Monthly Archives: July 2015

Gucci, Burberry demand lower Hong Kong rents as market wilts

Luxury companies including Kering SA are demanding lower Hong Kong store rents to reflect the island city’s waning appeal with wealthy Chinese shoppers.
The owner of the Gucci brand may close some of its shops there if those costs don’t come down, Kering Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Duplaix said late on Monday.

UK trenchcoat maker Burberry Group Plc said last week it may also try to lower its rent bill after sales growth slowed to a two-year low. Luxury spending in Hong Kong, one of the world’s largest hubs for high-priced shopping, has been suffering since China began discouraging extravagant spending among government officials in late 2012.

The Sultan Center brings Waitrose UK Retailer Products to Jordan

The Sultan Center brings Waitrose UK Retailer Products to Jordan
The Sultan Center brings Waitrose UK Retailer Products to Jordan Kuwait – Being the premier retailer and one of the largest retailers across the Gulf and Middle East, The Sultan Center has been working closely with UK retailer Waitrose as an exclusive distributor for Waitrose own label products in Kuwait and Lebanon. Through their collaboration, TSC and Waitrose have officially extended their 4-year partnership into Jordan giving shoppers access to a variety of new products.

The Sultan Center welcomes customers to experience a wide selection of high quality Waitrose products throughout TSC (Safeway) stores across Jordan. These new products can be found across a variety of categories including grocery, frozen foods, snacks and beverages.
The Group International and Non-Food Commercial Director, Makram Malaeb commented, “Waitrose has a royal warrant to supply groceries to UK’s Royal Family. We are pleased to introduce such a reputable brand to our valuable clients in Jordan where they can shop from an array of items to fulfill their everyday shopping needs. We are committed to giving our customers more choices by offering the best quality, variety, and service which remains the cornerstone of TSC’s proposition”.

Morrisons hires former Tesco executive Gary Mills as group retail director

Morrisons has appointed former Tesco executive Gary Mills as group retail director as new boss David Potts continues to reshape his senior team.

Morrisons hires former Tesco executive Gary Mills as group retail director

Mills, who was formerly in charge of Tesco’s Northern Ireland business, will take up the position on August 1. He replaces Martyn Fletcher, who was among a clutch of five directors that departed the grocer following Potts’ arrival in March.
Morrisons revealed in March that Fletcher was leaving his role alongside group customer marketing and digital director Nick Collard, group property and strategy director Gordon Mowat, group logistics director Neal Austin and convenience managing director Nigel Robertson.
Trading director Casper Meijer and HR director Emily Lawson have also left Morrisons since that flurry of departures, and Potts drafted in former Tesco, Asda and B&Q man Darren Blackhurst as the grocer’s new commercial director.
Tom Richardson has also been hired as meat category director after joining from Coles in Australia.
Mills has 30 years of retail experience. He started his career at Stewarts supermarket in Northern Ireland – the chain that was acquired by Tesco in 1997.
He went on to hold a host of senior positions with the supermarket giant, including retail director for convenience and retail director for the North and Northern Ireland. Mills left Tesco earlier this year as part of a restructuring programme under chief executive Dave Lewis.
Potts said: “We are making good progress in shaping a Morrisons team that will listen to and work hard for customers. I am looking forward to working with a highly capable team that is a combination of home-grown talent and experienced professionals.” 


John Lewis to launch new in store spa concept

John Lewis is to launch a brand new in store beauty spa concept called &Beauty.

To be launched at the retailer’s new multi-million pound Birmingham shop when it opens on 24 September, the new John Lewis branded venture will provide a range of salon services and spa treatments.
Customers will be offered a choice of more than 100 treatments with trained stylists and therapists across hair, beauty and spa ranges. This will include express treatments such as manicures, blow dries, pedicures and waxing, to more lengthy services such as facials, massages and hair colour.
The new concept is the latest step in the retailer’s plans to expand the services and experiences within its shops. The announcement follows the success of smaller Beauty Retreats in four John Lewis shops which host a collection of beauty brands, each with their own treatment room.
Paula Nickolds, buying and brand director at John Lewis said: “We know that today shoppers want more than just products when they walk through our shop doors; they also want a space where they can enjoy new experiences and relax with friends and family. We always strive to offer our customers an exciting and inspiring shopping experience and today’s announcement builds on this ambition.
“Our existing beauty and spa offers have been really successful and we wanted to find a way to take these to the next level. We are confident our customers will agree that this is achieved through &Beauty and believe that it will appeal to customers wanting to pop in for a manicure right through to those who want to spend a whole afternoon treating themselves. Birmingham will be our most innovative shop to date and we’re looking forward to revealing our new spa concept when it opens in September.”
Customers will be able to book appointments in store, online and over the phone from mid-September. 


Marks & Spencer triggers local anger after confirming store closures

Marks & Spencer has sparked uproar in local communities by confirming it will close nine shops across the UK, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
The closures include stores in Birmingham, London and Wales and are a result of M&S attempting to modernise its store estate as shoppers switch their spending online.
On Wednesday, the retailer said 430 workers would be affected, but that they would be offered jobs at nearby M&S stores.
The closures are the latest in a collection announced by high-profile British retailers. Tesco said in January it would be closing 43 stores, while Morrisons is shutting 23 stores and one in four Homebase shops are closing too.
M&S will close three traditional food and clothing shops, one Simply Food store, and five Outlet stores that sell end-of-season clothing.
The Outlet stores are in Walsall, Aldershot, Pontypridd in Wales, Hounslow in west London, and Royal Quays in North Shields. The three full-line stores are in Stevenage, Wood Green in north London, and The Fort shopping park in Castle Bromwich near Birmingham, while the Simply Food shop is in Shirley, also near Birmingham.
Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington, said the closures near Birmingham were “a blow to the local economy and its employees”.
More than 11,000 people have signed a petition in Aldershot since M&S revealed in June that it was considering closing the store in the Hampshire town. The company also faced questions about the store at its annual meeting last month and “Save our M&S” banners appeared across the area.
M&S has been in Aldershot since 1922 and at its present location since 1927. The closure will leave Athe town without an M&S. The local council said the decision was a “bolt from the blue”.
The retailer has 852 shops in the UK, including 302 traditional clothing and food stores, 46 Outlet stores, and 504 Simply Foods. This is far more than its rivals. John Lewis, for example, has 44 stores in Britain.
M&S is attempting to adapt its collection of stores to cope with the rise in online sales and a slowdown in clothing sales.
Marc Bolland, its chief executive, has warned that M&S would not open any extra space to sell clothing in the UK, meaning that new openings in Longbridge in the West Midlands and Charlton in south London are being offset by closures.
However, the growth of M&S’s food sales means it has committed to opening 250 new Simply Food stores by 2017.
M&S said the closure of the Outlet stores was linked to the company managing its stock levels more efficiently. This meant those stores had less to sell.
Hugo Adams, director of property at M&S, said: “We are managing our store estate to ensure it is fit for the future of M&S and will continue to ensure we are in the best locations to serve our customers. We have a clear property strategy, which involves opening 250 new Simply Food stores and further improving the quality of our general merchandise space.” 


