Monthly Archives: April 2016

CHANEL opens new temporary store in Amsterdam

During the renovation of its store on P.C. Hooftstraat, CHANEL has opened a temporary store on the same road. The building, called crystal houses, is conceptualized by acclaimed Dutch architecture practice Mvrdv. The project not only represents a mean architectural feat, but also marks the arrival of the purpose-built luxury flagship store – a longtime phenomenon elsewhere – in the Dutch capital.

The new CHANEL boutique which features a glass facade occupies the lower floors of the building measuring a spacious 620 sqm., while the top floor remains residential.

Customers flock to opening of mammoth Mall of Africa

SOUTH Africans’ desire for new shopping centres has been insatiable, and another mall has entered the fray.
After months of anticipation, the R4.9bn Mall of Africa, located next to the N1 highway in Midrand, opened on Thursday. The 131,038m² shopping centre is the largest first-phase completion of a mall in SA to date. It is still far smaller than malls in many developing Asian countries, which tend to average around 300,000m².
“The opening of this iconic mega mall marks a significant strategic milestone for retail in SA and indeed takes the African retail experience to a totally next level,” said Morné Wilken, CEO of listed property fund Attacq.
“As the 80% owner of Mall of Africa, the opening of the Mall of Africa marks a significant business milestone for Attacq and our business environment. Mall of Africa is a world-class lifestyle and retail destination, bringing significant value to the offering of the Gauteng province as the southern African sub-continent’s commercial powerhouse,” he said.
By 1.30pm, 70,000 people had walked into Mall of Africa. Mr Wilken said many customers were taking advantage of opening sales by large stores such as clothing retailers H&M and Cotton On and electronics group Dion Wired. Starbucks had also opened its second branch in the country and was “trading extremely well”.
“We are really excited about what this mall can do. It is located in an extremely good position. Shopping mall culture is very much entrenched in South Africans. In Gauteng, we hang out at malls. Families go to malls. It’s what we do. We feel we have built a centre which has a strong choice of tenants, more space and more facilities than any other shopping centre in SA,” said Mr Wilken.
He added that the mall would act as a strong catalyst for demand for premises in the surrounding Waterfall City, which had a further 663,815m² of bulk available for development.
“Waterfall City is seen as one of the most significant South African commercial developments of the decade. We feel all of its components will support one another and it will be a very successful development for decades to come,” said Mr Wilken.
Mall of Africa has around 300 stores and Attacq plans to extend it by about 25,000m², depending on market demand. Mr Wilken said the mall’s size meant it could support a variety of tenants.
The new mall, however, is not nearly as big as malls in many other developing continents.
In comparison, SM Prime Holdings owns the Mall of Asia, which is in Pasay, Philippines. This super mall is being extended from 400,000m² to 700,000m² and will have 1,300 stores.
Stanlib’s head of listed property funds, Keillen Ndlovu, said the Mall of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was about 502,000m².
Other malls in Africa, however, tended to be smaller — aside from the Cairo Festival City Mall in Egypt, which was 168,000m². The Mall of Arabia, also in Cairo, had about 180,000m² of gross lettable area.
There are about 40 shopping centres sized 20,000m² or more that have been announced or are in production in SA, according to the Southern African Shopping Centre Directory of 2015.
Patrick Flanagan, head of development company Flanagan & Gerard, said developers must be careful where they build malls in an already saturated market.
“I think developers need to be careful. There are many shopping centres that have been announced which just won’t be sustainable in certain areas. Quite a few smaller centres are difficult to tenant in a slow-growth economy. We are also not a nation of shopowners like in the UK. We tend to rather shop at large retailers, so bringing more convenience centres to market can be risky,” he said.

J.C. Penney adding 60 new Sephora concessions nationwide

A decade after the launch of its partnership with beauty retailer Sephora, J.C. Penney will add 60 additional Sephora concessions inside its stores, the company announced this week.

More than half of the Sephora concessions will open by the end of the month, and most others will be up and running by mid-June, positioning those stores to capture greater market share ahead of the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons, J.C. Penney said.
J.C. Penney will open a new flagship Sephora location inside its newly relocated store at Northridge Mall in Salinas, CA. The concession will span approximately 3,000 square feet. Most Sephora concessions take up 2,000 square feet of space inside J.C. Penney stores.
There are now Sephora concessions in more than half of J.C. Penney’s 1,000 nationwide locations. The concessions offer fragrance and beauty products from close to 50 different prestige brands, including Lancôme, Marc Jacobs Beauty, NARS and Kate Somerville as well as the Sephora Collection private label.
The partnership with Sephora represents one of the best moves J.C. Penney has made in recent years, leveraging a concession retailing or “store-within-a-store” approach that in the best scenarios works well for both companies in question. While J.C. Penney gets a boost from Sephora’s reputation and traffic, the beauty retailer said J.C. Penney has helped elevate its brand visibility.
“Our 10-year collaboration with J.C. Penney has been an incredible partnership that has yielded both business growth and unmatched exposure in numerous markets across the United States,” said Satish Malhotra, EVP for Sephora inside J.C. Penney, Canada and Latin America.
Sephora helped revolutionize beauty retailing, removing the aloofness of the department-store beauty counter and bringing more freedom to try and buy. Perhaps that’s why J.C. Penney’s Sephora concessions are smack in the middle of the store.
In any case, it’s natural for J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison to want to expand on the partnership’s success, which gives the mid-tier department store a major differentiator compared to rivals Kohl’s, Sears, and even Macy’s.
“When we first introduced a Sephora inside J.C. Penney in 2006, it was a revolutionary concept,” Angela Swanner, SVP for Sephora inside J.C. Penney, said in a statement. “J.C. Penney was one of the first department store retailers to forgo the traditional beauty counter and work with a global beauty brand to build a dynamic Sephora shop inside its stores. Ten years and nearly 600 locations later, Sephora inside J.C. Penney has become a leading beauty destination that will continue to be a growth driver in 2016 and beyond.”

