Monthly Archives: June 2015
LONDON (Reuters) – IKEA Group plans to trial a new small-format store in Britain as it seeks to extend its reach across the country, the world’s largest furniture retailer said on Wednesday.
The privately owned Swedish company, known for its flat-pack, self-assembly furniture, intends to trial “order and collection points”, starting in Norwich, eastern England, in the autumn.
“Our customers are … telling us that with 18 stores in the UK, we are often too far away. Order and collection points give us the opportunity to trial new ways of being more accessible to our customers,” said Gillian Drakeford, the company’s UK manager.
The move is part of a global initiative as IKEA, which trades from 315 stores in 27 countries and aims to double sales to about 50 billion euros (£35.5 billion) by 2020 through sales growth at existing stores, new stores and new markets.
IKEA has already opened similar trial formats in Spain, Norway and Finland.
The Norwich outlet will allow customers to touch and test IKEA’s product range, speak to home furnishing experts and make and collect orders made online or in the store, which will also include an IKEA cafe.
Customers will also be able to make purchases from a limited range of products to take home on the day.
The accounts show an operating profit for 2014 of £38.2m, up on the £25.8m operating profit of 2013, and the operating loss of £6.4m in 2012.
A key focus area for the business was health, which saw growth of 12.2% due to an increased product range and new services and advice both in store and online. Superdrug is now the fastest growing healthcare retailer in the UK.
Beauty grew by 4.6% with a strong focus on own brand products and ranges such as B., as well as exclusive launches of product ranges by bloggers such as Zoella and Tanya Burr.
Promotional activity remains core to the health and beauty retailer, and in addition to the price cuts and promotions customers see every week, 2014 saw successful Christmas activity around Black Friday both in store and online.
As part of parent company A. S. Watson’s ‘Customer 360’ global multichannel strategy, the year saw investment in a new Superdrug web platform, and into the logistics network, as well as rebranding the business’s loyalty card to Health & Beautycard to take into consideration the growing importance of the health customer.
Over 200 stores were refreshed during the year bringing the number of refreshed stores to over 700 and two new store formats were launched: Beauty Studio by Superdrug in Cardiff which aims to offer a seamless combination of beauty and services and the Wellbeing store in Banbury the Wellbeing which provides customers with health and healthy living products, advice and service. These concepts, and elements from them, will continue to be rolled out during 2015.
Peter Macnab, Superdrug Managing Director said “The high street remains a challenging environment for all retailers, however by understanding our customers and offering the best value and customer service we believe the business is in a strong position to grow.
Last year we celebrated Superdrug’s fiftieth birthday and we honoured that heritage by investing in the store environment, shopping experience and looking for exciting new product ranges. We recently announced our intention to open 100 new stores in the next three years and continue to plan for a successful future.
Superdrug is part of the A.S. Watson Group, the world’s largest international health & beauty retailer in Asia & Europe, owned by CK Hutchison Holdings.
Dutch-based supermarkets operator Ahold has reached a deal to buy Belgian peer Delhaize, the companies announced today, in a move that will create one of the largest supermarket players in the US.
In a joint statement, the two companies said Ahold would have a 61% stake in the new company, which will have $60.6bn in sales, more than 6,500 stores worldwide and complementary operations in the United States and Benelux. Ahold is operator of Stop&Shop and Giant in the United States, while Delhaize owns the Food Lion chain.
The companies’ combined buying power could help strengthen their position against booming discount retailers.
The combined board will be lead by Mats Jansson as chairman with Dick Boer as Chief Executive and the new company, Ahold Delhaize, will have more than 6,500 stores with 375,000 associates able to serve over 50m customers a week across the States and Europe.
The merger is expected to generate annual savings of €500m to be reached by the third year after the merger.
“Our companies share common values, proud histories rooted in family entrepreneurship, and businesses that complement each other well,” Boer said.
“Synergies can be substantial in terms of purchasing and best practises but only if cultures fit, politics are limited and management teams really cooperate,” they said.
Apple caves to Taylor Swift and decides to pay artists during its 3-month Apple Music customer trial period
Less than a day after Taylor Swift called Apple’s decision not to pay musicians any royalties during its three-month free trial period of Apple Music “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company” on Tumblr, the company has changed its position.
Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that the company had reversed its decision and would pay artists even during the customers’ free trial period.
“Apple will make sure that artists are paid,” Cue tweeted, continuing: “Apple Music will pay artists for streaming even during customers’ free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Following the announcement, Swift wrote on Twitter that she was “elated and relieved” at Apple’s decision.
Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Swift had pulled her wildly popular “1989” album from Apple Music because of the streaming service’s decision not to pay royalties during its three-month trial period. That followed her decision last year to remove “1989” from Spotify because she didn’t think the company gave enough money to artists.
Swift’s post decrying Apple’s lack of initial royalties got plenty of attention Sunday, and Apple listened to her criticism.
“I did reach out to Taylor today, and talked to her, and let her know that we heard her concerns, and wanted her to know that we were making changes,” Cue told Re/code on Sunday evening. “She was thrilled to hear from us and that we were making the change, and we were grateful for that.”
Cue added that Swift’s letter, in combination with complaints from other artists, made Apple change its policy.
Apple originally had planned to pay music owners 71.5% of Apple Music’s subscription revenue after the trial period ended, Re/code previously reported, which was “a few percentage points higher than the industry standard,” to account for the longer trial period.
Now, Cue tells Re/code that Apple plans to pay rights holders on a per-stream basis, though he didn’t disclose the amount the company would pay per stream.
Swift responded positively to the announcement.
I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.
Apple Music will officially launch June 30, with every potential customer receiving a three-month trail period before paying $9.99 monthly.
John Lewis is expanding its in-store food experiences by developing further partnerships with Joe & The Juice and Rossopomodoro, introducing 10 further restaurants across its shops within the next year.
As well as the permanent sites, the two brands will have pop-up outlets at John Lewis’s Summer Retreat on the rooftop of its flagship Oxford Street store, in a perfect setting to take in the panoramic view across London from the rooftop of the capital’s iconic shopping destination.
The new outlets follow the successful introduction of Joe & The Juice in John Lewis Solihull and the opening of Ham Holy Burger and Rossopomodoro restaurants in John Lewis Oxford Street.