Sainsbury’s sells pharmacy business to rival LloydsPharmacy


 Sainsbury’s has sold its chain of pharmacies to the owner of LloydsPharmacy for £125m.
Celesio, the German drugs wholesaler that owns LloydsPharmacy in the UK, said that it would buy 281 pharmacies in total from the supermarket group.
This includes 277 in-store pharmacies and four Sainsbury’s-branded hospital pharmacies. The grocer said that all of its pharmacies would be rebranded as LloydsPharmacy and 2,500 of the grocer’s staff would be transferred to Celesio.
Sainsbury’s, which this week reclaimed its title of Britain’s second biggest supermarket, said that the deal would allow customers to “benefit from an enhanced pharmacy service delivered from Sainsbury’s stores”.
Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “Pharmacy services are incredibly popular with Sainsbury’s customers and we are delighted to be teaming up with LloydsPharmacy to develop our offer.
“Working together with a specialist operator like LloydsPharmacy will enable us to grow and extend our pharmacy services to customers, whilst realising value for shareholders today from the pharmacy business we have grown organically over the last 20 years.”
Earlier this month Mr Coupe said that he would “reinvent” the supermarket and make its store space work harder.

Lloyds has more than 1,600 stores in the UK
Lloyds is the second biggest pharmacy chain in the UK after Alliance Boots with more than 1,600 stores.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with Sainsbury’s and look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to the LloydsPharmacy and Celesio family,” said Marc Owen, chairman of the management board of Celesio.
“This is a very important milestone for us as we continue to invest in LloydsPharmacy and our collaboration with Sainsbury’s will help to improve the health and wellness of our mutual customers.”
Lloyds missed out last year on the Co-operative Group’s sale of 700 pharmacies to private cash-and-carry business Bestway. Lloyds had battled it out with private equity firm Carlyle, the owner of the RAC, to clinch a deal but lost out in a £620m deal to Bestway, which is run by Asian tycoon Sir Anwar Pervez.
It is understood that Sainsbury’s received a number of expressions of interest from other buyers but Lloyds was the highest bidder.

Lloyds failed in a bidding war last year for the Co-op’s pharmacies
It was thought at the time that the Co-op opted to sell the chain of pharmacies to Bestway to avoid inevitable job cuts that would come with selling to a rival or hitting regulatory hurdles.
Sainsbury’s sale of pharmacies to Lloyds will also need regulatory approval and is expected to complete next February.
LLoyds also competes with Superdrug, which has pharmacies in roughly one in four of its 800 stores and Rowlands, which owns more than 500 chemists.
US drugs wholesaler McKesson bought Celesio in a $8.6n deal despite its original proposal being rejected by Elliott Associates, the activist hedge fund.

Pick n Pay plans new stores and jobs

PICK n Pay plans to employ 5,000 people a year as it opens new stores in Africa’s most advanced economy, the retailer said on Monday.
Pick n Pay, which opened about 100 grocery stores last year despite subdued retail sales and gross domestic product growth of 2%, is aiming for “a bit more this year”, CE Richard Brasher said.
Pick n Pay employs about 36,000 staff.
“Most of these jobs will be in our new stores,” Mr Brasher, a former UK head of Tesco, told Reuters.
Bigger rival, and market leader, Shoprite said in February it had employed almost 7,000 more people in the six months through December in several new outlets.
Shoprite also said it plans to open 91 new supermarkets in SA in the next 18 months.
Pick n Pay has lost ground to Shoprite and other rivals in the last few years after failing to invest in new stores and paying out much of its profit as dividends.
Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said the retail sector was still employing people while the rest of the economy was feeling the crunch, reflecting the length of time it takes to build and open stores.
“You will start to see losses as expansion continues and the market reaches saturation,” he said, adding that the smaller, independent retailers will suffer first.
SA’s government is desperate to create jobs in a nation where the unemployment rate stands at about 25%.
Mining firms Lonmin and Kumba Iron Ore warned last week that thousands of jobs could be shed as commodity prices hover around their lowest levels this decade.
Steelmaker Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium said last week it had halted its operations in the country, while ArcelorMittal SA has asked the government to raise duties on cheap steel imports from China or risk the closure of a plant that employs 11,000 people.

Tesco shelves 62 planned stores in UK

Tesco will not proceed with the development of 62 planned stores in the UK in order to cut down on costs.
The move comes after the retailer posted £6.38bn in losses last year.
According to figures compliled by Barbour ABI exclusively for The Telegraph, the number of stores being slammed is three times as many new supermarket sites as all of its Big Four rivals including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda put together over the last five years.
ABI economist Michael Dall said: “It is indicative of the wider issues within Tesco that they are retrenching from some of their expansion plans.”
Sainsbury’s has abandoned 13 supermarket sites; Morrisons four; and Asda two during the same period.
“The Big Four have an advantage because of their size already, but as they shelve stores it provides an opportunity for Aldi and Lidl to move into new areas while they concentrate on other parts of the business,” Dall added.
Meanwhile, German discounters Aldi and Lidl have submitted applications to build 428 new stores in total and have abandoned four stores as they carry on expanding.
In January, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis originally said that the retailer would abandon 49 stores, as part of restructuring.
Lewis had also said that Tesco will close 43 loss-making stores, putting close to 2,000 jobs at risk.

Virgin Megastore opens first outlet in Al Ain

Virgin Megastore, a global leader in retail entertainment, has opened its first store in Al Ain at Al Jimi Mall, a leading shopping and leisure destination.

The 400-sq-m location offers a wide array of merchandise, the same large selection available at most of the retailing chain’s other locations in the country.
The first Virgin Megastore to open in the Arab world was in the United Arab Emirates. Although only the first in Al Ain, the location at Al Jimi Mall is the 13th store in the country.
The stores house a variety of products from music, videos and electronics to books and toys. Virgin Tickets are also sold at the stores for popular music, sports and arts events/concerts in the United Arab Emirates. – TradeArabia News Service

Gucci opens in Shanghai its very first restaurant

After the cafe at its museum in Florence, the cafe / lounge at its flagship store in Seoul and the bar at its men’s store in Milan (Brera District) Italian luxury brand Gucci has recently opened in Shanghai its first restaurant.
The Shanghai restaurant that opened this week is named 1921 for the year the Italian fashion house was founded, and it is located in the IAPM luxury shopping center in Shanghai. Guests can only access it by means of an elevator from the Gucci store in the mall. Once inside, diners are surrounded by velvet, pillows, and other Gucci branded elements like the silverware, napkins, and menus.
The menu is reportedly primarily Italian, with a two-course lunch menu running approximately 150 yuan, or $24 per person. The prix fix dinner reportedly runs twice that price.
Gucci is a late comer to the luxury fashion themed dining business after several other luxury brand already operate such themed restaurants, some in more than one destination: Ralph Lauren (Paris, New York), Burberry (London), Armani (Milan, Dubai), Bvlgari (London, Milan, Bali), Dsquared2 (Milan), Roberto Cavalli (Miami, Milan) and Dolce & Gabbana (Milan).