Goldman Sachs to be grilled over BHS collapse

Goldman Sachs looks set to be dragged into the growing storm over the collapse of BHS.
The House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills select committee said it will launch an inquiry into what checks were taken to ensure Dominic Chappell and his consortium of mystery investors were the right buyers of the retailer.
The BIS committee said that it will launch an inquiry into the steps taken by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group and Retail Acquisitions’ due diligence ahead of the sale of the 88-year-old retail chain for £1.
Goldman faces being called in for a grilling in front of a cross-party of MPs after the Wall Street bank screened Retail Acquisitions as a prospective buyer for BHS before recommending a meeting.  
Antony Gutman, one of the Wall Street firm’s most senior London bankers, met with Mr Chappell on behalf of Sir Philip before Retail Acquisitions bought the retailer. 
However it is understood Goldman did not carry out any due diligence work and it remains unclear whether Arcadia hired other financial advisers apart from accountants and lawyers to review the purchasers. 

Austin Reed becomes second British retail casualty in a week

Just as the British high street reels from the collapse of stalwart BHS, Austin Reed has fallen under the spotlight and is expected to collapse into administration shortly.
According to Sky News, the menswear retailer will officially appoint Alix Partners as administrators at 11am today, risking 1000 jobs.
The 115-year old tailoring specialist has been under mounting pressure after four consecutive years of declining revenues. In the 12 months to the end of January 2015, pre-tax losses reached £5.4m, up from £1.2m in the previous year.
The formalwear brand has long since been struggling as bigger rivals such as Moss Bros, Marks and Spencer and shirt makers like TM Lewin or Charles Tyrwhitt act more nimbly towards the shift online, and the demand for contemporary styles.

Biggest theme park in the region is on track for October opening

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – It’s only been two years in the making, but Motiongate Dubai’s development is on schedule; it will open its doors as the biggest theme park in the region this October.
And it’s a small company that’s responsible for much of the progress.
The Deluxe Group, a Northern Irish company working alongside Dubai Parks and Resorts, landed the project as it was part of a global entertainment initiative that fell within their niche: movie franchises.
But Deluxe Group had not always focused on amusement parks. Operating since 1969, the privately owned, family-run firm had generally stuck to the commercial, retail and luxury residential market sectors. Then 25 years ago they decided to specialise in theme parks. A year later, they landed their big break: developing Disneyland in Paris.
“Our first large project was Disney in Paris and in fact we just passed the 24th anniversary of that theme park,” business development manager Richard Hill said. “We even completed the Ratatouille ride in Paris just a couple years ago.”
Experience pays off
“The plan to build a park themed to DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, Smurfs Village and Studio Central animation characters emerged to take the form of Dubai’s newest leisure and entertainment destination in 2014. Motiongate Dubai will be part of a larger complex of theme parks, which will include Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai. The entire complex will estimated to cost Dh10.5 billion that will cover 25 million square feet on the south side of Dubai near the border with Abu Dhabi. The complex is expected to attract 6.7 million visitors in its first year of operations. Motiongate Dubai will boast 27 attractions, with dining, retail and entertainment options throughout the area,” Hill said.
In addition, the park will boast 27 attractions, with dining, retail and entertainment options throughout the area.
Dubai Parks and Resorts estimate Dh2.4 billion in revenue will be made after a year of operation and more than 5,000 jobs will be generated across the sector thanks to the expansion. 


BHS administration: ‘Imminent bankruptcy’ puts 11,000 jobs at risk

BHS could file for administration as soon as Monday, after the high-street department store failed to secure a financial rescue package.
Talks regarding a £60m deal with investment firm Gordon Brothers have collapsed, meaning its entire 11,000 workforce is potentially at risk.
The loss-making company, founded as a single shop in Brixton in 1928, was bought last year from high street mogul, Sir Philip Green, who also owns Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, for just £1.
Sports Direct are considering the purchase of some of BHS’s 164 stores, but it is understood any buyer would only do so if it did not have to take on its £571m pension deficit – part of the retailer’s debts of more than £1.3bn.
Last month the company appeared to have been rescued from the brink after creditors, including landlords, voted to accept a cut in the store rents,
But a source told MailOnline that the “money has now dried up and the business will go under”.
They continued: “The cash that the company was expecting to receive after the restructuring last month has not materialised.
UK news in pictures
“The company has been trying to nail down a plan to keep the chain afloat for the past month after landlords and suppliers agreed to support the firm by scrapping existing contracts.
“But a £60 million plan to raise funds from lender Gordon Brothers stalled last week and a last minute bid to sell shop leases to Sports Direct is also understood to have floundered.”
BHS could not be reached for comment.


