Monthly Archives: September 2015

Ralph Lauren is stepping down as CEO of his company

Ralph Lauren has stepped down from his position as CEO of his own company, The New York Times reports.

Lauren will not be entirely absent from his namesake company, though, since he has no plans of leaving.
“When they start designing things I can’t understand, I’ll quit,” Lauren said to The Times. “But I don’t feel like I’m stepping back now.”
Stefan Larsson, currently the global vice president of Old Navy, has the lofty task of filling Lauren’s shoes.
But Larsson is rather accomplished. He worked with Old Navy throughout its massive resurgence. He will officially leave his post at Old Navy October 2, according to a release.
Additionally, Lauren told The Times that he plans to work together with Larsson, calling their working relationship “a partnership.”
It’s a win for Larsson, too.
“One of the biggest reasons for me to join is the opportunity to work side by side with someone like Ralph,” he said to The Times.
Business Insider has learned that Larsson will be replaced by Jill Stanton, currently Old Navy’s executive vice president of global product. 

 

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LloydsPharmacy eyes NHS hospital chemists

LloydsPharmacy is in talks with NHS bosses to take over a string of NHS hospital pharmacies, according to the Telegraph.
The update follows Lloyds acquiring 281 pharmacies from supermarket Sainsbury’s for £125 million in July this year.
In February this year, moreover, Lloyds and The Pennine Acute NHS Trust partnered up to trial a new pharmacy-led clinic at the North Manchester General Hospital’s A&E unit.
It is unknown how many NHS hospital pharmacies could be taken over by the firm.
Lloyds is the UK’s second biggest pharmacy after Alliance Boots. It operates more than 1,550 stores and is owned by Stuttgart-based healthcare and pharmaceutical firm Celesio AG.

Aldi to launch online sales in UK

Aldi has said it will start selling goods online in the UK next year, as it announced record annual sales in 2014.

The discount supermarket chain will start its online service by selling wine by the case, and then add non-food offers in the spring.
Aldi’s sales rose 31% to £6.9bn in the 12 months to 31 December, compared with £5.27bn the year before.
However, operating profits fell to £260.3m from £271.4m, partly due to price cuts.
The retailer, which currently operates 598 stores in the UK, also said it was “on track” to open 65 new stores this year.
Aldi is the UK’s sixth largest supermarket chain, according to analysts at Kantar Worldpanel, with a market share of 5.6% in the 12 weeks to 13 September.
Rapid growth
For its online service, Aldi said it would offer customers home delivery and collection from third party locations.
However, Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi UK & Ireland, said the retailer would not necessarily start selling food online.
“I wouldn’t say it’s inevitable. Wine by the case and non-food is the most viable place for us to start,” he told reporters.
“We wouldn’t do anything to endanger our model or threaten our cost base.”
 Aldi trolley handleGetty Images

Aldi and rival discount chain Lidl have been expanding rapidly in the UK in recent years, and Mr Barnes said he was “very confident” there would be an Aldi store in every UK town in the future.
The rise of the discounters has put enormous pressure on the “big four” UK supermarket chains – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – who have been forced to cut prices in order to defend their market share.
Mr Barnes said Aldi was “consistently 42p cheaper per item than the market average”.
“Despite all the efforts [by rivals] to lower prices, they are nowhere near Aldi.”
Earlier this month, rival Lidl said it would become the first UK supermarket to implement the minimum wage as recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.
From October, Lidl UK employees will earn a minimum of £8.20 an hour across England, Scotland and Wales, and £9.35 an hour in London.
Aldi said that 90% of its staff already earned more than the rate recommended by the foundation. 

 

Mall of the Emirates expansion unveiled

The expansion of Mall of the Emirates has revealed an entirely new floor as part of Majid Al Futtaim’s Dhs1 billion investment.
The scheme has added 36,000sqm of retail, dining and entertainment at the mall in Dubai.
Two new domes, three glass barrel roof lights, nine new bridges and three escalators have been added to connect to the existing mall.
The new area – the size of which is the equivalent of eight football pitches – offers space for a total of 40 retail outlets, including more than 20 fashion retailers, some of which are entering the region for the first time, and 12 dining outlets.

The new VOX Cinemas has 24 revamped screens and UAE’s first IMAX with Laser screen. It also has a luxury cinema experience called THEATRE by Rhodes, combining fine food and film in a collaboration with Michelin Star Chef Gary Rhodes.
New restaurant venues near the VOX Cinemas include Dean & Deluca, 800 Degrees, Eat Greek Kouzina and Din Tai Fung.
The Evolution 2015 scheme has also added 1,300 shaded parking spaces with a dedicated entrance. A new taxi arrival facility has also been created next to Ski Dubai. 

    
    
   

H&M to open 240 new stores in 2015

Swedish fashion retailer H&M plans to open 240 new stores in the fourth quarter, at the rate of three stores a day.

H&M

Among the earliest will be a new store in New Delhi, India, to be opened next week, and one in Cape Town, South Africa in October.In 2016, the retailer will enter three new markets New Zealand, Cyprus and Puerto Rico.
H&M is also continuing with the expansion of its online services to various countries. It will open an online store in Switzerland and Russia later this year, taking the number of online markets to 23.
E-commerce will be spread to nine more existing H&M markets, Ireland, Japan, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg, next year.
The new concept H&M Beauty, launched in July, already has around 700 stores in 28 markets as well as online; it will be rolled out to 14 markets by the end of this year.
Announcing the quarterly results, H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said: “Our other brands are performing well and are continuing to reach out to more and more customers.
“For example, COS now has around 130 stores across 27 markets, Monki more than 90 stores in 13 markets, & Other Stories 25 stores in 10 markets and Weekday 20 stores in five markets.”
The group’s sales for the quarter increased by 19%, but profit remained the same as the last year.
Image: H&M to expand online service to various countries. Photo: courtesy of H&M. 

 

Apple has debuted its newest Apple Retail Store

Tech giant Apple shifts austere aesthetic with launch of the Jony Ive-headed Belgian Apple Retail StoreApple has debuted its newest Apple Retail Store, the first store opening under creative direction of CCO, Jony Ive. The Brussels-based store opened over the weekend and indicates a subtly warmer, more approachable version of the current design and layout.

Apple forums and fanboys have long anticipated the redesign of the Apple Retail Store. With competitors mimicking the design and consumer experience of the iconic brick-and-mortar shops across the globe, even the most unassuming changes in the new store raise speculation on the future of Apple’s aesthetic.
Located in Le Toison D’or, a new building designed by Dutch firm UNStudio and local studio Jaspers-Eyers Architects, the shop sits rather metaphorically in between the Porte Louise and the Port de Namur, two historical Belgian gates.
jaspers-eyers-architects-apple-store-brusselsle-toison-dor4-psfk
In 2001, Apple changed the face of retail with the launch of its first stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. With clean lines, open layout and seemingly stark interior, the tech company redefined product marketing and user interaction, the beginning of the 14-year-old and 400+ retail empire that stands today.
jaspers-eyers-architects-apple-store-brusselsle-toison-dor7
The newest installment of the chain displays a number of new features and design elements that position Apple more closely to a luxury lifestyle brand than a tech company. Most notably, the space is adorned with a row of potted trees accompanying the familiar layout of tables and products. While other elements are likely a direct byproduct of the building facade—the round-edged window panels are nestled perfectly into the rounded corner of the building exterior—the additional merchandise areas take a step toward fashion retail and the first step in redesigning the Apple experience.
Along the back wall of the store consumers will find a wall of back-lit Beats headphones set into a wooden display panel. Apple Watches are drawn out of the store’s iconic wood tables and cases are merchandised in cabinet-like drawers, both reminiscent of a trip to Bloomingdales or Barney’s accessory department. The Sports watch display takes cues from performance wear retailers, using the product to create dynamic and colorful layouts with a sense of movement. At the store’s end, passersby can stop and watch product content on a large screen (benches optional).
The new layout offers a more approachable and tangible experience for consumers which comes as no surprise with former-Burberry CEO at the helm of retail and online operations. Burberry has been praised as fashion’s tech innovator, incorporating digital activations alongside traditional retail for an optimal in-store experience that has come to define the luxury market.
As Apple continues to push the limits of tech-enabled utilities, they will have to continually expand the way in which they interact with consumers. With each new platform and service offered, the future of Apple design will continue to impact the face of retail from wearable tech to self-driving cars and beyond. 

