Monthly Archives: January 2015
Avon Products Inc. AVP, +1.17% said Wednesday it hired James Scully away from J. Crew Group Inc. to be its new chief financial officer.
Scully has been J. Crew’s chief operating officer for nearly two years and with the retailer for a decade. His exit follows the departure of Stuart Haselden, its chief financial officer, earlier this month. Haselden left to join Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU, +0.76% as its CFO.
J. Crew is contending with falling shopper traffic at its stores and the retailer recently wrote down the value of its stores by more than half a billion dollars, while leaving its online operations unscathed, an indication of the toll that e-commerce is taking on brick-and-mortar retailing.
Argos has announced plans to create digital stores inside existing branches of Sainsbury’s in a drive to reach more customers.
The general merchandise retailer will trial 10 stores, ranging from 1,000 to over 5,000 square feet, where customers will be able to purchase non-grocery items.
Customers will be given a choice of 20,000 products which can be bought instantly or reserved, while an additional 40,000 products can also be ordered in store for home delivery.
The new stores will be open by the summer, although their locations have not yet been revealed.
John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, which owns Argos said: “Our new distribution model allows us to provide customers in any Argos location with a choice of around 20,000 lines within hours, regardless of the size or stocking capacity of the store.”
Argos has been on a drive to revolutionise its customer experience and experiment with its store format, gradually phasing out its traditional laminated catalogue. Over 40 of its stores now offer free WiFi and 60 second collection for online orders.
Argos has already opened up concessions stores inside branches of Homebase and launched its smallest shop in its 42-year history at London Underground station Cannon Street last year.
The company is the UK’s largest high street retailer online with around 123m customer orders a year.
The old Argos catalogue is slowing being phased out of its branches
The tie-up with Sainsbury’s will provide the supermarket’s customers greater convenience said Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s.
“They will bring something new and different to our customers, and fit well with our strategy of making our supermarkets more convenient. As well as looking at carefully selected partners, we continue to roll out our ranges of own brand clothing and general merchandise in our supermarkets to give customers even more choice and value,” said Mr Coupe.
The partnership comes as Sainsbury’s has forecast that 25pc of its store estate will have some under-used space over the next five years.
The supermarket has been under pressure to protect and grow its market share amid growing business for hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.
Stockholm-based retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, known to its customers as H&M, reported a 2014 profit increase of 17% in 2014 and says it will open 400 new stores, mainly in the U.S. and China.
As H&M accelerates its plans for new stores, they include adding new markets in South Africa, India, and Peru, the company said.
The fast-fashion retailer has bolstered its e-commerce and added an activewear line and a new beauty care line that will see growth in 2015, the company said.
H&M had a good year, which will fuel its growth plans this year. The strength of the U.S. dollar, though, has put a damper on things by inflating its expenses, and the retailer said that will ding its net profits. Still, the retailer has some nice momentum in the tough area of apparel retail, perhaps attributed in part to teenagers’ shifting preferences for trendy fast-fashion.
Sears Holdings Corp. Wednesday announced layoffs of 115 corporate employees, including 100 at its Hoffman Estates, IL headquarters.
The cuts, effective immediately, are in various departments throughout the retailer’s corporate organization, the company said.
The move is another in a series of measures to cut costs and restructure as the retailer tries to offset continuing losses.
Sears, the once-iconic retailer, is in a fight for its life, closing stores and leveraging its real estate holdings to minimize costs and maximize its advantages. According to Tenth Avenue Holdings portfolio manager Don Ingham, if Sears really can get a grip on losses, it does still have a chance to turn things around in a couple of years.
“The company continually seeks to enhance its operational efficiencies and reduce expenses while we manage the strategic needs of the business,” Howard Riefs said about the layoffs to CNBC in an email. “These decisions are never taken lightly, but they are a necessary part of our efforts to transform the company and return it to profitability.”
Could Asos boss Nick Robertson be in the market for a new wardrobe? The online fashion retailer announced, after markets closed last night, that its founder and chief executive has trousered £20m through the sale of 744,600 Asos shares. Mr Robertson, who set up the business in 2000, still controls an 8.39 per cent stake. Asos, whose shares fell 20p to 2,625p, declined to comment.
BHS is holding property assets worth between £100m and £200m, driving interest in the department store retailer from potential buyers despite the fact it has been losing money on the high street.
The value of BHS’s assets has not previously been disclosed, but City sources said its property was worth between £100m and £200m, making it a potentially lucrative prize.
This is thought to include property that BHS owns as well as the leases on its stores. The retailer rents its flagship store on Oxford Street, but the lease would command a premium worth millions of pounds if BHS decided to exit the site, with companies queuing up to occupy prime shops on the street.
Sir Philip Green confirmed he was looking to sell BHS on Sunday after receiving “several approaches”.
It is understood that all the talks with potential bidders been about selling BHS as a going concern and Sir Philip does not want to sell the retailer piece-by-piece.
BHS has 185 stores in the UK and employs 12,000 people. Its shops cover 5m sq ft on high streets across the UK.
John Ralfe, the pensions expert, said that BHS had an estimated pension deficit of £130m and described this as “like trying to sell your house with a toxic waste dump in the garden”.
However, Richard Hyman, a retail consultant, said a deal was “not insurmountable” because of the pension deficit, with investors attracted to BHS’s property and the company debt-free.
He said: “If Sir Philip can’t make an acceptable return from it [BHS], and he is very good, then what might the circumstances have to look like for someone to do so. I think this is about property.”
Mr Hyman said the online shopping revolution taking place in the UK was “the most significant moment in the history of retail”.
He said: “It [the industry] is massively overspaced. Two or three years ago, with prime space like this, you would have been fighting them off.”
Apple has posted a record-breaking set of quarterly results, with sales of the iPhone 6 growing well ahead of expectations.
The technology giant said that sales rose 29.5pc in the final three months of 2014 to $74.6bn (£48bn), ahead of expectations on Wall Street that sales would reach $67.7bn.
The surge in sales helped Apple’s net income to grow from $13.1bn to $18bn in the quarter.
Shares in Apple grew by more than 7pc in after-hours trading.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said it had been an “incredible quarter”. He stated: “We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high.
“Our revenue grew 30pc over last year to $74.bn, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”
Apple said it sold a record 74.5m iPhones during the period, significantly ahead of expectations that it would sell 65m.
However, Luca Maestri, the chief financial officer, said that iPhone sales in China did not overtake those in the US, despite predictions by analysts that they would
Nonetheless, a rapid increase in demand for the iPhone drove sales in China up 70pc year-on-year in the quarter.
Sales of the Apple Mac and from the App Store also hit record levels. Apple said that 65pc of its revenues are now from outside the US. However, iPad sales were below expectations, hitting 21.4m, compared to estimates of 22.1m.
The company published its results on the day that shares in rival Microsoft slumped by almost 10pc.
Wall Street punished Microsoft after the company said net profits fell from $6.6bn to $5.9bn in the final quarter of the 2014 as slowing PC sales dampened demand for Windows software and the strengthening dollar also hit the company.
Microsoft said that sales of the Surface tablet rose 24pc to $1bn, while advertising revenue from the Bing search engine rose 23pc. However, revenue from Windows dropped 13pc, which spooked investors.
Shares in Microsoft fell 4.35, or 9.25pc, to $42.66.
Tommy Hilfiger, owned by Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) Corporation, one of the leading American garment companies, has launched an innovative digital sales showroom, located at its global headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The digital showroom revolutionizes the sales experience for retailers by offering them a more engaging and seamless buying approach. The interactive system blends collection information, sales tools, and brand content in one seamless touchscreen interface, according to a press release.
Customers can digitally view every item in the Tommy Hilfiger sportswear and Hilfiger Denim seasonal collections and create custom orders with all product categories laid out across a single screen. They can view head-to-toe key looks, zoom in with incredible detail to see unique design features, and click on a garment for specific information such as colour, offerings, and size ranges.
The interactive interface allows for in-depth discussions on styling, merchandising, and deliveries that are tailored to each client. Furthermore, by complementing traditional sales tools with an array of brand information, the digital showroom effectively immerses the customer in the complete Tommy Hilfiger brand experience.
Daniel Grieder, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger said, “Our digital showroom revolutionizes the buying and selling journey for our retail customers and internal sales teams. The showroom concept completely changes the traditional buying approach and establishes a new fashion industry benchmark for business to business sales. The concept also supports our ongoing focus on efficiency and will significantly streamline and enhance the Tommy Hilfiger sales experience.”
The showroom concept also supports Tommy Hilfiger’s ongoing sustainability mission, as it reduces sample production, eliminates the need for printed order forms, and diminishes the ecological impacts of shipping.
With a brand portfolio that includes Tommy Hilfiger and Hilfiger Denim, Tommy Hilfiger is one of the world’s most recognized premium designer lifestyle groups. (GK)
Index Living Mall Co, a Thailand’s home furnishings and décor company, has signed a contract with SM Group, the Philippines’ largest retail conglomerate. SM will be the franchisee for Index Living Mall furniture outlets in that country next year.
