Monthly Archives: October 2016

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Gap to shut all Banana Republic shops in the UK

Clothes retailer to close eight stores after a year and a half of falling sales but says it will keep online service for British customers

 Sales of the Banana Republic and Gap brands have been falling for some time, with comparable sales at Banana Republic stores down 9% last quarter, its sixth straight quarter of decline.

Comparable sales at Banana Republic stores were down 9% last quarter. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Gap is to close all its Banana Republic stores in the UK as the ailing fashion retailer focuses on North America to revive its sales.
The company said it expected to close the majority of the eight UK stores by the end of this year, a Gap spokeswoman told Reuters.
Gap said in May that it would shut 75 Old Navy and Banana Republic stores overseas.
Sales of the Banana Republic and Gap brands have been falling for some time, with comparable sales at Banana Republic stores down 9% last quarter, its sixth straight quarter of decline.
Gap has been struggling to draw shoppers who now turn to fast-fashion retailers such as H&M, Forever 21 and Inditex’s Zara for cheaper and trendier clothes.
Banana Republic will continue to serve its UK customers through its regional website, Gap said.
The San Francisco-based retailer’s shares were down about 1% at $25.90 (£21) on Tuesday.

New York’s Upper 5th Avenue is the most expensive retail street in the world

Welcome to 27th edition of Cushman & Wakefield’s global flagship report, Main Streets Across The World. This report tracks over 500 of the top retail streets around the globe, ranking the most expensive in each country by their prime rental value and thus enabling us to analyse the headline trends in retail real estate performance. Our latest results show that rents have risen in 35% of streets around the world – despite the increased global uncertainty experienced over the last 12 months. Going forward, improving employment prospects, rising real wages and healthier consumer confidence in advanced economies are set to offer positive momentum for the retail sector.
New York’s Upper 5th Avenue is the most expensive retail street in the world with rents rising to US$3,500/sq.ft/yr in 2015 – nearly 50 per cent more expensive than second place Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris retained its crown as the most expensive retail location in EMEA, followed closely by London’s New Bond Street.

The most expensive street in the world for retail is…

Thinking about setting up shop between 49th and 60th Streets on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue? Better be prepared to pay big bucks.
The upper part of Fifth Avenue is the most expensive retail street in the world (based on rental value), with rents rising to a whopping $3,500 per square foot in 2015, according to the 27th edition of Cushman & Wakefield’s report, Main Streets Across The World.
Causeway Bay, in Hong Kong, ranks second, coming in at $2,399 per square foot. Rounding out the top five: Paris’ Avenue des Champs Élysées, at $1,372; London’s New Bond Street, at $1,321; and Via Montenapoleone, in Milan, at $1,035.
“Our latest results show that rents have risen in 35% of streets around the world – despite the increased global uncertainty experienced over the last 12 months,” the report stated. “Going forward, improving employment prospects, rising real wages and healthier consumer confidence in advanced economies are set to offer positive momentum for the retail sector.”
United States: Rents across the United States increased by 6.9% year-on-year, according to the report, with Seattle experiencing the strongest growth of 27%, albeit it remains at a relatively low level of $70 per square foot, per year. Other robust main streets in the country include Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, which maintained its second position as the most expensive high street list on the back of impressive rental growth of 23%. At $800 per square foot, Rodeo Hills is the second most expensive main street in the United States, although it is still far less expensive than either the upper part or lower part (an area that covers from 42nd Street to 60th Street) in Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco saw healthy growth rates and are expected to continue to expand, bolstered by solid international retailer demand. In San Francisco, a combination of a bustling tourism market – the city is one of the top international destinations – and an improving local economy has led to strong luxury retail space demand.
Palm Beach has also witnessed strong rental growth, with prime rents increasing by 20% in the year to June. The city’s emergence as a top tier retail destination is in part thanks to an affluent local demographic, as well as an increasing number of international visitors and part-time residents, the report noted.

Sports Direct’s Matt Pearson to leave the business

Sports Direct has announced that its acting chief financial officer, Matt Pearson, is to step down.
In a statement, the company said Pearson is leaving the business to join another employer.
While Pearson will remain in post until 31 December, the company has appointed Herbert Monteith, a long-standing member of its finance team, as interim head of finance to help facilitate a smooth transition.
Herbert will continue to work closely with Karen Byers, global head of operations, and Sean Nevitt, global head of commercial.
Mike Ashley, Sports Direct chief executive, said: “Matt has been a valued member of the Sports Direct family for over nine years and he will be a loss to the company. I wish him all the best for the future and would like to thank him for his time at Sports Direct.”