Newcastle will be the first shop to open one of the new sites for both Joe & The Juice and Rossopomodoro. Further Joe & The Juice outlets are scheduled to open in Bluewater and Watford as well as in John Lewis’s new shop in Birmingham, with a further Rossopomodoro restaurant scheduled to open in Kingston, with further sites to be announced.
The sale of shares in Irish service station operator Applegreen has raised €91.7 million in an initial public offering (IPO).
Shares in Applegreen began trading on Friday in a move which has snared €70 million for the company and €21.7 million for its selling shareholders, The Irish Times reports.
Approximately 24.1 million ordinary shares were placed with investors to start trading on Friday (19 June) on the junior ESM market in Dublin and the AIM in London. The placing, which was priced at €3.80, was made up of 18.4 million new shares and 5.7 million sale shares.
Founded and owned by Bob Etchingham and Joe Barrett, Applegreen has said it will use the net proceeds to “accelerate the expansion” of its estate in Ireland and the UK. The company also intends to “upgrade and rebrand a number of existing sites”.
Applegreen currently holds a 12% share of the Irish fuel market and is the number one operator of motorway service stations here. It holds franchises for Subway, Costa Coffee, Burger King and Greggs, among others.
Commenting on the flotation, chief executive Bob Etchingham said: “I am delighted to announce the successful completion of our IPO and our first day of trading as a listed company. We are very pleased with our list of new institutional shareholders. Their support provides further endorsement of our strategy and our growth prospects.”
Applegreen’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation amounted to €22.8 million on revenues of €973.3 million in 2014.
Etchingham and Barrett retain a 69.4% shareholding in Applegreen after the flotation. These shares are held through a company registered in Malta. called B&J Holdings Ltd.
Seattle – Starbucks Corp. is getting out of the freestanding bakery store brand business. The coffee giant said it plans to close all 23 La Boulange retail (bakery café) locations by the end of September, as well as the two baking facilities serving the locations. The retailer said it determined that La Boulange stores are “not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth.”
The store closings do not mean the end of the La Boulange brand. Starbucks will continue to serve La Boulange food at its North American retail locations. The chain said its goals to grow its food business and deliver an incremental $2 billion in the next five years in the United States are unchanged.
Starbucks purchased Bay Bread LLC, parent company of La Boulange, in 2012 for $100 million. At the time, the retailer said it had planned to expand the chain nationally, but to date, only opened one new La Boulange store, in Los Angeles. Pascal Rigo, the founder of La Boulange, will move on from Starbucks to continue working on food ventures in San Francisco, as well as non-profit efforts.
Starbucks also announced it is shuttering its Evolution Fresh juice store in San Francisco, by the end of June. Evolution Fresh’s three other locations (two in Seattle and one in Bellevue, Washington) are not affected by the change. Starbucks acquired Evolution Fresh in 2011. The brand’s lineup of bottled juices, is now sold in Starbuck stores as well as grocery stores and natural food stores nationwide.
A Co-operative Pharmacy branch in Nantwich is the first to be closed as part of Well’s five-year strategy.
Well said it was investing in its pharmacies near to the branch on Nantwich High Street.
Well’s five-year strategy will involve “occasional closures” of Co-operative pharmacies, the business has said as it announced it would shut a branch in Cheshire.
Bestway, which bought the Co-operative Pharmacy business for £620 million last summer, said in February that it would “renovate and relocate” existing branches under the Well brand.
The multiple confirmed to C+D last week (June 11) that this would involve closing some branches, including a pharmacy on Nantwich High Street that will cease trading on August 29.
Well business development and portfolio director Christian Logue said this decision was part of its strategy to “reshape” the business through “a combination of relocations, acquisitions, re-fitting, new openings and occasional branch closures”.
Well did not disclose to C+D how many other branches it planned to close.
The company was “proud of the service we offer throughout the Nantwich community” and it was “investing in nearby branches”, Mr Logue said. “Our other local branches will offer the same expert service and advice that they have come to expect on a day-to-day basis from Well,” he said.
Well had spoken to all the employees at the branch and would “continue to support them through the consultation process”, he said. It also wanted to reassure customers in the area that it would continue to support their health and wellbeing needs, he added.
Bestway told C+D in December that it planned to expand its portfolio of 782 Co-operative pharmacies, and announced its acquisition of a seven-branch Devon pharmacy chain in March.
Abercrombie & Fitch has named former Lucky magazine creative director Katia Kuethe to be the retailer’s creative director of marketing.
Kuethe also spent time at Kate Spade as senior director of creative.
The hire rounds out a newly emerging creative team at the retailer, including former Club Monaco men’s designer Aaron Levine, former Club Monaco senior director of men’s merchandising Kurt Hoffman, and, for Hollister Girls, former Lucky (the brand not the magazine) SVP of design Lisa Lowman.
Abercrombie is not kidding when it says it’s working on elevating its brand, which has been flat-footed for years. This team in design and merchandising portends much-needed change for the retailer, which has been largely abandoned by young fashionistas who are finding less expensive, more pleasing apparel elsewhere.
“As we have previously announced, we have some work underway to help us restore our brands to a higher level of esteem,” company spokesperson Michael Scheiner said of the new hires, in an email to Fashionista.
Burberry has expanded its global flagship store in London’s Regent Street to include an area dedicated to gifting.
The new space also accommodates an all-day café that offers an entirely British menu.
The gifting area houses a seasonally updated collection of gifts, together with an assortment of homewares including throws, blankets, cushion covers, candles and games as well as stationery and travel related items.
The store also offers a personalisation service where gifts can be embroidered or leather embossed by hand by skilled craftsmen based in the store. Gifts can then be wrapped at stations located within the space, with a selection of exclusive printed and solid ribbons available for customers to choose from, as well as personalised gift cards from paper embossing machines in-store.
The all-day Thomas’s café offers a menu of British classics from afternoon tea to lobster with chips, seven days a week, using seasonal produce from small farmers and artisan suppliers from around the UK.