Starbucks, opened its first store in South Africa

World’s largest coffee company opens its first store in SA as throngs of fans who had been lining up from night before eagerly awaited their morning fix
BY 7.30am on Thursday, when the world’s largest coffee company, Starbucks, opened its first store in South Africa, the throng of fans who had been lining up from the night before were desperately in need of a cuppa.
Coffee consumption in the country has grown as consumers, particularly in the middle–to–higher income market, move from instant coffee to premium and freshly brewed offerings.
The awareness, not only of quality beans but origin and sustainable sourcing, has seen a deluge of artisanal roasteries and niche chains such as Vida e Caffè, Motherland and Roast serving up java fixes.
According to Statistics SA, local coffee shops have seen a 7.1% increase in income since 2014.
Starbucks has iconic status among customers, largely due to its free Wi-Fi and customised drinks, with buyers’ names written on cups.
With its brick walls and woven leather ceilings, the 485m² store in Rosebank, Johannesburg, is a clear matrimony of the global behemoth’s laid back, urban edge with a distinct African semblance.
Starbucks vice president of licensed operations for the Europe, Middle East and Africa, and UK region Rhys Iley, said the group’s move into South Africa was overdue and that the country represented a “significant” market.
A second Starbucks store will open in Attacq’s R5bn Mall of Africa in Midrand next week.
“In two years, we think the market will have between 12–15 stores,” Taste Holdings CEO Carlo Gonzaga said, adding that the company was also looking at a drive-thru concept.
Taste will roll out the stores in SA, under its licence agreement with Starbucks. The JSE-listed group last year concluded a deal with Domino’s Pizza, the second-largest pizza chain in the world after Pizza Hut.
For coffee connoisseurs, the Rosebank store hosts a coffee theatre and tasting experience with its Starbucks Reserve Bar – the concept is all about the craft of roasting and brewing and aims to educate customers about coffee.
The Reserve Bar offers single-origin, small-batch coffees sourced from around the world, with a variety of brewing methods including Syphon, Pour-Over and the Clover™ brewing system, and all espresso beverages will be made with a Black Eagle espresso machine.
Earlier this month, Starbucks said it would open a 20,000 square-foot roastery superstore in New York’s Meatpacking District – its largest store in the world.
The Reserve coffee lines are more upscale, and cost anything from R26–R74. When it comes to classics, customers can pay R17 for a small filter coffee and around R30 for a cappuccino or latte – largely in line with local pricing.
Starbucks sources coffee from nine countries in Africa and two of the first Reserve coffees on offer will be Burundi Murambi and Kenya Kaganda.
The group has localised some of the menu offerings to include items like roti rolls and rooibos cappuccinos.
Starbucks was founded in 1971 and is named after the first mate in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Its logo is also inspired by the sea – featuring a twin-tailed siren from Greek mythology. It has 23,000 retail stores in 70 countries. 


Abercrombie & Fitch to double number of stores in Middle East

The company will focus on growing in Asia and the Middle East this year 

 Dubai: US apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch looks to double the number of stores in the Middle East in the next three to five years, according to its top executive.
The company has partnered with Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim Fashion and currently has seven outlets in the region, with five in Dubai and two in Kuwait.
“We don’t have a firm plan yet but it wouldn’t surprise me that over the next three to five years, between both brands [Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch], we would double the number of stores,” Arthur Martinez, chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch, told Gulf News in an interview in Dubai on Wednesday.
The majority of the company’s stores in the region are under the Hollister brand. It opened two Abercrombie & Fitch outlets in Kuwait and one in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates last year. On Friday, it will open a Hollister store in Mirdif City Centre in Dubai.
Martinez sees demand for the company’s brands that appeal to teenagers and consumers in their 20s in this region, where there is a significant young population.
“The population here is right. This is a young region. Hollister appeals primarily to teenagers and Abercrombie & Fitch is an older brand in the 20-29 range. If you look at the demographics of the region, the youthful population here, it’s a perfect match,” he said.
The brands are “iconic American brands that have a resonance for consumers that live here,” he added.
Abercrombie & Fitch will focus this year on expanding in the Middle East and Asia, while it closes stores in North America as consumers increasingly shop online. It looks to enter Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and plans to open 6-7 stores this year in China, where there is an expanding middle class and a growing appetite for western brands, Martinez said.
“The focus is not in North America. We don’t have a need for substantial expansion of our store profile in North America. We’ve been closing stores there as our digital efforts become more relevant. The opportunities are Asia and this region,” he said.
Elsewhere in Asia, the company is “exploring methods of entry into markets like Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said, adding that it will probably enter these markets with partners.
In a move to enhance its image, Abercrombie & Fitch recently appointed Ashley Price as its new creative director of marketing.
“She is responsible for all the creative execution. She is responsible for the store design and marketing materials used to promote the brand,” Martinez said.

Saks to close Dubai department store after 10-year stint

U.S. department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue has decided to shutter its location in Dubai, United Arab Emirates after nearly a decade.