WH Smith grows full year profits by 8%

WH Smith has increased its full year pre-tax profit by 8% to £131 million following a strong performance from its travel business.
In the year 31 August, group like-for-like sales edged up 1% with total group sales rising by 3% to £1.212 billion.
The group’s travel business, which includes stores at airports and train stations, grew its total sales by 10% and like-for-like sales by 4%. Trading profit climbed by 9% to £87 million, including £7 million from WH Smith’s growing international channel.
WH Smith opened 18 new travel units in the UK during the year, taking the total to 576 units. It won a further 32 units in its international channel, making a total of 232 units, of which 192 are open. As at 31 August 2016, the business operated from 768 units.
Stephen Clarke, WH Smith group chief executive, said: “We have delivered a good performance across the group with earnings up 10%.
“Our travel business continues to perform well with strong sales across all channels and profit up 9%. We have further extended our food to go ranges and during the year we sold over ten million ‘meal deals’.”
Trading profit in WH Smith’s high street business rose by 5% to £62 million in the period. Compared to last year, total sales were down 3% while like-for-like sales fell by 2%.
Clarke added: “In the high street business, our profit focused strategy continues to deliver sustainable growth with profit up 5%. Stationery sales have been strong in the year and in books we are delighted with the success of the Zoella Book Club which launched during the summer.”
During the second half, the high street business delivered £6 million of cost savings, which was £2 million ahead of plan. In total, cost savings in the year were £11 million. An additional £10 million of cost savings have been identified over the next three years making a total of £19 million of which £10 million are planned for 2016/17. As at 31 August 2016 High Street operated from 612 units.
“Looking ahead to the overall group performance, Clarke said: “We will continue to focus on profitable growth, cash generation and investing in new opportunities. While the economic environment is uncertain, we are well positioned for the current year and beyond.”

Apple Previews Redesigned Flagship Regent Street Store in London

Apple today invited journalists to London, England to preview its redesigned Regent Street store, set to open this weekend. Dozens of images have been shared on Twitter and other websites, providing us our first glimpse at the revamped location that’s been under construction for more than a year. 
Apple Regent Street now features Apple’s next-generation retail design, previously seen at its flagship Union Square location in San Francisco, including wide, open spaces with indoor trees, sequoia wood tables and shelves for displaying products, a large 6K video screen, and light boxes extending the length of the ceiling. 
The location now has a Genius Grove, a section at the center of the store designated for customers to receive support side-by-side with Geniuses under the canopy of local trees. This area is able to accommodate more customers than a traditional Genius Bar commonly found at Apple’s other retail locations. 

In line with remodeling plans filed last year, the storefront is no longer adorned with four Apple logos in each window, but rather a large, white flag with the Apple logo. The central glass staircase has been removed, replaced with two new side staircases that lead to the second level with more product displays and workshop space. 
Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was on hand to preview the new store, designed by Foster and Partners, the award-winning architecture firm behind Apple’s upcoming Campus 2 headquarters and Union Square retail location. Apple Regent Street will open its doors to the public on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Apple Employees at Carindale Store in Australia Fired in Photo Scandal 

Several employees at the Carindale Apple Store in Brisbane, Australia were today fired for stealing personal photos from customers and taking pictures of customers and female staff as part of a lewd rating game, according to Australian news site The Courier Mail. 
The behavior was discovered by at the Carindale Apple Store after an employee caught a technician looking through a customer’s iPhone in the repair room. 

In the biggest scandal to hit the technology giant in Australia, The Courier-Mail can reveal that more than 100 close-up and explicit photos were taken of female staff and customers without their knowledge and photographs were also lifted from some Apple customers’ phones. 
The victims’ pictures were then shared with employees at other Queensland stores to receive a ranking out of 10.

Apple has reportedly brought in an HR executive from “overseas” to “manage the fallout,” but has not yet let employees and customers know who was involved in the breach. Apple confirmed in a statement that the Carindale store is under investigation.