Lucy Choi to launch first UK store

Shoe designer Lucy Choi has chosen London’s Connaught Street as the location for her first standalone boutique.
Situated in the retail and restaurant quarter of the Church Commissioners’ Hyde Park Estate, the store was once occupied by her uncle, the world famous shoe designer Jimmy Choo.
Choi said the store will meet increasing demand from customers for a boutique where they can browse, try on and purchase from the full collection. The designer was also keen to offer international customers a store where they could shop when in London.
Choi said: “Our first boutique represents an exciting new landmark and is the culmination of my vision to have my own store. Connaught Village is one of the most special places in London for me and I spent a considerable amount of time seeking just the right location, as I wanted to create a beautiful, calming environment and an inspiring space for our customers to shop in.”
Lucy Choi London has 80 stockists in the UK and is sold internationally at Harvey Nichols Dubai and Hong Kong and Saks Fifth Avenue Dubai. Fans include the likes of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Millie Mackintosh, Mollie King, and Annabel Croft.  
The shop will launch with the label’s AW15 collection when it opens its doors on 18 September.
Rosemarie Jones, deputy surveyor at the Church Commissioners, said: “We are building something really special at Connaught Village. The latest signings show the success of our targeted tenant strategy in attracting leading independent brands with unique offers in the fashion, design and food and beverage sectors.”

Hackett unveils Bluewater store

Hackett London has launched a store at Bluewater shopping centre. The store marks Hackett’s debut in the south east and is only the second standalone store outside London. 

The store is situated on the lower Guildhall, adjacent to House of Fraser, Russell & Bromley, Jack Wills and Tommy Hilfiger. The design concept sees the brand introducing new sleek and modern elements such as a new glass and steel shelving system and glass fixtures to create a modern and spacious feel to the store. 

Jeremy Hackett, chairman of Hackett London, says: ‘Launching a store at Bluewater is a great opportunity for the brand as we have a significant following in the region, and is in line with our approach of opening stores in key cities throughout the world. Our position on the Guildhall puts us amongst many like-minded brands and we are delighted to have opened.’ 
Hackett joins other key international brands, such as American Eagle Outfitters, adidas and Le Creuset, in creating statement stores at Bluewater in the last 12 months. The news also follows an 8.6 per cent increase in year-to-date menswear sales.


Amazon shares surge on surprise quarterly profit

Online giant Amazon’s shares have closed 9.8% higher after it posted an unexpected profit on Thursday.
The online retailer reported a $92m profit for the three months to 30 June, surprising investors who had expected another loss. Sales rose by 20% to almost $23.2bn.
The results sent shares in Amazon up 9.8% to $529.42, making it worth $246.5bn.
The company’s stock has risen by 78% since the start of the year.
Amazon has not often reported a profit and last did so for the fourth quarter of 2014.
Instead, the 20-year old Seattle-based company has reinvested profits in a bid to improve the delivery infrastructure at the heart of its business.
Analysts said the results showed the firm’s investment in its own business was finally beginning to pay off.
‘Magical trend’
Revenue from its cloud operations – Amazon Web Services – nearly doubled in the second quarter, which analysts said showed the firm was now well positioned to grow.
Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler said the fact it was increasing revenue and margins – the amount of money it makes after costs – was a “magical trend” that was being “rightfully rewarded”.
“After questioning the investment rationale for years, Amazon is seeing the fruits of its labours in both revenue growth and operating margin,” he wrote in a note to clients.
Barclays analyst Paul Vogel said it was now optimistic rather than cautious on the company’s growth prospects.

“The scale of their distribution network is starting to generate better incremental margins,” he added.
Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky told investors that the trend would continue as the company would continue to invest in “things that we think are big and important” while keeping costs under control.

Hackett unveils Bluewater store

Hackett London has launched a store at Bluewater shopping centre. The store marks Hackett’s debut in the south east and is only the second standalone store outside London. 

The store is situated on the lower Guildhall, adjacent to House of Fraser, Russell & Bromley, Jack Wills and Tommy Hilfiger. The design concept sees the brand introducing new sleek and modern elements such as a new glass and steel shelving system and glass fixtures to create a modern and spacious feel to the store

Jeremy Hackett, chairman of Hackett London, says: ‘Launching a store at Bluewater is a great opportunity for the brand as we have a significant following in the region, and is in line with our approach of opening stores in key cities throughout the world. Our position on the Guildhall puts us amongst many like-minded brands and we are delighted to have opened.’ 
Hackett joins other key international brands, such as American Eagle Outfitters, adidas and Le Creuset, in creating statement stores at Bluewater in the last 12 months. The news also follows an 8.6 per cent increase in year-to-date menswear sales.

Sunday trading review continues the Government’s devolution drive

Sunday trading review continues the Government’s devolution drive
In his Emergency Budget this month, Chancellor George Osborne announced a consultation on the expansion of the Sunday trading laws, in what the Treasury has called “the biggest shake-up of Sunday trading laws since the 1990s”… By Gavin Matthews, head of retail at Bond Dickinson.
Under current laws, large stores (over 3,000sq ft) in England and Wales can open for a maximum of six hours on a Sunday, with certain exemptions such as shops at airports and railways stations. There are, however, no restrictions on Sunday trading hours north of the border in Scotland.
The rules in the rest of the UK were suspended during the London Olympics in 2012 and while the Prime Minister had stated that this was not to be viewed as a step towards broader reform, the reported surge in sales has kept the topic alive.
Mr Osborne wants to implement devolved powers to allow mayors and local councils the ability to determine the hours traders in their areas can remain open for. While the plans are designed to promote jobs and growth in the economy, there is by no means a consensus in the industry on the change.
Critics of the plans have expressed fears that Sunday opening hours could harm smaller independent shops who could find themselves competing against chain stores seven days a week.
The shopworkers’ union Usdaw is also hostile, saying that devolving powers to vary shop opening times to local authorities and elected mayors is deregulation by the back door. John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary, claimed that extended Sunday trading is not good for business, as it spreads the same customer spend over a longer period. He also expressed the view that it isn’t good for staff wellbeing, as retail employees want to keep Sunday as the day on which they can spend quality time with their family.
On the other side of the debate is the suggestion that consumers will welcome the potential increase in choice. Recent data from Visa Europe shows that between 2010 and 2014 face-to-face spending has grown by 50% on Sundays, more than any other day of the week apart from Thursday, which has also grown by 50%. This is backed up by a recent Comres poll for the campaign group Open Sundays which revealed that more than two thirds of people (72%) believed that they should be able to shop whenever is convenient to them.
The Chancellor set out his economic case, citing research by the New West End Company, which promotes one of the British capital’s key shopping districts and estimates that extending Sunday trading by two hours in London alone would generate 3,000 new jobs and more than 200 million pounds a year in extra income. A separate study cited by The Economist found that simply by extending flexibility to shops over their opening window, from 9am to 7pm, could generate £15 billion over the next 20 years.
From the perspective of retailers, some feel that they lose sales to other businesses that are allowed to operate on Sundays, such as cafes, restaurants and cinemas.
Those high street retailers who frequently lament the impact that online shopping has had on business are likely to welcome changes that would drawing more people to the checkout tills.
However, even those retailers in favour of longer Sunday opening hours are likely to be concerned about the inconsistency in approach that may follow when the power to decide opening hours falls on local councils.
What is encouraging is that the Government is not going to be forcing changes on local communities. If the changes are to be made, it will be down to local authorities to decide on what is best for their community. While some will criticise this as inconsistency, others will point to the move as localism in action.

AmazonFresh Expands to the U.K.