First opened in 2005, Saks’ outpost at the Bur Juman Centre will close on Aug. 31 at the end of its licensing agreement. Established in 1992, Bur Juman is one of Dubai’s first shopping malls, boasting approximately 1 million square feet of retail and counting Louis Vuitton, Dior and Prada as luxury retailers.

Retail oasis

As the Dubai market has matured, so have its retail offerings. The UAE city offers monobrand stores aplenty and the opening of the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates has likely taken some of Bur Juman’s foot traffic.
Per WWD, the department store chain has no immediately plans to reopen a Saks at a different location in Dubai. This also marks the second time Saks has decided to close a location in the city. In 2010, the retailer shuttered its menswear store at the Walk of the Jumeirah, just two years after opening.
As with other emerging markets, Dubai is likely facing a slowdown, as brands looking to enter the city have slowed. According to Euromonitor International, the UAE retail market is valued at $53.7 billion for 2016.
Saks saw short term success elsewhere in the Middle East as well. After more than a decade, Saks closed its licensed department store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Other U.S.-based department stores have tried their luck elsewhere in the Middle East.

Department store chain Bloomingdale’s announced that it will increase its Middle Eastern presence with the opening of a store in Kuwait.
A rendering of Bloomingdale’s upcoming store in Kuwait.Rendering of Bloomingdale’s, Kuwait 
Scheduled for spring 2017, Bloomingdale’s Kuwait location will be the retailer’s second international location, with the first opening in Dubai in 2010. Due to cultural differences between Bloomingdale’s United States background and the Middle East, Bloomingdale’s in entering Kuwait as part of a strategic partnership with Al Tayer Group LLC, a UAE-based firm with diversified business  


Dubai to have new ‘mega retail district’

New retail destination will be connected to The Tower, one of world’s tallest observation decks

Dubai: Dubai is to have a new “mega retail district” at the new masters elopement in the making near Dubai Creek.
Part of the Dubai Creek Harbour, the new retail destination could be announced as early as in the next two months, according to a top Emaar Properties official.
It will be connected to The Tower, one of the world’s tallest observation decks and Dubai’s new monument in the making. The basic design of The Tower has been unveiled. 


The Body Shop to launch e-commerce site in Dubai

British cosmetics retailer The Body Shop is planning to launch its own e-commerce website in the United Arab Emirates as its growth in the region outperforms the rest of the word.
The ethical beauty giant’s chief executive Jeremy Schwartz said the company planned to launch the new website in Dubai in 2017.
The CEO claimed that during 2015, the 40-year-old company had grown much faster in the Middle East compared to the global average.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were cited as being particularly strong markets, while the brand also saw a resurgence in Oman last year, Schwartz said. The male market is also stronger in the Middle East, forming 40 per cent of overall sales compared to 35 per cent globally.
Speaking to Gulf Business he said: “The Middle East represents a significant part of our business. Last year in the Middle East we had a total growth that was about three times greater than that of our global growth.
“The new website is to be a blend of our own website and third party websites that are linked to premium beauty and not just on any site. It’s not just about functionality, it’s about the product experience.”
Currently the franchise has 43 stores in the UAE and 350 across the Middle East. It opened its first regional stores in Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 1987.
Schwartz said the growth surge in the Middle East was in part due to its mission to become ‘experts’ in Ramadan and gifting.
“We had more than 30 different gifts for Ramadan and we invented some specifically for the period and that was a big contributor. We will continue to do that.”
Founded by British environmental activist Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop suffered a decline in like-for-like sales of 0.9 per cent last year, reaching €967m (Dhs 4bn), as the ethical beauty market became increasingly competitive.
“Lots of companies have got onto sustainability, many of them have copied The Body Shop – the CEOs say they were inspired,” said Schwartz.
“The question is, if we are a pioneer and an innovator, how do we re-invent the concept of corporate responsibility?
“We came up with the idea ‘Enrich not Exploit’ to enrich our customers and local suppliers, but also not exploit them with false promises.” 



New 1,000 square foot space is largest fixed retail offering dedicated to smart home technology in the UK

18 times more people are searching for smart home products on, compared to the same time the previous year (Dec 2014 – Dec 2015)

Sales of smart home products as a category at John Lewis have increased by 81 per cent year-on-year from 2014 to 2015

Large range of smart technology on display in an interactive setting for all areas of the home.