“Apple believes in treating everyone equally and with respect, and we do not tolerate behaviour that goes against our values,” the statement read. 
“We are investigating a ­violation of Apple’s business conduct policy at our store in Carindale, where several employees have already been terminated as a result of our findings.”

According to The Courier Mail, four male employees have been let go from the Carindale store as Apple continues to investigate the incident. 
Update: On Thursday Apple released a statement, which reads: “Based on our investigation thus far, we have seen no evidence that customer data or photos were inappropriately transferred or that anyone was photographed by these former employees. We have met with our store team to let them know about the investigation and inform them about the steps Apple is taking to protect their privacy.” 
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Notonthehighstreet.com has ceased trading in Germany

Notonthehighstreet.com to focus on ‘core’ UK business
The online marketplace’s chief financial officer David Phillips, who joined the retailer in July, said the business had shut down its Germany operation in August last year, a year after launching its ecommerce website in the country.
Phillips told Retail Week: “We learnt a lot [from the German expansion] but didn’t get the results we wanted out of it so we’ve stepped away from that.”
The online retailer received £21m investment in its latest funding round in August, led by technology and media company Hubert Burda Media, which Phillips said has “a very clear view on which markets we can expand into”.
However, Phillips added that international expansion was not an immediate priority for Notonthehighstreet over the next 12 months.
“It’s absolutely on the road map of things we’re going to get to but we’re very excited about what we see in terms of our core business in the UK and looking at other category expansion as well,” he said.
Revenue up, losses down
Notonthehighstreet’s full-year accounts for the year ending March 31 were filed at Companies House this month. The etailer recorded a 19% rise in revenue during the period to £38.7m, while losses narrowed to £1.6m.
Phillips attributed the retailer’s losses to its continued investment in its technology platform.
“We’ve got a multi-year plan to carry on investing so we’re not expecting large upticks in EBITDA, certainly in the near term,” he said.
“The concept for us as a retailer is put products that are new and on-trend and in the right categories in front of our customers, so that is where the technology investment is going.”
He added that the retailer was focused on expanding its offer for Christmas trading and beyond.
“We are a leading destination as a gifting site but there is an absolute desire to expand into new categories, to expand the customer experience obviously online, but also offline is not off-limits either,” he said.
“We are going to keep developing our offer to ensure customers see us as not just an online experience.”

The Times/Sowetan Shopper Survey awards Shoprite as SA’s top retailer

The ninth annual The Times/Sowetan Shopper Survey recently announced Shoprite as the overall winner of the Shopper Grand Prix Award, with Pick n Pay and Clicks in second and third place respectively, for the third year running. The survey, conducted by TNS on behalf of Times Media, measures customer sentiment across 19 retail categories.
“While most retailers have a good sense of their relative size, the research conducted by TNS on behalf of The Times and Sowetan allows us to deliver far greater marketing insights to the industry. The survey allows retailers to assess how they rate in comparison to their competitors, as well as their ability to attract new customers,” says Trevor Ormerod, GM group sales and marketing at Times Media.
TNS explains that the position a retailer occupies on the annual Shopper Survey scoreboard is determined by an overall index score obtained from its customer survey that interrogates three key indicators amongst customers: brand awareness and familiarity; user ratings and non-user perceptions; and the size of a retailer brand in the market determined by asking consumers directly about which retailers they frequent, and how often. The sample population was representative of all race groups, with male and female participants being over 18 years old and 2,750 customers polled in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, using random suburb sampling.
“The economic impact of the last year has definitely been felt by consumers and is evident across the Shopper Survey this year. However, this is not to say they have stopped spending entirely, but rather that they are making trade-offs and being savvier about their purchases,” says Nuala Harris-Morele, director at Kantar TNS. 
“For example, while clothing stores (women’s, men’s, kids and baby) saw a decrease in category usage ranging from 1% to 3%, home accessories saw a 2% increase and bed stores saw a 4% increase. Within these categories, customers are opting for stores that provide credit facilities. The building or hardware stores category saw a 5% increase, and it was also the highest category shopped at last, in the shopper dynamics mobile survey. Perhaps this is how respondents are freeing some extra cash in hand for other spending.”