While several U.S. cities have yet to reap the benefits of AmazonFresh, several reports are indicating the grocery delivery service will begin expanding overseas to the U.K. as early as September of this year.
The Times of London reports that plans for AmazonFresh are in an “advanced stage.”
Re/code reports that upon entering the U.K., it will encounter a competitive grocery delivery market that is more mature than the U.S. Retail research firm IGD estimates that in the U.K. online gales make up 5% of grocery sales and ordering online pick-up in store is popular. In the U.S., online grocery sales account for less than 1% of the market.
An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider “we do not comment on rumor or speculation,” and told The Times of London that “we will remain thoughtful and methodical in our approach to expanding Amazon Fresh.”

Superdrug to launch its online delivery service in Ireland

Superdrug is poised to launch international shipping from its ecommerce platform, with Ireland the first country set to benefit from the service.
Superdrug to launch its online delivery service in Ireland

From next Wednesday customers in Ireland will be able to shop online at and place orders to be delivered directly to their homes or to one of five Superdrug stores in the country. It marks the first time the health and beauty retailer has offered shipping outside the UK.
Superdrug dubbed the move the “next step” in its Customer 360 multichannel strategy. It follows last year’s investment into a new ecommerce platform and logistics network.
Superdrug said Irish customers will also be able to become members of its rebranded Health & Beautycard, allowing them to qualify for the retailer’s promotions and offers.  
Superdrug marketing director Matt Walburn said: “While we’ve been serving customers in Ireland through our stores for years we’ve never had the ability to offer delivery or an order-and-collect service.
“This move will help us to offer even more customers the best deals and the latest health and beauty products. 
“We opened our first store in Ireland almost a decade ago so we are delighted that this is the first place we’re going to launch international delivery.”

Woolworths to offload two David Jones sites to invest elsewhere

Almost a year after outlaying AUD2.1 billion (USD1.56b) for David Jones, South African retailer Woolworths is preparing to sell two of its landmark central business district stores to fund hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in IT systems, stores and new food venues – reversing years of underinvestment at Australia’s oldest department store.

Woolworths chief executive and David Jones chairman Ian Moir has confirmed that David Jones was close to making a decision to sell one of its two Sydney CBD stores and one of its two Melbourne stores in deals which could raise almost AUD400 million.
The proceeds would be invested into new financial, merchandise and customer relationship management systems, a new customer loyalty and financial services program, store refurbishments, improved visual merchandising and overhauling David Jones’ four ageing food halls – lifting Woolworths’ investment in David Jones to more than AUD2.5 billion over the next few years.

Harvey Nichols drops Azerbaijan store after split with business partner

Harvey Nichols has pulled out of its first store in Azerbaijan just four months after opening in the oil-rich state widely criticised for human rights abuses.
The seven-floor store in Baku’s Globus Plaza no longer runs under the upmarket department store’s name after a split with licence partner Perfomans, part of a local investment company.
A statement said: “Harvey Nichols has terminated its licence agreement with the operator of the Baku store. Consequently, the Baku store no longer operates under the Harvey Nichols brand.” The retailer said it could not comment further for legal reasons.
The Baku outlet was the department store’s eighth overseas venture, joining others in Turkey, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai. The 110,000 sq ft store was Harvey Nichols’ largest outside London, offering stylists, personal shoppers, restaurants, a beauty hall and more than 500 international designer brands.
At the time of the opening, Harvey Nichols’ chief executive, Stacey Cartwright, said: “This market is fast becoming one of the top luxury retail destinations in the world and we are excited to offer the ultimate in luxury shopping and hospitality to the discerning customer in Baku.”
But trade journal Retail Week reported that Harvey Nichols began moves to exit the store within weeks of opening.
Azerbaijan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, houses a fast-growing market for luxury goods, with Baku home to stores for brands including Dior, Burberry, Armani and Valentino.
Last month the country played host to the inaugural European Games, organised by the European Olympic committee amid protests from human rights organisations over locking up journalists and activists in the buildup.
Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, who inherited his job from his father, a former KGB general, invested a reported £6.5bn in sports venues and infrastructure for the games, but the human rights group Index on Censorship has accused him of using the event to “whitewash” the country’s reputation in the wake of a crackdown on freedom of speech.
Harvey Nichols’ exit from the country comes as it prepares to open a new store in Birmingham on Friday. The 45,000 sq ft store, in the Mailbox shopping centre, is about twice the size of the retailer’s previous Birmingham outlet.

Ben Sherman bought for £40.8m 

In its latest ownership change, ailing retailer Ben Sherman has been acquired by US private equity backed Marquee Brands for the sum of £40.8m.
Marquee Brands insists that the loss-making men’s fashion business has potential.
“We are particularly excited about this transaction as Ben Sherman is consistent with our mission to acquire high quality brands with substantial global growth potential,” said Michael DeVirgilio, President of Marquee Brands. “The current management team under Oxford’s leadership has done a great job building on the core essence of the brand. We’ve received supportive messages from retailers across the globe that share our view of the growth opportunity ahead.” Ben Sherman, which was established in 1963, is the second investment for Marquee Brands this year, following its acquisition of Italian luxury brand Bruno Magli in February. Both brands represent what Marquee Brands referred to as “a glowing portfolio of relevant, storied brands with rich history and a global footprint.”
“Ben Sherman remains a uniquely classic British brand with a loyal following across five continents and a smartness that’s ageless. Its heritage, style and authenticity fits perfectly within Marquee’s growing portfolio,” stated Cory M. Baker, Chief Operating Officer of Marquee Brands. “Our plans to market and promote the brand across various lifestyle categories are well underway with new products and expanded retail coming to market as early as first quarter, 2016.” 


UAE named world’s eighth best retail destination

UAE named world’s eighth best retail destination

The UAE has been ranked the eighth best retail market in the world and the number one in the Middle East in a new index produced by Arcadis.
The Retail Operation Index said retailers in the UAE benefit from a strong quality of infrastructure and a robust economic environment.
The UAE also ranked strongly for the quality of transportation and ease of getting up-and-running, which is holding many other countries in the region back, Arcadis said.
Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, Japan and the UK were named as the world’s top five retail hubs. Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, along with the UAE, rounded out the top 10, according to Arcadis.
The index ranks 50 international markets according to the five key factors which include infrastructure quality, consumer demand and ease of establishing a business in the first instance.
Based on the findings, much of the UAE retail is driven by the tourist industry that further boomed in 2014 and a high calibre infrastructure in the country.
“The strategic location and physical presence of a store will continue to help successful retailers in the UAE make the greatest use of their store portfolios and brand marketing to attract customers,” said Christopher Seymour, head of Middle East Markets at Arcadis.
“The quality of transportation such as roads and metros is a key factor contributing to a retailer’s success as the growing young population and increased number of expats and tourists make the decision to shop based on their accessibility from direct metro links to shopping malls.”
Arcadis forecast that the healthy performance will continue as consumer confidence will be boosted as a result of economic stability, which will in turn lead to more spending, higher employment and increased numbers of expats and tourists.
Its report also said retailers are seeing enhancements in prevalence of foreign ownership, trade freedom and logistics performance across the UAE market, creating a more stable base for operations.
Seymour added: “For retailers with international aspirations, weighing up where, how and when to expand into a new region, country or city is critical if they are to stay ahead of the competition and meet their business objectives. Retailers entering or optimising portfolios in the UAE need to be aware of the demographics and market demands and tailor their portfolios accordingly.”
Elsewhere in the region, Qatar and Saudi Arabia ranked in the second quartile, reflective of their lower ease of doing business rating and comparably less developed infrastructure.
This is largely due to challenges associated with the current infrastructure programs taking place throughout the cities, as well as restrictions in regulations impacting those operating within the country, Arcadis said. 