    
 

La Perla opens renovated flagship store in Hong Kong

Italian luxury lingerie brand LA PERLA has reopened its flagship store in Hong Kong at Russel Street, following extensive renovations. The newly revamped La Perla store features the new interior design concept of the brand and includes all La Perla Collections for women and men. La Perla operates three other stores in Hong Kong, 

    
   

South Africa’s most reputable companies in 2015

Retail giant Woolworths has emerged as the company with the best reputation among South Africa’s largest companies in 2015.

According to the 2015 RepTrak Pulse reputation survey conducted by Reputation House, a representative of the internationally based Reputation Institute, Woolworths’ scored 71.2 points out of a possible 100.
The retailer retained its position from 2014, having overtaken mobile operator, Vodacom, as the company with the strongest reputation.
Reputation Institute’s (RI) National RepTrak Pulse survey ranks the largest listed companies by revenue and familiarity.
Pick n Pay and Shoprite scored 70.8 and 69.0 respectively, coming in second and third, while MTN and Mr Price rounded out the top five companies.
The 2015 edition of the RepTrak Pulse study measured the reputation of 30 well-known companies, included among these are the ten largest listed South African companies based on revenue.
Companies that are not easily recognisable by the general public, as well as those that are wholly owned subsidiaries of other companies were excluded, Reputation House said.
The scores of the 30 companies surveyed in the 2015:
# Company Score

1 Woolworths 71.2

2 Pick n Pay 70.8

3 Shoprite 69.0

4 MTN Group 67.5

5 Mr Price Group 66.3

6 First Rand (FNB) 65.7

7 Vodacom Group 64.8

8 Spar group 63.7

9 Standard Bank 62.2

10 Capitec Bank 62.1

11 Edcon Group 61.5

12 Truworths 61.2

13 Absa 60.4

14 Nedbank 59.9

15 Foschini Group 57.4

16 Shell 57.1

17 Telkom 56.4

18 Engen 55.7

19 SABMiller 55.4

20 Old Mutual 55.0

21 Caltex 53.6

22 Sasol 53.1

23 Liberty Holdings 52.8

24 Massmart Holdings 52.4

25 BP 52.4

26 Cell C 52.4

27 Sanlam 52.3

28 Total SA 51.5

29 Eskom 46.2

30 Santam 40.0

12 new companies featured on this list in 2015, from the 2014 ranking.

From a reputation point of view, Capitec Bank is becoming a serious contender in the banking sector. “We have a newcomer that is no longer seen as an outsider but from a reputation perspective is now playing in the big league”, said Dr Dominik Heil, chairman of the Reputation House.

“While there is an increase in the average reputation of the South African companies, we are seeing a similar picture that we typically see when there is a crisis and uncertainty in an economy,” said Dr Heil.
“The fact that people are under a lot of pressure economically and given the lack of visible leadership in the public and private sector, people’s attention has shifted towards basics such as pricing, quality of products and value for money.”
The 2015 RepTrak®Pulse was conducted in May and June 2015. 10,547 people between the ages of 18 and 64 from economically active segments of the public i.e. with an LSM of 6+, were surveyed.
At least 300 respondents were interviewed about each company included in the survey. 

 

Superdry owner begins push into China with catwalk show

SuperGroup, the UK fashion firm behind the Superdry brand, has shrugged off concerns about the Chinese economy by officially launching in the world’s most populous country with a catwalk show.
The event at the British embassy in Beijing on Tuesday was attended by the business secretary, Sajid Javid, as well as Chinese government officials.
The show took place as the Asian Development Bank cut its growth forecast for the region’s biggest economies, citing a softer outlook for China and India as well as a delayed recovery in the world’s advanced countries. That view followed a slump in share prices in China during August and a devaluation of the yuan, which sent shockwaves across global financial markets.
SuperGroup’s Chinese business plan, originally announced in July, entails opening between two and five Superdry outlets in the first year through a joint venture with China’s Trendy International Group, which operates about 3,000 stores across China. Both parties have committed to investing £9m each over 10 years in the tie-up, which was agreed after an initial introduction from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the government department that assists British businesses seeking to export.
Despite the turmoil in the Chinese economy, SuperGroup said the country’s clothing market is worth $351bn (£228bn), and is forecast to become the largest apparel and footwear market in the world, overtaking the US this year.
The company has previously said it would open its own stores and then gradually roll out franchises to other cities, which its chief executive, Euan Sutherland, has predicted “could take Superdry right across China”.
Jacky Xu, the founder and chief executive of Trendy, added: “There is an increasing shift in consumer tastes in China, as individuals are moving away from the luxury brands to those more influenced by pop culture. We believe Superdry is well placed to take advantage of this shift.” 

 

Givenchy expands in Thailand with second store in Bangkok at Siam Paragon

   
 
Givenchy has recently opened its second store in the Thai capital city of Bangkok. The new Givenchy store is located within the Siam Paragon Shopping Center and features both men’s and women’s ready to wear and accessories collections of the brand. The store covers 220 sqm and is situated on the M floor.

David Beckham coming to Dubai for Adidas store opening

Dubai: England and Manchester United legend David Beckham will be in Dubai on September 29 to open the new Adidas store at Mall of the Emirates, it was confirmed on social media on Tuesday.
Adidas Middle East are running a competition for one lucky fan and a friend to meet the 40-year-old former midfielder, who also played for Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
All you have to do is repost a link of his picture from @adidasmena’s Instagram account explaining why you and a friend deserve to meet him. Winners will be contacted by an Instagram private message on Sunday.
Beckham is most famous for winning the treble with Manchester United in 1999 and scoring a last-gasp free-kick against Greece to secure England a place at the 2002 Fifa World Cup. Overall he won 19 trophies in a 20-year career including league titles in England, Spain, the US and France.  

 

Old Navy opens it first store in UAE

Gap Inc’s largest brand to open in Dubai in November
Dubai: American apparel brand Old Navy said on Sunday it is opening its first store in the UAE in November this year, at the Dubai Festival City.
This is the fifth franchise market expansion for Old Navy. In March 2014, it opened its first franchise-operated stores in the Philippines and has since opened stores in Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Old Navy is part of the Gap Inc portfolio of brands, which also includes Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Intermix. The brand’s move into the Middle East builds on the success that Gap and Banana Republic have experienced since entering the market in 2007, the company stated.
It added that the brand’s entry into the UAE marks its continued global growth strategy. 

 

Shaikh Rashid laid to rest in Dubai

We will out of respect not post for 3 days ….

Shaikh Rashid laid to rest in Dubai
Wam
Last updated on September 19, 2015 at 11.30 am
The late Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been laid to rest at the Umm Hurair cemetery in Al Fahidi area, Bur Dubai, after a grand funeral procession. Funeral prayers were offered after Maghrib (sunset) prayers at Zabeel Mosque. 
Earlier this morning, the Dubai Ruler’s Court mourned the death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who died of heart attack.
A three-day mourning period has been declared in Dubai. UAE flags will be flown at half mast during the mourning period.
Shaikh Mohammed will accept condolences on the death of his son ??Shaikh Rashid? on Sunday and Monday at ?Dubai?’s Zabeel Palace, Dubai Media office tweeted Saturday night.
Condolence timings will be from 10am to Zuhr prayers and after Asr Prayers to Maghrib prayers.
Shaikha Hind bint Maktoum Al Maktoum, mother of late Shaikh Rashid, to accept condolences from women on the death of her son on Sunday and Monday at Zabeel Palace – after Asr Prayers till 9pm.
Dubai Ruler’s Court has stated that work at Dubai Government entities will continue as usual.
Shaikh KhalifaPresident mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum  
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has expressed his heartfelt condolences and solace to Shaikh Mohammed praying Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in Paradise, and bestow patience and solace to Al Maktoum.