Index Living Mall also has stores in Nepal, the Maldives and Russia. In Malaysia, it plans 30 branches nationwide in the next 15-20 years. Plans for Indonesia are expected to be finalised by mid-year, while Vietnam is on the radar as well.
At home, the company plans to open four new stores this year at a cost of THB1.5 billion (USD46 million).
French luxury maison Carven is adding to its recently opened Manhattan store, a second store in the U.S. in Los Angeles. The new store will feature both men’s and women’s collections, ready to wear and accessories. Carven is currently undergoing a change of its creative management team. Carven appointed today Barnabe Hardy (formerly an assistant of Nicholas Ghesquiere) as Creative Director of Carven Men’s.
German womenswear brand Gerry Weber has appointed the founder’s son Ralf Weber as its new chief executive.
Weber, whose father is Gerhard Weber, will take up his new role on 25 February.
Having joined the Gerry Weber board in 2013, Weber is currently responsible for sales and corporate development and will now take on additional duties in his role as chief executive.
He will succeed David Frink who will step down from the chief executive role but will continue to focus on finance, logistics, IT and administration.
The position of the third board member, who is Arnd Buchardt, will remain unchanged. Buchardt will retain responsibility for products, brands and licenses.
Last month, Gerry Weber announced plans to acquire fashion group Hallhuber as part of its expansion strategy.
The Japanese clothing retailer, with 1,500 stores globally, is entering the Canadian market with locations at Eaton Centre and Yorkdale.
Uniqlo, a leading Japanese clothing retailer, is announcing Monday it will open two flagship stores in Toronto in the fall of 2016: one at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and one at the Toronto Eaton Centre.
Uniqlo has a global presence, with 1,500 stores in Japan, Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.
“Uniqlo is growing and I thought — we all thought — that Canada was a terrific market, especially starting in Toronto,” said Larry Meyer, chief executive officer of Uniqlo USA and Canada. “It’s in reasonable proximity to our New York City flagship store on 5th (Ave.) and we thought it would be a natural expansion.
The announcement comes as Target Canada is in the process of closing 133 stores following a disastrous attempt to enter the marketplace, a failure that will put 17,600 people out of work in spring. Last week the Starbucks cafes inside the stores were closed.
Meyer has held senior executive positions at Toys ’R’ Us International, Gymboree and Forever 21, with experience in the Canadian marketplace.
He believes that Uniqlo will be successful where Target was not because it’s a much different retailer entering the market on a smaller scale.
Meyer hopes to expand the brand to Vancouver and other Canadian cities.
“My past has shown Canadians to be open people and very willing to welcome new brands,” he said. “I believe we have unique products with Uniqlo. We’re not just a mass merchandiser of branded goods. Our products are our brand.
“I believe we are entering two great centres, that’s the way we’re starting, not with as big a business bet as Target made. We believe in the locations.”
Uniqlo sells comfortable, affordable and stylish casual apparel, free of logos, for men, women and children, in natural and synthetic fabrics engineered to perform well in different climates and weather conditions.
Current U.S. prices for the garments range from $6 to $130. Uniqlo sells everything from socks to sweat pants to extra-fine merino wool and cashmere sweaters to trousers for the office and slim, ultralight, weather-repellent down jackets and coats.
Uniqlo is a brand of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., a global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands, including Theory and Helmut Lang, in 2,866 stores worldwide.
Global sales for the 2014 fiscal year ending Aug. 31 were approximately $13.3 billion (U.S.).
Swedish retail giant H&M Group has 3,500 stores worldwide under different banners, according to the company’s website.
The Eaton Centre Uniqlo, measuring 28,000 square feet, will put Uniqlo into direct competition with H&M next door. It will be situated in part of the space at the north end vacated by Sears Canada. Nordstrom is also planning to open in part of the space in the fall of 2016.
Uniqlo at Yorkdale will open in a 24,000-square-foot space in the same new wing that will house Nordstrom and 27 other new tenants, many of them first-to-market. Nordstrom is also schedule to open in 2016.
“Uniqlo is a very strong brand and they have a very strong international presence. They bring a uniqueness to their product that we think will be a tremendous fit for Yorkdale,” said Claire Santamaria, Yorkdale general manager.
“The appetite of the Yorkdale consumer is very strong for new and unique brands. It’s something our team works really hard on.”
Santamaria said that two years ago, Yorkdale began focusing on bringing tourists to Yorkdale to shop, appointing a tourism manager and providing access to Union Pay and JCB for shoppers from China and Japan.
“We have seen a tremendous growth in our tourist shopper,” said Santamaria.
Uniqlo will be recruiting in Canada. More information is available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #UniqloCanada.
UAE e-commerce retailer Namshi said on Monday it has opened a new and expanded warehouse facility to cope with increasing orders.
The web company, which specialises in fashion and lifestyle retail, said the storage facility is eight times larger with the capability to house 1.7 million additional stock items.
It said in a statement that the new warehouse would enable Namshi.com to offer its customers next day delivery throughout the UAE, while allowing it to process 30,000 products every day.
The e-commerce retailer’s new facility measures 50,000 square feet, and is capable of housing more than 30,000 styles of apparel.
“Following robust growth across both our e-commerce and m-commerce platforms, it was essential that Namshi’s inventory and overall product offering increased in line with demand for our services,” said Hosam Arab, co-founder and managing director of Namshi.
“As such, we have invested in a significantly larger space, allowing us to feature more great fashion brands on the site. This in turn ensures that we always provide our customers with the best possible online shopping experience, and we will continue to invest in infrastructure and logistics support to maximise our capability to perform as a leading online retailer.”
Namshi.com has a portfolio of over 15,000 styles of apparel, accessories, and footwear for women, men and kids from over 500 international and local brands.
Milton Keynes, UK, 2015-1-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Leading digital retailer Argos has announced that it will be launching an exclusive UK fashion range with Cherokee, offering a range of clothing, accessories and footwear for the Autumn / Winter 2015 season.
Customers will be able to choose from a range of high quality, stylish and affordable designs available in stores and online this summer, with new lines added throughout the course of the season.
The Cherokee at Argos range will be supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign, including in-store point-of-sale and social and digital media, which supports the‘Feels Good’essence of the Cherokee brand.
David Robinson, Argos’ Chief Operating Officer, said: “Part of our transformation strategy is to broaden our product ranges and bring on board more great brands which our customers know and want. Cherokee is already a well-established clothing brand with UK shoppers and we are pleased to be able to offer our customers convenient, nationwide access to a range of new, quality Cherokee products later this year.”
Henry Stupp, Cherokee Global Brand’s CEO said: “We are looking forward to the continued globalisation of the Cherokee brand through our new partnership with Argos. The UK market, in particular, enjoys extremely high awareness and consumer satisfaction with Cherokee branded products.
“We believe the collaboration with Argos through online, catalogue and in-store will provide a great home, with a successful, growth-oriented partner that is able to fully realise the potential of the Cherokee brand in a region where demand exists for high-quality, Cherokee fashion at affordable prices.”
Cherokee will join a growing list of highly respected fashion brands for children and adults available at Argos, including Puma, Firetrap and Baby Converse, as well as other category brands new to Argos including Bose, Habitat, Dualit and KitchenAid.
The Cherokee range will only be available to buy at Argos. It will launch this summer on argos.co.uk, the Argos apps and in stores across the UK.
The first retail and dining concept store is set to open in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall in May, with plans also lined up for Dubai.
UAE-based retail firm Marka announced that it has teamed up with European football governing body UEFA to develop ‘Champions League Experience’ concept stores across the Middle East.
The inaugural store –the first of its kind in the world – is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall in May this year, a joint statement said.
UCL Experience Central View
Inspired by the UEFA Champions League football competition, the 17,000-square-foot destination retail concept will feature a combined retail and restaurant offering, along with a museum where fans can learn more about their favorite teams and players.
Customers will be able to purchase merchandise from top teams including Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern München, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea FC, from dedicated shop-in-shops.
Memorabilia signed by football legends such as Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard and Cristiano Ronaldo will also be on display and available for purchase.
UCL Experience Check Out
A wide range of official UEFA Champions League licensed products will also be available.
Khaled Almheiri, vice-chairman of Marka, said: “The UEFA Champions League is the most popular club football competition in the world and enjoys a cult following across the Middle East.
“The UEFA Champions League Experience will be the ideal destination for all football fans to come and enjoy the best of European football and their favorite teams—under one roof.”
The fast-casual dining restaurant will present signature dishes served in a stadium-inspired setting designed to replicate the atmosphere of the UEFA Champions League, while streaming live matches, archive footage of standout games and highlights on giant screens, the statement said.
UCL Experience Restaurant View
Nick Peel, CEO of Marka, said “We recently announced that Marka is targeting the fast growing sports retail segment, and I am pleased to confirm that following the Abu Dhabi store we are now also in discussions to open a flagship UEFA Champions League Experience location in Dubai, with an anticipated opening in late 2015.