Woonsocket, R.I., and Minneapolis — Target plans to sell its pharmacy business to CVS Health for $1.9 billion and rebrand its nearly 1,700 prescription departments as CVS/pharmacy in a blockbuster deal that stunned the healthcare world.
In addition to the pharmacies, CVS Health also will acquire Target’s 80 clinic locations and rebrand them as MinuteClinic, moving the company closer to its goal of operating 1,500 clinics by 2017. The companies also announced plans to develop five to 10 small, flexible format stores during the next two years that will be branded as Target Express and contain a CVS Health pharmacy.
The transaction enables CVS Health to reach more patients, adding a new retail channel for its offerings, and expanding convenient options for consumers, according to a statement by the companies. Given CVS Health’s success in growing its business, the relationship is expected to benefit Target’s long-term traffic and sales growth.
It also enables Target to strengthen its focus on wellness as a signature category. Moving forward, enhanced efforts by Target will center on continuing to deliver products and experiences to help guests eat well, be active and find natural and clean label products, according to the companies.
“This strategic relationship with Target supports the highly complementary customer base, brand and culture we share,” said Larry Merlo, CVS Health president and CEO. “When we introduced the new name for our company, CVS Health, we began a new era of growth with a broader healthcare focus and an appreciation of the rise of healthcare consumerism with consumer choice and accountability growing. This relationship with Target will provide consumers with expanded options and access to our unique healthcare services that lead to better health outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs.”
“At Target, we’ve talked a lot about the evolving preferences of our guests and this partnership demonstrates that we’re committed to putting them at the forefront of everything we do,” said Brian Cornell, Target chairman and CEO. “By partnering with CVS Health, we will offer our guests industry leading healthcare services, and at the same time, sharpen our focus on elevating the way we deliver wellness products and experiences to our guests.”
The deal is consistent with each company’s stated goals of investing in core businesses that help drive growth, according to the companies. CVS Health expects the transaction to generate significant sales and prescription volumes upon closing, and to generate significant operating profit over the long term.
The transaction will allow Target to continue offering a traffic-driving business in its stores and deliver a differentiated experience in support of its wellness efforts. Target expects to realize after-tax proceeds from the deal of approximately $1.2 billion, which it expects to deploy in support of its long-standing capital priorities, including share repurchase. Upon closing, the companies said in-store changes at Target locations will be rolled out over a period of several months thereafter, as CVS Health and Target work to ensure the smoothest possible transition for all pharmacy and clinic patients.
CVS Health said it is committed to offering the approximately 14,000 in-store Target healthcare professionals comparable positions with CVS Health as part of the transition, while Target said it would evaluate the business impact and related support needs at its headquarters locations.
More than 80,000 shops face closure by 2017 unless the Government drastically overhauls the business rates tax system, the retail industry has warned in a comprehensive study of the controversial tax.
The doomsday scenario could effect as many as 800,000 workers and decimate high streets across the country already struggling with seismic changes in shopping habits.
The findings are based on retailers not renewing their leases on the 60pc of high street stores that will see their rental agreement expire by 2017.
Even in the “best case scenario” there will be 8,073 fewer shops in two years time, putting 80,000 jobs at risk on the basis that the British Retail Consortium report assumes each shop closure costs 10 jobs.
The spike in leases expiring over the next few years has been caused by the wave of 25-year agreements struck in the 1980s and 1990s as retailers expanded at breakneck speed across the UK.
The jump promises to bring the debate about business rates to a head, with the rising cost of the tax potentially a key factor in whether retailers decide to extend their rental agreement.
The BRC has conducted the research as part of its submission to the Government’s review into the future of business rates.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced the review into the tax in last year’s Autumn Statement and promised to deliver its finding by the 2016 Budget. Business rates are estimated to bring in £28bn for the Treasury this year – more than council tax – and there are growing concerns about the burden of the levy and that it disproportionately punishes retailers with shops across the country.
The BRC said business rates are a “tax on jobs and growth”. In the report it states: “For a Government which has advocated pro-growth policies to support business and embed the recovery, business rates are an anomaly and stand out in an otherwise moderate tax regime.
“The Government can prevent store closures by putting in place both short-term deliverables and fundamental reform by 2017 beginning with the government’s vision and road map for business taxation. The current business rates system is unsustainable and requires immediate action in addition to more fundamental reform to avoid major long-term negative economic consequences for our economy.”
“Business rates are a tax on jobs and growth and when combined with structural changes to the retail industry risk leading to far more store closures, job losses and high street vacancies.
It is essential that we work together to design a tax that reflects the economic reality facing businesses.”
The BRC has made a series of short-term and long-term recommendations to overhaul the tax, which are similar to proposals from other industry bodies such as the CBI.
It is pressing the Chancellor to extend relief for small businesses, scrap the annual inflation-liked increase in the tax, and conduct valuations of property every three years instead of every five.
The trade body also wants Mr Osborne to announce by the 2016 Budget whether he wants the tax to remain linked to property in the future, or whether the Treasury will issue the tax on the basis of sales, margin, profit or employment instead. It wants the Chancellor to explain is comments that the review will be “fiscally neutral”, which suggested that the amount of tax that businesses pay could remain the same, and the layout a timetable for how and when the tax will be reformed.
If the tax does remain linked to property, the BRC adds, then the Government must consider ways to “rebalance” the burden.
The report adds: “Business rates could be reformed to more fairly distribute the burden across the economy, bringing it more in line with the ability to pay as recognised by the Gross Added Value that is contributed by particular sectors, whilst retaining the benefits of property as a mechanism for imposing liability.”
Since 2008, pre-tax profits for the largest retailers have fallen 32pc but their business rates bill has grown by 27pc. Business rates now account for 45pc of the taxes paid by retailers, up from 32.5pc in 2005.
Hudson’s Bay Company announced this morning it will acquire Galeria Holding, parent of the Kaufhof chain of department stores in Germany and Belgium. The deal, worth $2,68 billion (Cdn.) is expected to close by the end of the third fiscal quarter.
Kaufhof has 103 Galeria Kaufhof locations and 16 Sportarena stores. Kaufhof also operates Belgium’s only department store with 16 Galeria INNO locations across the country. Like HBC, Kaufhof has historic buildings in many downtown locations.
