Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy new year to all our readers and followers 


What did Britain buy in 2015?

Britain has a £6bn a week shopping habit. With insight from eBay, which has acted as a barometer of British shopping trends in 2015, and Mary Portas, who presented ‘What Britain Bought in 2015’ on Channel 4 last night, here’s a look at what Brits are doing with all that money.
•After it was proven earlier this year that colouring in can help consumers unwind and alleviate stress, sales of adult colouring books soared. In February, Waterstones cited a 300% rise in sales year-on-year between Christmas 2013 and 2014, while Foyles drastically increased its shelf space for adult colouring-in books after moving to new premises last year. Portas associated the trend with Britain’s needs for “me time”.
•Following the release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie, the sex accessories industry boomed. In fact the market was in demand so much so that e-tailer LoveHoney, which designed the official range of Fifty Shades of Grey products, saw sales hit £43m in the year to March 31 2015, a rise of 53.4% compared to the same time last year. During that financial year, the retailer launched new websites in France, Germany and Australia and overseas sales almost trebled: growing from £4.5m to £12m. 
•As consumers rode the ‘clean living’ wave, spiralizers and NutriBullet blenders helped ring up healthy sales across the country. In October, the third annual report from John Lewis revealed that one NutriBullet was sold every four minutes at the department store retailer. Although exact figures weren’t detailed, thousands of spiralizers were sold every week. It’s understood that the popularity of these items were inspired by Ella Woodward, the author behind the ‘Deliciously Ella’ cookbook which features a vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free diet. 
•Kate Fever and the Duchess of Cambridge’s quintessentially British style drove sales of yellow dresses up by 58% on eBay after the Duchess was spotted wearing one in May. Sales of nude heels increased by 94%.
•London’s Chelsea Flower Show featured a shed on a revolving platform this year, seemingly a hit with green-thumbed Brits as sales of sheds skyrocketed on eBay. More than 1600 sheds were sold each day, with the most expensive sheds selling for almost £5,000 and the number of ‘shed’ listings on the site reaching over 100,000.
•While the nation may have bought more and more into healthy living, Britain also drank 25m extra pints of beer in line with the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In addition, the country consumes around 20% of the world’s supply of Prosecco. 
Portas’s shopping experts predict that 2016’s trends will include an increasing demand for sugar-free products, outerwear and natural-looking fake tans. 


UAE retail market to expand in 2016, but at a slower rate

Market is expected to be valued at $53.7b in 2016
Dubai: Tomorrow will be 2016, but don’t expect the new year to bring big changes to the retail market in the UAE.
Retailers can expect another year of softer retail sales, mainly due to macroeconomic factors, analysts say.
The UAE retail market is expected to be valued at $53.7 billion in 2016, up 7 per cent over 2015, a lower rate compared to 8 per cent projected for 2015, according to data from consultancy Euromonitor International.
The UAE has seen softer retail sales this year due to a strong dollar against certain currencies, such as the euro and rouble, leading to reduced spending by European and Russian tourists, as well as lower oil prices, which have dampened consumer confidence in the country, according to industry analysts.
Optical, food and beverage and service retailers performed better in 2015 than in the previous year, said David Macadam, chief executive of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres.
“Those retailers who provide goods and services to the local population resident in the UAE generally fared better in 2015 than in 2014. Other retailers who cater specifically to tourists such as fashion furriers who sell fur coats to primarily Russian customers had less sales as the Russian rouble suffered a significant decline in values,” he said.
Changing strategies
To attract more consumers, retailers are expected to “pay more attention to consumer satisfaction and loyalty” next year, said Diana Jarmalaite, research analyst at Euromonitor International.
“In 2016, we expect to see changing retailing strategies,” she added.
Analysts expect more discounting next year as well. “The continued expansion of the retail sector with more malls and shops adds to the competitive pressures for retailers which typically results on larger discounts in order to generate sales and retain market share but reduces margins,” said Colin Beaton, managing director of retail consultancy Limelight Creative Services.
Amid weaker sentiment in the retail market, a number of retail projects are expected to be completed in the UAE next year, mostly in Dubai, such as City Walk Phase 2, a retail district in Jumeirah, My City Centre Al Barsha, a community mall in Dubai’s Al Barsha area and The Pointe mall at Palm Jumeirah. Manar Mall in Ras Al Khaimah will double in size, with leasable area reaching 60,000 square metres by late 2016.
Around 400,000 square metres of additional retail space is scheduled to be completed next year in Dubai, which currently has a stock of around 3 million square metres of mall-based retail space, said Craig Plumb, head of research at real estate consultancy JLL for the Middle East and North Africa region.
Around 200,000 square metres of additional retail space was completed in Dubai in 2015 and 50,000 square metres in Abu Dhabi, he said.
Among the major retail developments completed in the country this year is Dragon Mart 2, which is the extension to the Dragon Mart retail complex in Dubai. Covering 1.9 million square feet, the extension includes 500 outlets, a 12-screen cinema and a dining terrace.
Also, Mall of the Emirates in Dubai opened a 36,000 square metre extension last September, the third phase of a Dh1 billion redevelopment project. The extension features 40 new outlets.
Occupancy rates
The first Apple store in the Middle East opened at Mall of the Emirates last October, estimated to be under 10,000 square feet. A second one opened in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall.
The number of new outlets that opened in the country this year have increased by 3 per cent compared to last year, Jarmalaite said.
Despite the rise in supply, occupancy rates in Dubai’s major shopping centres, such as The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, have been high this year, close to 100 per cent, said Mat Green, head of research and consultancy for the UAE at CBRE Middle East.
Plumb said that he expects “no significant growth in rental levels seen in 2015”, adding that retail rents have been “largely stationary” in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi this year. 


