Monthly Archives: March 2017

Mulberry launches new entity to operate its businesses in Asia

The move follows the signing of a new business agreement with Challice Limited.

Mulberry Asia will begin trading in Hong Kong from 3 April. In addition, a subsidiary in China and a branch office in Taiwan are expected to be operational this year once the business secures relevant business licences for the territories.

The Mulberry Group owns 60% of the share capital of Mulberry Asia while Challice holds the remaining 40%. Mulberry Asia will initially operate two stores in China, one in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan. It will also manage regional wholesale operations.
These are supported by the group’s Chinese language mulberry.com site and omnichannel platform throughout the region.
In addition to local marketing initiatives, Mulberry plans to invest around £3 million in additional support in North Asia over the next two years to build brand awareness in the region and capitalise on international tourist flows to the UK, Europe and North America. In the near term, the brand’s store network will be enhanced with a new store in Shanghai as well as relocation of its existing stores in Hong Kong and Beijing.
Thierry Andretta, Mulberry chief executive, said: “We are delighted to launch Mulberry Asia, which enables us to advance our international strategy of developing the brand’s retail and omnichannel model in a key luxury market. We see significant growth opportunity in the region and look forward to taking this major step forward in fulfilling Mulberry’s global potential.”

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Amazon clinches deal to buy Middle East online retailer Souq.com

Amazon.com has agreed to buy Middle East online retailer Souq.com, thwarting a last-minute bid by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar’s Emaar Malls, first revealed by Arabian Business on Friday.
The value and terms of the agreement, which deal adviser Goldman Sachs called “the biggest-ever technology M&A transaction in the Arab world”, were not disclosed.
But sources with knowledge of the matter said Amazon was paying less than Emaar’s $800 million offer, making it lower than the $1 billion valuation at the time of a Souq.com funding round last year.
One of the sources said on Monday Souq.com would have had to break an exclusivity agreement with Amazon if it had accepted the Emaar Malls offer at this stage.
Reuters reported last week that Amazon had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com, which was co-founded 12 years ago by Syrian-born entrepreneur Ronaldo Mouchawar.
“By becoming part of the Amazon family, we’ll be able to vastly expand our delivery capabilities and customer selection much faster, as well as continue Amazon’s great track record of empowering sellers,” Mouchawar said in a statement on Tuesday.
In a deal document seen by Reuters, Goldman said the acquisition would accelerate Amazon’s entry into “attractive Middle East countries with significant growth potential given e-commerce only represents (roughly) 2 percent of retail sales”.
The deal was endorsed by the Dubai government, which is increasingly focusing on technology, as the emirate expands its retail footprint in the region.
Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said it showed the city state’s position “as a regional and global hub for the world’s biggest and leading organisations”.
The acquisition is expected to close later this year, according to the joint statement on Tuesday.
For Alabbar, who made his name as chairman of Emaar Properties, the Dubai government-linked developer of the world’s tallest building, losing out on Souq.com is unlikely to crimp his ambitions to move into e-commerce.
He announced last year he planned to launch his own e-commerce firm Noon in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a soverign wealth fund.
Emaar Malls, the retail unit of Emaar Properties, is the operator of the Dubai Mall, which accounts for around 50 percent of the emirate’s luxury goods spending and is one of the Middle East’s largest shopping centres. South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, which has a 36.4 percent stake in Souq.com, has declined to comment on the Amazon deal. Tiger Global Management also has a stake in Souq.com.
The value of the deal was not disclosed, but was in the region of $580 million, according to sources.

IKEA Announces Affordable Smart Lighting Product Range

Swedish home furniture store IKEA announced its own affordable smart lighting system today called Trådfri, which means “wireless” in Swedish. 
The Smart Lighting range of products includes Trådfri LED bulbs, a remote dimmer switch puck, a gateway kit, a motion sensor kit, and dimming lights. IKEA is also introducing a selection of LED light panels and doors that can be built into cabinets for the bedroom and kitchen. 
The Gateway starter kit will cost around $80 and includes two bulbs, a remote, and a gateway hub to connect everything to the app. The Trådfri bulbs have three white color temperature options (2200K, 2700K, and 4000K) that IKEA claims each last around 25,000 hours. 

“The Ikea vision is to bring affordable home furnishing solutions to the many people. We know from research that existing smart lighting technology is perceived to be too expensive and difficult to understand, so we have worked to remove those barriers to make smart lighting more accessible,” IKEA Home Furnishing expert Helen Longford said in a statement.