LONDON, 2016-Apr-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — John Lewis has set its sights on the future by opening the UK’s largest smart home technology experience at its flagship Oxford Street store.
The 1,000 square foot space, opening its doors to customers on the 7 of April, will boast futuristic gadgets for every part of the home.
From an oven that enables you to put dinner on before you leave the office, to a bedside device that monitors the quality of your sleep and a smart fridge which does your internet shopping for you, a wide range of the latest cutting edge technology will be on display in an interactive, real-life home setting.
The move comes in response to an 81 per cent increase in sales of smart home products in the past year at John Lewis.
Despite the futuristic nature of the products, when it comes to buying, seeing is believing and customers still need top quality customer service in stores. It is important for customers to touch and demo the technology with Partners in store before buying.
‘We are seeking to demystify the latest smartest technology for our customers,’ says Johnathan Marsh, Buying Director for Electricals and Home Technology, John Lewis. ‘In-store experiences are now key as we’ve seen customer demand for physical experiences before committing to purchase increase. To help customers understand which smart technology is for them, our Partners have received extensive training to provide added value. Given our home and technology credentials, John Lewis is perfectly placed to support and lead the customer on the smart home journey.’
Futuristic technology today
Four interactive zones: ‘Kitchen’, ‘Entertainment’, ‘Sleep’ and ‘Home monitoring’ will demonstrate how customers can save time, effort and enhance their busy lifestyles by controlling their homethrough the touch of an app on their smart device. Demos from specially trained Partners will showcase how smart technology instinctively responds to human behaviour.
Innovations which mirror human behavior
The highly anticipated Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge with built-in touch screen which brightens up automatically as you approach, allows you to internet shop from your fridge. A set of cameras inside the door mean you can view the contents of your fridge from your phone when out and about so you know when to buy milk.
It isn’t just kitchen appliances that can be programmed to undertake tasks. Also on show for the first time is the new S+ by ResMed, the world’s first non-contact sleep tracking system that helps analyse and improve quality of sleep. The ResMed S+ records light, noise and temperature conditions in bedrooms, and syncs to smart devices to provide personalised feedback on how to improve sleep.
All products featured in the space will be available to purchase in-store and online at and the smart home experience will be rolled out to other shops across the UK starting with the new John Lewis Leeds store, scheduled to open in Autumn 2016.
The future of the Smart Home
John Vary, Innovation Manager, John Lewis, comments ‘Smart home technology is designed to make life more convenient, and the introduction of this new curated experience – the first on the high street – marks a brilliant step in innovation for John Lewis. Showcasing the latest smartproducts, this experience demonstrates in a real-life setting, how technology has exciting and far-reaching implications for today’s lifestyles.’
Customers will also benefit from the John Lewis Never Knowingly Undersold price promise, ensuring that products are available at the best price on the high street. All electricals come with John Lewis’s market leading two-year guarantee.
Products featured in the smart home experience include Philips Hue lighting; Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Music System; Nest Protect 2nd Generation Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm; AEG BS8836880B ProCombi Plus Smart Oven and the Netatmo Welcome Home Camera with Face Recognition.
The smart home experience at John Lewis Oxford Street is open to customers from 9.30am on Thursday 7 April. 


Victoria’s Secret to cut 200 jobs, restructure

In a rare retail move, Victoria’s Secret is upending its business while the brand is near the top of its game.
Victoria’s Secret is trying to stay ahead of its impressive sales momentum by restructuring and cutting 200 jobs, the brand’s parent company announced Thursday.
L Brands will restructure its Victoria’s Secret brand into three business units and cut about 200 jobs in a move to streamline operations and focus on core merchandise categories.
The lingerie brand, owned by L Brands, has been a bright spot in the ultra-competitive retail world for the past decade, showing consistently positive comparable store sales and a diverse merchandise strategy that includes underwear, swim, active wear and beauty. Going forward, L Brands said Victoria’s Secret will operate in three business units — lingerie, beauty and the brand’s teen line PINK — in a move to focus the business on the strongest categories and streamline operations.
It’s an unusual strategy for a retailer when many are slashing jobs and restructuring amid falling sales and poor performance, says Sonia Lapinsky, a director in the retail practice of consulting firm AlixPartners.
“It’s a really forward-thinking perspective that we don’t often see with retailers these days,” she says. “Victoria’s Secret is doing well, and this is the perfect time to be laser focused and make sure they continue to go win the strategic places they’re best at.”
Victoria’s Secret will get rid of certain merchandise categories — the brand didn’t say which ones — and cut about 200 jobs between its New York office and headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. Other changes include integrating the online business, so it no longer operates as a separate unit from stores.

The restructuring is the first major change implemented since L Brands CEO and founder Leslie Wexner took over as CEO of Victoria’s Secret in February. He replaced Sharon Jester Turney, who had been CEO since 2006.
“Coming off a record year, now is the best time to make improvements, going from best to even better,” Wexner said in a company statement. “I am certain that these changes are necessary for our industry-leading brands to reach their significant potential.”
L Brands reported March sales Thursday. Sales at stores open at least a year increased 2% at Victoria’s Secret and 3% overall for the company, which also owns Bath & Body Works. 


Sainsbury’s management changes risk up to 870 jobs, Unite says

Up to 870 jobs at Sainsbury’s are at risk, the Unite union has said, after the supermarket announced changes to management roles at its major stores.

Sainsbury’s said it would be replacing its 870 store trainers with 280 new learning and development managers.
The retailer said those affected would be able to apply for the more senior roles and it would look to redeploy staff where it could.
Unite expressed “severe disappointment” at the re-organisation.
Julia Long, from Unite, said: “We appreciate that Sainsbury’s has a good record of redeployment of staff in these situations and we will be exploring every avenue to ensure continuing employment for our members.
“We are now entering the 45-day consultation period and will be having meetings with management.”
The new managers will cover several stores, as opposed to just one.
Sainsbury’s said it was also consulting about replacing night shifts with early-morning and evening shifts in some stores as part of an effort to improve customer service.
A spokesmen for the supermarket said: “All colleagues who currently work on the night shift are being offered a number of redeployment options.”
The changes are part of a rolling programme announced in November 2014 to save £500m over three years.
Similar re-structuring has also taken place at rivals Morrisons, Asda and Tesco as the big four supermarkets adapt to strong price competition from German discounters.
Sainsbury’s is in the process of buying Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, for £1.4bn. 