Selfridges celebrates new sales record

Selfridges experienced the most profitable hour in its history as shoppers turned out in their thousands for post-Christmas deals. 
Crowds appeared outside Selfridges stores across Britain, in some cases as early as 1am, to take advantage of Boxing Day sales. The dense crowds were a welcome reappearance as recent sales events have seen high street retailers losing customers to online stores. 
The result was an intake of just over £2m by 10am from tills alone, a 2% rise on Selfridges’ previous record for its most profitable hour. 
“It is encouraging to see High Streets performing significantly better than Boxing Day last year,” said Diane Wehrle, Insights Director at Springboard. She called the sales “surprisingly positive” as the influx of foreign shoppers and mild weather helped to boost profits. 
It would seem that Selfridges means to end the year on as high a note as it started: in November the chain revealed results marking the 12 months to the end of January 2015 as its most profitable financial year of all time, with operating profits rising by 4% to £155m. 
The store has credited its success to its growing online presence as well as its continuing focus on luxury fashion brands. 
Selfridges currently trades from four stores in the UK. Recently it has invested over £300m on overhauling its flagship store on Oxford Street, London. 


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing all our readers and followers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year  


Lee clothing now sold in vending machines

Focus on Chinese tourists on the cards

The Lee jeans brand is exploring new opportunities from foreign tourists and vending machines.
Putthichai Chaiyaweach, senior brand manager for Lee jeans at Central Marketing Group, said CMG had begun selling Lee T-shirts from a vending machine, a first for Thailand.
CMG has four Lee vending machines — two in CentralWorld, one in Robinson Department Store’s Rama IX branch and one in Big C Supercenter’s Ratchadamri branch — with the number increasing to 200 within three years.
In this initial stage, the vending machines are selling only limited-edition T-shirts for 1,000 baht.
CMG will add more products including denim jeans next year.
“We’ve created a new type of sales channel to expand our customer base to reach more tourists, particularly Chinese, who spend big on Lee jeans, as well as the new generation of shoppers,” Mr Putthichai said.
Foreign tourists account for 30% of Lee sales, and 70-80% of these are Chinese.
Spending by Chinese tourists’ at King Power Duty Free shops is five to 10 times higher than the overall total at other Lee points of sales nationwide.
Each Chinese tourist buys three to five pairs of Lee jeans per time, as the price is very high in China — 5,000 to 10,000 baht a pair of jeans compared with 1,800 to 2,500 baht in Thailand.
“Therefore, we’ll focus more on selling denim jeans to them next year, and vending machines at tourist destinations will be another new sales channel they can access,” Mr Putthichai said.
Sales of Lee jeans this year look set to grow by 30%, the highest rate in three years.
Mr Putthichai credited the higher-than-expected sales largely to foreign tourists, particularly Chinese, as well as the opening of new points of sales.
Popular Thai actor Mario Maurer has been signed as Lee brand ambassador to help spur demand from Chinese tourists.
Spending per bill per shopper has increased to between 3,000 and 4,000 baht this year from 2,000 baht last year, Mr Putthichai added. 


Abercrombie & Fitch ..first A&F branded store in the UAE

Abercrombie & Fitch continues Middle East expansion with first A&F branded store in the UAE
Abercrombie & Fitch continues Middle East expansion with first A&F branded store in the UAENew store houses the brand’s first stand-alone fragrance boutique and first Abercrombie kids location in the Middle East
Dubai, UAE–Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) today announced that its Abercrombie & Fitch brand will open its first store in the UAE at Dubai’s luxury shopping center, the Mall of Emirates, on December 26, 2015. The store is being opened pursuant to a joint venture between Abercrombie and Fitch and Majid Al Futtaim Fashion. The new location is the brand’s third store in the region, following the opening of two stores in Kuwait in early 2015.

The Dubai opening marks several firsts for the brand, including a newly designed concept store featuring a stand-alone fragrance boutique and a carve-out for the abercrombie kids brand. The 18,000 square foot store is one of the largest Abercrombie & Fitch mall-based stores globally and features the brand’s signature style and inviting shopping environment.
“International expansion in key growth markets remains a priority for Abercrombie & Fitch and we are delighted to bring a new store to the Middle East,” said Michael Scheiner, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications at Abercrombie & Fitch. “We know that there is a strong affinity for our brand in this part of the world,and we are excited to continue our development in the region in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Fashion.”
“There is significant demand for Abercrombie & Fitch in the Middle East and the UAE is a natural fit for the brand,” said Rajiv Suri, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Fashion. “We look forward to the launch in Dubai and continuing to work closely with Abercrombie & Fitch, as we solidify the brand’s presence across the region.” 