Like the Philips Hue series, IKEA’s first range of automated lighting products is based on the ZigBee Light Link standard that got released in a number European countries late last year and should see a larger rollout at the end of this month. 
IKEA gives a March 31 availability date for the lighting range in Sweden, with the range expected to arrive in the U.K in April, making them likely to roll out to other countries soon. The IKEA website makes no mention of compatibility with existing smart home platforms like Apple HomeKit, but support for other standards seems likely at some point down the line.

Tesco’s international chief executive Trevor Masters to leave after 38 years

The head of Tesco’s international arm Trevor Masters has announced his departure from the company as the retailer shrinks its overseas operations.

Masters, chief executive of Tesco International, is set to leave the company at the end of May following a 38-year career with the UK’s largest retailer.
His responsibilities will be split between two senior executives who have played key roles in the retailer’s turnaround.
Tony Hoggett will take over the role as chief executive of Tesco Asia, a role Masters’ held before his promotion to head of Tesco International. 
Hoggett has been with Tesco for 27 years and currently holds the role of UK chief operating officer.

Matt Simister will take over from Masters in Europe, taking the role of chief executive of Tesco Central Europe, following a 21-year career at Tesco and moving from his current role of food sourcing director.
This follows a decline in international expansion for the retailer under the new chief executive Dave Lewis, having left South Korea and Turkey completely since he joined in 2014.
“Tony and Matt’s work has been at the heart of Tesco’s turnaround over the last two years and I’m delighted that they will join our executive committee,” Lewis said.
“Their new roles will allow us to focus on the different opportunities presented in Asia and Central Europe.”

Amazon Is Exploring More Brick-And-Mortar Retail Concepts

A new report by the New York Times details an array of initiatives by Amazon to expand its footprint in brick-and-mortar retail. The stores would mostly feature products, such as groceries and appliances, that have proven persistently difficult to sell online.
Amazon is already moving forward on groceries in particular, and will soon open two Seattle outlets where shoppers can pick up orders made through AmazonFresh online. It aims to open up to five more of these pickup locations across the U.S. by next year. They could be a boost to the grocery delivery service, which sources told the Times has struggled to make a profit.
Another idea making the rounds is a larger Amazon grocery store in which shoppers could browse fresh produce and meat, while packaged goods could be assembled into orders by workers in an attached warehouse. The Times’ sources disagreed on whether that concept was still under development.

Also apparently in the early stages is an idea for an Amazon electronics store, modeled on Apple stores, that would feature Amazon’s own devices. Another concept is a home furnishings and appliance store that would feature augmented reality ‘showrooms’ to let shoppers both see products in person, and envision what they would look like at home.

There’s more certainty about Amazon Go, a convenience store that promises frictionless checkout and payments. Despite technical hurdles, Amazon aims to open Go outlets across Britain and the U.S., also by next year. The report also details a push for physical grocery stores in India, dubbed “Project Everest,” for which Amazon has already sought Indian government approval.

Though many of these stores are still little more than concepts or tentative experiments, analysts describe a strategy mixing online and offline retail as crucial to Amazon’s continued expansion.

Trouble at Store Twenty One adds to high street woes

A thousand jobs are at risk at the discount fashion retailer Store Twenty One, formerly known as Quality Seconds, which is in talks with its lenders after defaulting on rent payments.

The company struck a rescue deal with creditors last year through a controversial company voluntary arrangement (CVA), but is still struggling as more pain sweeps the high street.
Last week Brantano collapsed into administration, Agent Provocateur was sold in a rescue deal to Mike Ashley and Jones Bootmaker teetered on the brink.
It is believed Store Twenty One is talking to its lender, State Bank of India, to try to prop up the business as tough trading conditions exacerbate its balance sheet woes. It has apparently not yet broken the terms of its CVA, but a quarterly rent date at the end of March could tip it into a precarious position. Landlords outside the arrangement have complained that the store is struggling to meet payments.
The CVA deal last year allowed the retailer to shut 77 shops and persuaded landlords for 17 of its 202 stores to take a 25pc rent cut. Landlords for more than 80 other stores were asked to accept monthly rents rather than quarterly payments.
At the time, the business owed more than £2.6m in tax to HMRC and was being pursued by local authorities over unpaid business rates. Other suppliers were due to receive just 10p in the pound.
The company, which can trace its roots to 1932, was listed on the stock market until 2002 before collapsing into administration in 2006. It was bought out of administration in 2007 by Grabal Alok, an Indian textile manufacturer, which rebranded QS as Store Twenty One. But the financial crisis meant the State Bank of India had to provide financing. It hired AlixPartners last year to restructure its business and if the CVA fails, it is likely the firm will be appointed as administrator.
Store Twenty One’s financial documents reveal it has not made a profit since Grabal Alok took over.