“We are confident that the UEFA Champions League Experience will become a must-visit destination for all football lovers in the region and beyond. There are many exciting plans in the works.”
Marka, a start-up that publicly listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) last year with a capital of Dhs500 million, aims to tap into the region’s fast growing sports retail, fashion and hospitality sectors.
In December 2014, Marka announced that it had agreed to buy sporting goods firm Retailcorp from Istithmar World, a unit of state-owned Dubai World, for Dhs220 million.
Sir Philip Green is considering selling the department store chain BHS after receiving “several approaches”.
BHS is part of the Arcadia Group, controlled by Sir Philip, which includes TopShop, Burton and Evans.
Founded in 1928 in London’s Brixton, BHS has 180 stores and employs almost 12,000 staff.
But the chain has been struggling. In 2013 BHS lost £69.6m on sales of £675.7m, which was down 3.5% on the previous year.
That is according to the most recent accounts available at Companies House.
An Arcardia spokesperson said: “We have had several approaches on BHS over the past few months. It is now the company’s plan to explore whether any of these can be brought to a conclusion.”
TopShop 5th Avenue, New YorkArcadia opened its first TopMan store in New York last year
While TopShop has been a success story and has been expanding overseas, analysts say that BHS has been losing ground.
“BHS has clearly been driven into the ground by the relentless competition from Primark and by its own addiction to discounting, which has destroyed its pricing power,” said independent retail analyst Nick Bubb.
“The worrying losses at BHS now risk dragging down the whole of Arcadia, so, after a difficult autumn season, it is not surprising that the great man is now trying to cut it loose,” he added.
Sir Philip bought BHS in 2000 for £200m from Storehouse.
But the chain has unprofitable stores and the 2013 accounts show that it expected to lose more than £10m on BHS stores that were failing to cover their costs.
the Dubai-based shopping mall, retail and leisure company, has announced the appointment of Michael Cesarz as CEO of its shopping malls business unit.
Cesarz is the second senior appointment made by Majid Al Futtaim recently following the appointment of Rajiv Suri as the new CEO of its retail arm, Majid Al Futtaim – Fashion.
Ghaith Shocair, chief financial officer and acting CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said: “Our shopping malls business as the regional industry leader with 17 regional and community malls, is set to significantly expand and grow over the coming few years.
“We are committed to delivering on our Majid Al Futtaim promise of great moments for everyone, every day, through enhanced customer experiences, product innovation, and building great brands and Michael’s leadership and experiences will be instrumental in delivering on our plans for this business”.
Cesarz, an architect by training, previously held senior management roles such as CEO and chairman of METRO Group Asset Management, head of construction at Peek & Cloppenburg KG as well as other real estate project development roles.
Pepkor UK, the investment firm set up by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond and South African billionaire Christo Wiese, has announced it will launch a new discount fashion chain in the UK called Pep&Co.
An initial 50 Pep&Co stores will open this summer, with more in the pipeline.
The chain will be led by managing director Adrian Mountford, previously of Matalan and Sainsbury’s clothing arm Tu.
Described as a “challenger brand” family fashion chain, the retail venture will target mothers and children, and sell a range of affordable fashion products similar to what is on offer in Britain’s supermarkets.
“Over the past five years discounters have changed the face of UK shopping in food and general merchandise,” said Mr Bond. “My ambition for Adrian and his Pep&Co team is that they will do the same in fashion.”
The senior team also includes finance director Mark Jackson, who previously held the same role at department store Heal’s. Cathy Haydon, who used to be head of merchandising at Marks & Spencer, will be Pep&Co’s trading director.
Pep&Co’s head office is in Watford, and will employ 35 people when the stores open.
“We intend to give busy mums the chance to buy great fashion and home ranges at amazing prices, conveniently located in their local town,” said Mr Mountford.
The plan to launch a new retail chain could be a boost to beleaguered high streets across the UK, and Pepkor will look to take advantage of a fall in rents in secondary towns.
Pepkor UK was set up in December, as a subsidiary to Mr Wiese’s Cape Town-based Pepkor.
The South African entrepreneur is thought to be worth more than £2bn and was recently linked with a takeover of BHS, the department store chain controlled by Sir Philip Green.
Abu Dhabi: Brooks Brothers, the US-based fashion retailer, is expected to open 15-20 outlets in the GCC region over the next five years, according to its chairman and chief executive officer, Claudio Del Vecchio.
Speaking to Gulf News on Monday at the launch of their first Abu Dhabi outlet in Yas Mall, Del Vecchio said the business will focus on the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
“Till 10 years ago, Japan was the only market we were present in outside the United States, but now we’re in over 45 different markets, and the Middle East is a strategic part of this expansion. At the same time, we are also investing in South America and south Asia, so China and India are two big priorities,” he said.
He added that the business is looking into partnerships with companies in the Middle East and North Africa region to expand, but that there was nothing concrete yet.
“We have not been here [in the UAE] for a long time, but so far, we’re very happy with our performance. We look at other brands that are competing with us, and they seem to do pretty well. I think the market looks like it’s going to be a very good one for us. The customers understand what we do, and they’re looking for more like it,” the chairman said.
Discussing demand for luxury products in particular, Del Vecchio said he found the largest penetration of luxury customers in the UAE.
Brooks Brothers’ presence in the region comes as a result of a partnership agreement with Jashenmal Group.
Tony Jashenmal, CEO of Jashenmal, who was also present at the launch, said the group was looking into bringing 30-40 stores of different brands per year to the region. He added that while the group had typically focused its UAE operations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it is currently looking into other emirates, but did not disclose details of new launches.
Austin Reed Group is set to close 31 stores and receive a £3m cash injection from shareholders under a deal with creditors to rescue the tailoring brand, which counts IMF chief Christine Lagarde among its customers.
The 114-year-old, privately owned company, which also owns Viyella and CC (previously Country Casuals), is hoping to strike a deal with landlords in which they would accept a fifth less rent on 35 stores and 50% less on a further 31, which however are then likely to close after six months.
Under a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a controversial type of restructuring scheme, a further 166 stores would continue to trade as normal, including Austin Reed’s flagship store on Regent Street in London.
Creditors, mainly landlords, are due to vote on whether to accept the company’s proposals on 5 February.
Nick Hollingworth, chief executive of Austin Reed Group, said: “The decision to close some stores was not taken lightly, but we cannot continue to operate those within our portfolio that are loss-making.”
Neville Kahn and Rob Harding of Deloitte, the accountancy firm, have been appointed to oversee the CVA, which comes after Austin Reed fell into pretax losses of £1.29m in the year to January 2014, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
Kahn said: “The proposals to landlords are a necessary step to provide a sustainable platform for the business. As with a number of retailers in the current market, the group has a traditional bricks-and-mortar portfolio in an increasingly multi-channel environment.”
CVAs, which have been used by Fitness First, Clinton Cards and JJB Sports in recent years, are controversial because, unlike administrations, they allow business owners to offload unprofitable stores while retaining control of the company. But Kahn said the indications were that Austin Reed had support from creditors.“We consider the proposed CVAs to be fair and in the best interests of all stakeholders, providing certainty for landlords, and an ongoing future for the business,” he said.
Austin Reed Group is owned by Darius Capital, a group controlled by property tycoons Guy Naggar and Peter Klimt, who were previously involved in the now collapsed investment company Dawnay Day. Dawnay Day, which once owned the Chez Gerard restaurant chain, bought Austin Reed, then listed on the London Stock Exchange for £49m, in 2006.
The tailoring brand, whose customers have included Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor, moved out of its vast London flagship at 113 Regent street in 2011, exchanging it for smaller premises over the road.
Dunes Stores workers are set to ballot over the coming weeks for industrial action due to issues over their working conditions.
Mandate, the trade union representing 40% of Dunnes 15,000 workers said the balloting process will take place in a few weeks and it will decide whether strike action will prevail.
The union said that this action is needed because the company failed to put last year’s Labour Court Recommendations in place, which were that the company would discuss the workers grievances with them.
The company has been criticised for using temporary and zero hour contracts and approximately three quarters of staff are on part-time flexible contracts. This leaves employees in an extremely vulnerable position as they cannot predict how much they will earn each month yet they are still expected to be available for work. It also makes it difficult for them to get mortgage or loan approval.
Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light told the Irish Times: “The combination of low pay and flexible hours means that many Dunnes workers cannot afford to provide a basic standard of living for themselves and their dependents. Many of our members cannot access mortgages or loans because of insecurity of hours due to low-hour contracts. Dunnes workers want to have their right to trade union representation vindicated, particularly when it comes to disciplinaries and collective bargaining. Key to all of this is the fact they don’t feel respected by their employer”.
A final decision on strikes will come after all members are polled in the coming weeks.
Cash-based retailer Mr Price Group said on Thursday it had maintained its 14.2% sales growth rate through the third quarter of its 2015 financial year, buoyed by cash sales and its apparel stores.