The 5 Best Retail Stories Of 2015

From dancing sharks at the Super Bowl and the end of the Mad Men era to the rise of Amy Schumer and Star Wars pandemonium, this year was filled with plenty of entertaining and inspiring moments. It wasn’t just celebs and pop culture that caught the eye of marketers, though. In the world of retail, many trends came to the surface, but ultimately, 2015 may just be deemed “The Year of Mobile.” And for good reason.
Before we turn our attention to 2016, which is sure to bring on more change, let’s take a look at the action-packed year that retailers and brands experienced. I present you with my top five retail stories that helped shape the way consumers shopped in 2015:
Science And Fashion: Technology Drives Personalization

What does data have to do with style? Everything if you’re Stitch Fix, a 4-year old start-up focused on using science to connect shoppers with new styles and trends curated specifically for their closet. In 2015, the convergence of technology and fashion began to take shape more than ever before.
Stitch Fix is transforming the way people shop for clothes by harnessing customer data to build a hyper-personalized experience. The use of customer information by retailers, like Stitch Fix, has brought a new level of fun for consumers shopping this year. Some even think of the brand as their own personal shopper, and at a fraction of the cost. By utilizing these insights, brands can recommend new items that shoppers may not have discovered otherwise—a tactic we’ve seen from Amazon and Netflix NFLX -3.39% as well—and effectively boost engagement. As this era of digital technology continues to build in 2016, we can expect to see more and more retailers use data in new and interesting ways.
Amazon Prime Day Creates Big Buzz In July

Christmas in July? That’s what some shoppers found when Amazon announced its first ever Prime Day sale. The online retailer created big buzz for its brand when it spread the news that discounts and deals could be found at steeper reductions than during the normal winter holiday shopping season. What we saw was other retailers, like Walmart, Target TGT -1.41% and Best Buy BBY +0.00%, quickly follow suit with sales of their own.
But did Prime Day really pay off for the retailer and for consumers? While some complained that the deals weren’t nearly as good as they expected to find, the move had shoppers thinking about holiday gifts even earlier in the year. In fact, according to data from RetailMeNot, more than 54% of shoppers expect holiday deals before Halloween. As for Amazon, this was a strategic move to help boost Prime memberships, and ultimately help the online retail giant gain access to more user data. Will Amazon bring back Prime Day in 2016? Only time will tell.
Retailers Boost Investment In Omnichannel Success

Earlier this year, I wrote about how the omnichannel approach that retailers once took is now dead. However, I think one of the biggest stories of 2015 lies around the fact that retailers have taken a new look at their omnichannel strategies, and investments were made heavily across the board.
From Macy’s and JC Penney JCP +0.00% to Sears and Kohl’s, retail marketers engaged customers in more meaningful ways as consumers shopped anywhere and anytime they wanted. Kohl’s specifically took another look at its digital initiatives in 2015. The multi-category retailer focused on using their stores in a more strategic way, while accelerating their presence across all channels to find solutions that would bridge the gap between the digital and physical shopping experience.
How did Kohl’s do it? From rolling out buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) options to launching a redesigned mobile website and tablet app, the brand spared no expense on making sure its customers were able to shop when and how they wanted. Additionally, the retailer offered mobile payment options, in-store app features and took risks on social—including its #KohlsSweepstakes, one of the biggest trending topics of Black Friday.

Levi Strauss & Co. Announces New Global Retail Leader

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) announced today that Carrie Ask, a seasoned retail industry leader, will join the company as executive vice president and president of global retail, effective February 16, 2016. In this role, Ms. Ask will be responsible for leading all aspects of LS&Co.’s global retail business, including 2,700 owned and operated stores, franchise stores and outlet stores. She will be charged with growing LS&Co.’s retail business, an area that has been an important global growth driver for the company. She will report to Chip Bergh, president & chief executive officer.
“I have long admired LS&Co. for its iconic products, coveted brands, and leadership on social issues”

“Carrie has demonstrated a successful track record of driving retail strategy and execution at leading brands,” said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer at Levi Strauss & Co. “She’s recognized as a collaborative leader who delivers strong results and we know she’ll be a powerful addition to our team.”
Ask joins LS&Co. from NIKE, Inc. where she was vice president and general manager for Nike Stores North America. Ask held leadership positions at Nike subsidiary Converse, where she was vice president and general manager with global oversight for full price stores, factory stores and She also has previously held retail and merchandising positions at Petco, Target Corporation and BC Natural Foods, LLC.
“I have long admired LS&Co. for its iconic products, coveted brands, and leadership on social issues,” said Ask. “The opportunity to accelerate the growth of LS&Co.’s direct-to-consumer business is an exciting challenge for the next phase of my career.”
Ask was an associate principal for McKinsey & Company, Inc., and worked with retail clients in North America and Western Europe. She served in the United States Navy as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps, and received a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. She is a graduate of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University where she received a Master of Business Administration.
About Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest brand name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.TM, and Denizen® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 2,700 retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.’s reported fiscal 2014 net revenues were $4.8 billion. For more information, go to 


London retail space to increase by almost eight million square feet in next five years

The amount of retail space under construction in London in the next five years will increase by the combined size of Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street according to a new report.
Figures from CBRE’s latest In Retail report reveal that planning permission has been granted for a total of almost eight million square feet of new shopping space across London in zones 1 and 2.

Almost three million square feet will be within three retail-only developments at Croydon, Westfield London and Brent Cross. They will account for 1.5 million, 698,000 and 592,000 square feet respectively.
The remaining five million square feet has been given permission to be built across 30 sites in the so called ‘London Halo’ of zones 1 and 2.
Hugh Radford, chairman Central London Retail at CBRE said: “London will see 1000,000 new residents arriving every year with another 1 million forecast to want to live in the capital by 2025. These new Londoners will need places to eat and places to shop.
“Existing prime retail locations are bursting at the seams which means that confidence in the sector and its future potential has accelerated investment. This will mean London’s landscape is transformed over the next five years by the addition of more than five million square feet of new shopping space. It creates an incredible opportunity for the sector and London economy as a whole.”   