Confirmed: Emaar Malls submits $800m bid for Souq.com

Emaar said the acquisition would be in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping
Emaar said the acquisition would be in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping
Emaar Malls has submitted an $800 million bid to take over e-commerce giant Souq.com, the company has confirmed.
In a bourse statement, Emaar Malls confirmed that it lodged the offer with Souq.com’s shareholders “in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping”.
The statement, signed by Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, said the bid has not been accepted as yet.
“If the bid is approved, the impact on Emaar Mall’s profit for the quarter in which the acquisition is completed and for the year 2017, will not be material,” the statement added.
Quoting sources familiar to the bid, Arabian Business reported at the weekend that Emaar Malls, a unit of Emaar Properties, had lodged the bid to take over Souq.com, which is thought to have included a $500 million convertible deposit.
Last week Amazon agreed in principle to a 100 percent takeover of Souq.com, in a deal believed be worth around $580m.
However, it is understood that Souq has an “exclusivity” clause as part of its negotiations with Amazon – meaning it would not be able to accept a counter offer while still in sale talks.
Sources suggest the Amazon deal is being driven by New York based Tiger Global Management which has a substantial stake in Souq.
However, other small shareholders in Souq are yet to commit to a sale that could see Souq undervalued by almost $220 million, in comparison to the offer from Emaar Malls.
Souq’s smaller shareholder include South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) and Baillie Gifford.
Souq.com raised $75 million from Cape Town-based Naspers in March 2014, in a deal it said at the time was the largest for an Internet-based business in the region. But it is not clear whether Naspers is now backing the Amazon deal.

Tesco to unlock tens of thousands of trolleys after missing deadline for new one pound coin

Supermarket giant Tesco will unlock 100,000 of its coin-operated shopping trolleys after it failed to convert them in time for the circulation of the new £1.
The new, lighter and reportedly more secure 12-sided coin enters circulation on Tuesday, beginning a six-month transition period before the old “round pound” ceases to be legal tender. 
Meanwhile, supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi have said all of their trolleys have been updated ahead of the Tuesday deadline. 
Local authorities are already coping with a surge in the number of abandoned trolleys, after a tax on plastic bags came into force that encouraged some shoppers to leave supermarkets with the carts.
Tesco said trolleys across “fewer than 200” of its shops will be unlocked from Tuesday as the store upgrades them to accept the new coin.
A Tesco spokesperson offered assurances that all trolleys would be upgraded by the time the new round pound ceases to be legal tender on 15 October.
“We’re replacing the locks on our trolleys to accept old and new pound coins as well as existing trolley tokens,” they said.
“As an interim measure we will unlock trolleys while this process is completed and we will continue to have colleagues on hand to attend trolleys in our stores, so our customers aren’t affected by the changes.”
It recently emerged that the new £1 coin could pose problems for drivers, with an estimated one in ten parking meters not ready for the change.

Amazon avoids $1.5bn US tax bill in court ruling

Online shopping behemoth Amazon has avoided a $1.5bn (£1.2bn) tax bill after winning a legal dispute in a US tax court.

Judge Albert Lauber rejected a variety of arguments presented by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), bringing to an end a lengthy court battle.
Ruling in favour of the world’s largest online retailer, he said it was legal for Amazon to have funnelled its European sales through a low-tax Luxembourg sub-company in 2005 and 2006, instead of the US.
Amazon said that if it had lost it could have had been forced to pay a US tax bill as high as $1.5bn and potentially faced “significant” tax liabilities in the years to come.
The company – which according to Forbes is the world’s 12th most valuable brand – made $2.37bn of profit in 2016, four times what it made in the four previous years combined.
Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird Equity Research told Reuters the ruling “should shield Amazon from potentially significant tax obligations to the IRS covering years beyond the ones covered in the lawsuit.”
Yet Amazon could still face additional tax bills in Europe if Brussels officials choose to take further action.