Mohammed bin Zayed mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces has mourned the death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who passed away today.
He expressed his deepest condolences and sympathies to Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan and Al Maktoum family. He also prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in Paradise and grant solace and patience to the bereaved family.
Sharjah Ruler’s court mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah offered his heartfelt condolences and solace to Shaikh Mohammed and Al Maktoum family. He also prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in Paradise and grant patience and solace to bereaved family.

Ajman Ruler’s Court mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Shaikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman offered his heartfelt condolences and solace to Shaikh Mohammed and Al Maktoum family. He also prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in Paradise.
UAQ Ruler mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Shaikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mualla, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Umm Al Quwain offered his heartfelt condolences to Shaikh Mohammed and Al Maktoum family, praying to Almighty Allah to rest departed soul in paradise and grant solace and patience to the family.

Fujairah Ruler’s Court mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah offered his heartfelt condolences and solace to Shaikh Mohammed and Al Maktoum family. He also prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in Paradise and grant patience and solace to bereaved family.
Court of RAK Ruler mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
The RAK Ruler’s Court offered its heartfelt condolences and solace to Shaikh Mohammed and Al Maktoum family. The RAK Ruler’s Court also prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in Paradise.
Egyptian Presidency mourns death of Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid
The Egyptian presidency extended its deepest condolences and sympathies to Shaikh Mohammed, and to the people of the UAE, and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in paradise and grant solace and patience to the Al Maktoum family.
UAE Federal National Council and Secretary-General of the Arab League have also mourned the death of the late Shaikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
According to tweets by Dubai Media Office, rulers of GCC countries including Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, have extended their condolences to Shaikh Mohammed for the sudden death of his son. 

 

CEO and CFO leave Clarks abruptly

Clarks has lost its Chief Exec and Chief Financial Officer who left the British footwear company with “immediate effect”. No official reason has been given for their departure. 
Melissa Potter and Robin Beacham stepped down from the company, which trades from 1,000 stores worldwide and operates in a “highly demanding commercial and economic environment, with increasing competition and intensified customer expectations”, according to a company statement. 
“The board believes that new leadership will help us to meet and overcome the challenges ahead” Clarks also said. 
While new leadership is found, Non-Executive Chairman Thomas O’Neill will lead the business in the interim, whilst Group Financial Controller Mike Coley will take on the temporary role of CFO. 
Potter had been at Clarks for 27 years after joining as a graduate trainee in 1988; she took on the CEO role in 2010. Beacham served nine years with the business. 
O’Neill praised Potter and Beacham, claiming that they “helped to navigate Clarks through significant changes in the sector and turbulent market conditions across the globe. We wish them every success in their future ventures and endeavours” 
In its last full-year Clarks posted a 3.2% fall in group sales which Potter held Black Friday and discounting by rivals, ahead of Christmas, accountable for.   

 

Zara is crushing it

Zara store on the Champs-ÉlyséesInditexZara’s store on the Champs-Élysées.
Inditex, the Spanish fashion giant behind chains such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, is on a roll.
The company, which recently hit a $100 billion (£65 billion) valuation, just beat forecasts with a solid set of half-year results on Wednesday, announcing:
a 17% rise in sales to €9.42 billion (£6.9 billion, $10.6 billion);

net profit up 26% to €1.16 billion (£850 million,$1.31 billion);

94 new stores opened, bringing total to 6,777 across 88 countries.

The crown jewel in the Inditex empire is Zara, which does affordable and fashionable basics — a bit like a higher-rent Primark. Zara’s success has turned Inditex founder Amancio Ortega into Europe’s richest man.
Zara and its spin-off Zara Home accounted for the lion’s share of new openings in the first six months of the year, with 24 new Zara stores worldwide and 25 new Zara Home stores.
Zara is also pushing into Asia, opening online stores serving Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in the period.
Inditex says business has continued to be good, too, with Zara saying sales have risen 16% in the month since the cutoff for half-year results. 

 

Home Centre to open four more shops in the UAE

Home Centre, the home decor retailer, will be adding another four shops in the UAE as part of its Dh1 billion, five-year expansion plan.
Home Centre currently has 16 stores across the UAE.
The new store openings will be Karama in Dubai opening imminently, Fujairah opening in November, Al Ain which has already partially opened and the fourth in Nakheel Mall on Palm Jumeirah.
The aggressive expansion includes a further 20 shops in Saudi Arabia, bringing its total number in the kingdom to 49.
The group will finance its own expansion, looking to increase its store count and retail footfall by 50 per cent.
The retailer has close to 90 stores and an annual footfall of more than 3 million people currently.
The UAE-based retailer, celebrating its 20-year anniversary this month, will also begin selling over 2,500 products online from Sunday, offering next-day delivery, cash on delivery and an easy returns policy.
“Our online offering will only be available in the UAE at first,” said Mederic Payne, the chief executive of Home Centre.
“We have the capability and warehousing to fulfill our UAE commitments, which is most important with online sales.
“I do not see it driving growth in sales and revenues until 2018-19 but it will be a key growth driver for us.
“Our most loyal customers are Emiratis, followed by expat Arabs and Asian expats and we are focusing our sales and service to reflect that demographic mix.” 

 

Dubai to host World Retail Congress 2016

Dubai has won the bid to host the 10th World Retail Congress 2016 in the United Arab Emirates, an announcement that came during the final day of the 9th Congress in Rome, which was attended by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and an industry-led trade mission. 
This is the first time that the event will be held outside Europe. 
A Dubai Chamber report reveals that an apparel and footwear retail outlets are expected to lead the growth in the retail sector in the medium run and will achieve compound annual growth rate of 6.8 percent until 2019, while the expectations for the electronics and appliance, health and beauty, home and garden products expect a compound annual growth rate of three to six percent during the same period. 
Among the factors that influence in the growth of the retail sector in Dubai are the steady population growth, rising salaries leading to high consumer spending, cultural diversity, tourism growth, continuation of infrastructure development projects and the establishment of more commercial centers that are supporting the retail sector development. 
The Dubai Chamber delegation included H.E. Juma Mohammad Al Kait, assistant undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Economy; H.E. Majid Al Shamsi, chairman, Union Coop; Adel Al Zarouni, managing director, Rivoli Group LLC; Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Ventures; Khalid Al Falasi, general manager, Union Coop; Mohi-Din BinHendi, chairman of BinHendi Enterprises; and Vino El Khatib, chief marketing & brand officer for Majid Al Futtaim Holding. 

 

Boden to open retail stores in UK and US – Telegraph

The company was founded in 1991 by Johnnie Boden as a menswear retailer and has added lines for women and children in subsequent years.

The company has traditionally been based on online and mail order sales, but a spokesman has now said that there are plans in place to open a number of retail outlets “in the next few years in key markets”.
Boden Icons – Karen Elson AW 2015Boden announced a 31 per cent rise in profits this year after pulling in £281m in sales
Boden currently has only one store currently, in the Hangar Green area of west London, and reaches the vast majority of its customers online. It also distributes some 50 million catalogues each year.
The company spokesman said locations for the stores will be determined “on a case-by-case basis”, with one additional location in or near London.
Johnnie BodenJohnnie Boden set up the fashion brand that bears his name Photo: Rex Features
Boden announced a 31 per cent rise in profits this year after pulling in £281m in sales. The majority of sales come from overseas.
However, Boden said trading this year had been “tough with margins coming under pressure in all markets, although continued sales growth is expected.”
The company was founded in 1991 by Johnnie Boden as a menswear retailer and has added lines for women and children in subsequent years.
Julian Granville, the company’s deputy chairman, said the move was about reaching additional customers.
It will “give customers an option to come to our brand, and for the customers who only buy limited parts of the range the opportunity to buy more of it,” he told the Financial Times. 