Co-Op announces 100-store rollout target by end of year

The Co-Operative Group has committed to opening an additional 100 stores before the end of 2016.
This year the Co-Operative Food has opened 12 new outlets in locations including London, Glasgow and Blackpool. Commenting on its rollout scheme, the grocer said it had no plans to slow down.
“Our new store programme is really starting to gain momentum now,” said Head of Acquisitions and New Store Development at the Co-Op Rob Bignold.
“We plan to open another 100 shops this year, a target which is unrivalled by any other UK retailer. The sheer size of our ambition is making the industry sit up and take notice of us, which is fantastic to see.”
This rollout plan is part of the company’s plans to overcome its financial struggles and debt. The chain recently offloaded its remaining Somerfield stores, following the sale of the Co-Op Pharmacy, Farms and Sunwin branches in 2014. In March the Co-Operative Group revealed that annual losses had more than doubled at the Co-Operative Bank, and a number of branches are set to close.
New store openings planned for this month include Inverary, St. Helens and Iver. 


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. 


Qatari-owned Valentino offers $569m for Pierre Balmain

Italian fashion house Valentino, owned by Qatar’s Mayhoola for Investments, has offered 500 million euros ($569 million) to buy Pierre Balmain, French newspaper Les Echos has reported , citing sources.

The French fashion house, led by artistic director Olivier Rousteing, has also received offers from a Chinese group and an American investor, Les Echos said, without providing names.
The heirs of Pierre Balmain’s founder, Alain Hivelin, have until Thursday to decide whether to accept one of the three offers, according to Les Echos.
Valentino and Pierre Balmain were not immediately available for comment. 


Gauteng’s Mall of Africa to open on 28 April

Commenting on the Mall of Africa development, Louis van der Watt, CEO of the developer, Atterbury, said: “In line with the Atterbury vision to create working, shopping and entertainment spaces for everyone to live to their full potential, the development of this breathtaking shopping and leisure destination introduces an unmissable, unmatched retail experience. Mall of Africa’s exceptional scale, design, location and retail mix places it at the forefront of development.”

Van der Watt added: “The development has enhanced the diversity of the retail sector in South Africa, changed Gauteng’s skyline and stimulated the economy.”
Mall of Africa is co-owned by two leading South African property companies: JSE-listed real estate capital growth fund Attacq holds the commercial development rights to Waterfall and owns 80% of the Mall of Africa; Atterbury Property Developments owns 20% of Mall of Africa and is responsible for the Mall of Africa development project, on behalf of Attacq. 
All amenities

Mall of Africa will feature over 300 retailers, restaurants, entertainment and services. It also has all amenities that shoppers may need. Atterbury Asset Managers is responsible for Mall of Africa’s asset management for its co-owners.
Gauteng’s Mall of Africa to open on 28 April

Atterbury began the construction of Mall of Africa nearly three-and-a-half years ago, on 28 October 2012. 
While the mall comprises some 130,000m² of gross lettable area, James Ehlers, MD of Atterbury Property Developments, noted that its construction area covers 550,000m² – or 78 rugby fields. A stroll around the building’s perimeter will take you on a walk of 1.75 kilometres. 
Ehlers also reveals that over six kilometres of shopfront has been created inside the Mall of Africa. More than 530 kilometres of post tension cable has been used in its construction, as well as 18,500 tons of rebar and 205,000 cubic metres of concrete.
Hundreds of jobs

During the construction of the Mall of Africa, 3,078 people were employed for the project and, by January 2016, they had worked 10.41 million man hours. 
“When the centre opens, hundreds of permanent and part-time jobs within the centre will be created on a sustainable basis,” said Ehlers.
A mall of the magnitude of Mall of Africa has massive pulling power for shoppers in the region and beyond, driven by its distinctive retail experience across two levels of exceptional shopping.
Lucille Louw, MD of Atterbury Asset Managers, confirmed that the Mall of Africa will open with seven anchor tenants and an array of international retailers that have chosen to debut their brands to South Africans at the mall, as well as an appealing line-up of flagship stores for all major South African retailers. 
“Mall of Africa’s carefully considered retail mix creates a unique experience that is a major attraction. It offers a well-balanced variety of local and international brands, services, speciality shopping, entertainment and eateries. There will be something for everyone, with 2.4 kilometres of shopping and an exciting selection of 300-plus stores,” said Louw.
Anchor tenants at the Mall of Africa include Checkers, Edgars, Game, and Woolworths. They will be joined by leading South African brands from The Foschini Group, Mr Price and Truworths. 
Top international brands