Gap to open 10 new stores in China

San Francisco-based clothing and accessories retailer Gap Inc plans to open 10 new stores in China in the next two months according to Shanghai Daily. After entering the country only in 2010, China has emerged as the most significant growth market for the group.
The company will aim for keeping the same pace of growth in the next five years, focusing on an enhanced online-to-offline interaction to meet changing shopping habits of Chinese consumers, explained Abinta Malik, senior vice president and general manager of Gap Inc for China’s mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The US’ largest specialty retailer would also introduce the Banana Republic brand to the Chinese market, added Malik, but did not give a timeline.
Gap is currently the third largest global clothing retailer (after Inditex and H&M, respectively) and takes its expansion in Asia seriously. The brand now has more than 140 stores in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In May of this year, the company opened its first store in India and plans to set up ten more by March 2016, mainly in metro cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Over the next four to five years, Gap is aiming for 40 stores in the ten largest Indian cities. 


Dubai set to launch first Harper’s Bazaar Cafe in Q1 2016

Dubai Design District, also known as d3, has announced an agreement with Marka Hospitality to launch the first Harper’s Bazaar Café in the first quarter of 2016.
The signing of the deal with the food and beverage division of retail firm Marka signifies the start of many new retail and hospitality agreements for d3, as it looks to introduce many business partners to the design district throughout 2016, a statement said.
It added that d3 has chosen to partner with “bespoke and distinctive brands”, with many choosing d3 as their first location and launch pad in the Middle East.
Harper’s Bazaar Café, an extension of the luxury fashion magazine brand, will feature a total dining capacity of 140, with 74 interior seats and 66 on a terrace.
Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, chief operating officer of d3, said: “Through our partnership with Marka Hospitality we are proud to welcome this exciting and original F&B concept to d3, which will add a further lifestyle dimension to our already thriving community.
“We have designed d3 to become a dynamic ecosystem and by introducing the Harper’s Bazaar Café as its latest offering we are taking another step in our journey to position d3 as an emerging, self-sufficient district of creativity.”
Khaled Almheiri, vice chairman and managing director of Marka, added: “Harper’s Bazaar is a globally renowned title and leading fashion publication that is the epitome of glamour, sophistication and upmarket couture.
“Marka Hospitality is delighted to have partnered with d3 to bring the first ever Harper’s Bazaar Café to Dubai.” 


Kurt Geiger sold to Cinven

Private equity firm Cinven has bought Kurt Geiger as part of its Christmas shopping, for an undisclosed sum. 
Cinven picked up the footwear and accessories retailer from Sycamore partners. The Kurt Geiger package includes a portfolio of brands (such as Kurt Geiger London, KG, Miss KG and Carvela), 80 standalone global stores, partnerships with international brands and 240 concessions within renowned department stores including Harrods and Selfridges. 
The UK footwear market is growing. Currently valued at around £8bn, it’s a sector with 3% annual forecast growth. 
The buyout firm outlined that Kurt Geiger has a proven omni-channel business model, operating thirty party concessions, owned and international franchised stores together with high-growth ecommerce sites.  
The takeover was seen as a “highly attractive investment opportunity” based on further expansion opportunities, both through in-market consolidation, digitisation strategy and international growth, including further rollouts in Asia and Australia.  
There is also potential to expand the upmarket retailer’s own brand offering into adjacent categories such as the children’s footwear segment.  
Cinven also said that there is a proven track record of consistent growth during economic cycles, confirming the “highly regarded management team” (CEO Neil Clifford, CFO Dale Christilaw and Creative Director Rebecca-Farrar-Hockley) will continue in their key roles under new ownership.  
“Kurt Geiger represents an exciting opportunity to acquire the UK’s leading women’s footwear and accessories company with significant international growth and consolidation opportunities,” commented Maxim Crewe, Partner at Cinven. “The business enjoys an attractive specialist retail model with multiple brands and routes to market. It is led by a strong, experienced and committed management team and we are looking forward to working with them to achieve the next phase of growth.” 
Kurt Geiger is the UK’s largest shoe retailer by sales. In the year ended 31 December 2014, it generated sales of £260m and continues to invest in new and existing outlets throughout the UK. 


Zara owner Inditex announces 20% profit hike

Zara and Massimo Dutti owner Inditex has reported a 20% rise in net profit for the first nine months of its financial year. Some 28 of its 88 international markets now have dedicated online platforms.

Fashion retail group Inditex has reported that net sales increased 16% year on year to €14.74 billion, over the first nine months of its financial year.
For the period between 1 February to 31 October, the Zara and Massimo Dutti owner saw net profit reach €2.02 billion, which was up 20% compared to the same period in 2014.
Inditex continues to grow its business internationally, with online operations recently launching for Zara in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Zara Home going live online in Australia earlier this month. The group now has over 6,900 stores in 88 markets, 28 of which also have online sales platforms to support the business’s multichannel approach.
Another technology development at the group is the continued roll-out of RFID systems across its stores and supply chain.
Inditex said this week that RFID technology is in place in 1,417 stores across 64 countries, having been fully rolled out in 47 nations. By the end of this financial year, 53 countries are expected to have the technology fully in place. 