Superdrug offers discounts as part of ‘Loved By You’ campaign

Superdrug is offering discounts on some of its most popular products for the next two weeks after asking customers to vote for their favourite brands.

  Superdrug offers discounts as part of ‘Loved By You’ campaign

The ‘Loved By You’ campaign saw around 8,000 of the retailer’s loyalty card customers vote for their preferred products. Brands on offer include Olay Total Effect Day Cream, Paco Rabanne Lady Million and Lynx Body Spray.
The campaign runs in Superdrug’s stores nationwide until July 28 and on its website.
Superdrug marketing director Matt Walburn said: “Our customers’ views are highly important to us and we strive to offer them the most competitive and innovative products on the high street.”
Last month the retailer, which is owned by Hong Kong health and beauty retail group AS Watson, reported a 31% rise in full-year pre-tax profits off a 5% rise in sales.
It revealed in April plans to open 100 new UK stores over the next three years.

Shoppers angry after Tesco raises minimum spend for deliveries

Shoppers angry after Tesco raises minimum spend for deliveries
Tesco has angered customers by announcing that it plans to increase its minimum spend for deliveries on online orders from £25 to £40.
Any order under this limit, which applies to all orders placed after 23 July, will be subject to a £4 surcharge on top of the existing delivery charge, which ranges from £1 to £6 depending on when the goods are delivered.
The increase also affects those signed up to Tesco’s Delivery Saver scheme – where customers pay upfront for unlimited, discounted delivery for a set period of time..
The supermarket giant emailed customers on Thursday to inform them of the change.
On Twitter, shopper @BaronGraham said: ”Tesco new Delivery Saver – min. basket @£25 because too many people ordering Tesco have changed to min £40 – disgusted have cancelled!”
Another shopper, @emma_cossey said: “Email from Tesco saying minimum orders for ‘valued Delivery Saver customers’ has gone from £25 to £40. Looks like I’m no longer a customer.”
Tesco would not tell us how many shoppers are currently signed up to the Delivery Saver scheme.
It said customers who are unhappy with the changecould cancel and get a refund on any remaining months they have paid for, by calling Tesco customer services on 0800 323 4048.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re changing the minimum basket spend when you shop online for your groceries to £40. Customers will still be able to benefit from a range of offers, including our Delivery Saver scheme, £1 one hour delivery slots and our free Click & Collect grocery service.”
The increase follows a similar move by its supermarket rival Asda in January this year when it upped its minimum spend from £25 to £40. Currently Sainsbury’s shoppers must spend £40 to get free delivery, including those using its delivery pass, while Waitrose customers need to spend £60 for deliveries or £40 to collect their shopping in-store without paying a charge.
Separately, Tesco also confirmed the end of its Fuel Save scheme, which offers customers up to 20p off the price of a litre of petrol, after just 16 months.
The scheme, which will not be extended or replaced, gives Clubcard holders 2p off a litre of petrol for every £50 they spend in-store, up to a maximum of 20p.
When Fuel Save launched in March 2014 the supermarket giant heralded it as being “unlike other fuel promotions, which are generally short-term and involve a one-off minimum spend”.
Customers will have until 31 August to collect vouchers, and these will need to be redeemed by September 30.
The supermarket said that while the scheme has been popular, many customers would prefer to see savings on their shopping instead and it now plans to focus on cutting prices in-store.
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “Clubcard Fuel Save has been really popular with customers, helping them to save money when fuel prices were historically high. Customers are now telling us they want simpler, more direct benefits from shopping with Tesco so that’s what we will deliver.”
On Thursday, Tesco, along with rivals Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, announced it was cutting 2p off the price of diesel.
The RAC revealed last week that, throughout the whole of June, the wholesale price of diesel was between 1p to 3p cheaper than petrol, yet a litre of diesel typically costs motorists 120p compared to 117p for unleaded petrol.

Sainsbury’s facing legal action over unequal pay


Four female shopfloor workers have more than threated Sainsbury’s with legal action, claiming that they are paid less than men to do equally valuable jobs at the supermarket chain.
The case resonates with one Asda faced towards the end of last year and still hasn’t settled.
According to The Guardian, law firm Leigh Day, which is leading both cases, said it believed the Sainsbury’s action could be joined by thousands more female shopfloor staff.
The women from Sainsbury’s, three working in the Shrewsbury area and one in Fareham, Hampshire, were among nearly 20,000 people who contacted Leigh Day after reading about the Asda case. 
Both cases are being determined by the answer to a controversial question: Are supermarket shopfloor jobs, which are mostly held by female workers, of equal value to higher-paid jobs in male-dominated distribution centres?
If the Sainsbury’s workers win, it is likely they will be compensated with six years’ back pay for the difference in earnings.
The Big Four grocer said: “We are aware of a very small number of claims in this case. We pride ourselves on being a fair employer and do not recognise discrimination of any kind in our business.”

Connection Finance boss steps down

Adam Castleton has finally grown tired of looking at French Connection’s balance sheet. The British fashion retailer’s Finance Director is to step down after two years, having accepted an offer at LSL Property Services.

His departure date is yet to be confirmed but a search for his replacement is currently underway.
Castleton joined French Connection in August 2013 from telecommunications firm O2, where he also served as finance director of the business division. He has also served as the acting chief financial officer of O2 UK.
He started his career with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in 1989 and previously spent 25 years working in senior finance roles at international businesses including The Walt Disney Company, eBay, Polo Ralph Lauren and
The upmarket company has been struggling in recent years and has warned that its next set of financial results will be below par despite ailing attempts to breathe new life into its product lines. 

Primark sales flatten


Overall sales at Primark were flat in the 16 weeks to June 20, but the UK continued to deliver a “positive” like-for-like performance despite claims that currency movements could affect next year’s results.
Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF), reported that sales for the 40 weeks to June 20 were 13% ahead of last year on a constant currency basis.
The value fashion giant’s strong sales rise were reportedly driven by an increase in selling space by 0.6m sq ft equating to 8% as well as “very high sales densities in stores opened within the last year”.
But due to a weakening of the euro against sterling, the actual exchange rate increased sales to 9%.
ABF, which operates other businesses including Twinings and British Sugar, cautioned: “The impact of currency on results for the next financial year will be more significant than this year and arises from transactional currency exposures, primarily in British Sugar and Primark.”
ABF said: “Primark sources much of its merchandise in dollars and as already indicated, the US dollar’s strength, particularly against the euro, will have an adverse effect on margins in the new financial year. 
“However, as anticipated, a good proportion of the impact has been successfully mitigated by our buying teams as they firm up orders for next year.”
Primark’s European expansion will continue with the opening of up to three stores in Italy, the first of which is planned to open in early summer 2016 in a new shopping centre in Arese, northwest of Milan.
In September this year Primark will launch in the US. 