Starbucks to launch delivery service in China

Starbucks China plans to complete the establishment of its coffee delivery service within the 2017 financial year so consumers will be able to enjoy delivered Starbucks coffee within 20 minutes of an order placement.
Starbucks may authorise its delivery service to Baidu Takeaway, the food ordering site affiliated with China’s main search engine. However, no official announcement has been published yet and Meituan Takeaway is still a potential partner for the business. A complete timetable for the service’s commencement has not yet been released.
Starbucks has paid more and more attention to the Chinese market. At present, Starbucks has opened over 2,100 stores in more than 100 cities in China and the company has over 30,000 employees in the country. Following the United States, China has become the second largest market for Starbucks.
Starbucks plans to open 500 additional stores in China in 2016. To further cater to Chinese consumers, Starbucks recently launched Teavana tea and several salty food products in this marketplace.

Oxford Street announces first ever charity partnership for Christmas lights switch-on

Oxford Street announces first ever charity partnership for Christmas lights switch-on

For the first time in Oxford Street’s history, the London shopping district is partnering with a charity on its world famous Christmas lights display.
New West End Company has announced that children’s charity NSPCC is to become the official partner of the 57th Christmas Lights Switch-On on Sunday 6 November.
To coincide with the partnership, the NSPCC has joined forces with Hasbro to launch their Little Stars campaign –www.nspcc.org.uk/littlestars – by asking members of the public across the country to donate a suggested £5 to dedicate a light on Oxford Street for “someone special in their life”.
The hundreds of thousands of specially created ‘Little Stars’ lights will join the existing 1,778 gold and silver baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs as part of the Oxford Street Christmas display. The money raised from donations will be used to support the NSPCC’s helplines and national services.
Marking another first for Oxford Street, the entire length of the street will be closed all day to traffic on Sunday 6 November to host a Kids Christmas VIP Day.
The 2016 Christmas Light Switch-On sees Oxford Street once again partner with radio station Capital. This will include Capital presenters and a star-studded line up of artists appearing at the switch-on event.
In the hours leading up to the switch-on, families and visitors will be treated to a day of entertainment including on-street screens, live streaming of all the action for spectators and shoppers, music from Capital, and pop-up street food stalls.
The Little Stars campaign will be supported by an 11 week partnership with the Metro and the Daily Mail which will see editorial and advertising content running in the papers and online on a weekly basis from October up until Christmas. There will also be a Little Stars Dream Auction launching in November with a range of prizes to be won.

Africa’s first mega mall in Menlyn Park

Johannesburg – The R2.5 billion invested in the expansion of the Menlyn Park Shopping Mall by majority owner Pareto is expected to result in a further R5bn being invested in shop fittings and other activities, as well as thousands of new permanent job opportunities.
Marius Muller, the chief executive Pareto Asset Management, said the rule of thumb was that six jobs were created for every 100 square metres that was built during the construction phase and another six permanent jobs per 100m² when construction was completed.
“We are talking about creating 3 300 permanent jobs in this node,” he said on Friday at a briefing to mark less than 60 days to the official launch of the expanded centre on November 24.
Malose Kekana, the group chief executive of Pareto, said the redevelopment of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre was driven by a strong demand from retailers because they were enjoying robust trade results year on year.
Kekana said the crown jewel of the refurbished mall was Central Park, an open air piazza that would be flanked by restaurants.
Menlyn Park Shopping Centre has since last year been wholly-owned by Pareto, which is 76 percent owned by the Government Employees Pension Fund. This follows Pareto, which owned half of the super regional mall, taking transfer of the remaining 50 percent stake from Old Mutual Life Assurance.
This was in line with an asset swop transaction that resulted in Old Mutual gaining outright ownership of Cavendish Square in Cape Town, which was previously half owned by Pareto.
The Menlyn Park expansion and refurbishment project will add 50 000m² of retail floor space to increase the total lettable floor space to 180 000m², with the number of stores in the centre rocketing from about 300 to more than 500, as well as 8 250 parking bays.
Muller said Menlyn Park Shopping Centre would be 50 000m² bigger than the Mall of Africa at Waterfall in Midrand, and was the first mega mall on the African continent.
He said people questioned why Pareto was building such a large mall when there were so many other malls, but he stressed that the expansion was tenant driven.
Muller said they had extensive discussions to understand retail demand, retailer success and, more importantly, retailer failure.
“We offer retailers success. If the store is not large enough to carry all the brands, carry all the colours and all the sizes, you become a secondary location and then start losing sales.
“We are not big supporters of cannibalisation. We are better supporters of successful, robust, long-term investment that will stand the test of time,” he said.
Olive Ndebele, the general manager of the centre, said size did matter, but variety was more important. “We are expecting about 2 million feet a month. We are currently on an average of 1.6 million feet a month,” she said.
Muller said questions were also asked about when Pareto would invest in Menlyn when it had investments elsewhere in the country.
He said Menlyn was the fastest growing node in South Africa in terms of new businesses coming into the node and the residential area being developed around the node.
“That is the most important contributor to having a successful long-term investment, because you have a captive market because of the offices and a loyal support base through the residents… and they are from a high living standards measure group as well,” he said.