The purchase will be financed by the sale of at least 40 of Kaufhof’s owned or partially owned properties to Simon Property Group, a joint venture between HBC and U.S-based Simon Property Group.
The joint-venture partnership between HBC and Simon was announced in February, with a stated goal of purchasing properties worldwide, adding diversity to the portfolio. At the same time, HBC announced a joint real-estate venture with RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust.
Baker has proven adept at unlocking the real estate value of HBC, selling the Zellers stores for $1.8 billion to Target Corp., and selling and leasing back the flagship Queen St. property for $650 million.
When the deal closes, Hudson’s Bay Company will have 464 locations in four countries under eight different banners, including Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company estimates its eight main banners will generate about $13-billion in annual revenues.
HBC will also acquire 16 Sportarena stores, 16 Galeria Inno stores in Belgium, various logistics centres, warehouses and other properties, and the Galeria Kaufhof head office in Cologne. The companies’ joint agreement says HBC has made “extensive commitments” to maintain employment levels and store count, and for Galeria Kaufhof to remain headquartered in Cologne.
Metro had said months ago it wanted to divest Kaufhof to focus on its Metro Cash & Carry business, the Media-Saturn consumer electronics chain and its Real hypermarket. Hudson’s Bay beat out Vienna-based Signa Retail, controlled by Austrian property developer Rene Benko, who also owns Kaufhof competitor Karstadt, people familiar with the matter said. Signa said in a statement that it will focus on developing Karstadt.
The mostly cash bid by Hudson’s Bay was deemed a better offer because it included labour-related concessions, a more solid financing structure and plans to grow and invest, people familiar with the deal said. A merger of Kaufhof and Karstadt, on the other hand, may have led to job losses.
Kaufhof and Karstadt have dominated German department-store retailing for more than a century, though have struggled recently to adapt to new competitors including Amazon.com Inc. as shoppers seek more international brands in an increasingly crowded market. Kaufhof’s same-store sales fell 1.4 per cent last year and slipped again in the first quarter.
Hudson’s Bay Co. recently reported a $54-million loss in the first quarter of 2015.
Gap is downsizing its staff and stores.
In a statement on Monday, the company said it will close 175 specialty stores in North America “over the next few years.”
It will shut down as many as 140 stores this fiscal year.
It will cut about 250 jobs from its headquarter workforce during this fiscal year.
The closures and job cuts are the company’s attempt to recover from five straight quarters of sales declines, Bloomberg reported.
In the statement, Gap president Jeff Kirwan said: “These decisions are very difficult, knowing they will affect a number of our valued employees, but we are confident they are necessary to help create a winning future for our employees, our customers and our shareholders.”
CEO Art Peck said: “Customers are rapidly changing how they shop today, and these moves will help get Gap back to where we know it deserves to be in the eyes of consumers.”
The company expects that these actions will cost between $140 million and $160 million. It expects to save about $25 million annually from next year, it said.
In after-hours trading, shares rose about 1%. The stock is down 9% year-to-date.
Swedish clothing brand H&M will be the next international label to open at Sandton City. Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is known for its fast fashion for men, women, teenagers and children…
Founded in 1947 in Västerås, Sweden, H&M is now the second-largest global clothing retailer (behind Spanish company Inditex, parent company of Zara), with more than 3000 stores in 59 countries.
H&M’s flagship store, which will be approximately 3000m² in size, will open at the end of November. H&M’s only other stores on the African continent are in Egypt and Morocco.
10 amazing projects coming up in DubaiMajority of these attractions are set for completion before Dubai hosts Expo 2020
Work has already commenced on major tourist and leisure attractions across Dubai with developers continuing to announce new destinations.
The latest announcement is of the Dh10-billion Al Mamzar Beachfront project, with a possible unveiling of a mega development in Dubai World Central.
Billions of dirhams worth of projects such as Bluewaters Island, Dubai Creek Harbor, Dubai Water Canal and Dubai theme parks are already underway, with Aladdin City and Al Mamzar projects likely to break ground by next year.
Majority of these attractions are set for completion before 2020 – the year when Dubai will host Expo 2020.
Here is the list of some amazing projects:
* Museum of the Future
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Museum of the Future, has issued directives for quick implementation of the work plan for the museum as it plays an important role as a source of inspiration for innovations and an incubator for ideas.
Located in the Emirates Towers area, near Sheikh Zayed Road, the project will be completed by 2017. It will provide the best innovative environment in the world with visitors being able to experience the future through cutting-edge simulations and interactive demonstrations.
The museum will hold scientific conferences and offer advanced courses and specialised workshops on design and innovation covering the latest scientific developments, trends and designs as well as their practical applications.
* Bluewaters Island
Work has commenced on the Bluewaters Island with the first frames of Dubai Eye, billed to be the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, being installed. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has also awarded a Dh475 million contract to link the project to the mainland.
Besides, the Ferris wheel, the project will be demarcated retail, residential, hospitality and entertainment zones. It will also house a boutique five-star hotel and offer residential options. The island is anticipated to attract more than three million visitors per annum.
The Dh6-billion Bluewaters Island is set to be one of the largest tourist hotspots in the world and is being built near Jumeirah Beach Residence. Meraas Holdings is the developer of the project.
* Dubai Frame
Dubai Municipality is aiming to make Dubai Frame the number one tourist attraction globally, as it is expected to completed by mid-2015.
“We are aiming to make it the number one attraction in the world,” Hussain Nasser Lootah told Emirates 24|7.
The location of the giant rectangular frame is Zabeel Park and was chosen to give visitors the best view of both old and new Dubai.
The project comprises a 150-metre-high, 93-metre-wide structure being built to resemble a huge picture frame, through which landmarks representing modern Dubai such as Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa can be seen on one side, while from the other side, visitors can view older parts of the city such as Deira, Umm Harare and Karama.
* Dubai Creek Harbour
Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding have commenced work on the project, which includes the world’s tallest twin towers.
The development, which is three times the size of Downtown Dubai, is located alongside Dubai Creek and adjacent to Ras Al Khor. It will comprise 3,664 office units, eight million square feet of retail space, 39,000 residential units and 22 hotels with 4,400 rooms.