Nine West shoe store owner files for bankruptcy protection


TORONTO – Shoe distributor Sherson Group Inc., which operates Nine West retail stores in Canada, has filed for bankruptcy protection with the Ontario Superior Court.
Court documents say the Toronto-based company owes $32.2 million to more than 60 different suppliers, lenders and other businesses.
Included on the list is $4.7 million owed to the Bank of Montreal for certain loans and $19.1 million to Nine West Group Inc., the New York-based company which licences its name to Sherson Group.
The documents also say BDC Capital, a subsidiary of the Business Development Bank of Canada, is owed $3 million.
Sherson Group operates at least 47 Nine West locations in Canada, and owns Canadian licences for brands like Anne Klein, Bandolino, Charles David, Easy Spirit and Enzo Angiolini.
The company’s website says about 500 employees work across its wholesale and retail operations.
The move comes as the country’s retail industry faces a steep decline in the value of the Canadian dollar and seismic shifts in competition, with longtime domestic retailers like Jacob, Bikini Village, Mexx Canada and Smart Set facing severe financial problems or bankruptcy.
Earlier this year, discount retailer Target Corp. exited Canada while retailers are facing an extra squeeze from the emergence of high-end U.S. department store Nordstrom and plans to open Saks Fifth Avenue stores and Saks Off Fifth discount outlets.
Representatives at Richter Advisory Group, which is the trustee for the Sherson Group filing process, were not immediately available for comment.

Tiffany opens new boutique at Selfridges London

American luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. has recently opened a new boutique in London at Selfridges department store on Oxford Street. Tiffany’s new boutique covers a space of 220-square-meter and features a Private Selling Room and a dedicated Bridal Salon where customers can sip champagne while browsing Tiffany jewelry designs.

To mark the new opening Tiffany also unveiled an immersive installation entitled ‘Fifth & 57th’ at the Old Selfridges Hotel, Orchard Street, London, open to the public from 3 July to 12 July. Recreating the brand’s magical Fifth Avenue world, visitors can enter the installation through the doors of a subway car and stroll a version of Fifth Avenue, ending up at a recreation of the flagship’s storefront. 



Multi-million pound regional flagship shop to open its doors on Thursday 24 September 2015
LONDON, 2015-7-6 — /EPR Retail News/ — John Lewis has announced today that its new regional flagship shop in Birmingham will open its doors to customers at 10am on Thursday 24 September 2015.

The date marks the completion of the 250,000 sq ft department store, a £35 million investment by John Lewis in the city, which will see the retailer reveal a number of brand new retail experiences across its fashion, beauty and home departments.
John Lewis Birmingham will be the anchor tenant of the new Grand Central retail development. Customers will be able to shop more than 350,000 products from the retailer’s full range, including the latest fashion, furniture, homewares, beauty and technology, in a landmark four-storey building in the heart of the city.
Alongside the retailer’s Place To Eat cafe customers will also have the choice of dining at the shop’s Joe & the Juice. Computer terminals will be available throughout the department store to enable customers to browse and purchase products from the range for next day delivery.
Lisa Williams, Head of Branch at John Lewis Birmingham, said: ‘It is so exciting to be able to announce the opening date of our regional flagship shop. I can’t wait to meet my team of Partners (staff) and start welcoming customers through the doors to what will be our most innovative shop to date.
‘We’ve been so grateful for the support from the community since we announced our plans to open the new shop, and we can’t wait to bring the best John Lewis has to offer to Birmingham on the 24 September.’
Housed in the newly-redeveloped New Street Station, the shop will be one of the most conveniently located department stores in the country. Its station site also ensures that it is ideally located for commuters to collect purchases via’s Click and Collect service when going to and from the station.
Opening hours for the shop will be 9am-8pm Monday-Saturday, and 11am-5pm Sunday with 10:30-11am browsing time.
Notes to editors
The John Lewis Partnership – The John Lewis Partnership operates 44 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores, 11 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2),, 339 Waitrose shops, and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £10bn. It is the UK’s largest example of worker co-ownership where all 93,800 staff are Partners in the business.
John Lewis – John Lewis operates 44 John Lewis shops across the UK (31 department stores, 11 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK’s largest example of worker co-ownership and all 30,000 John Lewis staff are Partners in the business. John Lewis, ‘Best Clothing Retailer 2015′ , ‘Best Electricals Retailer 2015′ and ‘Best Homewares Retailer 2015’¹, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. stocks over 280,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products – home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover – delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

Damac in London tie-up with fashion label Versace

Damac Properties is believed to be in advanced talks with Italian fashion house Versace over a branding partnership at the developer’s first UK residential scheme.


Damac is developing the 50-storey ‘Jenga’ tower in Vauxhall, south-west London, which it bought from McLaren Properties and Citygrove for a reported £600 million ($930 million) in April.
According to Property Week magazine, Versace Home will brand and create luxury interiors for the building, which will comprise 450 apartments as well as office and retail units.
Named because of its block-like appearance, the Jenga tower was designed by architects at Kohn Pedersen Fox and sits at 69-71 Bondway in Vauxhall.

It is located in a part of London that is undergoing dramatic redevelopment at present, including the renovation of the iconic Battersea Power Station and the new Nine Elms residential neighbourhood that is being marketed at wealthy Middle Eastern investors.
Damac already has a relationship with Versace Home. The two parties collaborated on Damac’s 28-storey Solidere tower in Beirut and recently completed interiors at the 47-storey Al Jawharah residential tower on the Jeddah Corniche in Saudi Arabia.
However, the deal will be the first of its kind in the UK. Mark Dorman, head of London residential development and investment at estate agency Strutt & Parker, which is marketing much of the development in the Nine Elms area, was quoted as saying: “There are a number of fashion-branded residencies across the globe, such as the Armani Apartments in Dubai, and it is a trend that we are beginning to see in the UK.
“In the medium term, we are more likely to see partnerships with luxury hotel and interior designer brands as they resonate more with the end product and should command a significant premium on prices.”
Damac Properties declined to comment when a spokesperson was contacted by Arabian Business. Versace had yet to respond at the time of publication.

Everything you need to know about the Sunday trading changes

In today’s emergency Budget, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed the government’s plans to press ahead with the first changes to Sunday trading hours in over 20 years.
The change forms part of the Enterprise Bill.