John Lewis invests half a billion pounds online

John Lewis is investing £500million in its online shopping service as it aims for internet sales to overtake those in shops within just four years.
The department store chain has embarked on an investment programme to be completed by the end of 2018 which will add hundreds of recruits to its IT department as online demand for products continues to soar.
Internet sales at John Lewis rose 13.6 per cent in the week to December 5 compared with the same period last year.
Managing director Andy Street expects internet sales to overtake store sales in 2019 – a year ahead of his original forecast. Total sales at John Lewis last year were £4.1billion.
Street said of the change in forecasts: ‘This has not blown our assumptions out of the water – but it has moved them forward.
‘It’s very reassuring because it endorses everything we are doing.’
The investment plan, the bulk of which will be executed in the next three years, will include the completion of state-of-the-art warehousing and investment into information technology that will improve systems, forward planning, analysis of shoppers and their buying habits and provide what Street called a ‘seamless journey’ for customers.
‘This is about the systems that link everything from buying right through to the end point of the customer at home on their keyboard,’ said Street.
The company has already invested almost £280million in a two million square foot distribution hub that will become fully operational next year.
‘We have increased our investment in IT sixfold over the last six years and the number of people involved has increased three times. This is a story about how retail has changed given how the customer is now shopping,’ he said.
He estimated that more than 500 IT professionals would be recruited to work in the company’s head office in London’s Victoria, and through overseas contractors by the end of the programme. That would take the total employed in IT to more than 2,000.
John Lewis operations director Dino Rocos said: ‘There is a fundamental difference in retail now between those who are stretching their legacy systems and others who have reached the point where they recognise the need to invest – not just for today, but for ten years’ time.’
The firm’s distribution hub in Milton Keynes currently sends out as many as 400,000 orders a day and there are plans for everything bought on the internet by 2020 to be delivered from one massive facility in a central location. 


Victoria’s Secret opens in Montreal second largest global store

The newVictoria’s Secret Montreal store spans a total of 33,162 square feet and of that, 21,346 square feet is dedicated to sales floor space. In comparison, the Vancouver Robson Street flagship, which opened in August of 2013 and was previously Canada’s largest, features a sales floor of 16,696 square feet.

The Montreal store features three selling floors, including a basement level dedicated to the retailer’s PINK line. The company’s entire assortment of signature bras, panties and sleepwear are featured, as well as its sport, beauty and swim lines. A marble and glass staircase connects all three floors, and 45 video screens and over 2,000 mirrors surround the store.


Burberry to wrap up Piccadilly Circus with 3D scarf campaign 

Burberry is taking over the world famous Piccadilly Circus curved screen with an interactive campaign that usesthe same technology featured in the 3D film Kung Fu Panda.
The British fashion business has partnered with DreamWorks Animation to create an advert that uses the movie studio’s NOVA technology to allow passersby to design their own personalised Burberry scarf.
Christopher Bailey, chief executive of Burberry, said: “The huge screens in Piccadilly Circus give us a great canvas to launch the technology in a space that will show the possibilities of what this technology can do in an entertaining and engaging way.
“Giving users the ability to control their movement in various ways makes the experience much more personal when viewed on a screen whether at home or on a digital billboard.

“We partner closely with many social media platforms around the world such as Twitter, Facebook, Line and most recently Snapchat because they allow us to develop a much more intimate relationship with our customers.
“The campaigns we create are not developed with a purely commercial imperative, our aim is to identify platforms where we can create interesting content that we believe audiences will enjoy so that our relationship with them can extend beyond the purely transactional.”
Visitors to the London landmark will be able to use their mobile phones to design their own heritage Burberry scarves with their initials, which will then be beamed onto the giant screen.
They will then be able to buy their personalised scarf online or from Burberry’s flagship store on Regent Street.
“Burberry is a world leader in luxury, and, leveraging NOVA’s technology, we’re thrilled to help them demonstrate a new and innovative product experience that enables consumers to both personalize and visualize the iconic Burberry scarf”, said Jeffrey Katzenberg, chif executive of DreamWorks Animation.
It is the latest move by the luxury fashion house to appeal to technology savvy shoppers.
It has also developed a photo booth with Google that allows shoppers to star alongside Elton John and Rosie Huntington Whiteley in its Christmas adverts.

The luxury group has also launched its own music Youtube site, Burberry Acoustic, featuring up and coming British singers including James Bay and Mercury music prize winner Benjamin Clementine, performing acoustic sets.
The group also has its own Snapchat and Instagram accounts and was the first brand to livestream its show on Japanese messaging platform Line. 


Harrods opens temporary outlet in Doha

London luxury department store Harrods has opened a temporary store in Doha for the Christmas period.

The iconic store, which is owned by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), opened a 6,500 square metre branch at Katara Cultural Village at the weekend. For the first week, the store is only open to VIP visitors, after which the general public can visit from 4pm to midnight daily for the next 45 days.
Designed by Italian architect Gio Pagani, the store is a larger version of the Harrods branch in Sardinia.
It features 14 luxury brands, including Audi, Bentley, Buccellati, Graff Diamonds, Chopard and Ferrari. The store also features luxury vehicles, including Rolls-Royce, BMW and Bentley.
“The goal for this ambitious village was to create a really unique space that enhances the environment, adds a desirable ‘wow’ factor, and highlights each luxury brand within a contrasting unexpected temporary space, turning what was originally an anonymous space into one of the world’s most desirable shopping experiences,” said Pagani.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud Al Thani, CEO of QIA, said the store was brought to Doha to coincide with Qatar’s national day celebrations, with a much larger store planned for next year’s national day. 


Chanel Pays Record Price for Retail Space

French luxury retailer Chanel SA is paying a record price for retail space in Los Angeles as prime shopping locations in the nation’s major urban areas command rising premiums.