The developers have launched the first phase – Dubai Creek Residences – a cluster of six towers. No details have yet been disclosed on the twin towers.
* Dubai Water Canal
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has confirmed completion of 33 per cent construction on the Dh2-billion water canal project.
The construction of bridges on Al Wasl Road is in full swing, along with laying of utility lines. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2016, including the 16-lane flyover on Sheikh Zayed Road, as well as the flyovers on Al Wasl and Jumeirah roads.
Work on all three phases of the canal project is being carried out concurrently, with excavation of the canal under way inside Safa Park.
The development, launched in October 2013, will see the extension of the Dubai Creek by three kilometres and the canal connecting the Business Bay with the Arabian Gulf. The waterway will stretch three kilometers in length and width ranging from 80 to 120 meters.
* Dubai theme parks
Dubai Parks and Resorts has confirmed that the construction of the theme park is 17 per cent completed and 40 per cent of the ride engineering and manufacturing has been completed.
Opening in October 2016 will be three theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks and Legoland Dubai.
About 30 per cent of the construction has been completed on Bollywood Parks with the Rajmahal Theatre well under way. It will include a 60,000 square feet stage that will hold Bollywood-themed performances.
The foundation of Legoland has also been put in place and will have 15,000 models comprised 60 million individual blocks. This theme park will cater to kids aged two to 12.
* Deira Island
Nakheel has started construction on the Deira Island project, by awarding and floated infrastructure development tenders.
It has currently partnered with Spain’s RIU Hotels & Resorts to build a 750-room beach resort in the project, which covers 1600 hectares and will add over 40 kilometres, including 21 kilometres of beachfront, to Dubai’s existing coastline.
Three hectares have been dedicated to hotels and resorts and 424 hectares for mixed-use developments. A night market designed in the style of a Arabic souk will be built, having over 1,400 retail units and restaurants with a number of anchor stores.
There will be an amphitheater with a capacity 30,000 people; a creek marina to accommodate large yachts and a range of additional marinas offering mooring facilities directly outside residences.
MBR City – District One
Meydan Sobha, the developer of $10-billion Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) City – District One, will handover the first and second phase of villas in mid-2016 and mid-2017.
Work on vertical structures as well as infrastructure, including an 8.8 kilometre bicycle and jogging track, are progressing rapidly. At present, there are over 4,000 workers on site, with numbers expected to reach more than 7,000 workers in a few months.
Covering 1,100 acres, MBR City – District One includes a seven-kilometre stretch of Crystal Lagoons, the world’s largest artificial beach and a 14-kilometre boardwalk.
The delivery of the lagoons has been linked with completion of the residential phases, with the entire development slated to be completed by 2020.
* Aladdin City
Dubai Municipality is in the process of finalising a design consultant for Aladdin City, a project inspired by the tales of Aladdin and Sindbad.
“There are many things that we have to look into before we start the project and so we are in talks with other government institutions such as Dubai Trade Centre and other departments that are near to that area,” Abdulla Mohammed Rafia, Assistant Director General for Engineering and Planning Sector, DM, told Emirates 24|7.
Municipality’s Director-General Hussain Nasser Lootah had told this website earlier that they were planning to start work by next year and all the necessary funds to finance the project were in place.
Announced in April 2014, the project will have three towers, comprising commercial and hotel space, with the towers spread over a distance of 450 metres on Dubai Creek. It will have air-conditioned bridges with moving floor to connect the towers, driveways and parking lots.
* Al Mamzar Beachfront
Emaar Properties and Dubai Municipality will build Al Mamzar beachfront project at an initial cost of Dh10 billion.
Pic courtesy: http://www.sheikhmohammed.ae
The project, which is stretching over nine million square feet, will have 4,000 residential units, 300 hotel rooms, 250,000 square metes of retail amenities and 3.5km of walking tracks covered with plantations.
Emirates 24/7 reported in April 2015 that work on the project by early next year.
Pic courtesy: http://www.sheikhmohammed.ae
“We are working on the project and the concept design has been agreed on. It is going to be a destination like others areas such as JBR with work likely to start early next year,” Abdulla Mohammed Rafia had told Emirates 24|7.
At the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple confirmed it. From July, Brits will be able to use Apple Pay to buy goods from retailers including Marks & Spencer, Dune, Lidl, Starbucks, Ocado, Pret, Boots, JD Sports, New Look, Liberty, Waitrose, Spar and Costa.
Available across 250,000 locations, and supported by over 70% of the credit and debit cards in the UK including Visa, Apple Pay will no doubt shake up the way the nation consumes.
The game-changing mobile payment system launched in the US last year alongside the iPhone 6, but has been slow to expand to other regions. Britain is the first country outside America to gain access to Apple Pay, which allows shoppers to pay for products both online and offline, using just their iPhone or Apple Watch.
When used as an offline payment system, Apple Pay works with an NFC (near-field communications) chip found in the two newest iPhone models and the Apple Watch to enable users pay for items by tapping their phones on contactless card readers in stores.
Positioned as one of the UK’s largest Apple Pay retailers, Marks & Spencer will support the new service across over 620 of its stores.Laura Wade-Gery, Executive Director Multi-channel at M&S commented: “M&S already has one of the biggest contactless payment estates in the UK and our integration of Apple Pay means we are well set up to cater for customers’ evolving shopping habits.We’ve already seen our customers embrace the benefits of contactless technology and mobile payment – and developments like Apple Watch are set to be an exciting part of the future retail landscape, creating even quicker, easier and more convenient ways to shop.”
Thinking that movie nights and pizza are a natural fit, Pizza Hut created a new cardboard pizza box that turns into a working movie projector powered by your smartphone.
It’s called the “Blockbuster Box,” and it was designed by Ogilvy Hong Kong for a Pizza Hut marketing stunt, according to The Verge.
The secret to each Blockbuster Box is the special pizza table that comes inside each box, which helps prevent the center of the box from touching your pizza and is traditionally made of plastic. The pizza table inside the special Blockbuster Boxes features a lens as part of the design, however, which you can insert into the side of the box after you punch out the perforated hole.
Once you’ve inserted the lens into the side of the pizza box, you’ll then need a smartphone to power the experience. Placing your smartphone in the center of the Blockbuster Box, the lens will magnify your smartphone’s display and project it onto the wall.