Louw revealed that top international brands opening their first stores in South Africa at the Mall of Africa include: Armani Exchange, Helly Hansen, Asics, Zara Home, The Kooples, Under Armour, Mango Man, women’secret and the Amsterdam-based Soap Stories.
These new retailers opening in the country for the first time will join a full pack of favourite brands like: H&M, Forever 21, Forever New, River Island, Mango, Starbucks, and Versace.
Louw added: “In addition to its exciting shopping appeal, Mall of Africa also includes endless entertainment. Customers can enjoy a state-of-the-art nine-screen Ster Kinekor cinema complex with Imax, and an extensive selection of 12 restaurants, fast food stores, coffee shops and cafés.” 
One of the many leisure highlights at the Mall of Africa is a magnificent outdoor park with a children’s play area featuring an interactive musical water fountain.
A major benefit of the Mall of Africa is its central location in Gauteng and easy access from all areas. It is situated in Waterfall City, halfway between Joburg and Pretoria. It is highly accessible, located adjacent to the Allandale Road exit of the N1 Highway, the first free-flow intersection of its size in Africa. Atterbury has undertaken major road upgrades around the development to make it easy for shoppers to arrive at the Mall of Africa’s 26 entrances. 
The mall has around 6,500 parking bays, most of which are undercover. It also offers valet parking, special drop-off facilities for buses and dedicated Uber pick-up and drop-off points – a first in the South African retail environment. It is also minutes away from the Gautrain Midrand Station.
Green strategies

Cobus van Heerden of Atterbury Property Developments commented: “Our commitment to responsible development, energy efficiency, sustainability and the implementation of green strategies is evident in Mall of Africa’s inspired design, construction and operational practices. As a developer, it is crucial to ensure the assets we create are environmentally responsible and as energy efficient as possible.” 
The project implemented multiple green technologies, including a massive photovoltaic installation on the roof of the Mall of Africa. The installation will be the largest in Africa and will provide 4.8MVA of sustainable power for the centre. The mall will use grey water harvesting in all public toilets and for the irrigation of the entire development. Its design means natural light is maximized in the mall in such a way that shopper comfort is also optimised.
Van Heerden said: “Atterbury’s vision was to develop the highest quality retail property that offers an exceptional overall shopping experience and is a real asset to its owners, retailers and customers. We are excited this is now becoming a reality and can’t wait to share the Mall of Africa experience with everyone when it opens on 28 April.” 


TFG looks for space to bring premium UK brands to SA

CLOTHING and apparel retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) is looking for retail space to bring its recently acquired UK chains Phase Eight and Whistles to its home market.
The group’s chief financial officer Anthony Thunström confirmed Phase Eight expansion plans in SA, saying: “We are currently looking at locations for Phase Eight. We probably will bring a limited number of both Phase Eight and Whistles stores to SA, (but) they could only be in your absolute premium shopping destinations.”
Mr Thunström said that the retailer thought it had a location, in Johannesburg’s Hyde Park mall, but had found that it was better suited for its G-Star Raw clothing store.
There was “massive growth that we continue to see in SA, and that really is because of the diversity of the different brands that we’ve got”, he said.

The group, which owns brands such as Markham, Mat & May, Charles & Keith and Donna Claire, acquired Phase Eight for £140m last year to spring-board its UK portfolio.
Last week, TFG announced it had bought a 100% stake in high-end mass market retailer Whistles for an undisclosed amount.
Kyle Rollinson, an analyst at Avior Capital Markets, said TFG’s expansion of Phase Eight into local markets would add value to its retail offering.
“Foschini has an extremely good portfolio of brands and I think it’s more of a value add, rather than trying to counteract a weak offering. Their offering is strong,” Mr Rollinson said.
TFG is no novice. Woolworths introduced its private label brand David Jones into its South African stores earlier this year, after it acquired the Australian-based women’s wear retailer in 2014 for R23.3bn.
Mr Thunström said: “I don’t think from a strategy point of view anything has changed … there is an advantage in risk diversification in terms of being in different geographies, and it’s certainly been a rand hedge.
“The reality is within this financial year … we will have opened roughly 200 stores in SA this year, and if I look forward over the next five years, we’ll open between 9,100 new stores in SA, so that’s massive growth that we continue to see.”
Chito Siame, an equity analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said: “I don’t think that would be their primary strategy with regards to recently acquired foreign brands.
“Phase 8 would probably roll out faster in a Macy’s than back home. They are searching for growth, and they’ll buy it if they have to.”
Phase Eight has 107 stores and 203 concessions throughout the UK and Ireland. It also has 15 stores and 113 concessions in 16 global markets.
TFG shares gained 1.02% to close at R141.44 on Thursday. 


Uniqlo global flagship store to open in Singapore in Autumn


Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo said on Tuesday that its first global flagship store in Southeast Asia will open in Singapore in the autumn. The new store, which will be the largest Uniqlo store in Singapore and in the region, will be located in the Orchard Central mall along Orchard Road, Singapore’s prime shopping strip.
“We are very honoured, and excited, to open our first Uniqlo global flagship store in Singapore. Having been a member of the local retail scene since 2009, we remain committed toward contributing to the local community and being an integral part of Singapore’s growth and future,” said Taku Morikawa, Uniqlo Southeast Asia CEO. “We will continue our effort to design and create innovative clothes that enrich the daily lives of people, as a reflection of our LifeWear philosophy,” he added.
The Singapore global flagship store will provide an extensive range of the latest lines for women, men, kids and babies, in a sales area of approximately 2,700 square meters across three levels in the Orchard Central, the first and tallest vertical mall in Singapore.
The opening of the store in Singapore is a new addition to Uniqlo’s global flagship stores in key locations, including New York’s Fifth Avenue, London’s Oxford Street, and Ginza in Tokyo. It will create more than 300 jobs in Singapore.