Chanel is purchasing the 11,500-square-foot building at 400 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills for $152 million, or more than $13,000 a square foot, according to people involved in the transaction. That tops the previous high for Southern California of about $10,400 a square foot, set in 2012, for another building on North Rodeo Drive, according to data provided by real-estate firm Real Capital Analytics.
The deal is another sign of the strong interest among retailers and landlords in retail real estate in large urban areas with a dense population of affluent shoppers.
“That’s what people have been willing to pay up for,” said Jim Costello, senior vice president at Real Capital Analytics. “That’s where the millennials are. That’s where the consumers are.”
Buyers have been willing to pay particularly high prices for the most desirable and heavily trafficked destinations where luxury brands can command attention, such as Madison Avenue in New York.
“It’s like buying a very expensive billboard,” said Scott Kalt, a founding partner at Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP, a Los Angeles law firm that represented one of two families in the partnership that sold the property to Chanel.
Chanel, for example, paid more than $31,000 a square foot last year for retail space on Madison Avenue at 64th Street, which is the highest price for any retail space in the nation, according to Real Capital Analytics.
Three other sales in Manhattan this year have topped $14,000 a square foot, the firm’s data show. Prices in the top quartile of sales of retail space have often topped the prerecession peaks in many cities in recent years, according to the firm’s figures, though prices have also fluctuated in some places.
North Rodeo Drive is home to a wide range of luxury retailers, including Cartier, Gucci and Prada. Chanel has rented the property on the corner of Brighton Way for years, according to people familiar with the matter.
“If it’s not the single best corner in Beverly Hills, anyone would list it in the top two or three,” said Ron Goldie, a Los Angeles-area attorney who also worked with one of the families selling the property. “It’s highly visible.” 


Costa launches food-led concept store

Coffee shop chain Costa has opened a new food-led concept store on London’s Tottenham Court Road called Costa Fresco. The specially designed store environment, by Caulder Moore, features designated zones for relaxing and a new way of presenting freshly baked food.
‘We wanted our design to bring a natural, almost homely quality so that Costa Fresco has a different look and feel to the coffee shops, but is still in-keeping with the Costa brand values,’ says Ian Caulder, creative director at Caulder Moore. ‘The new store is lighter and brighter to hero the extended menu now on offer, although retaining the warm and welcoming appeal that customers expect from a Costa store.’
Carol Welch, Costa’s global brand and innovation director, describes the new store as ‘a fusion of London’s handcrafted bakeries brought to life by our heritage, Italian passion and gusto for vibrant ingredients and genuinely good food’.
‘The opening of Costa Fresco is a reflection of exciting things to come from Costa,’ adds Welch. ‘We are committed to continuing to innovate and delight our customers with what they want – quality food, alongside irresistible coffee in a warm, welcoming environment.’ 


The best companies to work for in the UK in 2016: Oxfam and Schuh beat eighth-place Google
Oxfam and footwear retailer Schuh have beaten Google in a employee ranking of the best companies to work for in the UK.
The league table, compiled by Glassdoor for its eighth annual Employee’s Choice awards, was topped by travel site Expedia, which was praised by a finance manager for its emphasis on striking a work/life balance and friendly culture.
The remainder of Glassdoor’s 25 UK best places to work in 2016 span a range of industries including technology, banking, retail and engineering.
Schuh and charity Oxfam placed fifth and sixth on the list respectively, well above Google, which came eighth.
The US tech giant has long been held in high regard by its staff thanks to perks like free, wifi-enabled buses to work, provision of healthy snacks and competitive salaries and came in first in the same list last year.
Despite its slide down the ranking, it remains among just ten employers that have made it on to the list for two years running.
Top-ranked Expedia was followed by recruiting company Hays and digital agency AKQA, in second and third, respectively.
To determine the best places to work Glassdoor looks at company reviews made by employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback through a company review about their job, work environment and employer over the past year.
The top 25
1. Expedia
2. Hays
4. GE
5. Schuh
6. Oxfam
7. ARM Holdings
8. Google
9. Unilever
10. London Underground
11. PageGroup
12. easyJet
13. Arup
14. Amec Foster Wheeler
15. Royal Dutch Shell
16. John Lewis
17. JP Morgan
18. Cisco Systems
19. Goldman Sachs
20. Credit Suisse
21. PwC
22. Yell
23. Procter & Gamble
24. Kantar Worldpanel
25. Waitrose  


The White Company profits soar 97 percent this fiscal

REPORTRetailer of furniture, clothing and homeware – The White Company said that its profits almost doubled for the full year ended March 28, 2015. Operating profits rose to 12.8 million pounds (19.2 million dollars) from 6.5 million pounds (9.7 million dollars) in the same period last year, representing an increase of 97 percent.
“I am extremely proud of our performance over the last 18 months; in a difficult trading environment The White Company has continued to strongly outperform the market. The exceptional achievements of not just the last year, but the last four years are a testament to the whole team and a unique brand that this year celebrates its 21st anniversary,” said Will Kernan, Chief Executive Officer of the company.
Positive annual results with sales up 13.8 percent
Total sales during the year under review increased 13.8 percent to 163.6 million pounds (246 million dollars), from 143.8 million pounds (216.3 million dollars) previous fiscal. The company also said that net margins improved on the back of improved buying and reduced discounting. The White Company opened two new stores in the year in Milton Keynes and Norwich. The company operated 50 stores in the UK and 11 shops in the Middle East, in the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
The White Company profits soar 97 percent this fiscal

Strong trading in the run-up to Christmas
The White Company said that trading towards the holiday season around Christmas is witnessing buoyed performance across all channels with customers responding positively to new seasonal ranges.
The company said that the trading performance in the year to date has significantly outperformed a tough and promotional market with sales up 17 percent on the previous year. Store like for like sales are 10 percent higher than last year. Along with two new store openings during the year, the trialling of four pop-ups stores for the Christmas trading period was also undertaken. After the successful launch of its US website, sources indicate that the company aims to launch its New York flagship store in 2017. 