If you don’t have Netflix, Pizza Hut has cleverly printed a QR code on each box that you can scan with your smartphone to download a free movie. There’s four different styles of Blockbuster Box, with each corresponding to the genre of the free movie that comes with it: There’s the Fully Loaded box for action movies, Slice Night for scary movies, Hot & Ready for your romance, and Anchovy Armageddon for your sci-fi fans.
Of course, the Blockbuster Box is far cry from the modern projectors we’re all used to, but it comes free with your pizza. You’ll also probably want to have some Bluetooth speakers or a spare audio cable handy if you want to actually hear the movie, as your smartphone will be inside the box when the projector is in use.
Pizza Hut is limiting the launch of the Blockbuster Box to select Hong Kong stores for now, so unfortunately we’ll have to wait and see if Pizza Hut decides to offer its special boxes in other countries.
The biggest four online shopping markets in the world will double in size over the next three years as consumers buy increasing amounts of goods through the internet.
Online sales in the UK, US, Germany and China will grow by £320bn between now and 2018, expanding the size of the online market to £645bn, according to research from OC&C Strategy Consultants, PayPal and Google.
British shoppers already spend almost £1 in every £5 of their shopping via the internet and the new survey suggests that the online shopping revolution will continue.
The growth will be driven by the increasing power of smartphones – which is boosting mobile shopping – and retailers investing more in their digital operations.
In the UK, 59pc of online sales are now through smartphones or tablets, ahead of the 45pc in the US and 24pc in Germany.
The development of online shopping will boost overseas sales for the leading British retailers.
Chinese shoppers now purchase products online from British retailers almost as frequently as domestic shoppers do. British retailers are the most popular international brands for German shoppers, and the second most popular in the US and China.
Chinese shoppers spend on average 2.7 times more with UK retailers than domestic shoppers, while German consumers spend 1.7 times more.
Anita Balchandani, head of retail at OC&C, said: “The study has shown that UK retailers are some of the world’s most popular and are in a strong position to seize more opportunities abroad.
“But at the moment, the majority are only doing the basics to adequately serve foreign markets, for example, by offering international delivery on their UK website and working with partners to provide local returns addresses.”
Of the international shoppers buying British products, 40pc said they were attracted to the brands because they offered products that local retailers did not, a third highlighted pricing, and 29pc said that they trusted the quality of British goods.
The biggest concern for shoppers buying products from overseas retailers is data security, with the ability to return unwanted products also an issue.
Martijn Bertisen, sales director at Google UK, said: “The number of people with internet access is growing fast, with many new consumers skipping the desktop phase entirely and only experiencing the web through a smartphone.
“Our study shows that this is increasingly translating into mobile transactions and that a mobile-first or even mobile-only strategy is now imperative to international success in retail. UK retailers should be well positioned to lead this growth internationally, as UK consumers are already amongst the most mobile of all.”
The survey is based on search trends on Google and payment transactions through PayPal.
You can finally buy H&M clothes without a plane ticket or a friend bringing them back from London.
Despite living at the tip of Africa, we are still able to look internationally fabulous, not just thanks to our wonderful local designers, but also since big brands are being imported and available for our shopping pleasure.
Zara, Top Shop, Forever 21, River Island… Once these brands were just a distant dream, but now they are available throughout the country, and the list just got better.
We all heard the rumours, but now there is tangible evidence that proves it is true. According to Womenstuff, the very first South African H&M store will be opening in Sandton City shopping mall.
Sandton City took to their Facebook page to announce the big news, stating that the flagship store will be open in November, just in time for Christmas shopping.
H&M is a Swedish multinational retail clothing company and is the second largest global clothing retailer. Now we no longer have to shop for H&M clothes online, pay exorbitant shipping costs and wait weeks to get our items.
Now if only Selfridges, J crew and Barneys will find their way here, we will be in shopping heaven.
Rob Walton steps down
Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores announced that board chairman Rob Walton is stepping down and will be succeeded by vice chairman Greg Penner, who is Walton’s son-in-law. Walton relinquished the position of chairman at the company’s annual meeting on June 5.
The move to elevate Penner to the new role didn’t come as huge shock since the stage had been set for the move at Walmart’s annual meeting last year when Walton, 70, announced Penner had been named the board’s vice chairman. Walton has served as chairman of the board since 1992 the same year that his father and company founder Sam Walton died. He will continue to serve on the board.
“This transition demonstrates Walmart’s commitment to long-term succession planning and keeping high caliber, capable leaders at the head of our company,” said Walton. “Greg’s service to Walmart spans more than 15 years, and during that time he has had a significant impact, both as an associate and as a board member the past seven years. Greg has done an outstanding job as our vice chairman over the past year, and he has provided strong leadership and guidance as the chairman of our technology and e-commerce committee since it was formed in 2011. He brings an ideal blend of finance, technology and international business expertise – as well as a deep knowledge and love of Walmart – to this role.”
Penner, 45, began his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. as an analyst specializing in corporate finance. He then joined Walmart as a management trainee and held a number of positions throughout the company, including senior vice president of finance and strategy for walmart.com and senior vice president and CFO of Japan.
Since 2005, he has been a general partner of investment management firm Madrone Capital Partners. Penner joined the Walmart board of in 2008. Although his last name isn’t Walton, Penner is married to Rob Walton’s daughter and together they have four children.
“It would be impossible to overstate Rob Walton’s impact on Walmart and how personally committed he has been over the years,” said Penner. “I’m deeply honored to follow in his footsteps and recognize the deep responsibility I have to our associates, all shareholders and the board. I’ve admired this company since my first Saturday morning meeting more than two decades ago. I believe in its mission and the positive role it plays throughout the world. I am excited about continuing to work with our outstanding senior management team and talented Walmart associates at all levels of the company.”
Sportswear tycoon Mike Ashley has launched a new discount store in an attempt to gobble up a bigger share of the UK high street.
The plan has been coined ‘Son of Woolworths’ and opened just days ago, according to The Mail on Sunday. This is Ashley’s first foray into a market outside the sports and fashion sectors and, under the name ‘Mega Value’, is trading in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
The Mega Value shop promises to ‘beat anyone’s price’, synonymous with Ashley’s reputation for bartering prices with suppliers.