Retailers with physical stores of more than 3,000 sq ft are now freed from laws which prevent them from trading more than six hours on a Sunday. Independent stores and online shops were always free from those laws, however, some feel that smaller retailers could now struggle as the larger stores can enter the playing field.
By devolving power to councils and elected mayor, each local authority can decide whether it would be economically beneficial to lift the current restrictions on supermarkets Sunday trading hours.
Supermarkets could now remain open for longer than the previously capped six hours on a Sunday.
Small store fears:
Once shops closed early on a Sunday, people were only left with the option of shopping at their local convenience stores which can be pricier than their larger retail counterparts – the price of convenience. 
Not only do these smaller retailers stand to lose out to the competition as their customers continue to shop for cheaper prices, this could see the market shift back away from smaller retailers who in recent years have preferred to shop more locally at their convenience.
Phil Mullis, Head of Retail and Wholesale at top-20 accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy, said: “Small scale shops are leading growth on the high street, experiencing an 8.1% rise in sales since 2013, compared to a 2.6% rise from larger retail businesses as people’s shopping habits change.”
The trading hours could create a U-turn in shopper behaviour as consumers choose to shop for longer at the larger stores to benefit from lower prices over the independent convenience stores.”
Broken Promises
The Association of Convenience Stores has heavily criticised plans introduced in the emergency Budget to allow local authorities to decide whether to remove Sunday Trading rules.
James Lowman, CEO of The Association of Convenience Stores thinks that the liberalisation of Sunday trading hours could see smaller shops struggle with the competition. He commented: “We are extremely disappointed that this Government has failed to keep its promise to thousands of independent retailers on Sunday Trading.”
At the end of April this year, the Prime Minister’s office wrote to campaign group Keep Sunday Special, advising them that “we have no current plans to relax the Sunday Trading laws”
The Prime Minister’s office also said that “we believe that the current system provides a reasonable balance between those who wish to see more opportunity to shop in large stores on a Sunday, and those who would like to see further restrictions.”
The Association of Convenience Stores stated that: “ACS will fight this unnecessary, complicated and harmful plan and will campaign throughout the year to ensure that our existing Sunday Trading rules are retained.”
Supermarket trading potential:
Treasury appointed research conducted by the New West End Company suggested that two extra hours of Sunday trading could create nearly 3,000 jobs in the capital.
It said such a move would also generate more than £200m a year in additional sales in London.
Fro September the London Underground will begin to operate some 24 hour services resulting in London becoming a 24 hour city. These changes to Sunday trading hours therefore means that brick-and-mortar retailers will be on a level playing field with ecommerce players.
The Chancellor also said that “the rise of online shopping, which people can do round the clock, also means more retailers want to be able to compete by opening for longer at the weekend,” he added.
High Street shops have been coming under growing pressure from online retailers, which now account for 11% of retail sales overall – rising to 17% in the month before Christmas of last year.
David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson plc said in a statement that he welcomes “the Chancellor’s announcement today setting out plans to extend Sunday trading hours, which will boost the economy and create thousands of new jobs. 
With nearly 2,000 stores across Hammerson’s regional portfolio of UK shopping centres and retail parks, we believe that the relaxation of opening hours will offer retailers more flexibility and give consumers greater power to choose where and when they shop.
The reforms will also bring Britain into line with other international retail markets and address the imbalance between physical and online retailing.”
Emily Thornhill

Step aside Black Friday, meet Prime Day

Next week, on the eve of its 20th birthday, ecommerce giant Amazon is introducing Prime Day: a global shopping event promising to offer more deals than the legendary Black Friday event which started 90 years ago. Prime Day will be exclusive to Prime members in the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria.
On July 15 new and existing members will find deals starting at midnight, with additional deals being rolled out as often as every ten minutes.
Customers will be able to shop thousands of ‘Lightning Deals’, seven popular ‘Deals of the Day’ and receive unlimited fast, free shipping.
Greg Greeley, Vice President Amazon Prime said “Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe. Members tell us every day how much they love Prime and we will keep making it better”.
Greeley continued “If you’re not already a Prime member, you’ll want to join so you don’t miss out on one of the biggest deals extravaganzas in the world.” If you’re not already a Prime member and want to participate in Prime Day, Amazon customers can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime at their website.
After nearly 20 years in the business, Amazon is still a loss-making entity. Prime Day is another one of Amazon’s long-term efforts to attract more customers to Prime, which sees customers spend a lot more with Amazon. The move comes shortly after the e-tailer introduced Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service that’s just become available in some areas of London.

Superdry eyeing entry into China

Supergroup, parent company of Superdry, is said to be closing in on a deal to take its Superdry brand to China. The group is in in talks with a joint venture partner about entering the country, reported The Sunday Times.
Supergroup already amasses over 190 stores in Europe, and in March it took back a distribution licence in America from Sunrise Brands, irritated at a slower-than-wanted rate of store openings.
The China talks come as Supergroup prepares to issue its full-year results on Thursday, where the market expects to see a rise of 12.5% to £485m, while pre-tax profits to stay flat at £62.5m. It will be the first full-year presentation for Euan Sutherland, who took over as CEO last October.
Sutherland’s predecessor Julian Dunkerton outlined his ambitions for expanding the company’s global footprint, spending a growing cashpile on expanding into markets, including China, rather than returning cash to shareholders.
In July 2014 he said: “It’s very important that we are able to deliver the biggest markets for the brand,” but also added that he would proceed with care:
“We will do it, but we have to do it correctly.” 

Apple Pay finally arriving in the UK “on 14 July”

For many British iPhone 6 owners, the excruciating wait for Apple Pay could be nearly over, with rumours suggesting the service will arrive next week on 14 July.
The news, spotted – as ever – by 9to5Mac, comes from Apple retail employees in the UK who have been informed that Apple Pay will go live on that Tuesday. Combine this with a leaked internal memo from Waitrose and another retailer detailing the same date, and the 14 July starts to look likely.
Apple Pay arrives in UK on 14 July

During June’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced that Apple Pay would arrive in the UK this July. While it will initially be capped at the £20 limit that all contactless payments in the UK are restricted to, this will rise to £30 when restrictions are changed in September.
The arrival of Apple Pay in the UK is a big step for Apple, as it now needs to navigate the ins and outs of a more advanced payments market. It’s still unclear whether Pay really is what UK citizens want – contactless cards have taken off, but mobile wallets have largely remained stagnant.

Apple reveals 19% drop in UK retail profits as sales flatline

Apple recorded an 18.6% drop in full-year profits from its UK retail operations last year, after it was hit by wage and rent rises.

  Apple reveals 19% drop in UK retail profits as sales flatline

Full-year pre-tax profits slip 18.6% to £14.7m

Sales flat at £897.6m 

Operating profit falls 17.9% to £15.3m

The group, which has 37 UK stores, revealed a £14.7m UK retail pre-tax profit in the year to the end of September 2014. Sales were flat at £897.6m, according to a Companies House filing.
Operating profits were driven down 18% because of “increased operating expenses” mainly from “increased payroll and rent expenses”.
Total staff costs in the year rose climbed 4.2% to £135m, with wages and salaries accounting for £103.6m. Since September last year, Apple has opened one new UK store.
The retaielr has faced scrutiny over its UK tax affairs and the filing revealed that it paid £7.6m UK corporation tax in the year, a rise of 4.2%.
The European Commission is investigating Apple over its tax affairs and its offshore arrangements in Ireland. Amazon and Starbucks are also being probed as part of the same investigation.

Health-and-beauty chain Clicks South Africa clicks on digital signage for in-store marketing

South African health-and-beauty retail chain Clicks has announced a partnership with South African digital signage solutions company Moving Tactics that entails installing digital signage within the chain’s top 25 stores nationally, as well as marketing the media platform to Clicks’ private-label suppliers and other brand suppliers.