Apple opens three new retail stores around the globe 

As expected, Apple today opened three new retail stores around the globe. The company opened a new location in Cologne, Germany, another one in Miami, Florida, and last but not least one in Nanjing Jinmao.
We’ve rounded up some images of the grand opening experiences at all three locations, so head below to check them out..

The new Cologne, Germany location at Schildergasse has been in the works for quite a while now, but it’s now open to the public. We shared photos of the construction process a few months ago, showing the store start to take shape. Original photos of Apple’s signature wooden tables from the store can be dated back all the way to April of 2015, though.
Images and video of the Schildergasse grand opening come courtesy of Macerkopf. The first visitors to the store this morning received a free Apple t-shirt. The new (RED) iPhone 7, 9.7-inch iPad, and iPhone cases + Apple Watch bands were also all available to purchase this morning.
As for the new Miami store, reports of its existence first began last year when it was rumored that the Apple Store would be the ‘largest retail store’ in a new Miami shopping center. A variety of customers shared images from the Miami opening on Twitter. Customers were lined up out front for hours in advance of the opening.
Lastly, Apple today also opened a new retail store in Nanjing Jinmao Place. There aren’t as many images of this opening, but it appears that it too opened in typical Apple celebratory style.

Dubai’s Emaar Malls bids $800m for Souq.com

Emaar Malls has bid up to $800 million to take over e-commerce giant Souq.com, sources familiar to the offer have have confirmed to Arabian Business.
Last week Amazon agreed in principle to a 100 percent takeover of Souq.com, in a deal believed be worth around $580m.
The Emaar offer for $800 million is thought to have included a $500 million convertible deposit.
However, it is understood that Souq has an “exclusivity” clause as part of its negotiations with Amazon – meaning it would not be able to accept a counter offer while still in sale talks.
Sources suggest the Amazon deal is being driven by New York based Tiger Global Management which has a substantial stake in Souq.
However, other small shareholders in Souq are yet to commit to a sale that could see Souq undervalued by almost $220 million, in comparison to the offer from Emaar Malls.
Souq’s smaller shareholder include South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) and Baillie Gifford.
Souq.com raised $75 million from Cape Town-based Naspers in March 2014, in a deal it said at the time was the largest for an Internet-based business in the region. But it is not clear whether Naspers is now backing the Amazon deal.
The Emaar Malls offer to take over Souq will also be seen as unexpected. Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar had widely been seen as a contender to take over Souq, but through his own $1 billion ecommerce portal Noon, which is due to go live within weeks.
A source told Arabian Business: “A deal with Emaar Malls makes a lot more sense both strategically and financially. You have the owner of the biggest malls teaming up with a huge ecommerce platform. That would really drive consumer growth. And of course the bid is for a lot more than Amazon are offering.
“It isn’t clear whether every Souq shareholder is signed up to the Amazon offer, and they could still prevent the deal from going through. Ultimately, any shareholder selling out wants to get the maximum return. That isn’t coming from Amazon anymore, it is only coming from Emaar.”

Busby to shut Nine West and Mango

Head of marketing Leane Adolph said on Wednesday all free-standing stores under both these brands would close by the end of March.

“The company regularly reviews the portfolio’s performance and relevance to market and decided to move the Mango business into the store-in-store concept within Edgars. Similarly, with Nine West, we will keep a wholesale presence [for handbags] in the SA market through Edgars,” she said.
The House of Busby owns the exclusive rights to both Mango and Nine West. The Nine West licence was acquired in 1999 and, until recently, had 13 stand-alone stores throughout the country. Nine West sells footwear, handbags, eyewear and accessories.
The Mango licence was acquired in 2006 and there were nine stand-alone stores in SA. Mango now has 35 store-in-stores in Edgars stores nationwide. Mango sells apparel and accessories. Adolph said that rumours of Busby coming under business rescue were untrue, adding it was not expected that there would be any job losses as a result of the decision to close shop for the brands as affected staff would be accommodated within the group’s structures.
The House of Busby was delisted from the JSE in May 2008, when management, together with Ethos Private Equity, acquired control. The Busby enterprise is valued at about R1.3bn. Busby also owns exclusive rights to many other well-known international brands in SA including Aldo, Forever New, Guess, Steve Madden and Call it Spring.
In the past year, it has acquired the master licences for two new brands, Women’secret and 3INA, which further diversified its portfolio from footwear, apparel and luggage to include intimate apparel and cosmetics.
Adolph said the group was confident that the rejigging of the portfolio would allow it to focus on the growth of the newly acquired brands and to optimise its existing portfolio, “re-emphasising the importance of great customer service and a commitment to delivering consistent, quality, international product at prices that reflect customer value”.
Independent analyst Syd Vianello said it was possible that the group’s pricing model had made Mango and Nine West uncompetitive in a market that was under stress and searching for lower price points.