A source said: “It is very similar to a B&M or Wilko store. It will be interesting to see how this venture fares as there are a lot of empty shops about where you could quite easily slot one of these.”
It emerges as Woolworths’ site prepares to close next month.
“People in the industry are calling [Ashley’s venture] “Son of Woolworths” and the fact that it is launching virtually on the day the Woolworths site has closed will not be lost on people,” said one senior retail source. “Its assortment of products is virtually identical to what you would have once found in the stores – toys, kitchen and home products, pets and DIY. The whole thing also screams low price.”
Ironically the shop is adjacent to the town’s former Woolworth’s store, which has remained as an empty unit since closing over six years ago.
The Mega Value shop also sells garden tools, garden furniture, small electrical items, crafts, health, beauty and outdoor goods.
Sports Direct is also preparing to put out a website under the names MegaValue.com and MegaValueDirect.com.
Swedish furniture giant IKEA plans to expand the area of two shopping centers it operates in the Moscow region nearly 30 percent by 2018 thanks to high tenant demand, newspaper Kommersant reported Friday, citing an IKEA executive.
“We are already holding talks with the Moscow and Moscow region governors’ administrations in order to expand [the MEGA shopping center] in Tyoply Stan by 50,000 square meters and [the one] in Khimki by 70,000 square meters,” IKEA’s Russian division head Armin Michaely said, Kommersant reported.
The Typoly Stan mall currently has an area of 185,000 square meters, while the Khimki mall stands at 210,000 square meters, according to Kommersant.
Michaely said the expansion will help IKEA meet the high demand for space in its MEGA shopping centers.
“Only 2 percent of the space [in our malls] is available. But companies are constantly coming to us, [wanting] to open stores in our shopping malls,” Michaely said. IKEA hopes to finish the expansions by 2018, pending approval from the Moscow city and regional governments.
IKEA currently owns and operate 14 MEGA-brand shopping centers across Russia. The typical MEGA mall is anchored by one IKEA furniture store that operates alongside a collection of international and domestic retail chains.
The Swedish company’s expansion comes even as falling retail sales driven by Russia’s economic downturn empty out Moscow’s newest shopping malls. Shopping centers opened in 2013 and 2014 had an average vacancy rate of 13 percent in May, and vacancy rates for retail space will likely climb even higher this year as Russia’s recession unfolds, real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle said in a report.
Retail sales plummeted 9.8 percent year-on-year in April after falling 6.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to state statistics agency Rosstat. The World Bank expects the Russian economy to contract by 3.8 percent this year as Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and low oil prices repel investment.
The innovative ‘zero energy’ Costa Coffee shop at the Wrekin Retail Park in Telford
A record number of companies are set to make the switch to solar power in 2015 according to a Solihull firm which helped create the country’s first ‘zero energy’ coffee shop.
Independent builders’ merchant EH Smith has supplied solar roof panels for the sustainable Costa Coffee outlet at the Wrekin Retail Park in Telford.
Costa has signalled its intent to roll out more solar-powered coffee shops in a bold move which Andy Oram from EH Smith Sustainable Products believes will be followed by others.
EH Smith supplied photovoltaic (PV) panelling for the roof of the building, which also contains a host of other eco-friendly technologies.
In all 100 270W all black panels, manufactured by Suntech, were supplied for the project.
The new coffee shop uses passive ventilation and innovative construction techniques, meaning the low amount of energy required to heat and cool the building can be provided via the solar panels.
EH Smith were introduced to Costa by Birmingham-based solar installer New World Home Energy, which was working on the Costa development, as well as a number of projects at the retail park.
Mr Oram said: “Costa are looking to do this for their new build projects in the UK – Telford is a pioneer project.
“Somewhere at the top Costa have had a moment where they decided this is the right thing to do for both business and environmental reasons.
“They have obviously got their Fairtrade coffee supply chain and now they are looking at lower impact buildings for their customers.”
Although the solar panels can provide many of the power needs of the Costa outlet it does need to remain connected to the energy grid as technology is still some way off being able to provide round the clock solar power for commercial use.
Mr Oram said: “They have also got a heat recovery system for recycling waste heat to further reduce running costs but it is difficult with solar panels on their own to get to 100 per cent usage.
“It doesn’t have any battery storage, so most of what they generate will be used in the course of their day and it still needs to be connected to the grid at night.
“But as the technology progresses we will get battery power so companies can be completely off the energy grid.
“Emerging technology will be battery-linked so the battery can store power to use whenever.
“There are residential battery storage systems available already but they’re at an early adopter stage and the technology is quite raw and high cost. Like all things as the technology progresses the cost will come down.”
With companies like Tesla developing new battery technology, which is due to come to the UK in 2016 for domestic use, Mr Oram said he believes it won’t be long until a commercial solution is also available.
He also believes more and more companies will follow Costa’s solar power lead, chiefly because it makes good business sense.
Since EH Smith got involved in sustainable construction he has seen a move towards sustainable technology that is as much about saving money as protecting the environment.
He said: “As a builders’ merchant we have been promoting energy efficiency in buildings for the last eight years.
“In the world of construction we have blazed a bit of a trail in challenging people’s mindsets and changing the way buildings are put together – making them more efficient.
“The construction industry is probably known for doing what it knows, rather than looking for new products and practices but that is beginning to change, as much through government rules as any thing else.
“Maybe we started off on the wrong foot, we were getting people to be more worried about the environment but the more conversations you have with people the more you realise they are concerned about the bottom line.
“Building energy efficient buildings will reduce running costs, meaning you have got more money to invest in the business.
“We see this year as a year businesses will latch on to solar, particularly due to drivers coming from central government towards carbon reduction.
“Businesses are under pressure to reduce their carbon output or face penalties. That has really focused the business world into recognising this is something they need to take more seriously.”
He added: “My message to businesses would be to absolutely embrace the technology that is there now, make the most of government subsidies to offset the cost of installation and use private finance funding that is available to reduce running costs.
“The benefits are free energy, independence from energy companies, lower running costs and a lower impact on the environment.
