-based Nielsen said.

Ninth Woolworths store opens doors in Namibia
Woolworths’ group director of retail operations‚ Paula Disberry‚ said that having traded in Namibia for a number of years‚ the customers were now familiar and loyal to the Woolworths brand. Woolworths now has more than 250 employees in the region‚ which the World Bank says is the seventh-most business friendly country in Africa.

The company’s footprint outside SA extends to 64 stores in 11 countries – Botswana‚ Namibia‚ Lesotho‚ Swaziland‚ Ghana‚ Kenya‚ Tanzania‚ Uganda‚ Zambia‚ Mozambique and Mauritius.

Woolworths exited Nigeria last year saying it expected problems such as high rental costs and duties and complex supply-chain processes‚ but some factors deteriorated to an extent that the company had not foreseen.

“Nigerians are incredibly savvy as to what they want‚ when they want it‚ how they get it and what they pay for it – Woolies in terms of its recognition in Nigeria was probably zero‚ whereas the degree of recognition of international brands is much‚ much higher‚” Absa Investments analyst Chris Gilmour said last week.

“Their reason for coming out of Nigeria may have been a bit disingenuous‚ they may just have not had the degree of recognition they needed‚” Gilmour noted.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge

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Record operating profits for Selfridges

Record operating profits for Selfridges
International online business boosts revenues

Operating profits increased 12.3% to a record £150m for the year ending December 2013 as sales increased 10.4% to £1.2bn.

The company said it saw growth in all its retail channels. Its online business – in particular, its international delivery arm – performed particularly well after the service was brought to customers in over 60 countries last August.
Selfridges reported rapid online growth following the launch of international delivery in August 2013, which now serves over 60 countries including China.

Record profits mark the tenth anniversary of Canada’s Weston family acquiring the department store chain.

Ongoing investment includes a £40m revamp of its website and the £300m redevelopment programme of the company’s Oxford Street store.

Managing director Paul Kelly said, “Despite challenging trading conditions in 2014 we are accelerating our investment in multi-channel and continuing our £300m redevelopment programme of our Oxford Street store.”

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Bulgari set for India return

wealthy Indians, said people familiar with the brand’s plans who declined to be named.

The brand’s launch comes after it received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in July to set up single-brand retail stores through a joint venture with New Delhi-based Luxco India Retail Pvt. Ltd.
Bulgari, known for its jewellery designs, watches, perfumes and accessories, promised an initial investment of about Rs.2.67 crore to roll out operations in India, the second largest consumer of gold in the world.
To be sure, Bulgari sought the government’s permission to open boutiques in 2013. “Things moved a bit slowly, but now they are ready to launch their store,” a person familiar with the launch said on condition of anonymity.

In 2011, LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group headed by French billionaire Bernard Arnault, bought the Italian jeweller famous for dressing iconic Hollywood film stars in a $5.2 billion (around Rs.31,930 crore today) deal.
The firm’s entry will further strengthen LVMH’s position in India, adding to its stable of luxury labels such as Louis Vuitton, famous for its bags, and Christian Dior watches.
Luxury shopping may be at a nascent stage here, but Indian consumers are willing to trade up to foreign brands. Luxury experts say there are several domestic brands in the high-end jewellery segment and it is a well-serviced market.

“Bulgari will be part of a highly competitive and discerning jewellery market,” said Saba Ali, senior associate at Altagamma Foundation, a conglomerate of several high-end Italian firms with brands that include Fendi and Versace.
Bulgari first made an entry into India in 2004 with a silent partner through stores in Delhi and Mumbai. It exited the country in 2011 only to seek the government’s permission to open stand-alone stores.

The Indian luxury market stands at $14 billion, according to Boston Consulting Group. It is split across conventional luxury at 30%, services at 40% and devices (cars, yachts and gadgets) at 30%. It is largely similar in composition to the global $1.7 trillion market, the consultancy said in a recent report.
At the recently concluded Mint Luxury Conference in Mumbai, representatives of large luxury houses said regulatory and infrastructure constraints are likely to restrict growth of luxury goods and services in the country.