Sun & Sand to add 20 stores in UAE 

The sports apparel retailer Sun & Sand will next year add a further 20 stores in the UAE as it expands across the region.
The retailer, which runs more than 100 stores in the Emirates, also operates outlets for sub-brands such as Nike and Timberland.
Gulf Marketing Group (GMG), the parent of Sun & Sand Sports, embarked on a period of unprecedented expansion last year, with more than 40 store openings across the Arabian Gulf. Sixty new outlets are planned for next year, mainly in Saudi Arabia.
The expansion drive comes even as retail sales in the UAE have shown a marked softening this year as a stronger US dollar and a drop in the number of Russian visitors weigh on demand.
While Sun & Sand reports 5 per cent year-on-year growth in like-for-like sales this year across its stores, its distribution partners have reported falls of up to 10 per cent.
“It’s not a situation I see changing over the next year,” said Miquel Pancorbo, president of the sports division at GMG.
“The retail climate is not as strong as previously, especially in Dubai Mall and Mall of Emirates [MoE],” he said. “There are a variety of factors such as the strength of the dollar versus the euro, the downturn in the Russian economy and the softening of the Chinese economy.”
He said that increasing rental rates at malls were also putting pressure on margins and that mall operators were “disconnected” from the realities in the market.
Representatives of MoE and The Dubai Mall could not be reached for comment.
The Dubai-based multi-brand Landmark Group is also pushing ahead with the expansion of it Sportsone-branded outlets. It began in 2012 but now has 18 outlets with another 10 planned for next year across the UAE and the region.
“My sales growth only comes from expansion at the moment,” said Shivam Goyal, business head of Sportsone. “Landmark Group also runs Fitness First gyms and we are seeing strong growth there which gives us great belief in the sector. We expect [a] 55 per cent to 60 per cent jump in turnover once this expansion is complete. Our Abu Dhabi store has the largest basket sizes with a predominantly local customer base. Dubai has, largely, more traffic but an expatriate base.”
Global sales of sports apparel and footwear stood at US$270 billion last year, jumping 42 per cent over the past seven years, according to Morgan Stanley. It forecasts average annual sales growth of 5 per cent during the next five years, driven by growth in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“An important factor positively impacting sportswear is a growing consumer fashion sense,” said Diana Jarmalaite, a research analyst at Euromonitor International. “Consumers seek colours, special designs and want to mix and match their sportswear items. Finally, facilitated by the governmental investment, new running, cycling paths are built within almost every residential compound and this helps to attract attention of new potential customers for sportswear.”
Sports footwear guarantees a steady steam of customers of all ages, types and nationalities and the Mena region is fast becoming an important geography for the brands that want to become recognised. New Balance is one such brand. It had global sales of $3.3bn last year but Mena accounted for almost nothing said Darren Tucker, New Balance’s vice president.
“We have changed our local partner, because it wasn’t working” he said. “Lifestyle is 30 to 40 per cent of ours sales and we see huge potential in the UAE and wider region. We will now open 40 mono branded stores across the GCC in the next five years. We are finding it difficult to find space in the top malls but we will be in Yas Mall soon.” 


Cyber Weekend generated around £3.3bn

It was a record breaking shopping weekend for retailers, with Cyber Monday rounding of four days of expenditure that totalled an estimated £3.3bn.
Online sales on Black Friday were up 36% on last year, reaching £1.1bn, according to data from Experian and IMRG. This is the first time that a day of online sales in Britain passed the £1bn mark, and companies such as Amazon and John Lewis announced it was their biggest ever day of trading. 
A further £968m is estimated to have been spent on Monday, an increase of 34% on last year, and further evidence of the migration of the average customer from the high street to the web. 
The final figures of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will not be revealed until January, when individual retailers will publish their trading results for the Christmas period. However, Amazon claimed that it sold more than 7.4m items on Black Friday in the UK, compared to 1.9m last year. John Lewis also claimed that it was its biggest ever day of trading and said that the online spending demonstrated a “different pattern of trade to last year.” 
“Black Friday appeared to be in a state of transition this year, as many retailers extended their campaigns to run over a week or even longer to ease the pressure on their operations,” said Andy Mulcahy of IMRG. 
“Nevertheless, it seems there is still a perception that the day itself is the time to get the best deals as it drew record volumes to retail sites – most likely boosted by shoppers who stayed away from the high street in order to avoid a repeat of the scenes from last year. 
Having so many different ways to browse and shop on retail sites will have played a part as well, with £495m being spend on smartphones and tablets on Black Friday.”  


LVMH’s Fresh opens new London flagship

LVMH-owned skincare brand Fresh has opened a 70 sq m flagship store on Monmouth Street in London’s West End. The opening marks the latest in a line of top brands to take space on the street in the last 12 months, including Larsson & Jennings, Loft Design By…, Pierre Herme and most recently, Club Monaco.

Designed in-house, the Fresh boutique is the second standalone UK store for the brand, which houses the company’s full lifestyle range, including skincare, bodycare, haircare and fragrances.
‘The brand’s arrival plays a great part in our strategy to create a unique shopping destination that appeals to both local and international visitors alike,’ says Charles Owen, Seven Dials Portfolio Executive at Shaftesbury. 