“Years ago it was very much a niche area for people who want to do things for environmental reasons, now it is much more mainstream.”
Jim Slater, managing director of Costa UK and Ireland, said: “This is an exciting first for coffee shop and retail design here in the UK and has the potential to transform not just how we build new stores at Costa but the industry far more widely.”
H&M to open its first India store at Delhi around September
Bengaluru: Swedish fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz AB (H&M) will open its first flagship store in India at a Delhi mall by September, the retailer said in a media statement on Wednesday morning.
The news comes with the appointment of country manager for H&M in India, Janne Einola, formerly deputy country manager for the brand in Finland and the Baltics. “We are excited to present the complete H&M experience to our Indian customers,” Einola added in the statement.
The 25,000 sq. ft store will come up in Delhi’s Select Citywalk mall that also houses other foreign fashion labels such as Zara, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger and GAP. H&M is the latest brand to woo young aspirational shoppers in India. Last month, American fashion retailer GAP opened its first flagship store in the country with a promise to open 40 more.
In 2013, H&M promised an investment of Rs.700 crore to open 50 single-brand retail stores in India through a foreign direct investment (FDI) route.
H&M is popular for its classy styles and affordable fashion for women, men, children and teenagers. Even as large fashion retailers, especially in the Americas, have struggled to sell more clothing to millennials, H&M has seen consistent growth in home and overseas markets. It recently opened its largest store in Manhattan at 63,000 sq. ft as part of its plan to open 400 stores in 2015 in markets including Taiwan, India, South Africa, and Peru, among others.
Run by Swedish billionaire Karl-Johan Erling Göran Persson, the H&M group has over 3,600 stores in 58 markets worldwide and registered $22.33 billion in sales in 2014. The chain was started by Persson’s grandfather in 1947.
KKR & Co and Dubai-based Fajr Capital are close to buying a 25 percent stake in fashion retailer Azadea Group, said three sources aware of the matter, in what would be the US private equity firm’s first Middle Eastern investment.
Based in Lebanon but with operations across the wider Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, Azadea holds franchise rights for brands such as Gap, Zara, which is part of Inditex, and Superdry.
While the sources would not put a value on the bid by the two firms, the stake being sold by the owners was expected to fetch between $400 million and $500 million.
“The deal isn’t done but it’s getting closer,” one source with knowledge of the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is not public, said on Monday.
KKR, Fajr and Azadea all declined to comment.
International investors have been drawn to the Middle East’s consumer sector, given the region’s young and increasingly wealthy population.
Abraaj Group and U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital completed the purchase of a majority stake in Saudi Arabian fast-food chain Kudu in April, the first Middle Eastern investment by the latter.
KKR has looked at a number of deals in the Middle East to date, including for Kuwait Food Co (Americana).
The advance of other private equity firms into the region though has made the need for KKR to strike a debut deal more pronounced, sources said.
“They have mostly been focused on capital raising in the past in this region but TPG has really pushed KKR into action because of Kudu,” said a second source aware of the deal.
Fajr, which includes Malaysian state fund Khazanah Nasional and Abu Dhabi Investment Council among its shareholders, has been on a spending spree in recent months, mostly in collaboration with other funds.
It led a group including Blackstone and Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat in buying a “significant minority stake” in United Arab Emirates-based GEMS Education.
Fajr also joined with investors including Arab Petroleum Investment Corp (APICORP) to acquire Dubai-based oilfield services firm National Petroleum Services.
Founded in 1978 by Wassim Daher, the current chairman, Azadea maintains a strong family presence in the running of the business. Said Daher, Wassim’s brother, is chief executive while another sibling, Hassan Daher, is managing director.
Azadea operates more than 50 franchises through more than 500 stores, according to its website.
Mr Price to open Australian stores
THE Mr Price Group is set to open its first physical stores in Australia later this year selling Mr Price clothing and home products, and this time market commentators are more optimistic about a South African retailer succeeding Down Under.
CEO Stuart Bird made the announcement on Tuesday with the release of the group’s financial results for the year to March, in which it bucked SA’s retail sector gloom. The group’s headline earnings per share rose 21% and its dividends per share climbed 20.3% in the period.
The company’s share price rose 2.39% on Tuesday to close at R235.49.
“We have been focused on identifying new markets for expansion of our Mr Price and Mr Price Home chains. Based on online testing and detailed desktop and on-the-ground research, we believe there is an opportunity for a fashion value retailer in Australia,” Mr Bird said.
“Our plans there will commence with Mr Price opening test stores this year in time for festive season trade,” he said.
The company would fund the new Australian stores using its cash resources.
Sasfin securities deputy chairman David Shapiro said while Australia had an extremely competitive retail market, Mr Price had proven itself to be a “very well-run retailer with a strong management team”.
“If anyone can do it Down Under, it’s them. Their management team is excellent and that is really what they are about. People like to shop at Mr Price. Their online store, which opened a couple of years ago, has been very successful and they have a formula to sell well in the parts of Australia which they believe will serve them well,” he said.
Investment analyst Simon Brown agreed that Mr Price was seen as a company that had a better chance than most of succeeding in Australia.
“Generally it is a global trend that when retailers head to new countries, they struggle. We have not had many success stories there yet,” he said.
During the financial reporting period, Mr Price’s total revenue grew 13.9% to R18.1bn and its retail sales increased by 13.5% to R17.3bn.
US sports shoe company will invest up to $30 million opening new stores across the GCC by 2018, according to the company president.
Michael Greenberg, president of California-based Skechers, told Gulf News that the company will open an addition 142 stores in region, bringing the total of 180, in an expansion plan that will double its current number to 1,000 stores globally.
“The company is growing nicely. This year, we’ll end at approximately $2.4 billion in revenue [from $1.84 billion in 2013]. In 2015, we’re looking at anywhere from $2.8 billion to $3 billion in sales,” he told Gulf News.
The company’s revenue in the GCC is expected to grow to $95 million this year, which is will be up from $50 million in 2013.
Having shipped 2.5 million shoes to the Middle East in 2014, Skechers expects to deliver over four million pairs next year.
The company will also look to develop its product categories in 2015, but will not look to enter the luxury segment of the market.