Moving Tactics has installed more than 500 in-store digital signage screens that reach an audience of 2 million customers per month via a bespoke multichannel digital signage network, the company said. The network’s strategic focus is on building a new media platform that will inform and benefit the shopping experience for its customers whilst enhancing the look and feel of its stores.
Moving Tactics’ content management will support Clicks’ promotions strategy to provide customers with the latest on-point seasonal service and product promotions and provide a wide variety of suppliers, large and small, with an equal media voice in-store at point-of-purchase, the companies said.
The Shopper Journey through Clicks’ store environment is initiated and supported by a 65-inch LG commercial display built into the window of each store, providing the potential customer or passer-by with a view of current promotions, supplier advertising and seasonal campaigns. As the customer enters the store they are directed through the beauty department, where Moving Tactics has built four LG 42-inch extended displays in series, which allows content to flow across all four screens specifically for the cosmetic and fragrance brands. In certain stores, four-screen video walls have been installed in the engagement zone to bolster in-store activity alongside any cosmetic or beauty promotions.
Moving further into the store, a group of dual LG 42-inch extended displays have been placed at various FMCG areas in-store, ranging from hair care, baby, appliances, personal care and health. These dual displays work in a similar fashion to the quad extended displays in the beauty department, but are focused on campaigns, promotions and supplier advertising specific to the area.
As customers complete their shopping experience, they proceed to the point-of-sale area, where Moving Tactics once again has utilized the extended dual-screen solution, installing two units per store. One of the capabilities of the first unit is that it incorporates the queue management system, in which the visual prompt has been built into the visuals on the screen. This allows the customers’ attention to be focused on the digital signage and not to be distracted by another solution, the companies said.
“We are focused on providing our Clicks customers with the right message at the right time in the right place so as to make their purchase decisions easier and more effective,” said Hugo van der Westhuizen, Clicks advertising and media sales, in the announcement.
Moving Tactics managing director Chris Day said, “We are very excited to become an innovation partner that not only provides a technology base but also optimizes their in-store marketing and promotions space and leverages off this infrastructure to enhance the customer journey through the store.”

Swatch Group to pay ‘record’ rent for Oxford Street location

Swatch Group to pay ‘record’ rent for Oxford Street location  
Swatch Group have signed a lease for a ‘record rent’ at 411 Oxford Street, property owned by Hong Kong investor group, Circle Group, according to global real estate services Savills, who acted for the landlord during the transaction.
The Swiss watch retailer is set to open its first standalone Longine store in the UK at the 1,000 square foot location, which is located opposite from premium department store Selfridges. For this location, the Swatch Group will pay an annual rent of 535,000 pounds, which is equal to 1,010 pounds for zone A – a record rent for Oxford Street West
“This level of rent sets a new benchmark for Oxford Street at over 1,000 pounds in zone A, which comes as no surprise with brands aggressively competing for the best locations,” commented Anthony Selwyn, head of central London retail at Savills. Sam Foyle, Oxford Street specialist at Savills, added: “The redevelopment of much of the eastern end of the street combined with the key department stores strengthening their offer west of the circus, will ensure, in the short to medium term, continued rental growth.” 

Latest high street discounter Pep & Co opens


Pep & Co, the new value fashion retailer by ex-Asda boss Andy Bond opened its first store in Kettering yesterday.
Nearly 10 years ago Bond created Asda’s fashion line George and according to him, there is still room in the market for another player.
He’s aiming to appeal to yummy mummies with mainstream clothes, and will also stock childrenswear and some homeware. Yesterday’s new store opening attracted a queue of around 100, mostly young mothers accompanied by prams no less.
“This is just one store on one day,” said Adrian Mountford, Pep & Co MD and a former Sainsbury’s and Matalan executive. “So in some ways it doesn’t mean a lot. But it would have meant a lot if there was no one here.”
Bond is embarking on an aggressive store opening programme, which will see an additional 50 stores pop up by the end of August.
“Everyone we talk to wants to call us mad for trying,” said Bond. “But that bloke that said the world was not flat, he was thought a bit mad at the time.”

Dixons Carphone could open 500 stores in the US

  Dixons Carphone, the UK retailer which was created through a merger last year, has announced that its Connected World Services (CWS) division is partnering with American telecoms company Sprint Corporation, to open and manage a significant number of Sprint-branded stores in the US. Sprint has nearly 60m customers.
Initially, the electronics specialist will supply mobile phone retail expertise and proprietary knowledge to Sprint who will open approximately 20 retail stores. If these stores prove to be successful, the parties will progress to a second phase which will involve CWS investing equally with Sprint in a joint venture to support rollout plans of up to 500 stores.
During the second phase, Dixons Carphone will invest up to $32m to obtain a 50% interest in the new venture, and this cash will be used by the business to fund the roll-out and operation of the stores. Dixons Carphone will also provide support across the whole of the Sprint estate as part of a wider know-how sharing arrangement. 
Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Harrison, Dixons Carphone Deputy Group Chief Executive and CEO of the Connected World Services division, said: 
“We are delighted to be working with Sprint and to be a part of a transformation in their business that is already making impressive headway. This is a very exciting venture for us, and is a significant step in growing our CWS business in the US. We bring specialist knowledge and skills to this partnership and will be looking to deliver innovation and outstanding customer service under the Sprint brand.”

Nike founder Phil Knight to step down as chairman


NEW YORK – Phil Knight, who built Nike from a modest US shoe company into a global sports giant and marketing juggernaut, will step down as chairman next year, the company announced on Tuesday…

No departure date was set for Knight, a former track standout at the University of Oregon who launched Nike in 1968 after first selling sneakers out of his car and now has a massive headquarters campus in Portland, Oregon.
“For me, Nike has always been more than just a company – it has been my life’s passion,” Knight said.
Knight, 77, recommended that chief executive Mark Parker succeed him as chairman when he steps down sometime in 2016, the company said.
Nike has grown into a sports marketing behemoth, rivalling the much older German company Adidas. The company’s swoosh logo and “Just Do It” motto are ubiquitous in sports.
Today, Nike sponsors many of the world’s most iconic athletes, including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Rory McIlroy, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Last week, Nike – which was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2013 – reported fiscal 2015 earnings of $3.3 billion on $30.6 billion in revenues.
Forbes magazine puts Knight’s net worth at $24.3 billion.
Knight said he plans to stay involved with Nike, and announced the creation of Swoosh, a limited liability company to hold the majority of his Nike stake.
The 128.5 million Nike shares transferred by Knight to Swoosh equal about 15 percent of outstanding Nike stock.

Knight will have two votes to one for each of the three other Swoosh board members, one of whom will be Parker.
In 2012, Knight was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, in large part for what he brought to the sport on a promotion and marketing level.
Knight signed a groundbreaking deal with Jordan in 1984, the same year Jordan sparked a US college squad to Los Angeles Olympics gold and was taken third by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Draft.
As Jordan displayed amazing talent, his Nike deal turned him into a superstar with marketing at an unprecedented level, including the creation of the Air Jordan shoe that changed the face of sports culture – and street fashion – forever.
Hammering Jordan’s Jumpman image into a logo and brand all its own, the link of star talent and the Nike brand was tight as never before, helping make Nike a force in sports and marketing beyond shoe sales.
Jordan’s talent, which brought Chicago six NBA titles in the 1990s, and Nike’s marketing savvy brought riches and global stardom for both.
Nike followed the same path with Woods in golf and Williams in tennis – and it’s that format that has spawned imitators, among them Under Armour with rising US golf star Jordan Spieth.