Maplin unveils new smart store concept

Technology retailer Maplin has unveiled a new store concept in Cambridge, allowing customers to fully engage with the latest Smart Home technology. The 290 sq m space at the Beehive Shopping Centre has been designed in distinct departments to showcase the benefits of, and allow interaction with, smart technology for the home.
Design consultancy 20.20’s brief was to position Maplin as the go-to retailer for Smart Home products, attracting and engaging with a new type of customer, whilst retaining the retailer’s loyal customer base. 
When analysing the customer research and market data, 20.20 recognised that advice in the dynamic Smart Home technology sector is being provided by individual brands rather than retailers. This insight created an opportunity where Maplin could target an already active customer base and take ownership of the sector by enhancing the expertise of their in-store colleagues, to create a new omni-channel store experience.
With this in mind, the central area of the store was transformed into a ‘Smart Life’ hub, with a distinctive LED lighting feature above it. Products are set up and displayed on tables, ready for customers to try out. By playing and interacting with the different brands and devices customers are able to see the benefits the technology can bring to their lives. Interactive tablets allow customers to browse product information, helping them make decisions at the point of sale, while store colleagues are on hand to offer advice. A new consultation space has been created where customers can further discuss their requirements, and arrange home audits and installation services with store colleagues.

 

Away from the ‘Smart Life’ area, store adjacencies have been reimagined to improve shoppability – from CCTV to Home Party equipment; to a new Gaming experience; to easier and quicker shopping for Electrical and Digital components.

 

A new in-store communication system has been designed to enhance the product stories through the use of engaging graphics, digital tablets and POS. The idea here is to connect with customers on an emotional level and engage them according to their shopping behaviour, leading to a seamless and confident purchase.

 

Hollie Down, 20.20’s design lead, says this radical new concept store will change the way customers shop and make Maplin the destination retailer for Smart Home technology: ‘We have created a place where today’s customers can understand and engage with exciting new products and interact with friendly, knowledgeable store colleagues to discover and purchase the smart devices they need – whether they want a safer home, a more connected space, or just to be at the forefront of technology.
‘Smart products are still relatively new, and many customers haven’t had the chance to try them out. The Cambridge store has been designed to offer a real omni-channel experience, bridging the gap between the physical store and Maplin’s new online offering, which will match the store language.’ 

 

Oliver Meakin, CEO of Maplin, says: ‘We chose to work with 20.20 on our Store of the Future because we felt that they would challenge us to stretch our thinking; making us feel uncomfortable in order to move our store proposition forward.

 

‘We could not have made the leap without their support throughout the journey. Our fantastic, reinvigorated store is trading substantially ahead of expectations – which is down to the hard work of teams at Maplin and 20.20. Everyone involved should feel extremely proud, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with 20.20 as we optimise the proposition for rollout.’

 

The new store concept has been a fantastic success, with trading significantly outperforming the rest of the chain, and Smart Home sales increases of more than 130 per cent.

 

20.20 is currently taking the learnings from the Cambridge pilot store and developing the Smart Store concept for a further six sites, rolling out early in 2017.

Hermes opens new store in London on the corner of Cadogan Place & Sloane Street

Hermès has recently opened a new store in London on the corner of Cadogan Place and Sloane Street. The new store which covers 400 sqm 0n two floors houses every one of Hermès’ 16 métiers.

The interior, which took just under a year to design and build, was presented to the studio as a blank canvas. Upon visiting it for the fist time, Montel says one thing was immediately clear: ‘Here, the star of the shop is not the shop itself, it’s the garden,’ he says gesturing to the store’s leafy view of Cadogan Square Gardens where a bright yellow mimosa tree is currently in full bloom.
The new London store will showcase a range of exclusive products including the re-issued London Bag in four limited-edition colourways. The bag, first created in 1962 features a clasp reminiscent of the epaulettes on the London Police Officers uniforms. In addition, a Yamaha Virago motorbike, which was covered in Hermès leather, is on display for the first time in the UK as an example of le sur-mesure services available at the store.