Louis Vuitton to close more stores in China

China Retail News reports that French luxury house Louis Vuitton has officially confirmed that the company will close two stores located in Shanghai and Shanxi, respectively, by the end of March 2016.
A representative of Louis Vuitton China said that the two stores will no longer operate from April 2016. However, Louis Vuitton has emphasized that the store closure does not mean they will stop their Chinese development strategy and they will continue to invest and expand there this year.
This wouldn’t be a first for Louis Vuitton in China though. According to a report on China’s luxury market in 2015 published by global management consulting company Bain, they closed six stores and opened two new stores in China last year. LVMH has stated in its financial report for the third quarter that due to the continued weakness of Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Macau markets, its Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, market share continued to shrink.
Last year media outlets reported that Louis Vuitton were set to close stores in the cities of Guangzhou, Harbin and Urumqi, which will leave the brand with about 50 stores in China. So will we see more stores in China close than what has been reported? Only time will tell.
Louis Vuitton isn’t the only luxury house to have been hit by China’s slowing economy. Giorgio Armani, Hermès and Versace are among those to have closed stores in the country over the past couple of years. 


Kids Emporium set to open UK store

Cape Town – South African retailer, Kids Emporium is set to open in the UK. 
The opening of the new store will be complemented by the launch of the Kids Emporium UK online store.
South African owner and founder of the Kids Emporium franchise stores in South Africa, Lauren de Swardt, opened her first flagship store at the tender age of 22 years. Kids Emporium has since entrenched itself in the marketplace. Its brand strength stretches to the whole Kids Emporium shopping experience, introducing a cohesive world of expert parenting knowledge aimed at educating new parents, backed by good old-fashioned service.
De Swardt has developed the brand, with 26 stores now operative throughout South Africa, over the past 13 years.
“We want our brand to be accessible in the United Kingdom, offering the market affordable, innovative South African product lines, previously unavailable to locals. Seventy percent of the goods in-store will be manufactured in South Africa, with the intellectual property based in South Africa and the business operative in the United Kingdom,” said De Swardt.
Franchise applicants are carefully selected – the challenge with the Kids Emporium brand is to translate passionate service levels into interest. The company ethos is to equip pregnant customers with accurate knowledge, and de Swardt insists on personal customer attention because she believes her demographic, pregnant women, is one of the most challenging.
Guildford store franchisee and mother of two, Storm Copestake, was chosen to run the master franchise. Owner of the Ruby Rabbit baby-centric clothing range in the UK, Copestake has years of industry experience.
Product offerings will include exclusive ranges of children’s toys, gifts, furniture, décor, children’s wear, and maternity essentials with a difference. Some of the top local South African brands include baby bath apron and snuggle blanket range, Lily and Jack, Thandana luggage, sublime kids clothing brand, Sticky Fudge, and many more.
De Swardt says that logistically goods will be shipped across to the UK.
“It makes financial sense to do this. We are bringing a global brand to the UK that is renowned for good service from a nation of hard-working people and we’re proud to offer high-end products that are value for money. It’s a massive milestone, the United Kingdom was chosen as a first stake, and we see the opportunity for a store that offers something completely different,” said De Swardt.From  


Abu Dhabi ‘poised to buy’ flagship London BHS store

A shopper enters the BHS department store in Oxford Street in London, England. (Getty Images)

A shopper enters the BHS department store in Oxford Street in London, England. (Getty Images)
Troubled British retailer BHS is in advanced talks to sell its flagship store in London to the Abu Dhabi royal family.
According to reports in the UK, Abu Dhabi is close to snapping up the 45-year lease on Oxford Street.
Local media said negotiations had “accelerated” and a deal could be announced in the coming days.
BHS last week approved a major restructuring plan – known in the UK as a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – to prevent the company from going into administration.
Its creditors are reportedly owed nearly £517 million ($730 million), and the retailer is also struggling to fill a pension pot shortfall valued at between £250 million ($350 million) and £550 million ($770 million).
Under the CVA, more than 40 of BHS’ 160-plus stores in the UK will close within months.
The company told Arabian Business on Sunday that international BHS franchises including stores in the Middle East would be “unaffected” by the restructuring.
In January BHS was rumoured to have agreed to lease part of the Oxford Street flagship to a Polish retailer called LLP for its junior fashion brand Reserved. This deal is understood to affect just one part of the store to be bought by Abu Dhabi.
BHS has been contacted for comment on the reported deal. 


Hugo Boss opens new store in Florence

Hugo Boss opens a new store in Florence, Italy. The store is located at 70-72 via Por Santa Maria, steps from Piazza Signoria. The new store covers a surface of 500 sqm over three floors.
The groundfloor is dedicated to Boss Woman while the first and second floors and dedicated to menswear and accessories (Boss Sportswear, Boss Clothing).