Saudisation forces closure of 800 mobile phone shops

A reported 800 telecoms shops in Saudi Arabia have closed since new rules came into force requiring 100 percent of staff to be Saudi nationals.
Under a ramped-up Saudisation policy from the government, all stores selling mobile communications devices had to ensure that at least 50 percent of employees were Saudi citizens from June 6; the requirement rose to 100 percent on September 3.
Saudi authorities have been conducting raids on shops to ensure the new rules are being implemented – and have recorded multiple violations, Saudi Gazette reported.
The newspaper said that 800 establishments have been forced to shut as they were unable to meet the new requirements, while others were flouting the rules.
Following the latest inspection, in the Eastern Province, the Labour and Social Development Office recorded 41 violations out of 71 visits.
An official source was quoted as saying: “A total of 1,982 establishments have adhered to the Saudisation decision.
“The office visited 4,953 establishments in all. Only 2,023 of the visited establishments were running and 1,739 Saudis were employed in them.”
Mohammad Al Laghbi, the committee head of Jazan municipality labour office, said the telecoms Saudisation plan had succeeded in increasing jobs for Saudi citizens, however, more training is needed in mobile phone repair to offer those services to customers.
“There aren’t enough Saudis who are well-trained to offer mobile repair,” he said. “This has led to several telecommunication shops reaching agreements with expatriate technicians who will work from home.”

SPAR International expands into Albania

SPAR has opened its first food stores in Albania through a partnership with Balfin Group.
The two hypermarkets in Tirana East Gate and in the QTU shopping centre span 7,200 and 3,800 square metres respectively.
Balfin Group is the largest private company operating in Albania. The company entered into food retail in 2005 with the development of the Euromax chain of stores and has been operating 15 large food retail stores under the Carrefour brand.
As part of Balfin Group, SPAR Albania will convert the current 15 stores. By the end of 2017, Balfin Group plans to open over 100 supermarkets and 10 hypermarkets as part of a €50 million investment in the country.
The entry into Albania means that SPAR currently operates in 44 countries. SPAR International reported global retail sales in 2015 of €33 billion from over 12,100 stores across four continents.
SPAR International managing director, Tobias Wasmuht said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Balfin, a leading privately owned Albanian business Group, to develop SPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets in Albania. Working in true co-operation with the Balfin Group, we are able to unite the best of international with the best of local, creating an excellent proposition of value, service, quality and choice for our customers in Albania.”
The launch of the two hypermarkets has been complemented with a television campaign and city wide outdoor advertising.

” Hamleys” opens in China

Heritage British toy brand and retailer Hamleys has opened a new flagship store in China.
Situated in Xinjiekou Sanpower Plaza in Nianjing, the store – dubbed “super Hamleys” – opened last weekend on National Chinese Day (October 1) and spans four floors and 7000sq m.
Its famous range of teddy bears will be stocked alongside heritage toy brands Lego and Hasbro, among thousands of other educational toys aimed at all age groups.
It hosts 10 different interactive games such as remote control car racing and virtual reality games spanning the entire building.

This will be the first venture into China for Hamleys, which is already dominating the global toy market. 
Aside from “super Hamleys”, the entertainment giant plans to expand its presence in China to over 100 stores in the coming year aiming at key cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
Hamley’s was acquired by C Banner International Holdings in 2015, which is a strategic partner of Sanpower, who own a majority of House of Fraser outlets in the UK. 
The chairman of Sanpower Group Yuan Yafei said that Hamleys can bring its interactive business model to China and cooperate with House of Fraser to give it a competitive edge. 