Matalan expands its global footprint with new store openings in Malta

London – Fashion and homeware retailer Matalan has expanded its international footprint with the opening of two new stores in Malta.
The new stores, located in the centre of Sliema and Fgura, Malta, offer Matalan full range of products, including menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and accessories as well as homeware. The two new stores, which employ 60 members of staff, follow on from Matalan previous stores openings at The Strand in Sliema and Zabbar Road, Fgura. All of Matalan stores in Malta are operated by the retailer’s local franchise partner, the Camilleri Group.
Matalan expands its global footprint with new store openings in Malta

“We are thrilled to be opening our first stores in Malta, trading has been very strong in both of our new stores exceeding our expectations; we have been delighted by the local customers’ reactions to our product ranges and our competitive price position,” commented *Damian Hopkins, International Director at Matalan. *The new stores build on Matalan’s international portfolio, which counts 23 stores.
Matalan opened its first international franchise store in Dubai in 2010 and has developed a strong international presence throughout the Middle East region since then. At the moment Matalan is currently looking to expand in other Eastern Europe countries, following its debut store opening in Armenia in October 2016. Matalan currently operates 227 stores throughout the UK in addition to its e-commerce platform and 25 overseas franchise stores.

UAE’s Al-Futtaim plans new Ikea stores in Middle East

UAE-based Al-Futtaim is seeking to open new stores in Egypt while stepping into Oman, according to a senior company executive.

“We are currently working on expansion in Muscat, Oman, and are still studying the possibility of opening more stores in Egypt and some other countries,” John Kersten, managing director, Ikea, told Arabian Business.
At present, Al-Futtaim holds franchise rights for the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman. In the UAE, it will open its fourth store by early 2019, while its first store in Egypt’s Cairo Festival City was opened in 2013.
According to Kersten, Ikea has reduced prices on 2,500 items this year in the UAE – a practice that it follows year-on-year.
“If you take the catalogue from the UK or the US and the UAE, you will have some pleasant surprises there. We do lower our prices every year,” he said.
The company executive revealed despite 2016 being a tough year, sales have not dropped in the UAE.
“Normally, if times are getting worse, it is getting better with Ikea. We had a quite a magnificent year,” he said, without providing details.

Target to open in Macy’s backyard in NYC

Target Corp. is bringing its small-format store to the heart of Manhattan.

The discounter plans to open its first location in midtown Manhattan, a 43,000-sq.-ft. store in Herald Square, just west of the 34th Street and Broadway intersection, and one block from Penn Station — and across the street from the Macy’s flagship.
The two-level store will have two entrances, one off of 34th Street, and the other off of 33rd Street, and will feature modern décor elements, including concrete floors, wood plank walls and ceilings, pendant and LED lighting and elevated merchandise assortment displays.  
Projected to open in October 2017, the Herald Square store will be one of 30 stores Target plans to open this year, and will be the company’s third location in Manhattan, joining the Harlem and Tribeca stores. 
Additionally, Target has previously announced future plans to open small-format stores in Manhattan, including sites in East Village (projected to open summer 2018) and Hell’s Kitchen (projected to open in 2019).
“The addition of the Herald Square store location is exciting for Target as we expand our footprint with small-format stores in Manhattan,” said Mark Schindele, senior VP, properties, Target. “Not only will we be able to serve the thousands of working professionals that travel through Herald Square each day, but we’ll have the opportunity to showcase Target’s exclusive brands and compelling offers for the many tourists from around the world who shop in this vibrant neighborhood in Manhattan.”
Target has signed a lease for the Herald Square location with Empire State Realty Trust. 
“Target’s new 34th Street location concludes ESRT’s plans for the successful redevelopment of storage space, office, and retail into 90,000 sq. ft. of retail,” said Thomas P. Durels, executive VP and director of leasing and operations for ESRT. “Target joins Sephora and Foot Locker at the best location on the 34th Street retail corridor, which spans from the Empire State Building to 7th Avenue.”

EBay to rollout out ‘guaranteed delivery’ service this summer

EBay Inc. EBAY, +0.33% said Monday it will roll out “Guaranteed Delivery” in the U.S. this summer, which will guarantee delivery in three days or less on 20 million items. The online auction company will also provider shoppers to search for items available for 1-day and 2-day delivery. The service will be provided at no additional cost, the company said. “While the majority of items on eBay already ship within 3 days or less, as well as for free, Guaranteed Delivery will give shoppers even faster delivery options and the confidence that their items will arrive on time,” said Senior Vice President of North America Hal Lawton. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has climbed 13.5% year to date, while shares of rival e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.55% has run up 13.6% and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.20% has gained 6.2%.