“There are 17 Italian luxury brands in India now and that number has remained unchanged since 2005,” Armando Branchini, vice-chairman of Altagamma Foundation, said at the conference.
Watch and jewellery retailers have benefited from growing aspirations and higher disposable incomes of Indian consumers. The Indian shopper’s propensity to spend on watches has over the past 12 months pushed brands such as the Swatch Group to seek government’s permission to open single-brand stores.
Originating in Rome, Bulgari was founded as a jewellery shop in 1884 by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari. It is popular for selling bold jewellery designs that use precious stones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

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Romeo Beckham to play cupid in Burberry Christmas campaign

Christmas ad of 2014 is officially on and first out of the blocks – ahead of the reliably heartstring-pulling John Lewis – is fashion power house Burberry.

The star of its festive campaign, titled ‘From London with Love’ is not a melancholic snowman or an unrecogniseable tot but Romeo Beckham, the dimple-cheeked and offspring of two of the most famous personalities in the country, David and Victoria Beckham.

The 12-year-old – amply clad in Burberry’s iconic check by way of a monogrammed scarf, umbrella and trench coat – has been signed up to play cupid across a romanticised vision of London as he delivers the gift of love to a young couple, played by model and dancers Hannah Dodds and Anders Hayward.

The dance element of the story is captured beautifully by a troupe of impeccably dressed female dancers sporting tiered dresses made from tulle and topped with trench capelets, and dapper gentlemen swinging newspapers, bags and umbrellas.

Taking after his mother, how studied dance before becoming a Spice Girl, Romeo shows off his ryhthm and ease of movement in the ad.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry CEO and chief creative officer explained how the short film acts as “a celebration of everything we love at Burberry; the trench coat, the cashmere scarf, incredible music, our British weather, and working with great and talented people.”

Beckham reprised his role as the Burberry lead after starring in the brand’s spring/summer 2013 print campaign when he was just 10 years old.

“It continues to be an utter joy working with Romeo,” remarked Bailey, who handpicks home-grown actors, musicians and personalities to star in the brand’s campaigns. He added: “He has charm, style and great energy! I’m delighted that he’s the lead role in our festive campaign.”

Young Beckham, who has two brothers (15-year-old Brooklyn and nine-year-old Cruz) and a sister (three-year-old Harper), attended the unveiling of the advert at the Burberry flagship store on Regent Street amongst press and VIPs on Monday evening with his Spice Girl turned fashion designer mother Victoria, ex-football father David and several relatives, including his grandparents and aunts.

Having previously been in the spotlight with his famous parents on a handful of red carpet occasions, it’s the first time that the youngster has made a public appearance in his own right. But his wardrobe has been the subject of plenty of scrutiny; when he was just eight years old eyes were alerted to his snappy sense of style as GQ magazine included him in its best-dressed list.

And in case you’re wondering if his brothers are turning green with envy, teenage Brooklyn has flirted with modelling by way of editorial shoots in Man About Town and most recently the New York Times’ T magazine, while Cruz is hopefully still at the age where he’s badgering his father for a Brazuca ball for Christmas.

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Wal-Mart: US retail giant to close 30 stores in Japan

Wal-Mart: US retail giant to close 30 stores in Japan

Wal-Mart shopping carts
Wal-Mart is closing 7% of its stores in Japan
The world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart is closing 30 stores in Japan, the company has announced.

The US retail chain said it would shut 30 underperforming stores to improve profitability of its business in the world’s third largest economy.

The stores operate under the Seiyu brand and account for 7% of Wal-Mart’s 434 stores in Japan.

News of the closures came after it cut its full-year profit forecast in August due to higher costs and investments.

The retailer also announced plans to re-model about 50 existing Japanese stores next year and invest in online shopping.

“The company will focus resources on driving continued strong performance in locations that are convenient for customers and allow for an improved shopping experience,” Wal-Mart said in a statement.

Wal-Mart entered the Japanese market in 2002 through an investment in the then struggling Seiyu supermarket chain and ended up taking full control of the company six years later.

It had been expanding at a fast pace in the last two years, but Japanese shoppers have been slow to embrace Wal-Mart’s low-cost model.

The retailer has also struggled to see growth in its US home market recently, reporting flat same-store sales in the second quarter – marking the sixth quarter of declines or no growth.

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