Growth in the third quarter to December 27 matched the one in the first half of the financial year.
Mr Price said the performance was “pleasing” since it was off a high base, and considering festive season power outages and a subdued retail environment in homewares. With 30 new stores opened and 3 closed, or trading space up 4.8%, comparable store sales grew 9.6%.
Cash sales growth at 15.3% outpaced a surge of 9.6% in credit purchases. This slightly pushed up the contribution of cash sales to 81.9% of total turnover.
The Foschini Group (TFG), which has been reducing its bias towards credit sales in a consumer market characterised by high levels of indebtedness, said on Thursday group sales for the nine months to December 27 rose 10.5%. Comparable store sales were up 5.1%, TFG said, a day after it announced it was in “advanced discussions” about a potential acquisition.
TFG, which still generates less than half its sales from cash payments, did not disclose a breakdown between cash and credit sales for the period.
Earlier in the week, TFG competitor Truworths International disappointed the market with its sales numbers, and said credit sales were unchanged at 71% of total sales.
Truworths’ retail sales in the 26 weeks to December 28 increased 5.2% to R6.2bn, with comparable store sales down 0.8%.
Mr Price said that its apparel division, its largest unit that includes Mr Price, Mr Price Sport, and Miladys, achieved sales growth of 16.1% in the third quarter “despite a suboptimal performance from Miladys”. The home division, which includes its Mr Price Home and Sheet Street stores, grew sales 8.7%.
Mr Price said group sales growth in the fourth quarter so far had been at a similar level to the third quarter’s growth.
Shares in Mr Price closed 2.30% higher at R246.60 on Thursday, though this was slightly below the intraday highs reached just before the update.
The group said it had acquired Phase Eight from TowerBrook Capital‚ which was exiting the business completely.
Foschini said in its rationale for the acquisition that Phase Eight had achieved consistent growth in sales and profitability.
It said the company satisfied four specific criteria in Foschini’s expansion strategy namely:
it had a good track record – being highly profitable and cash generative;
it was a multi-channel business – with an established e-commerce platform (currently 17% of revenue);
it had an experienced and self-sufficient management team; and
strong growth prospects arising from its established position in the UK and opportunities to further expand in international developed and emerging markets.
“In addition‚ the Phase Eight acquisition will enhance the geographic diversification of the group by increasing its operating presence from eight countries to 26 countries and will give it the opportunity to take certain brands outside Africa using Phase Eight’s proven expansion methodology‚” the group said.
Earlier this week Foschini released a trading update in which it said group sales for the nine months to 27 December 2014 rose 10.5%.
Foschini‚ which still generates less than half its sales from cash payments‚ did not disclose a breakdown between cash and credit sales for the period.
The retailer said Phase Eight had an impressive track record of growing sales (18.9% compound average growth over the past five years) and increasing market share and substantial earnings before interest‚ tax‚ depreciation and amortisation growth (27.5% compound average growth over the past five years).
At 9.53am‚ the share was up 0.70% to R145.76 valuing the company at about R30.8bn.
Retailer says sales in festive period were 12pc higher than a year earlier
JD Sports has told investors its profits before tax and exceptional items will be higher than the £90m currently expected after a bumper Christmas.
The FTSE 250 sports retailer said like-for-like sales in the crucial festive trading period, which spans the five weeks to January 3, were 12pc higher than a year earlier.
However it warned that the company would post some cost increases “to support the larger and more international business”.
Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said the brand enjoyed “great momentum” throughout last year and that this continued into Christmas.
“This result is testimony to the strength of the JD Brand and its commitment to providing its customers with unrivalled choice, quality and excitement as the leading retailer of sports fashion,” he added.
The latest update follows a year of strong growth for JD. Between March and July the retailer’s pre-tax profit of £16.4m was nearly triple that of a year earlier.
While rival Sports Direct focuses on replica kits and discount sportswear, JD targets more fashion-conscious customers with higher-end goods.
The Swedish company is one of 37 caught and fined by HM Revenue & Customs for breaking the law
The Swedish company is one of 37 caught and fined by HM Revenue & Customs for breaking the law by failing to pay workers, who were owed a total of more than £177,000.
At H&M, 540 workers were underpaid by £2,605 in total, although the company insisted this was due to a computer error and all staff have since been reimbursed.
The Government is attempting to crack down on businesses who fail to pay a minimum of £6.50 an hour to any staff aged over 21.
It comes as ministers revealed the budget for investigating rogue employers will increase by £3m to £12.2m next year.
Jo Swinson, the Business minister, said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable. If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action by naming, shaming and fining them, as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them.”
However, there has been some criticism that the levels of fines dished out to errant companies is too low, with this latest spate of businesses fined just £1,400 each. By comparison, H&M’s profits last year were more than £600m in the last quarter alone.
The Government is hoping to change this and is pushing through the Small Business Bill, which will increase the level of fines to up to £20,000 and will be based on the number of employees underpaid rather than per infringement uncovered.
It means that if H&M had been caught once the new legislation passes later this year, it could in theory have been fined as much as £10.8m.
Retailers and the leisure industry, such as pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, have been urged by politicians and campaigners in recent years to improve pay and contracts for staff, calling on them to scrap controversial zero hours contracts and adopt the living wage of £7.85 an hour, or £9.15 in London.
Campaigners have flooded retailers including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer with emails encouraging bosses to pay the living wage, but so far the only retailer to have signed up is soap-maker Lush. The Small Business Bill will also target zero-hour contracts.
A spokesperson for H&M said: “H&M employs more than 9,500 people in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately due to errors within some of our stores concerning time-logging, 540 employees were accidentally underpaid the national minimum wage.
In a twist on its annual Bright Young Things scheme, Selfridges has introduced Bright Old Things – readjusting the lens with which we view creative talent and removing age restrictions.
With the ages of the participating artists, designers, musicians and entrepreneurs ranging from late 40s to mid 80s, Selfridges acknowledges that ‘old’ is as subjective as it is irrelevant. Hand-picked talents, some who will be instantly recognisable, and some entirely new names, have been chosen to take part on the basis that they have undergone a ‘retirement renaissance’, a complete career change or an inspiring step into the unknown. The compelling line-up includes an exchartered accountant who became an artist in his sixties, an architect-turned-topiarist, and a product designer who has become a YouTube sensation with his vlog ‘Earth News For Space.’
Each participant has been given a dedicated Oxford Street window with which to give the million people who pass by them every week an intimate insight into their creative visions. Special events spotlighting their work are taking place throughout the scheme, including a soon-to-be-announced special programme for London Collections: Men, whilst products from selected Bright Old Things will be sold in-store and online.
Asda boss: This will be the toughest ever year for supermarkets
The boss of Asda has warned that supermarkets face their “toughest” ever year as they battle falling sales and a brutal price war.
Andy Clarke, chief executive of Asda, told staff in an email that the retailer is facing “even greater challenges than last year so we need to further change and adapt the way we work”.
Last week, Dave Lewis, the new boss of Tesco, unveiled a turnaround plan for the retailer that involves closing 43 stores, scrapping 49 new store developments and shutting the company’s defined-benefit pension scheme.
However, analysts at S&P said: “In our view these measures do not go far enough to support an investment-grade rating, considering the challenges the group faces in sustainably turning around its operations and materially improving its profitability in the highly competitive UK grocery market.”
S&P said a cancellation of the dividend cancellation, cuts to future capital expenditure and the potential disposal of the Dunnhumby analytics business could bolster Tesco’s finances by £3bn. However, it warned that UK like-for-like sales will continue to fall in 2015 and 2016 and that profit margins will be squeezed, suppressing the benefits of the initiatives.
Bill Ackman, the billionaire activist investor, said on Wednesday that he has considered investing in Tesco following the fall in its share price. However, he decided against buying shares because of “difficulties with retail” in the past and the “structural changes” in the industry.
“When Warren Buffett is giving up there’s got to be a lot of negative sentiment,” Mr Ackman said of Berkshire Hathaway selling down its stake in Tesco.
Mr Clarke said that Asda was responding to the challenges in the industry by streamlining its management team.
Barry Williams, the chief merchandising officer for food, has been promoted to chief customer officer, while Andrew Moore, the head of Asda’s George clothing business, will also take on responsibility for food trading. Steve Smith, the current chief customer officer, is returning to a role at Asda’s US parent company Walmart after a secondment in the UK.
Mr Clarke told Asda staff in an email: “As we enter 2015, we are facing even greater challenges than last year so we need to further change and adapt the way we work.
“With that in mind, it’s vital that I provide stability at the top of the organisation and consistent leadership from January and throughout the year.
“These are demanding times for anyone working in the retail industry. Whilst I am proud to know that our business is leading the way for large retailers in addressing the structural changes in our market, I know that being first means we are making tough decisions and putting our heads above the parapet, which can feel uncomfortable.
“These changes will enable Asda to prosper in an increasingly competitive market by enabling faster decisions through streamlined structures where colleagues are empowered under the leadership of fewer, bigger leadership roles.”