 

UAE retail chain LuLu expands into Indonesia, plans 15 outlets
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Abu Dhabi / Asia-pacific / Industry / Retail

The group plans to invest $300m in the first phase of expansion
By

Aarti Nagraj

16 hours ago
Abu Dhabi-based retailer LuLu Group has announced plans to expand across Indonesia and will open its first hypermarket in Jakarta by the end of this year.
The company said it would make an investment of $300m in the first phase, which could grow to $500m over the next five years.
LuLu plans to open 15 hypermarkets across Bandung, Solo, Semarang, Surabaya and Yogyakarta by the end of 2017 along with a central logistics and warehousing facility in Jakarta.
Managing director Yousuffali M.A. said: “These projects are likely to generate more than 5,000 job opportunities for Indonesians and to train them on all levels.
“The fact that we are going to Indonesia with our Halal hypermarket concept is giving us the encouragement to look for a wider market segment there.
“We also plan to set up contract farming to ensure continuous supply of high quality products and to support the Indonesian agriculture sector.”
The announcement came during a visit by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to the United Arab Emirates. Widodo also visited LuLu’s hypermarket outlet in Abu Dhabi.
LuLu currently operates 117 stores across the Gulf, Yemen, Egypt and India. Last year, the retail chain also revealed expansion into Malaysia, with plans to open six new halal-only hypermarkets with an investment of $200m.
The supermarket chain has also outlined plans to enter new markets such as Iraq, Algeria, Morocco and Libya. 

 

Kingfisher to open 200 Screwfix stores

Kingisher’s half year trading update has left investors with mixed emotions.
The home retail giant, which owns DIY chains B&Q and Screwfix among others, revealed a 1.8% fall in first half profits, after a disappointing performance for outdoor seasonal goods in the peak summer season. But recently appointed CEO Veronique Laury said she was “pleased” with a “solid first half of the year.” This is based on the progress of the ‘One Kingfisher Plan’, which is designed to unify and consolidate the different aspects of the group to create a “single unified company where customer needs come first.”
The company has assured shareholders that the turnaround is going favourably, revealing plans to embark on an aggressive Screwfix expansion plan, cashing in on the rising employment of tradesmen in the home as home owners reject the notion of ‘do it yourself’.
In contrast to B&Q, whose store count will reduce by 60 over the next two years, the Screwfix arm of the business saw like-for-like sales jump 16.5% thanks to a booming housebuilding sector.
Part of the company’s ‘strong’ performance has been trimming the fat, on track to close 15% of its B&Q stores by the end of the 2016/17 financial year. There has been speculation that the group may phase out the B&Q brand name.
CFO Karen Witts was more defensive of the results themselves, saying: “Our balance sheet remains strong, enabling us to continue investing for growth and to return so far this year, £160m via share buyback. We are also today announcing growth in the interim dividend, ahead of earnings, reflecting our confidence in our medium term prospects.”
“I am pleased with the progress made to exit most of the B&Q stores earmarked for closure this year,” Witts continued, “which will in time strengthen our balance sheet and maintain our financial flexibility.”
“There remains a lot to be done.” Laury admitted. “Our leadership team is now complete and we are continuing to develop our detailed plans at pace as we progress on this exciting journey. We look forward to updating on further progress along the way.” 

 

Truworths Starts Talks to Buy Footwear Chain Office Retail

Truworths International Ltd. started talks to buy Office Retail Group Ltd. in the latest international offensive by a South African retailer.
A purchase of the U.K. fashion footwear chain from owner Silverfleet Capital would add to a list of overseas takeovers by South African companies, including this year’s $1.2 billion acquisition of British fashion retailer New Look by Brait SE. No binding offer for the 150-store Office chain has been made, Cape Town-based Truworths said in a statement Monday.
South African shopping chains have been struggling to grow sales at home as unemployment of more than 26 percent, power shortages and rising inflation stifles consumer spending. Those expanding abroad are benefiting from diversifying their sources of revenue beyond the rand, which has weakened 15 percent against the dollar this year.
Last year, Woolworths Holdings Ltd. bought Australian chain David Jones Ltd. for about $2 billion. In January, The Foschini Group Ltd. agreed to buy U.K. clothing chain Phase Eight for $212 million. Truworths, which has acquired two South African children’s clothing companies this year, had cash and cash equivalents of 1.5 billion rand ($111 million) as of June 28.
“It looks like it may be an expensive deal at a peak exchange rate, so the timing doesn’t appear as attractive as their peers,” said Kyle Rollinson, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets in Johannesburg. “The South African business could still face pressure for the next 18 months and the cash Truworths has was a buffer for the weak local environment.”
Truworths approached Office’s management to discuss the 300 million-pound ($464 million) bid, the London-based Sunday Times reported on Sept. 13, without saying where it got the information. Retail Office offers mens, womens and sports footwear at the mid-level price range, Truworths said.
The shares climbed as much as 5.3 percent and traded 2.1 percent higher at 88.04 rand as of 3:26 p.m. in Johannesburg.
Truworths is in the process of changing leadership, with Chief Executive Officer Michael Mark leaving after more than 23 years at the company. He will be succeeded by Jean-Christophe Garbino, formerly of Kiabi Europe SAS. Mark, at the request of the board, is working on a month to month basis “until the transition period has been suitably completed,” Truworths said Aug. 20. 

 

Lloyds Pharmacy lines up Sam McAuley takeover

According to the Sunday Times, the US-owned Lloyds Pharmacy group is lining up a €40-€50 million takeover of Sam McAuley Chemists. It is one of the largest independently owned pharmacy groups in the country. The McAuley deal would copperfasten Lloyds’ position as the country’s largest pharmacy chain.
The Sunday Times also reports that three directors of Arnotts, including its chairman Nigel Blow, have stepped down from the board. Richard Nesbitt, who was formerly the largest shareholder in Arnotts, and Stephen Haughey, a former chairman of law firm A&L Goodbody, have also left.
Accountancy firm Deloitte has , according to the Sunday Independent, has been hit with a “severe reprimand” and €41,000 penalty according to the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board.
It is the first major disciplinary finding against of the “big four” accountancy firms – PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG – since the regulator was established in 2007.
The Sunday Independent also reports that global commodities company Glencore is considering selling its Limerick zinc mine, Pallas Green, as the company seeks to offload assets and raise cash.
According to the Sunday Business Post, the Government will seek to block a legal action for damages against the State by an unsuccessful bidder for its second mobile phone licence, which Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone won in 1996. Persona is being supported by British company Harbour Litigation, which will be reimbursed if the case is successful. 

 

Ikea sales rise to €32bn

Ikea stitched up sales of €32bn last year, with 771m customer visits worldwide.

The Billy bookcase, Poäng chair and Bumerang coathanger continue to spread relentlessly around the world, as Ikea unveiled another year of rising sales.
The Swedish company said it had rung up sales of €32bn (£23bn) in the year to the end of August, another step towards its goal of hitting €50bn by 2020. Sales were up 5% on the previous year in comparable stores.

Getting lost in Ikea’s maze-like stores or struggling to put together a flatpack table are becoming common experiences around the world: Ikea has 328 stores across 28 countries, with Croatia joining the list in 2014.
The company estimates it had 771m visits during its latest financial year.