Jack Wolfskin debuts at Liverpool ONE

Jack Wolfskin, the German outdoor clothing and equipment brand, has opened a new store on Liverpool ONE’s Paradise Street.
The 3,000 square foot space stocks the full range of Jack Wolfskin clothing and accessories for men, women and children.
The opening of the store coincides with the launch of a new brand campaign by Jack Wolfskin using the new hashtag slogan #MakeYourLifeUnfortgettable. As well as being implemented across a range of media, including a new television commercial, the campaign is the inspiration for the design of the new Liverpool ONE store.
Miles Dunnett from Liverpool ONE operator Grosvenor Europe said: “The launch of Jack Wolfskin is another great milestone on Paradise Street as more and more leading brands join what is one of the strongest retail line-ups in the UK.”
Other brands planning to open stores on Paradise Street this year include Lindt, Smiggle and Urban Decay.

Mothercare launches new brand proposition

Mothercare has launched a new brand proposition called ‘Welcome to the Club’ as it looks to build a business with a community at its heart.
The retailer said ‘Welcome to the Club’ underpins the Mothercare brand proposition which aims to connect new parents and build supportive networks for them. These include in-store new mother meet-ups, expectant parent events, shared digital content, blogs and online communities.
Point-of-sale assets will promote services such as car seat fitting, personal shopping, and payment plans. In addition, new creative will be rolled out across all channels including till and e-receipts, selected product packaging, in-store signage, website design and content, and customer emails.
The proposition is also being adopted internally to bring to life the values and behaviours of ‘Welcome to the Club’ with training for store, customer and web staff as well as a new digital employee handbook.
The launch of the new proposition follows a nationwide store refurbishment and upgrade programme as well as a transformation of Mothercare’s digital channels.
Gary Kibble, global brand and marketing director at Mothercare, said: “’Welcome to the club’ is much more than just a new strapline for Mothercare; it will serve as a catalyst for change in our business.
“We have listened to our customers and over the past two years have focused on building a business with community at its heart.”

Next to open one of its biggest ever stores 

Next is to open one of its biggest ever stores on the site of the former BHS at Gateshead’s Intu Metrocentre.
Intu is planning to reconfigure 85,000 square feet of space for Next’s latest store which will double the fashion chain’s existing floor area when it opens in early 2018.
It will encompass space used by BHS’s Intu Metrocentre outlet for 30 years until its closure this summer. A Next Home will continue to operate at Intu Metrocentre’s retail park alongside the new store.
Kate Grant, regional director at Intu, said: “This fantastic new space at the heart of Intu Metrocentre will build on the strength of what is already one of Next’s most successful stores, allowing them to attract even more customers and create a number of new jobs.
“It’s a significant investment by Next that alongside our own investment programme and similar expansions by House of Frasier and Primark this year, represents a long-term commitment to Intu Metrocentre and the north east region as a thriving retail destination.”
The work forms part of an ongoing investment programme at Intu Metrocentre which has seen a refurbishment of the shopping centre’s Platinum Mall as well as an extension to its dining and leisure quarter, Qube.
House of Fraser extended its beauty hall by 2,346 square feet as part of a £5 million refit of the ground floor and café area this year and the centre’s Primark opened a 7,739 square foot extension to its ground and first floor levels in the summer.

Saudi retailer Jarir reports flat Q3 net profit

Jarir Marketing, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest retailers by market value, posted flat third-quarter net profit on Thursday, and noted a drop in its non-operating expenses.
It made a net profit of 220 million riyals ($58.7 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, from 218.5 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.
Jarir warned on March 8 that its sales would plunge by as much as 30 percent in the first quarter of this year, the result of a decline in consumer spending as low oil prices weakened the kingdom’s economy.