SHOPRITE increased its turnover for the six months ended December 2014 by about 12.5% from the previous comparable period to R57.5bn, the supermarket group said in an operational update on Wednesday.
Growth on a like-for-like basis was 5.1% and the South African supermarket operation increased sales by 12%.
The food division benefited from strong sales in the month of December, which were 13% higher than in the corresponding period a year earlier, the company said.
Shoprite is due to release interim results on February 24.
Online-only grocer Ocado on Wednesday revealed gross retail sales had improved 14.8 per cent year-on-year for December, as the company managed to maintain the sales growth it achieved in the final quarter of its 2013-2014.
In the seven days leading up to Christmas Ocado processed nearly 40 per cent more items for Ocado.com and Morrisons.com than over the same period last year, while on its biggest day, sales were nearly £6 million, up over 15 per cent on the previous year.
The grocer has famously not made an annual pretax profit since it was founded in 2000, but analysts are now expecting one of around £11.5 million for its 2013-2014 year, which ended on 30th November.
Morrisons has said its chief executive Dalton Philips will step down later this year, following another set of disappointing sales figures for the supermarket over the Christmas period.
Philips, who has led Britain’s fourth largest supermarket for five years, will stay in the role until the end of year results in March to ensure a smooth transition, Morrisons said in a statement.
The Bradford-based grocer performed worse than any of Britain’s other listed supermarkets, including Tesco and Sainsbury’s, during the festive season.
Sales at stores open over a year, excluding fuel, fell 3.1 per cent in the six weeks to 4 January.
That compares to analysts’ average forecast of a fall of 3.8 per cent and marks an improvement on a third quarter decline of 6.3 per cent.
However, comparatives with the previous year were very favourable as Morrisons’ same store sales had fallen 5.6 per cent in the Christmas 2013 trading period. The outcome was also much worse than Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s Christmas performance.
Philips had long been under pressure from investors let down by the firm’s the prolonged poor sales results.
Last year the the supermarket’s founding family approached private equity groups to discuss turning the business private again and an activist investor called on the firm to sell some assets and return cash to shareholders.
At the tail end of the Christmas reporting period, speculation is rife that more heads could roll in the retail sector.
Standard Life, an investor in fellow retailer Marks and Spencer, yesterday said the company’s directors should be asking themselves whether chief executive Marc Bolland’s “scorecard is acceptable”.
Cincinnati — In response to changes in “where the customer is headed,” Macy’s chief announced on Thursday a sweeping reorganization plan that will close 14 under-performing stores, lay off thousands of workers and, most far-reaching, ready the retailer to respond to an omnichannel shopping environment.
According to a statement by Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman and CEO, the department store retailer will close 14 stores, while opening two new locations, and generate an annual savings of $140 million – which will then be reinvested into the business. In tandem with the closures, Macy’s and sister company Bloomingdale’s will restructure their currently separate merchandising and marketing into one unified organization, and lay off thousands of workers – although its workforce of 175,000 reportedly will remain stable as additional staffers are added in other areas.
“Our business is rapidly evolving in response to changes in the way customers are shopping across stores, desktops, tablets and smartphones,” said Lundgren. “We must continue to invest in our business to focus on where the customer is headed – to prepare for what’s next.”
“Going forward, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s will be better able to move more quickly and nimbly to select merchandise, assort inventories and serve total customer demand, no matter how, when or where the customer shops. Some redundant activity also can be avoided to accelerate speed to market, partner more effectively with vendor resources and ensure the merchandising organizations are more responsive to the marketplace in making and implementing decisions,” Lundgren said.
About 2,200 jobs will be lost when Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s contract both store and field operations personnel. However, key growth initiatives for 2015 include creating a team to explore opportunities for a Macy’s off-price business; growing its digital business, namely, macys.com and bloomingdales.com; and expanding its San Francisco-based digital technology organization by hiring more than 150 people.
Macy’s announced the changes along with its holiday sales results, which saw sales at existing stores climbing 2.7% during November and December, in line with expectations.
Tiffany & Co. (TIF) shares fell the most in more than 10 years after a sluggish holiday season spurred the luxury jewelry chain to cut its annual forecast.
Sales in November and December declined 1 percent to $1.02 billion worldwide, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Currency fluctuations and a continued slump in Japan took a toll on the results, along with a surprise slowdown in its home market.
Tiffany had been counting on the Americas to help offset weaker results overseas, especially in Japan. That approach faltered over the holidays, when sales in its home region fell 1 percent to $544 million, compared with an increase of 6 percent a year earlier. A stronger dollar, meanwhile, ate into international sales, turning 9 percent growth in Europe into a 1 percent gain when converted into U.S. currency.
“Tiffany’s holiday season was softer than we had anticipated,” Laura Champine, a New York-based analyst at Canaccord Genuity Inc., said in a note to clients. “The Americas segment appears to have run out of steam.”
The shares fell 14 percent to $89.01 in New York, the biggest drop since August 2004. The stock advanced 15 percent in 2014, its second straight year of gains.
“Clearly, sales for the holiday period were disappointing,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Kowalski said in today’s statement. “Sales in the Americas declined slightly after a very strong start to the year.”
Currency challenges will continue to weigh on results, Tiffany said. The retailer now expects earnings for the year ending Jan. 31 to be $4.15 to $4.20 a share, compared with a prior forecast of $4.20 to $4.30.
“While we are still in our planning process, we believe these factors will likely result in our planning low- to mid-single-digit sales and earnings growth in 2015,” Kowalski said.
The results also underscore Japan’s dimming status as a luxury market. The country’s sales in U.S. dollars declined 16 percent to $113 million. The rest of the Asia-Pacific region fared better, growing 7 percent to $210 million on that basis.
Of Tiffany’s almost 300 company-operated stores, 123 are in the Americas, with 73 in the Asia-Pacific region, 56 in Japan and 38 in Europe. The company added 10 stores in 2014, including on in Russia.
The domestic weakness was unexpected, Ike Boruchow, a New York-based analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., said in a note to clients.
“Tiffany reported underwhelming holiday comparable sales,” he said. “Performance by region was quite varied.”
A new Zara store will rise in Inditex’s newly acquired 4,400-square metre commercial property in the heart of New York’s SoHo Cast Iron Historic District, one of the world’s best known shopping districts.
The new store, to be located in a building at 503-511 Broadway, between Broome and Spring Streets, complements recent flagship store openings by Inditex in the US market.
The company said it has invested USD280 million to acquire the property, but its store opening strategy remains focused on leased properties, while the commercial thrust is still to further enhance the integrated store & online sales model.
“This opening marks a very significant milestone in the Group’s US growth strategy,” said Inditex’s Chairman & CEO, Pablo Isla. “The growth model for the US market consists of a combination of flagship store openings and online sales growth underpinned by strong support from American shoppers.”
By the end of 2015, including the stores on Broadway on the Upper West side, at 666 Fifth Avenue and 750 Lexington Avenue, Zara will have eight stores in Manhattan as well as another seven in the greater metropolitan area.
As for the overall US market, Inditex plans to open over a dozen new Zara stores in 2015 in major cities such as New Jersey, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Sacramento, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle and Puerto Rico.
New York — Embattled apparel retailer Body Central has gone out of business and closed its entire remaining store base, effective Sunday evening, according to attorney for the company Gardner Davis.
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, the 265-store Body Central Corp. had said earlier this week that it was “experiencing significant liquidity challenges” and was working with advisers to evaluate its options. With the closure announcement, about 2,500 employees lost their jobs.
Davis said the company had sought to reorganize its business, but “simply couldn’t raise the capital.”
Among the first stores to be opened are many brand names including Tod’s, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Loewe, Hugo Boss, Versace, Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Michael Hors, Coach, Mothercare, Jimmy Choo and Zegna.
The mall is located at the A18 HSR Taoyuan Station on the Taoyuan International Airport MRT. The line is scheduled to start service at the end of this year. The A18 station is a 19-minute ride from Taipei Main Station.
The outlet mall, which is a joint venture between Gloria Hotel Group (華泰大飯店) and Cathay Life Insurance (國泰人壽), will be selling apparel that is not in season.
The outlet will be opened in three more stages over the next couple of years: 60 stores will be opened in the spring of 2016, another 60 stores in the winter of 2016 and the last batch of 40 stores in 2017. The discount mall will encompass 260 stores in total.
It is estimated that the first 100 outlet stores will generate NT$5 billion in sales, doubling the revenues of LEECO Outlet in Taichung and the E-Da Outlet Mall in Kaohsiung. Given the increased competition, LEECO plans to open another mall in Taipei’s Neihu District in the second quarter.
Outlet Park, another international outlet, is scheduled to be launched in the second half of this year in New Taipei City’s Linkou District. It is a joint venture between Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan Co. and Farglory Group (遠雄集團).
The NT$5.8 billion project is expected to drive up local consumption. The discount outlet can be reached through the Taoyuan International Airport MRT. It is only a five-minute walk from the A9 Linkou Station.