China, home to eight of Ikea’s 10 largest stores, remains the company’s fastest-growing market, as continued mass migration into cities helps create a middle class with money to spend. In 2014, Ikea opened a second store in Beijing and a new shop in Chongqing, a city of 10 million people.
Russia, where the Swedish company spent years fighting corruption, is Ikea’s second fastest-growing market. Ikea’s performance in Russia was boosted by its Mega shopping centres, a chain of 14 complexes from St Petersburg to Novosibirsk.
Ikea reported that Germany also experienced record growth, while North America performed well. In southern Europe there was “positive progress”, amid an upturn in economic growth in Spain and Italy, despite persistent youth unemployment. When Ikea advertised for staff to work in a Valencia store in late 2013, tens of thousands of people applied for just 400 jobs – 250 applicants for every one place. The store, which opened in 2014, is now said to be one of its biggest-selling stores in the country.
Peter Agnefjäll, president and chief executive of the Ikea group, said: “We are growing in almost all our markets and we are happy about last year’s sales development.”
He added that Ikea would continue to increase sales in store and online: “Looking ahead, we see many opportunities for us to continue to grow through our stores and by meeting our customers in new exciting ways in our multichannel environment – a journey we have only just begun.”
Ikea, which only started publishing information about its profits in 2010, will publish a more detailed financial report in December 2015.
Ikea is the world’s largest furniture retailer, including in the UK, where it has been selling its flatpack minimalist furniture and low-cost homeware since 1987.
However, it faces stiff competition. Last month, the boss of John Lewis vowed that the department store would knock Ikea off the top spot in the UK within four years.
Ikea is expected to have 6% of the UK market for homeware, furniture and flooring sales in 2015, while John Lewis will have 5.8%, according to retail consultancy Conlumino. 

 

Global retail event names ‘Retailer of the Year’

New York — Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, was named “Retailer of the Year” at the World Retail Awards gala dinner in Rome, Italy.
Alibaba, which delivered the world’s largest ever IPO in 2014, was voted the winner by a jury made up of some of the leading global retailers. The judges noted that the group has changed the face of consumer behavior in China, while also making its presence felt on the global stage. They added that through constant innovation across all its operations, from supply chain to payment systems and financial services, Alibaba has pursued growth and created new ways to serve customers.
Two of the biggest names in U.K. retailing — Primark and Marks & Spencer — also won awards. Paul Marchant, CEO of Primark, was presented with the outstanding leadership award, and the business also scooped the retail transformation and reinvention award. Primark, which recently opened its first U.S. store, in Boston, was singled out for the consistent success of the business, including its international expansion, and delivering spectacular financial metrics, whilst overcoming any challenges in each market they have entered.
Marks & Spencer’s ‘For every milestone’ advertising campaign was voted the best campaign of the year. The campaign was commended for its well targeted approach and the appeal of the humorous, heart touching stories which combined with product benefit very clearly.
Hamleys, the iconic London toy retailer, was awarded Store design of the year for its new location, Hamleys World in Moscow. With a completely immersive and experiential environment the Moscow store has moved beyond simple sales and has become a ‘destination’ shopping experience for the whole family.
“This has been another outstanding year with exceptional standards set by the finalists in all the categories. We are delighted at the number of entrances in each category, and the ultimate winners are all fantastic examples of the diversity, and constantly evolving nature, of retailing,” said Ian McGarrigle, chairman of the World Retail Congress.
The World Retail Congress also announced plans for a 2016 conference to take place in Dubai, on April 10 to 12. 

 

Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates extension to open on Sept 28

Majid Al Futtaim announced on Thursday the completion of its redevelopment project for its flagship Mall of the Emirates shopping mall in Dubai. 
The mall operator said it will reveal a new 36,000 sq m retail extension at the shopping centre on September 28.
The extension will pave the way to 40 new shopping, dining and entertainment outlets including retail anchors making their debut in the Middle East.
With an investment of more than AED1 billion ($272 million) on Evolution 2015, Mall of the Emirates will enhance customer experience with the largest redevelopment project to-date, the company said in a statement.
The improvements include state-of-the art architecture, new lifestyle options with 20 fashion brands, 12 restaurants and a revamped 24-screen VOX Cinemas featuring advanced technologies such as the first IMAX with Laser screen in the Middle East, the largest 4DX screen and the new THEATRE by Rhodes luxury concept, a collaboration with celebrity chef Gary Rhodes.
“Innovation is integral within Majid Al Futtaim as we live by the company’s vision to create great moments for everyone, everyday. By re-shaping Mall of the Emirates with Evolution 2015, we continue to evolve and enjoy a competitive edge and leadership position as the Middle East’s leading luxury and lifestyle destination,” said Michael Cesarz, CEO – Shopping Malls Business Unit – Majid Al Futtaim Properties.
Evolution 2015 is a multi-phased project. Phase 1 was completed in 2014 with the unveiling of the Fashion District – an AED100 million new precinct that has introduced some first-time boutique brands to the UAE. 
The beginning of Phase 2 marks the addition of a new taxi rank located next to Ski Dubai, at Welcome Court 4, which represented a total investment of AED10 million. In addition, Mall of the Emirates increased its car park capacity by building a newly-opened parking deck with roof-top shade on Level 4, creating 1,300 new spots. 

 

Diamond of Dubai’: Burj 2020 tower design unveiled at Cityscape


‘Diamond of Dubai’: Burj 2020 tower design unveiled at Cityscape

A masterplan has been unveiled for the Burj 2020 District, an upcoming megaproject set to include a skyscraper dubbed ‘the diamond of Dubai’ as well as retail, hospitality and residential spaces.
The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) project will include seven towers spanning a built-up area of over 1 million square metres. Elements will include a single-use commercial tower, three residential towers and 100,000 square metres of retail space, DMCC said.
The centerpiece of the district, the Burj 2020 tower, will be designed by Adrian Smith and Gordin Gill (AS + GG), the architects behind the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia. 
The tower is set to be “the diamond of Dubai”, Smith said. “It needed to have beautiful quality and character, with light bouncing off of it and a silhouette that changes as it goes up, and it all culminated into this form,” he added.
The height of the tower and the expected cost of the wider development was not revealed as part of the conceptual masterplan outlined at the Cityscape Global event in Dubai.
“We plan to break ground for the Burj 2020 District in 2016. The first phase of the project… is expected to be delivered by 2020,” DMCC’s chief executive Gautam Sashittal told MEConstructionNews.com.
The Burj 2020 District will be within the existing DMCC Free Zone, which consists of 66 towers including the Almas Tower, which is one of the tallest commercial towers in the city. 

 

John Lewis could lay off up to 250 workers as pension costs hit profits

John Lewis says it could lay off up to 250 warehouse workers as part of a lacklustre trading update that saw its half-year profits slump.

The group, which owns the department store chain as well as upmarket grocer Waitrose, also warned that it was likely to miss full-year profit targets due to increased pension costs.
In an unusual step, chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield issued earnings guidance, saying pension charges will be about £60million higher than the comparable figure last year.
Closures: John Lewis said that up to 250 staff could lose their jobs as it shuts down three distribution centres

Closures: John Lewis said that up to 250 staff could lose their jobs as it shuts down three distribution centres
This was due to the economic climate dragging down the value of investments made by the pension fund. ‘In the current market, even a strong trading performance is unlikely to offset this fully,’ he said.
The equivalent of pre-tax profit would be between £270million and £320million, versus £342.7million last year.
The supermarket price war and difficult trading conditions for the department store also had an effect.
Half-year profits fell 26 per cent to £96million while sales grew just 2.1 per cent to £5.1billion.
The firm slipped out news that up to 250 staff could lose their jobs as it closes three distribution centres. It has been forced to put aside £4million to cover redundancies.
Underlying sales at Waitrose fell 1.3 per cent – the first time they have fallen in more than five years.
Mayfield said: ‘This has been a solid first half for the partnership in a difficult market.’ 