McDonald’s to sell Singapore, Malaysian franchise to Saudi group

McDonald’s is set to agree a deal to sell 20-year franchise rights for its Singapore and Malaysia outlets to Saudi Arabia’s Reza group for up to $400 million, as part of a re-jig of its Asian business, people familiar with the matter said.
Reza Food Services Co. Ltd, which owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants in the western and southern region of Saudi Arabia, has tapped Malaysian bank CIMB (CIMB.KL) to finance the transaction, said two of the sources, who declined to be identified as the deal has not been publicly announced.
The move is in line with McDonald’s plans to bring in partners as it switches to a less capital-intensive franchise model in Asia.
One person familiar with the Southeast Asian deal said McDonald’s was keen to tie up with regional family-owned groups and local tycoons as it sought out long-term partners rather than buyout firms, which usually cash out of a business after a few years.
Basic terms of the agreement had been finalised and the deal was expected to be completed by the year-end, the person said.
CIMB declined to comment, while there was no immediate response from McDonald’s. Reuters was not immediately able to reach Reza for a comment.
Sources said CIMB would provide the bulk of the term loan to back the deal, and the financing would be denominated in both Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollars.
In July, McDonald’s had said it was seeking franchise partners for its restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia and was negotiating with parties, but did not provide any details or a timeline.
McDonald’s has about 120 restaurants in Singapore and about 260 in Malaysia.
Citing sources, Reuters reported last month that McDonald’s had received final bids from at least three groups for its China and Hong Kong outlets.

Dublin Retail Q3 2016 update ( Lisney)

Download report here

 H&M has opened its first store in New Zealand.

With locals queuing from 5pm the night before the opening day, the 2,300 square metre store in Auckland houses a selection of fashion and accessories for men, women, youth and kids.
The hype outside the store began at 7am when H&M gave coffee, juice, crumpets and exclusive gift bags to those who were first in the queue. New Zealand DJs Clint Roberts, Aroha Harawira and Tim Lambourne also performed.
H&M’s Australian and New Zealand country manager, Hans Andersson, New Zealand sales manager, Daniel Lettemann and store manager, Mino Kim, all officially cut the ribbon and welcomed shoppers.
Andersson said: “We have been waiting for this day for a long time now and the response from the Kiwi public was worth the wait! I am proud to welcome shoppers to our very first store and we are pleased to be able to offer our customers added value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price.” 

Apple’s Flagship Regent Street Location in U.K. Reopens October 15

Apple has announced that its flagship Regent Street retail location in London, England reopens Saturday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. local time, following over one year of major renovations. 

Apple contracted award-winning architecture firm Foster and Partners to design the layout of the new store, which initially remained open for business at the basement level but has been fully closed since June 13. 
MacRumors exclusively reported on the remodeling plans last year, including the removal of four Apple logos affixed to the store’s facade in order to allow more natural light inside and preserve the historic look of the building. Like other renovated stores, Apple Regent Street will feature Apple’s next-generation retail design. 

The renovations included the relocation of three columns to create a more spacious feel, replacing the central glass stairs with two new side staircases, and re-configuration of the Backroom with improved facilities for employees. The store’s overall square footage has been reduced by 4,400 square feet, 
Apple Regent Street opened in 2004 and attracts over 4 million visitors per year. The iconic store expanded two years later to become Apple’s largest at the time. Apple has contracted Foster and Partners for several other projects in recent years, including the design of its Campus 2 and Apple Union Square.

Argos will open in branches of Sainsbury’s

Soon you will be able to pick up a new microwave, clothes rail and Elizbabeth Duke set of earrings while you do the weekly shop, as the retailer is continuing its push to open in branches of Sainsbury’s.
It’s because J Sainsbury Plc bought Home Retail Group, which owned Argos, earlier this year.
The big plan is to merge the businesses and double the number of Argos outlets in its supermarkets by Christmas, adding 30 new ones to the 20 that have been trading for a year already.

Just don’t call it ‘Arsbury’s’…

If things are not immediately in stock, people will be able to use the store as a collection point to pick up things they ordered online.
Here are some of the supermarkets the move affects : 
An Argos will open in Northfleet before the end of 2016, at Pepper Hill Sainsbury’s.

Another will open at Sutton Coldfield Sainbury’s, selling 20,000 items on site and another 20,000 available for home delivery.
Another Argos has opened in Ellesmere Port supermarket in Cheshire Oaks.
Argos will close its store in New George Street, city centre, and move to a concession in Marsh Mills supermarket with the existing staff.
David Evans, manager at Sainsbury’s Marsh Mills told the Plymouth Herald: ‘The new (Argos) store is great news for customers, who are looking for easier, more convenient ways to shop.
‘We’re looking forward to offering them an increased range of products at great value, all under one roof.’