With theaters, food courts, and supermarkets, Outlet Park will be the largest shopping and entertainment center in Northern Taiwan. Up to 220 stores, including brands from Japan, Europe and Taiwan, will make their way into the outlet. Japanese food festival will also be held in the mall.
In an effort to bring more business to the surrounding commercial district, the government has allocated a budget for the purpose of beautifying nearly landscape, and making improvement to local pedestrian walks and storefronts.
Tesco express store
The beleaguered supermarket Tesco has said it will close 43 unprofitable stores across the UK – more than half of which will be local convenience shops, known as Tesco Express.
The firm is also shelving plans to open a further 49 new “very large” stores.
Additionally, Tesco is closing its staff pension scheme, will make cuts of £250m, and reduce overheads by 30%.
Shares in Tesco rose by more than 13% on Thursday, as investors welcomed the company’s announcements.
It comes after two years of troubles at Tesco, which has suffered falling sales and profit warnings.
We have some very difficult changes to make… we are facing the reality of the situation
Dave Lewis, Tesco chief executive
‘Listening to our customers’
Last year, the company was embroiled in an accounting scandal, and saw the departure of some senior executives.
However the retail giant, which has more than 3,300 stores in the UK, had a better Christmas than expected.
Sales over the holiday period were down just 0.3% on the year before, and up 0.1% if fuel sales are included.
Overall, comparable sales for the three months to the beginning of January were down by 2.9%.
In the previous three months, sales had dropped by 5.4%.
Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, said the firm was “facing the reality of the situation” and was “seeing the benefits of listening to our customers”.
Tesco also confirmed that two of its businesses – Tesco Broadband and online entertainment service Blinkbox movies, will be sold to TalkTalk.
It also announced that Matt Davies, the boss of Halfords Group, will take charge of Tesco’s operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland from June, and that Trevor Masters will become international chief executive. Halford’s shares dropped on the news that it was to lose its boss to Tesco.
unprofitable stores to be closed
£250m of cost cuts planned
49 planned new stores to be cancelled
0.3% fall in like-for-like store sales over the six-week Christmas period
GLOBAL coffee giant, Starbucks, is to open its first Cork City centre store, at no 39 Princes Street, a few doors away from the famed English Market.
The Seattle-based coffee house and retail chain has 21,000 outlets, in 68 countries, the latest being Vietnam and Colombia.
It opened in the UK in 1998, and now has 800 stores there. Starbucks first came to Ireland in 2005, opening in the Dundrum Town Centre. It later opened on Dublin’s College Green, and has expanded slowly since in Ireland. It had a concession in Cork Airport for several years, and has a presence in UCC — but, until now, has not had a Cork City centre foot-hold.
It’s understood to be still looking for several other Cork premises, although reports it would commit to the One Albert Quay office building, now under construction, have been dismissed.
However, Starbucks has committed to no 39 Princes Street, a double-fronted traditional shop close to the English Market’s arched, red-brick entrance.
It’s one of several, new food-related users on this busy pedestrian street, which links Oliver Plunkett Street to Patrick Street. It’s next door to the highly successful fresh salads, juices and coffee seller, Rocketman, which is run by local man, Jack Crotty, and is across the street from Sean Calder Potts’ food emporium, Iago’s, which relocated last year from the English Market.
Also arrived on Princes Street during 2014 were The Body Shop (in a corner building, since sold as an investment), and facing the Irish Examiner/Evening Echo’s public shop on the other corner with Oliver Plunkett Street, and JoJo Maman Bebe.
Already on this stretch of Princes Street are Fat Face, Ann Summers, Cummins Sports, Murphy Electrical and several shoe shops and fashion retailers, among other traders.
No 39 is next door to the historic Unitarian Church, for which plans have been drafted to make it more publicly accessible and to link it to the English Market to the rear.
(Meanwhile, agents Savills are close to finalising a deal on the former Capitol cinema site on Grand Parade, which stretches back to Patrick Street, and further links between that site and the English Market may be exploited in the site’s redevelopment).
Of Starbucks’s arrival in town, Lisney director Margaret Kelleher said “there was significant interest in the property, from fashion, accessories and footwear users. Starbucks really liked the shape of the building and its quirks, and were very pleased to locate on pedestrianised Princes Street.”
No 39 has been vacated by Kerry-based fashion retailer, Parafin, and previously had been occupied by Enable Ireland. In even earlier times, it had been a delicatessen, and a coffee shop.
Recently refurbished, no 39 has a surprising 1,660 sq ft, thanks to a long rear section, and rent sought had been in the order of €55,000 pa, and it’s understood a sum close to that was agreed.
As a matter of ‘storm in a coffee-cup’ Starbucks coincidence, the coffee chain’s name came from the character Starbuck, first mate on the ship Moby Dick in the 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The acclaimed 1956 movie version of Moby Dick was filmed in Youghal, Co Cork, by John Huston, starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, with Leo Genn as Starbuck.
Following in the footsteps of troubled teen retailer Wet Seal, Sports Direct is reportedly preparing to shut down a third of its USC stores, endangering hundred of jobs at the apparel retailer.
The company’s directors, who are led by Dave Forsey, Sports Direct chief executive, filed a notice of intention to appoint receivers at the High Court on January 6, which means that stores could be closed down as soon as next week.
Worst performing USC stores to be shut down
A official notice of intention usually allows a company a grace period of ten days before it has to declare insolvency. Sports Direct is currently thought to have over 1,000 employees working at 90 USC stores. It is rumoured that Sports Direct aims to shut a third of USC worst performing stores, whilst the remaining stores continue to trade.
Dozen of members of staff at one of USC’s warehouse in Dundonald, Scotland have reportedly already been told they are being made redundant, whilst Duff and Phelps, an bankruptcy specialist and Gallaghers, a law firm, have been asked to jointly oversee any potential shut down. The warehouse employs roughly 100 members, who were not informed why they were being made redundant, as trucks from Sports Direct moved goods to another location in Shirebrook, Nottingham on Wednesday.
According to the Telegraph, which claims to have seen court documents, Sports Direct decision to file with the High Court was encouraged by Diesel, who was demanding repayments for unpaid debts. On December 23, 2014 at a meeting of USC’s directors which was chaired by Forsey, the board agreed that the company would be unable to pay its debt to Diesel, after the end of their 15 year partnership.
Sports Direct, which is owned by billionaire Mike Ashley who holds a 58 percent share, currently owns a series of high street retailers Lillywhites, Flannels, Pulp and Cruise.
Canton, Mass. – Dunkin’ Donuts has signed the largest development agreement in the company’s history with the goal of expanding Dunkin’ Donuts in China. The retailer plans to open more than 1,400 new stores across China in the next 20 years.
Dunkin’ Donuts has entered into a long-term master franchise agreement in which Golden Cup Pte. Ltd., a joint venture between Jollibee Worldwide Pte Ltd. and Jasmine Asset Holding Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of RRJ Capital Master Fund II, L.P., will serve as the franchisee. The joint venture has exclusive rights to expand Dunkin’ Donuts in new territories, including Beijing, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hong Kong, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jilin, Macau, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin and Yunnan. The opening of the first restaurant is expected in fourth quarter 2015.
Dunkin’ Donuts currently has more than 11,000 restaurants in 36 countries around the world, including 16 in China and more than 2,200 across the Asia Pacific region. In 2013, Dunkin’ Donuts signed a master franchise agreement with Fast Gourmet Group to develop the brand in Eastern China to open more than 100 restaurants in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions.
Tesco Plc (TSCO) named Halfords Group Plc’s Matt Davies as the head of U.K. and Ireland, tasking an executive described as a stickler for service with rebuilding its largest business amid a slump in market share.
The appointment of the 44-year-old, which takes effect in June, is the most significant of Tesco Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis’s four-month tenure at the troubled grocer. Davies will run a business that accounts for about two-thirds of Tesco’s sales. It has been struggling as shoppers switch to discounters Aldi and Lidl amid complaints of poorly run stores and high prices.
Davies is “highly regarded,” said Exane BNP Paribas analyst John Kershaw. His appointment and other measures announced by Tesco today give “a sense that Lewis is driving genuine change.”
He transformed Halfords in the past two years, driving the shares more than 70 percent higher prior to today, as he revived the company’s digital offer and trained more employees to repair bikes. Davies understood the need for a service-led culture and built a strong management team, making the retailer a more desirable place to work, Halfords Chairman Dennis Millard said today.
“When we were looking for a CEO, Matt hit the middle of the bullseye and I suspect Tesco will feel the same way,” said Millard. With Lewis making public comments about prioritizing service to customers “it almost looked like Matt had written the script.”
At Pets at Home, which he led prior to joining Halfords, Davies more than doubled its number of outlets and earned the company the title as the second-most desirable big company to work for in the country, according to a Sunday Times survey.
At Tesco, Davies takes on the biggest job in the nation’s retail industry. The U.K. business had sales of 43 billion pounds ($65 billion) last year — Halfords had less than a billion. The grocer has forecast the lowest profit in the current year in at least a decade. Lewis today announced the closure of 43 stores, a reduction in overhead costs to improve performance and a “flat” investment in payroll.