 

Tesco sells South Korea stores for £4bn

Tesco has sold Homeplus, its South Korean business, for £4.2bn as the troubled supermarket chain seeks to shore up its balance sheet.
The proceeds will be used to pay down debt and help revitalise its UK business.
Homeplus is being bought by MBK Partners, a South Korean buyout firm set up a decade ago.
It has partnered with a Canadian pension fund and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings for the deal.
Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said: “This sale realises material value for shareholders and allows us to make significant progress on our strategic priority of protecting and strengthening our balance sheet.”
After tax and other costs the sale will produce £3.35bn in cash for Tesco and is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Retail analyst Nick Bubb said the main aim was to reduce its debt mountain and avoid a rights issue. “Interestingly, however, Tesco say that the disposal will also give it the financial flexibility to buy some UK store freeholds,” he added.
Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Bernstein and a former senior Tesco supply chain executive, said the deal would allow the company to qualify for a top credit rating once more from the ratings firm Moody’s in 2017-18.
The Homeplus deal is the first major disposal since Tesco reported a record pre-tax loss of £6.4bn for the year to February.
That compared with annual pre-tax profit of £2.26bn a year earlier.
It was the biggest loss reported by a UK retailer and one of the largest in the country’s corporate history. 

 

Tesco frustrates customers in more ways than one

Tesco just can’t catch a break, having irritated clubcard members and parents.
In the first instance, customers have voiced their outrage after it emerged that Britain’s biggest retailer is slashing its clubcard point rewards.
From December 1st onwards, Tesco will offer its credit card customers just one point for every £8 spent outside of stores, double the current £4 limit. Customers will still earn 1 point for every £4 spent at Tesco.
Many of its 2.8m customers have expressed their vexation with the changes and have threatened to close their cards, with one tweeting “Farewell @Tesco – after your outrageous changes to clubcard points, no value in me using your credit card anymore.”
The retailer has blamed the need to slash its reward scheme on changes to EU rules, which have capped the amount that providers can charge each other for processing card payments.
Rachel Springall from Moneyfacts.co.uk said “We have already seen providers withdrawing or reducing their rewards well before the EU changes come into place and with a big brand like Tesco changing their rewards, it’s highly likely that other card issuers will be assessing whether they can sustain their own deals.”
She urged cardholders to consider their current deals, particularly as the EU deadline on interchange fee caps is set to occur at “the time of year where people use the plastic to cover Christmas.”
A Tesco Bank spokesperson stated: “As a result of changes in the credit card industry taking affect this year, the amount that card companies earn from businesses who accept credit cards is reducing.
At Tesco Bank, we use that income to fund the clubcard benefits we give back to our customers, and as a result, we’ve had to make some changes to the amount of points our customers earn.”
The spokesperson added that Tesco remains “committed to offering the most rewarding cards we can.”
In addition, thousands of orders for customised uniforms failed to be delivered in time for the new school term.
Parents complained of orders failing to arrive in a timely fashion or last-minute cancellations, leaving them to buy school uniforms or find suitable alternatives in a rush as Tesco failed to keep up with demand.
Some orders had been placed up to six weeks before lessons began.
The supermarket launched its embroidery service in 2010, expanding to supply uniforms for more than 4,000 schools around Britain. It cited that the supply problems were in relation to an exceptional number of orders this year.
A Tesco spokeswoman said the cancelled and delayed orders made up only a small proportion of the total. “Where we can’t deliver the embroidered uniform before school starts, we’ve contacted customers to apologise and let them know we’ll get to it as soon as possible. We will also be providing these customers with a refund.” 

 

The Co-Op enjoys early year profits as it continues to rebuild its br

The Co-Operative Group is back on form reporting half year profits of £36m, compared to its losses in 2014.
In 2013 the firm was brought to the brink of collapse when it was forced to sell off its farm and pharmacy divisions to cover a £1.5bn hole in its banking arm. CEO Richard Pennycook called its newfound success a “good start on the three year journey” to rebuild the business.
The group posted underlying pre-tax profits of £63m for the 26 weeks ending 4th July 2015, compared to losses of £1m in the prior year. The rise has been attributed to robust trading in both food and funeral services, as well as an improved general insurance performance.
Customers at the Co-Op have recently enjoyed slashed prices for fresh fruit and vegetables, the cheapest amongst the group’s main convenience store rivals, as well as £300m in discount vouchers and “swipe and win” prizes for members.
“The early days are about fixing the basics,” continued Pennycook, “-putting in place new leadership teams and providing the investment to deliver the strategies for our business. Our customers and members are beginning to see the difference.”
Capital expenditure increased from £97m to £144m following significant investment by the Co-Op Group: 35 new convenience stores have been opened. Corporate costs, meanwhile, rose to £73m from £62m, which the group says reflects the investment in the rebuild programme and rising pension costs.
Despite these pleasing results, the group warned that full year profitability is likely to reduce year on year given the planned and increased levels of investment it will be making in the second half of the year in order to continue its rebuilding strategy, which will include more store openings, IT investment, increased pay for staff and discounts.
Allan Leighton, independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Co-Operative Group, said “The commercial improvements we’ve made in the first half of 2015 have gone hand in hand with the further strengthening of our board, council and senior management teams.
Our members are now represented through a highly experienced board who are already providing safe guidance, and through the members’ council, which has a new leadership team. I look forward to working with them as we revitalise the engagement of our broad membership in our business and community activities.” 

 

Apple Stores are about to change in this huge way

There will be granite, oak, plants and glass.

The Apple Stores that have become the visible symbol of the company’s ubiquity will be getting a makeover, starting with a “next generation” retail store in Memphis.
Apple’s new location at the Shops of Saddle Creek mall in Germantown will see several departures from the company’s traditional retail look and feel, with the facade set to feature “a matte granite reinforced panel on the exterior wall,” according to the Memphis Daily News. The trademark glass panel appearance, however, will still be seen. Other details are sparse.
Novel additions to the interior include a “changeable display” that will incorporate living plants, artwork and natural oak tables.

 
“Our project is the next generation of retail store that we’re rolling out, and that’s the design concept that we have – and we’re really excited because this is going to be one of the first, if it’s approved, that we build,” Apple Senior Director of Development Rick Millitello reportedly told the Germantown Design Review Commission.
Rumors of a fresh Apple Store design have been hanging around since a New Yorker profile on the company’s chief design officer Jony Ive alluded to a re-think on the company’s retail stores, a project that also involved recent hire Angela Ahrendts, formerly the CEO of Burberry. CEO Tim Cook has also mentioned that Ive’s responsibilities have been expanded to include a redesign of Apple’s stores.
The new Apple Store redesign is expected to be introduced in Memphis and some overseas stores in the fall. 

   

First Krispy Kreme store to open in Rosebank

GLOBAL doughnut company and coffee retailer Krispy Kreme on Wednesday said its first store in SA will be opened in Rosebank, Johannesburg, at the end of November.
In May, the company signed a development agreement with local company Krispy Kreme Doughnuts SA to open 31 Krispy Kreme shops in the country over the next five years. This marks the company’s first venture into Africa.
A more brand-aware middle class with rising incomes are attracting other US consumer-facing giants such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Brands who will also be expanding into the country.
The Krispy Kreme store will have an option of 16 Krispy Kreme doughnuts, as well as a wide variety of locally roasted coffee flavours.
Krispy Kreme has been serving its customers since 1937. Its footprint now extends to 1,000 shops in 24 countries.
The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 

 

Shareholder group issues ‘red alert’ warning on Sports Direct bonuses

Store managers and employees are in line for bonuses
One of the City’s most influential shareholder groups has issued a warning about planned changes to a multimillion-pound bonus scheme at Sports Direct, the retail chain run by Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United football club. 
The Investment Management Association (IMA) issued its “red top” alert – its most serious warning signal about corporate governance breaches – ahead of the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting next week because of concerns over pay.
It is understood to be among a number of shareholder groups to have expressed concern that investors are being asked to approve lowering profit targets for the long-term share bonus scheme.
The four-year bonus scheme was approved by shareholders last year but Sports Direct wants to lower the profit performance target for the current year to £420m from £480m. It says this change is necessary because planned acquisitions did not materialise and profit targets for the following three years of the scheme remain in place. But some shareholder groups, including the IMA and advisory body the Pensions & Investment Research Consultants, have expressed concerns about the lower targets.
Under the scheme, Dave Forsey, the Sports Direct chief executive, is in line to to be awarded up to 1m shares – worth £8m at today’s share price – while the finance director, Matt Pearson, is in line for up to 30,000 shares worth £241,000.
Hundreds of store managers and employees at the company’s head office also qualify for awards. But thousands more staff on zero-hours contracts are not included in the scheme, an issue which is the subject of legal action.
Sports Direct is also facing controversy over the re-election of its chairman, Keith Hellawell, at its annual meeting on 9 September. New rules giving increased rights to minority shareholders mean that Ashley, who owns a 55% stake in Sports Direct, can be challenged for the first time on the election of non-executive directors. 