White Company set to enter US with New York store

There are plans to open more stores in malls across New York state, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The retailer reported “significant growth” in the second year of its US ecommerce business in its last full-year.
It unveiled surging profits against strong comparables despite a “difficult trading environment”.
Pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items, were up 50% to £17.2m in its full-year to March 26.
Sales rose 12.6% to £184.3m in the 12 months, during which the retailer opened two new stores in Meadowhall, Sheffield, and Birmingham. It now has 56 stores across the UK.
Boss Will Kernan departed last month, following five years at The White Company, to join specialist sports retailer Wiggle, replacing Stefan Barden at the helm. 

UK Retail Sales for Amazon Approaching 10 Billion Dollars
March 19, 2017
The United Kingdom is the world’s sixth largest economy, with a retail market estimated at $358 billion for 2016. As one of the world’s oldest and most mature economies, the UK will not grow at a rapid pace, certainly not with Brexit waiting to become a huge spanner in the works of the UK’s future growth prospects.
Nevertheless, it is a multi-hundred-billion-dollar economy that will, at least, grow in low single digits over the next few years. The UK’s e-commerce market has been growing steadily over the years, and should continue to help the economy’s growth engine chug along over the next several years.
UK retail
Arguably the most famous retailer to invade England, Amazon recorded 6.3 billion pounds ($9.03 billion) in sales from Britain in 2015, an increase of 8 percent over the year before. Amazon’s international sales were $35.418 billion in 2015, which means UK retail has been contributing nearly a fourth of Amazon’s entire overseas sales.
UK retail

Source: Tesco 2016 Annual Report
On the ground, Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, reported nearly $43 billion in sales from their home market in 2016, and the company is struggling to keep sales growing. With more than 6.3 billion pounds from the UK to its name, Amazon is slowly inching up in the UK market.
Amazon is a relative weakling compared to big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Tesco, especially when it comes to grocery retail. And that’s fortunate for the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK, and Wal-Mart, Costco, Target et al back in the U.S.
That makes Amazon’s success and ongoing progress in the UK retail segment even more significant.
UK retail
According to data from Kantar.com, Amazon is not even in the picture as far as the UK’s grocery retail segment is concerned. It is one of Amazon’s known achilles points, and it will take years for their grocery efforts to bear fruit, in a manner of speaking.
On the positive side (for Amazon), the bulk of their growth in the UK is coming from the non-grocery segment, which means they’re eating into that market – consumer electronics, books, digital products, smart devices and so on – much faster. Too fast for the comfort of companies like Tesco, in fact.
And Amazon is not about to stop pushing in the UK retail market. The more Amazon’s gross merchandise value grows in a particular region, the higher Amazon’s investment in fulfillment centers, logistics and other capital expenses in the region. As investments increase in lockstep with the size of Amazon’s business in that region, margins will slowly keep improving, as they’ve already shown in the United States.

Canada Goose to launch first UK store on London’s Regent Street

The high-end winter clothing retailer and brand, which trades in around 50 countries worldwide through hundreds of concessions and an ecommerce platform, will move into 244 Regent Street – the unit formerly occupied by Armani Exchange.
Sources close to the situation told Retail Week that the deal for Canada Goose to acquire the lease on the Crown Estate-owned unit was “a done deal”.
It is understood that Canada Goose plans to open its doors in the autumn, in time to capitalise on the busy Christmas trading period.
The shop will be Canada Goose’s third standalone store anywhere in the world, having opened its doors in Toronto and New York to much fanfare late last year.
Retail Week understands the business is pursuing a strategy to open a number of other flagships in key cities across the globe over the next few years as part of its rapid growth plans.
Canada Goose’s revenues have rocketed by more than 450% in the past five years alone.
Experience-focused
London’s shoppers can expect an experience-focused shopping trip when the store opens later this year.
When it revealed plans to open its first two stores in Canada and the US a year ago, Canada Goose said the shops would “deliver unparalleled service, putting experience at the forefront of every interaction”.
It invested in training to ensure its shop-floor staff became “not only product experts, but true brand ambassadors”.
Variety
Canada Goose also boasted that the stores would stock “a full assortment of every seasonal collection with the largest variety of colours and sizes anywhere in the world”.
Retail property consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs, which advised Canada Goose on its search for a UK store, declined to comment.
Details of the premium parka-maker’s plans to launch a bricks-and-mortar presence in London emerged just a day after it floated on the New York Stock Exchange.
After setting its IPO at $12.78 (£10.35) per share, the price surged 26% to $16.08 (£13) on the first day of trading.
The successful stock market debut valued the company at $1.7bn (£1.37bn).
The business was founded in Toronto by Sam Tick 60 years ago, under the name Metro Sportswear, which initially specialised in woollen vests, raincoats and snowmobile suits.
In the 1970s, Tick’s son-in-law David Reiss – no relation to his namesake who founded British fashion retailer Reiss – joined the company and established the label Snow Goose, which later became Canada Goose, branching out into Arctic and mountain expedition coats.
The label made its on-screen film debut in 2004 when its jackets appeared in two Hollywood blockbusters, The Day After Tomorrow and National Treasure.
Private-equity group Bain Capital bought Canada Goose in 2013 and last year it opened its first two flagship stores, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, in October, and Wooster Street in New York City, in November.