Halfords will brief headhunters tomorrow to find a replacement for Davies, Millard said. The CEO will remain at the Redditch, England-based retailer until the end of May, the company said. Millard declined to comment on the company’s performance ahead of a Jan. 21 sales presentation.
Halfords shares fell 33 pence, or 7.1 percent, to 429.5 pence today today in London. Trading for the 13 weeks ending Dec. 26 was strong and in line with management’s expectations, Halfords said in today’s statement.
Marks & Spencer is still struggling with problems at its hi-tech distribution centre in Castle Donington, even after the trading peaks of Black Friday and Christmas.
Well-placed sources said that the 900,000 sq ft warehouse, which opened 18 months ago, could be processing a third fewer items than it had expected to be handling by this time. The shortfall is a result of communications problems between the various systems that handle products within the Castle Doningtoncomplex, compounded by record sales online.
M&S had to implement contingency plans, storing dozens of container-loads of goods at a separate warehouse over the peak season. It was also forced to set aside plans to distribute goods destined for stores from the facility to ensure the delivery of online orders, according to the sources.
The retailer said it was able to meet all its promised delivery services and was handling all its online orders at Castle Donington. It insisted that its contingency plans for peak periods always included additional warehouse space. A spokesperson said: “Our next-day delivery service is currently available and has been since before Christmas. Following our first full peak period at Castle Donington, we continue to optimise the facility.”
M&S was deluged with complaints from shoppers before Christmas after it was forced to delay deliveries of online orders by up to two weeks and withdraw next-day delivery services to stores as Castle Donington struggled to cope with the volume of orders placed over the Black Friday promotional weekend.
This week, a small number of shoppers continued to express disappointment on social media, with several saying orders had been belatedly cancelled because stocks were found to be unavailable days after their orders were confirmed.
Analysts are expecting the problems at M&S’s warehouse to hit performance at the retailer. It unveils its Christmas trading statement today and is struggling to turn around years of falling clothing sales.
Jamie Merriman, an analyst at Bernstein Research, wrote in a note this week: “Management had expected Marksandspencer.com to return to sales growth in Q3 after a substantial investment phase, but we expect that this return to growth will now be further delayed.”
The company has previously denied that there were problems at its distribution centre, but online sales slumped 6% in the six months to the end of September. Nearly 5 million customers had registered on the new site by the start of November – 1 million fewer than on the previous one. Many shoppers have reported that the new site is difficult to navigate.
M&S’s new delivery centre is part of a £1bn programme to update the retailer’s old-fashioned IT and distribution systems to ensure it has the right items in stores and is able to handle increasing demand for home deliveries.
M&S had initially hoped to cut costs by axing more than 50 warehouses and instead using three vast distribution centres. But it pulled out of building one of the new facilities last year and now expects to have six national distribution centres by 2016-17.
Shares in boohoo.com crashed by more than 40pc after the online fashion retailer warned that an advertising spree in autumn and winter has failed to boost sales as much as hoped.
In a major profit warning, boohoo.com said that sales growth in the UK had slowed to 25pc in the four months to December 31 and full-year results would be below market expectations.
The warning is the latest example of fashion retailers suffering a challenging festive period as shops cut prices to try to shift unsold stock.
The company, which floated on London’s Aim market last March, enjoyed sales growth of 47pc in the UK in the six months to August 31 and analysts had expected the company to post a 62pc increase in annual pre-tax profits to £17.3m.
However, boohoo.com said shoppers had been attracted to high street rivals by heavy discounting and that its sales had also been hit by concerns that online orders would not arrive before Christmas after reports of problems at delivery firms.
These factors helped to ensure that a 25pc increase in advertising spend by boohoo.com failed to deliver as many sales as it expected.
This was despite boohoo.com enjoying a record week during the week of Black Friday – a new tradition imported from the US in which stores slash prices on the last Friday of the November, the day after Thanksgiving.
Neil Catto, the chief financial officer, said of the performance: “It was not the level of growth we wanted to see.
“A lot of pent-up demand for Black Friday was pulled through [from potential sales later in the year]. There was then stories about online retailers not delivering goods in time, which negatively impacted online.”
Mr Catto said boohoo.com would now focus on rebuilding relations with frustrated investors and City analysts.
He said: “We have got to concentrate on building that trust up.”
Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane, the joint chief executives, insisted they still had faith in the company’s business model.
They said: “We are very confident that our fashion credentials, pure play online model and the significant investment in infrastructure will continue to drive growth in the UK and internationally.”
However, shares in boohoo.com slumped 15½p, or 40.5pc, to 22¾p.
Matthew McEachran, analyst at N+1 Singer, said he expected to cut boohoo.com’s forecasted profits by 25pc to 30pc.
He said: “Boohoo has delivered 25pc sales growth so far in H2. Whilst good by most standards this is well below the level implicit in market forecasts and, after substantial investment in capacity/capability, scale economies won’t materialise as planned.
“On revised guidance we expect forecasts to reduce by 25pc to 30pc for the full-year which is very disappointing.”
Alistair Davies, analyst at Investec, said he had been expecting sales growth of 44pc.
He added: “Is the story still valid? In our view, yes. Growth has been below expectations but the strength of the ‘test and repeat’ model means that boohoo.com has exited with a clean stock position due to the supply chain’s flexibility.
“Longer term, in our view the business can continue to deliver growth in its core market and develop its international presence further.”
The new Burberry store will be located witin 39th Street and under the design direction of Chief Creative and CEO Christopher Bailey, according to a statement from the brand.
Burberry’s content and live events will be broadcast directly onto video screens with enhanced audio-visual capabilities in the Miami store. The stream comes from the brand’s global headquarters in London and is enabled by the Burberry Retail Theater concept.
iPads hooked up to Burberry.com will be carried by store associates in Miami for unlimited access to the brand’s stock. Additionally, an in-store service will allow customers to collect online purchases at the brick-and-mortar location.
The department store had a good holiday season.
Shares of JC Penney are exploding in after-hours trade after the retailer reported holiday same-store sales that jumped 3.7% from the same period last year.
In after-hours trade, shares were up as much as 15%, to $7.24. On Tuesday, the stock closed at $6.24.
JC Penney defined the holiday-shopping period as the combined nine weeks in November and December, and the company also said it now expects fourth-quarter same-store sales to come in at the upper end of the 2-4% guidance range the company issued.
It’s a marked change from a year ago, when the company declined to provide any data on its holiday sales performance, saying merely that it was “pleased” with how it did.
A report from Reuters after Christmas said that for the period between Black Friday and Christmas, sales rose 5.5% over last year, in line with expectations.
After a disastrous 2013, the value of JC Penney shares declined further in 2014, losing about 30% during the year.
William Russell and team have designed Nigel Cabourn’s new flagship store in London. Based in Covent Garden, The Army Gym is Cabourn’s first outside of Japan.
The brand is inspired by traditional British military uniforms and iconic outerwear of famous explorers, and this is reflected in the store’s interior. As with all of Cabourn’s stores, the London edition takes aesthetic clues from old army gyms and includes an army green colour palette on the shopfront.
The location and design elements of the outlet are firmly rooted in Britain’s history. It’s situated within a historic 19th century property, which used to be part of St. Peter’s Hospital, an institution that treated wounded servicemen during WWI. Within the store, key pieces such as a wicker aeroplane crafted by British prisoners of war and portraits of pilots pay homage to the legacy of WWII.
Russell wanted to strip the interior of fine furnishings and discover the original fabric of the building. Exposed brickwork and reclaimed wooden floors form a backdrop to the clothing, creating a warmth that’s juxtaposed with industrial steel fittings.
Cabourn’s family history features heavily throughout the space. An image of his father’s WWI journal is printed on the changing room curtain. Well-worn leather chairs that have been in his family for more than 100 years provide seating for customers. These details create a personal environment where visitors can connect with the inspiration for the garments that surround them.
House of Fraser beats John Lewis in Christmas sales battle
House of Fraser, the department store chain, says it is “delighted” with its performance during the vital Christmas period after recording an 8pc rise in like-for-like sales.
The performance from House of Fraser is better than that of rival John Lewis, which said its like-for-like sales were up 4.8pc compared to the Christmas period last year and warned that sales in its stores were flat.
House of Fraser said that like-for-like sales rose 8pc in the six weeks to January 3. This included a 31.2pc increase in online sales and a 4.2pc rise in like-for-like sales across House of Fraser’s 59 stores in the UK and Ireland.
The rise in Christmas sales caps an interesting year for House of Fraser. The retailer is now controlled by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, which completed a deal to buy 89pc of the retailer during the year. The remaining 11pc is in the hands of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, who tried to scupper the deal with Sanpower.
Sanpower has given the go-ahead for House of Fraser to invest £150m in the UK over the next four years in store revamps and developing its online operations. It is also exploring international expansion, including a second location in Abu Dhabi.