 

Mr Price declines on ‘poor fashion calls’

Johannesburg – Mr Price Group shares fell the most in almost three years after the clothing and household-goods retailer said low levels of consumer confidence, “some poor fashion calls”, and a relatively late winter curbed sales. 
The stock dropped as much as 10%, the biggest intraday decline since September 2012, and traded 8.7% lower at R217.88 as of 14:52 on the JSE.
The shares are 7.5% lower this year, valuing the company at R58bn.
South African consumer confidence dropped to a 14-year low in the second quarter of this year as unemployment of 25%, power cuts and rising fuel prices put pressure on shoppers.
Total sales rose 9% in the 21 weeks through August 22, with same-store sales advancing 4.6%, the Durban-based company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Revenue gained 16% in the comparable period a year ago. “Disappointing sales growth for April and May” hurt overall performance, Mr Price said.
“Opportunities in the current trading period were lost in the mens’ and ladies’ junior businesses,” the retailer said. “Despite this, good growth was achieved in most other parts of the business.”From Fin24.com 
  

South African tycoon Christo Wiese eyes UK supermarkets

The South African billionaire who has recently snapped up Virgin Active, the gym chain, and New Look, the high-street retailer, is now training his sights on Britain’s struggling supermarket industry, it can be revealed.

Christo Wiese, who has an estimated £4.2bn fortune, said there were parallels between the grocery sector in his home country, where he has built up the ShopRite empire into the continent’s largest food retailer, and the highly competitive UK market.
All the big players in the UK are reeling from an intense price war and a change in shopping habits. Analysts have said that this tough environment makes it unlikely that the food sector will attract new investment.
But 73-year-old Mr Wiese, who owns a 19pc stake in Iceland, the frozen food chain, and has been linked with a potential takeover of Morrisons, brushed off such concerns and suggested his investment firm, Brait, could be making its next venture in the UK’s supermarket sector.
“The UK is extremely competitive but I can assure you it is as competitive in South Africa, if not more,” he told The Telegraph. “We South Africans find it very easy to do business in the UK; it is similar, and it has the same challenges.”
Billionare businessman Christo Wiese speaks from his desk on June 12, 2012 in Johannesburg, South AfricaChristo Wiese Photo: Getty
Mr Wiese bought Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Active in a £682m deal and New Look for £1.9bn in a two-month bout of deal-making between April and June this year. The billionaire is also launching a new UK fashion chain, called Pep & Co, specialising in discount fashion and childrenswear. Mr Wiese started ShopRite in 1979 with just eight stores in Cape Town, but the company now owns more than 2,000 supermarkets, furniture shops and food outlets in 15 countries, with sales in South Africa of £2.2bn.
The entrepreneur said that he would be prepared to overlook some of Brait’s strict investment criteria if there was the right opportunity in the grocery sector. “I’ve always explained that any business we look at has to tick certain boxes – facing the cash consumer, strong management with a proven track record and with skin in the game, great growth potential both nationally and internationally and hugely cash generative.”
He added: “If Shoprite perceives the right opportunity they will certainly pursue it.
In an aside, which could also be read as a warning to Tesco and Sainsbury’s should Brait make a move, Mr Wiese said: “We have to compete with all the beasts in the world, there’s no hiding, and if you don’t want to compete you mustn’t get in the arena.”
Mr Wiese has expressed a fondness for the discount sector, with Pep & Co also selling T-shirts from £2.
Mr Wiese, who will be inducted into the World Retail Congress’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony next week, also denied that he had ever been interested in taking over the department store chain BHS before it was sold for £1 by Sir Philip Green to Retail Acquisitions. 

 

What will Natalie Massenet do next?

The Net-a-Porter group has confirmed the departure of founder Natalie Massenet as Executive Chairman.
Massenet would have been chairman of the combined company after a planned merger with Italian rival Yoox, but has stepped down from the luxury e-tailer 15 years after she launched the business. She will not be on the board of Yoox Net-a-Porter.
Massenet made £50m when she sold a stake in Net-a-Porter to swiss conglomerate Richemont in 2010, which has a total holding of 93% in the company. After selling those shares, the 50 year-old is leaving with over £100m, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Business of Fashion.
In a statement Massenet said: “After 15 extraordinary and exceptional years at the Net-a-Porter group, the completion of the merger with Yoox Group is the right time for me to move on to explore new ideas and opportunities.
I am immensely proud of the achievements of everyone who has helped build the world’s greatest game changing luxury fashion company, and I thank them all for helping me realise and surpass our dreams. I also want to thank our millions of customers around the world for continuing to be our greatest champions and inspiration, and the brands and designers who embarked with me on this digital journey over a decade ago and who made the Net-a-Porter group possible.
The business I started in 2000 could not be in better shape today. Having joined forces with Yoox Group, the company will be bigger, stronger and superbly well positioned under Federico’s leadership to lead the industry and create the future of fashion. As a continuing loyal customer I will be excited to see the next chapters for this amazing business.
As for my own future, my entrepreneurial drive is as strong today as it always has been, and my passion for innovation will continue to be my greatest guide in business. The incredible experiences and memories of the past decade and a half and the people I have had the honour to work alongside will always be an inspiration to me.”
Massenet’s shock resignation comes a day after another online fashion powerhouse, Asos, also saw its founder resign 15 years after setting up the site. 

 

Aldi to launch 65 new stores across Australia in just ONE year in its most aggressive expansion yet ..

Aldi to launch 65 new stores across Australia in just ONE year in its most aggressive expansion yet … and experts say it will drive supermarket prices even lower
Aldi is looking to roll-out about 65 stores in Australia in the next 12 months

It is Aldi’s most ambitious undertaking since its arrival Down Under in 2001

The German retail chain will expand in SA, WA and the east coast in 2016 

Retail experts say the opening of an Aldi sees prices drop by six per cent

The supermarket war is set to intensify next year with German chain Aldi looking to strengthen its market share by opening 65 new stores in Australia by the end of 2016 – its most ambitious expansion since entering the Australian market.

Aldi will be expanding with up to 20 locations in both South Australia and Western Australia – two states that have been left untouched since its entry in 2001 – in the next 12 months and retail experts are predicting more savings for shoppers.
An Aldi spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia a further 25 stores will also pop up on the east coast.
For the first time, Aldi will open up in Western Australia and South Australia, with experts saying its arrival is hotly anticipated in these states

For the first time, Aldi will open up in Western Australia and South Australia, with experts saying its arrival is hotly anticipated in these states
‘This brings us to approximately 65 new stores nationally,’ she said. 
‘ALDI’s popularity with consumers and success on the eastern seaboard has given us the confidence to invest more than $700 million in our expansion into Western Australia and South Australia, where our long-term expansion plans will see up to 120 new stores.’
The spokeswoman downplayed reports in Tuesday’s The Australian that revealed this figure could be more.
In a letter to suppliers, buying director Jordan Lack said the supermarket chain was expecting its sales to ramp up by more than 20 per cent in 2016 and would be introducing up to 80 more locations. 