Clarks hires Mike Shearwood as chief executive

Footwear retailer Clarks has appointed of Mike Shearwood as its new chief executive as it embarks on its next phase of development and growth.
Shearwood was previously chief executive of Karen Millen, the international fashion brand, and Aurora Fashions, the owner of Oasis, Coast and Warehouse, where he was at the helm between 2009 and 2015.

Prior to Aurora, he was deputy chief executive of Mosaic Fashions, the owner of seven well known international and high street brands, including Shoe Studio Group. Before that he was the managing director of the Inditex Group of brands in the UK and Ireland, including Zara.
Tom O’Neill, Clarks executive chairman, said: ” Mike brings an exceptional combination of business leadership together with strong brand and retail skills. He also brings proven experience of introducing and applying innovative omni-channel initiatives, which will help us deliver on our new strategy and accelerate plans to deliver the next chapter of Clarks’ development.”

Victoria’s Secret opens new Cardiff store

Victoria’s Secret has opened a 10,000 square foot flagship store on the upper level of St David’s shopping centre’s Grand Arcade.
The brand has taken the majority of a store formerly occupied by H&M, which has moved to a bigger store across Grand Arcade. Michael Kors took the remainder of the former H&M earlier this year, opening on to The Hays.

Designed by an in-house team, the new Victoria’s Secret store features its signature lingerie and sleepwear collections, fragrances and body care, as well as the brand’s popular Victoria’s Secret PINK and Victoria Sport lines.
Speaking on behalf of the St David’s Partnership, a joint venture between Land Securities and Intu, Colin Flinn, regional director at Intu, said: “We are delighted to have welcomed Victoria’s Secret. Their arrival enhances our excellent line-up of strong international brands, and is a fantastic addition to Cardiff’s retail landscape.
“The newly opened Victoria’s Secret further cements the status of St David’s as the premier retail destination in Wales, and one of the leading locations in the UK for international brands and flagship stores outside of London.”
St David’s is anchored by the largest John Lewis outside of London, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer, and also has 200 other shops and restaurants. Other retailers include the likes of Primark, New Look, River Island, Hugo Boss, Radley, Vivienne Westwood and Jo Malone.

Sainsbury’s hires former Boots UK MD as retail and operations director

Sainsbury’s has named former Boots UK managing director Simon Roberts as its retail and operations director. He will join the supermarket by July 2017.

Roberts was most recently executive vice president of Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Boots in the UK & Ireland.
Prior to that, he was managing director of Boots UK, where he was responsible for leading retail and pharmacy activities in over 2,500 stores across the UK & Ireland.
Roberts joined Boots as regional director in 2003 from Marks & Spencer where for 14 years he held roles in Marks & Spencer’s stores and operations.
Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “I am delighted to welcome Simon to Sainsbury’s. Simon is a very strong leader who is passionate about customers and colleagues. He has extensive stores experience, is customer-centric in everything he does and I am confident he will make a fantastic contribution to Sainsbury’s and the operating board.”

Zara owner Ortega buys $550 million Madrid skyscraper

Amancio Ortega, Europe’s richest man and founder of global fashion group and Zara owner Inditex (ITX.MC), has bought one of Madrid’s most famous skyscrapers for 490 million euros ($551 million) through his property investment arm, a source said.
The purchase marks another step in the famously-reclusive billionaire’ s strategy to build a property empire through Pontegadea Inmobiliaria, one of the biggest property companies in Spain, and his holding company Pontegadea Inversiones.
The source said late on Friday that Pontegadea Inmobiliaria had bought the tower from Abu Dhabi tycoon Khadem al-Qubaisi, whose fund had exercised a last-minute purchase option from Spanish lender Bankia (BKIA.MC), its previous owner.
Pontegadea Inmobiliaria declined to comment on the reported purchase of the tower – known as “Cepsa Tower” after the oil refiner Cepsa CPF.GQ that leases it – which along with three others dominates the skyline of Madrid’s northern district.
Ortega has bought properties in London’s Mayfair and Oxford Street, along with other properties in prime locations in New York, Madrid and Seoul. He rents out much of the space to Inditex stories like Zara, but also to rivals such as H&M (HMb.ST).
Ortega, who turned 80 this year, is the second richest man in the world with a fortune totaling $72.7 billion, according to Forbes magazine in July, behind Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder Bill Gates.