House of Fraser’s sales figures have been treated with a degree of scepticism in the past by the City because the retailer discloses less information about its performance than publicly-listed rivals.
John King, chief executive, said: “We are delighted with our Christmas trading performance. This year we saw a very strong start to the key Christmas season with Black Friday being particularly successful.
“This positive momentum continued over the entire critical selling period with a record sales level during the final week before Christmas.
“With the record sales and margin performance in the period and a close focus on operational efficiencies, we expect to report a further growth in full year earnings.
“I would like to thank all of our colleagues and brand partners for their hard work and support over this period.”
Meanwhile, Jigsaw, the retailer run by former John Lewis director Peter Ruis, also reported robust sales figures, giving hope to other high street retailers.
Jigsaw said like-for-like sales in the five weeks to January 3 rose 10pc, despite operating amid “extreme discounting” on the high street.
Mr Ruis said: “In many ways it was an old fashioned retail Christmas, gifts and accessories at the fore, last minute footfall driven by the cold snap and pent up demand for the first few days of the sale.
“Our omnichannel performance was anything but old fashioned with web orders taken up to the 23rd of December and delivered pre-Christmas”.
The Fragrance Shop said it experienced a successful festive period as multi-channel retailing continued to boost sales.
In the five weeks to 27 December, total sales rose by 11.8% while underlying like-for-like sales edged up 5%.
Multi-channel retailing continued to fuel sales which led to strong growth in customers using the retailer’s Click and Collect service.
Having added an extra 18 stores to its portfolio this year, the Manchester based retailer opened its 171st store in December.
Sanjay Vadera, chief executive of The Fragrance Shop, said: “Our Christmas trading figures demonstrate that The Fragrance Shop continues to be First For Fragrance. Our drive for innovation in the fragrance retailing industry has seen us launch a one hour ‘Click and Collect’ service while expanding our store portfolio.
“In the multi-channel age, customers still want to try out the fragrance they are buying for a loved one, which is why services like Try It First are proving so popular.”
Pete King, managing director, added: “Black Friday saw an earlier surge in sales this year, bringing trading forward, but last minute sales continued to give us our largest sales days with Christmas Eve proving the busiest day of the year.”
Founded with a single store in 1995, The Fragrance Shop now has 171 shops across the UK and plans to open 25 new stores in 2015. In the year to 31 March 2014, the retailer’s annual sales climbed by 11.2% to £90.1million.
Amazon shipped about 5bn items in 2014, the company has revealed, with more than 40% of those products sold by third-party sellers on its service.
The company famously prefers not to release too many hard figures on its business, so its claim that worldwide, third-party sellers sold more than 2bn items in 2014 will be seized upon by rivals and analysts alike.
Those two billion items came from more than two million sellers “that account for over 40 percent of the total units sold on Amazon,” the company said.
Although it didn’t provide an explicit figure for overall shipments, those stats mean that around five billion items were sold on Amazon in 2014.
“It’s been a record-setting year for selling on Amazon. We’re seeing strong growth from sellers listing their items across our global marketplaces,” said Peter Faricy, who heads up Amazon’s third-party selling operation.
“In fact, there are now more than a billion offers for customers to browse from sellers who are listing items for sale outside their home country.”
Amazon has previously often preferred to give out statistics referring to its growth, rather than specific sales figures. That extends to its digital media business: for example, its claim that in 2014 it “tripled” its video streaming traffic, without revealing the old or new figures.
At times, this policy has been taken to almost absurd levels, as when the chief executive, Jeff Bezos, launched the Kindle Fire HD tablet in front of a graph of books sold which had no units and no y-axis.
It demonstrated that the company’s Kindle sales had overtaken physical book sales, while divulging precisely nothing about the level of either.
The company gave one other hard figure in its 2014 end-of-year round-up: the success of its Cyber Monday promotions, when more than 16 million items were ordered from third-party sellers, three times the average daily total of 5.5m.
• Amazon counts cost as Christmas veto campaign gathers momentum
Johnsons dry cleaners in Kent
The company behind Johnson Cleaners, Britain’s largest dry-cleaning chain, plans to shut more than a third of its 307 high street outlets, with the likely loss of about 450 jobs.
Citing a “difficult high street environment”, Johnson Service Group said it will close 109 highstreet stores in the next six months, the second wave after more than 100 branch closures in 2012. The firm expects to take a £6.5m charge as a result. A typical store employs four to five people, many of whom work part-time.
The company, which traces its history back to 1780 and also owns the upmarket London dry-cleaning chain Jeeves of Belgravia (which is not affected by the closures), is moving away from the high street to more car-friendly locations such as supermarkets and petrol stations, to keep up with changing shopping patterns.
A spokesman said: “People want convenience: they want to drive and drop off their dry-cleaning. It’s another example of how the high street doesn’t seem as popular any more.”
The Cheshire company has been opening new outlets in Waitrose supermarkets and now has 78, with plans to add another 46 in the next three months. Johnson is also testing stores in garage forecourts and has set up collection and delivery points in large offices. It plans to launch a new online home and delivery service for valuable or bulky items this summer.
The firm did not disclose which branches will close, as consultation with staff is only just beginning. The majority of the 109 branches earmarked for closure have leases expiring within the next two years.
“Dry cleaning continues to operate in a difficult high street environment and despite several initiatives to reach new customers the like for like sales increase we achieved in 2013 has not been maintained in 2014,” Johnson said. It added that the remaining 198 better performing high street outlets are “in more convenient locations”.
Johnson also hires out work uniforms and hi-vis clothing, as well as hotel linen. Its textile rental division, the largest part of the group, has continued to perform well, with improved margins, better customer retention and strong new sales.
Retailer Truworths is set to become the dominant player in the money-spinning children’s-wear market after agreeing to buy iconic specialists Naartjie and Earthchild.
The acquisition of the two specialist retailers — both based in Cape Town — for an undisclosed cash amount, is being finalised and is awaiting the conclusion of agreements and regulatory approval.
The proposed purchase of Naartjie and Earthchild forms part of Truworths’s strategy to create a children’s emporium offering to its customers.
Earthchild Clothing is one of SA’s leading retail and design houses, producing natural and organic cotton clothing.
According to its website, its mission of creating fashion “inspired by nature” was born in a student digs in Cape Town in 1992 and it has since evolved into two market-leading leisurewear brands, Earth-addict and Earthchild.
Its retail footprint includes 42 company-owned retail stores in SA and two e-commerce stores that serve the Southern African and European markets.
The purchase of Naartjie follows bankruptcy proceedings against its US-based owner. The deal has been approved by courts in the US.
Clothing designer Anne Eales established Naartjie in 1989 in Cape Town. The company was sold to US investors in 2001.
The range of children’s clothing was designed and manufactured in Ms Eales’s garage and sold exclusively at markets in Cape Town.
In 1991 Naartjie opened its first retail outlet in the V&A waterfront.
Fast forward to 2001 and Naartjie — that had flourished and opened stores in major shopping centres around the country — was sold to US investors, creating Naartjie Kids USA.
Naartjie MD Annemieke Doyle says that the impending purchase by Truworths will help boost the company’s position in the children’s-wear market.
“We are viewing this (deal with Truworths) in an extremely positive light as this gives us the opportunity to grow the brand and make Naartjie more accessible to everyone,” she says.
Ms Doyle says that Naartjie will retain its identity after the deal is concluded. “We will definitely retain our identity — this is very important to us and our customers… we have a partnership with a leading retailer that has the retail experience and systems to assist us in taking the Naartjie brand to the next level.
“It will give us the opportunity to focus on our local customer and unlock all the potential with sound financial backing.”
Ms Doyle adds that Naartjie will look at upgrading its stores when the deal with Truworths is finalised. It has 27 local stores. “At this stage we can confirm that there will be definite expansion. We will be opening at Bay West Mall in April 2015 and will be embarking on further expansion strategy for the near future,” Ms Doyle says.
Outgoing Truworths CEO Michael Mark, whose 23-year tenure at the retailer ends in March next year, says that Truworths’ LTD Kids has become a very large business worth hundreds of millions of rand over the past 10 years.
“Earthchild and Naartjie added to LTD Kids creates a kids emporium offering to our customers of among the most appealing aspirational brands in SA,” he says.
Mr Mark says that Truworths will, as a result, offer its mainstream mass consumer target market the following:
• A women’s emporium with owned best brands including OBR Finnigans Ginger Mary, Daniel Hechter, LTD and many others including Earth Addict
• A men’s emporium including Uzzi, Daniel Hechter, MosKow, Hemisphere and others
• A kids’ emporium including LTD Kids, Naartjie and Earthchild
Mr Mark that says the purchase of Naartjie and Earthchild perfectly fits Truworths’ strategy to own brands “well known to mass market with aspirational product”.
He adds that Truworths has plans to roll out similar stores outside the country.
“Yes, (this is) included in our African expansion programme to over 100 stores in the next three to four years,” he says.From DFM Publishers (Pty) Ltd