Retail expert Barry Urquhart told Daily Mail Australia Aldi’s plans would mean an increase in its buying power and in turn pass on savings to consumers.
‘Research conducted by Choice shows prices could be low as up to 40 per cent on individual items in Aldi [compared to Coles and Woolworths],’ he said.  
Retail expert Barry Urquhart told Daily Mail Australia this was Aldi’s move to strengthen its hold on the market, taking sales away from Woolworths and Coles

Retail expert Barry Urquhart told Daily Mail Australia this was Aldi’s move to strengthen its hold on the market, taking sales away from Woolworths and Coles
In the past three years, the chunk of the dry grocery market held by supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles has declined

In the past three years, the chunk of the dry grocery market held by supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles has declined

  

Oliver Bonas becomes first UK high street chain to pay living wage

Oliver Bonas in Clapham, south-west London. The retailer employs 500 staff across its 43 shops and warehouse.

Campaigners against low pay are claiming a breakthrough victory as Oliver Bonas, the fashion and gift retailer, has become the first high street chain in Britain to promise its staff an independently calculated living wage.
Employees aged 18 and over will from Tuesday receive at least £7.85 an hour, or £9.15 in London – figures calculated based on the cost of living. This compares with the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour for over-21s and £5.30 for workers between 18 and 21.
Oliver Bonas employs 500 people across its 43 shops and its warehouse in Chessington, Surrey, rising to 650 over the Christmas period.
Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said the move was a “significant milestone” that would help “end the low wage culture of the British high street”. Jobs on the high street, and in customer service, are some of the lowest paid in Britain, according to official figures.
“Major players in the retail sector have for a long time claimed that the living wage is too expensive to implement on the high street,” Moore said. “This move demonstrates that while it’s not always an easy choice, it is the right choice.”
Many large employers have softened their resistance to calls for pay rises in the light of government plans to impose steady increases in the statutory minimum wage over the next five years. Last month Ikea pledged to meet campaigners’ calls to pay the living wage, becoming the first large, out-of-town retailer to do so.
The Living Wage Foundation has accredited more than 1,700 companies, including about a quarter of the FTSE 100 and other big businesses such as Nestlé and Nationwide. Until recently, however, the retail industry has been unmoved by campaigners’ arguments.
Oliver Tress, founder and managing director of Oliver Bonas, said: “We are thrilled that we are now able to pay the living wage to all members of our team. We want to do everything we can to pay … a wage that reflects hard work, loyalty and the real cost of living.”
In his summer budget, George Osborne surprised many by announcing that the minimum amount employers must pay staff aged over 25 was to rise to £7.20 an hour from April next year. The figure would then climb to £9 by 2020, he said. The chancellor argued the measure was part of a strategy to boost productivity, remodelling Britain as a “higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare” country.
But not all business leaders have welcomed Osborne’s intervention. On Saturday former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, a longstanding critic of the living wage campaign, told the BBC the plan for accelerated rises in the minimum wage for many workers was “not economically justified”.
National Demonstration living wage

Demonstration in London for a national living wage. The Living Wage Foundation has accredited more than 1,700 companies. Photograph: Kate Nye/Demotix/Corbis

He said: “You can’t talk about productivity without recognising that one of the consequences of productivity is less people producing the same output. Companies will invest more in productivity and as a consequence there will be less jobs.”
King’s own pay has featured in debates about spiralling boardroom rewards for those at the top of large corporations. He left Sainsbury’s last summer but received £8.5m in cash and shares during his last two years at the retailer, though most of that sum related to the release of long-term share bonuses, some granted as far back as 2008.
King’s successor, Mike Coupe, announced a 4% pay increase last week, taking the supermarket’s standard rate of pay to £7.36 an hour, its highest increase in more than a decade.
Elsewhere over the weekend it emerged that bondholders at Four Seasons Health Care, the debt-laden care home operator, were concerned about the group’s ability to absorb higher wage bills.

“The scary part is the living wage could have a £40m effect on profits over the next five years,” one bondholder told the Sunday Times. “It is untenable.” Four Seasons, which is owned by private equity group Terra Firma, has announced a review of its finances after second-quarter losses rose to £26m.
Oliver Bonas, which sells jewellery and homeware as well as fashion and gifts, reported a 9% rise in like-for-like sales for the year to 30 November 2014. Turnover grew from £23.3m to £30.3m. 

 

Primark opens its first store in Boston on September 10 

New York: Fast-fashion mainstays Forever 21, H & M and Zara will soon be facing fresh competition from a retailer famous for $3.50 (Dh12) T-shirts, $10 jeans and $5 ballet flats.

Primark — which was founded in Ireland and is owned by a British company — plans to make the leap across the pond in September. As it opens its first store in Boston on September 10 and then fans out with seven more outposts across the northeast, Primark will serve as something of test of whether shoppers’ appetites for wear-it-today, trash-it-tomorrow clothing is anywhere near satiated.

Primark is sometimes described as the overseas answer to Forever 21: Its stores quickly sell through high volumes of merchandise, meaning the sales floor is continually updated with new clothes. And its hyper-efficient supply chain quickly cranks out of-the-moment pieces. In the UK, this has earned it the nickname “Primarni”, a mash-up of Primark and Armani.

Primark has been one of the lone bright spots lately in a subdued British apparel market, Rob Gregory, global research director for London-based consultancy Planet Retail, said. In the most recent quarter, its sales were up an eye-popping 12 per cent.

“Traditionally, there’s been a bit of a stigma [on] buying cheap clothes,” Gregory said. “But over the past five years, to go to Primark and buy a cheap dress or shirt is actually sort of a badge of honour.”

In some ways, it seems like an apt moment for Primark to arrive on US shores: Consumers remain intensely value-conscious, and teenage shoppers have nearly dealt death blows to once-formidable retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale, which haven’t adapted quickly to trends that bubble up on Instagram and street-style blogs.

 

Classic investment in vogue?

And yet some retailers and experts have begun to question whether shoppers will soon flock back to classic investment pieces. (The success of Everlane, purveyor of long-lasting basics, could be a sign of such a pendulum shift). Plus, many note, the fast-fashion market is already quite crowded.

“It’s really a saturated environment,” said Tiffany Hogan, a London-based apparel analyst for Kantar Retail.

And Primark is making an unusual bet in its move into the US market. The retailer has opted not to have an e-commerce site, as it thinks its low-margin, high-volume sales model is not well-suited for that channel.

“This is not a profitable avenue for us,” said John Bason, the chief financial officer of Associated British Foods, the company that owns Primark.

Today, Primark has 287 stores across the UK, Ireland and several countries in continental Europe. The retailer is beginning its foray into the US with stores in the northeast, based on its belief that tastes in that region will be most similar to those of its European customers.

“Many retailers have found that coming from Europe to the northeast has been a much easier leap to make,” Hogan said.

In addition to the store in Boston, Primark plans to soon come to locations including Staten Island, New York and at the sprawling, upscale shopping mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

 

Location, location, location

“We deliberately located these first stores in locations where there’s a high footfall already, because we are aware that the consumer awareness of Primark is low,” Bason said.

One of Primark’s key challenges will be differentiating itself not only from fellow fast-fashion operators but also from other value-focused apparel retailers such as Target, Old Navy and T.J. Maxx. Bason hopes that the vibe of the stores will help with that. He’s promising that Primark’s US outposts will be bright, vibrant and “not a miserable experience, like some other value retailers.”

Bason also adds that Primark’s goal isn’t necessarily to make customers abandon their current value-priced favourites.

“I think that our customers don’t mono-brand shop,” Bason said. “They’re looking for a repertoire, of which we want Primark to be one of those stores.”

Primark found spaces for its stores in the US in an unusual way: It is leasing parts of existing Sears stores. They will be stand-alone stores with separate entrances and branding. Bason said these deals were attractive to Primark because it allowed the retailer access to spaces of more than 70,000 square feet, a large footprint that otherwise may have been hard to nab in a US shopping centre.

Sears, meanwhile, has said the deals allow it to use otherwise unproductive real estate to generate income.

Associated British Foods is an international conglomerate that includes one of the world’s largest sugar producers, an agricultural supplier and grocery store brands such as Ovaltine. The Primark name is used in the UK and at its stores throughout Europe, but its stores in Ireland are branded as Penneys.