Prada opens enlarged and renovated store in Manila

Prada celebrates the reopening of its recently expanded and renovated store inside the prestigious Greenbelt Ayala Center department store in Manila, Philippines.
The space, designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, covers a total area of approximately 200 square metres on a single level and houses the women’s and men’s leather goods, accessories and footwear collections.
The external façade, of remarkable visual impact, is composed of an interplay of light- boxes, completed by a backlit white canvas curtain enclosed in a crystal box. 


UK shoppers set to spend more than £3bn by Cyber Monday

UK shoppers set to spend more than £3bn by Cyber 

British shoppers are expected to have spent more than £3bn by the time Cyber Monday ends, after the American phenomenon of Black Friday led to an online sales surge. 
The retail giant Amazon reported its biggest sales day ever in the UK, with more than 6m items ordered on Friday.
While the predicted repeat of last year’s in-store chaos failed to materialise, analysts have forecast that the flood of online customers could lead to a total four-day spend of £3.2bn.
The sales weekend now looks to be moving towards a four-week sales season all the way to Christmas, one expert said.

Jon Copestake, of the Economist Intelligence Unit, told the Daily Telegraph: “What we are starting to see is Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday all roll into one in a sales season that lasts several weeks in the run-up to Christmas.”

Some companies struggled to keep their websites operating on Black Friday, traditionally held to coincide with the end of Thanksgiving in the US, as huge numbers of people logged on to try to get the best deals.

The John Lewis website crashed at around 3.20pm. When one customer phoned to confirm an order that had been lost online they were told the retailer was unable to take any orders and to call back in an hour.
Shoppers using the Argos website also experienced delays and consumers were confronted with a holding page saying “Oops … Sorry to hold you up”. Page load times for the site exceeded 10 seconds, compared with 0.5 seconds on its competitor Amazon, and beyond the two-second threshold that some analysts say makes consumers impatient and more likely to give up on a purchase.
Multiple errors on the Tesco website were reported, and between 10am and 11am the website slowed to an 8.4s page-load time. The supermarket chain denied anything was wrong, saying on Twitter: “Our website is fully operational. We’re very happy with our site speed. Feedback from customers today has been very positive.”
Other retailers singled out on social media for slow websites included the fashion hub Boohoo, Boots, River Island and Debenhams.

The popularity of online shopping did not appear to be matched on the high street and in supermarkets where there were no signs of the huge crowds that gathered on Black Friday last year, or the scuffles that broke out as customers fought over big-ticket items. 


John Lewis sees record sales for a single day on Black Friday

John Lewis enjoyed its biggest ever single day’s trade on Black Friday with sales up 11.9% on last year.
The retailer said there was a different pattern of trade across the whole Black Friday weekend compared to 2014. On Black Friday itself, sales were mainly driven by, while shops were busy at the weekend with sales on Saturday 9.3% up on the same weekend in 2014.
Click here

On Black Friday, online sales achieved a record day, with sales peaking between 9-10am when the site was taking 4.9 orders per second. The retailer said its distribution teams processed 18% more parcels across Friday, Saturday and Sunday compared to last year.
The electricals buying office saw its biggest ever day for sales on Black Friday as wearable tech sales rose by 932% with sales of Fitbits up over 1329% on last year. Other standout performers included Dyson products, GHD, ‘connected home’ products and gaming.
In fashion, Black Friday top sellers included Barbour and Ted Baker. Home sales benefited from strong trade in Sophie Conran Portmeirion and Le Creuset items.
Mark Lewis, retail director at John Lewis, said: “Black Friday itself marked a record day for John Lewis and strong trade continued into the weekend. On Friday online trade really stepped forward, while shops saw their biggest increases over the weekend, showing that more than ever customers like to mix and match channels to shop in the most convenient way for them.
“The key story of the weekend was the success of our distribution operations, which have proved that we can manage the highest peaks of demand at Christmas, so that customers can be confident when they shop with John Lewis for their gifts.”

Burger king will sell alcohol in UK

Burger King turns out to be first fast food chain to sell liquor in the UK. The organization has won a beverages permit for its branch in Bury St Edmunds. The firm consented to serve only one beer per adult and will not allow the beer to be taken outside the shop premises. Also the fast food company would not sell liquor after 9pm. The company has also applied for permits at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Blackpool and Hull.
The organization has won a beverages permit for its branch in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in spite of solid opposition from the police department. The chain needed to serve liquor seven days a week from 10am to 11pm, however authorizing reviewer Matt Dee told the nearby committee there were reasons for alarm over youngsters being put at danger, and of expanded wrongdoing and issue.
‘Other evening time economies [in the town] have entryway staff, CCTV, considerable staff preparing and strategies for recognizing underage clients,’ he said. Be that as it may, the chamber gave the thumbs up after the organization consented to serve stand out brew per grown-up, not offer liquor after 9pm, and not permit beverage to be taken outside.
The burger chain has connected for beverages licenses at four branches in the UK to trial the questionable expansion to its menu, and means to run it over each of the 654 branches if fruitful.
Talking about the proposition, a representative for Burger kings in UK said: “We’re simply getting up to speed with whatever is left of the world truly.” However contender McDonald’s won’t be doing likewise. Notwithstanding offering liquor in a choice of its European branches, they trust their UK client base is too family friendly to accept liquor with their menu.
They state on their UK website:”It isn’t something that we have encountered client interest for or something that fits with the family-accommodating center of our eateries in the UK.”