Canada Goose Debuts on New York Stock Exchange

Canada Goose, the maker of trendy $900 parkas, soared to new heights as it debuted as a publicly traded company on stock exchanges in Canada and the United States.

On Thursday, Canada Goose’s stock most recently traded at $16.58 on the New York Stock Exchange, about 8% below the opening price of $18 apiece. Shares also debuted on the Toronto Stock Exchange, where the company’s price-to-earnings valuation is higher than all other luxury goods companies. The stock is trading under the symbol GOOS on both exchanges. Private-equity firm Bain Capital, which acquired a 70% stake in Canada Goose in late 2013, will continue to own a controlling interest after the IPO.

Founded 60 years ago in Toronto, Canada Goose has won over celebrities, athletes, film crew workers and even scientists as a specialist in selling expensive cold-weather outwear pieces that feature prominent logo patches that say “Canada Goose Arctic Program.” The company’s revenue totaled $290.8 million in fiscal 2016, up from $152.1 million two years earlier. Roughly two-thirds of sales are derived from Canada and the U.S. Brand awareness is strongest at home, where 76% of those surveyed are aware of Canada Goose. The company sees potential to grow in foreign markets.

Even in the U.S. where it has made the most inroads, there is more work to do. Brand awareness in that market stands at only 16%. Canada Goose has sought to tackle the U.S. region more aggressively via a national e-commerce that launched in 2015 and by opening a retail store in New York City late last year. It says there is large white space in other regions, including the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. More broadly, Canada Goose wants to expand wholesale distribution by adding new stores and getting more volume at existing retailers. It also wants to accelerate e-commerce sales.
One of the greatest challenges Canada Goose may face is diversifying a brand that is today mostly known as a purveyor of expensive winter parkas. Canada Goose already warned in IPO filings that warm winters could pressure sales for the company’s bulky jackets. To help lessen that business risk, the company will have to try to develop other apparel and accessories where the Canada Goose brand makes sense.

UAE’s Paris Gallery plans to open 30 new stores

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group of Companies.
UAE-based retailer Paris Gallery has announced plans to open 30 new stores across the Middle East over the next five years.
The company said in a statement that its expansion would focus mainly on the Gulf region and would see its workforce grow to about 5,100 employees, up from 3,500.
The total projected retail area in operation will reach 3.2 million square feet by 2021, it added.
The expansion plan will take the total number of Paris Gallery stores to 116 stores by 2021. To date, its stores number 86 branches across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Azerbaijan and other countries.
Paris Gallery Group focuses on the luxury products sector and has a wide range of products including perfumes, cosmetics, watches, eyewear, accessories, leather goods and fashion, from more than 800 global brands.
Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO of Paris Gallery Group of Companies, said: “The group has recorded steady growth in the retail and distribution business since 2006… We are keen to study and analyze the market to identify trends and opportunities in the retail sector.”

Zara Combats Retail Slump with Massive Stores 

Zara’s is trying an unusual strategy as brick-and-mortar retailers are desperate for more foot traffic – bigger stores.
Zara’s newest store in La Coruna, Spain, which opened in September, is five stories with more than 54,000 square feet and is serving as a model for other flagship stores. Meanwhile, the women’s clothing and accessories retailer, owned by Inditex SA, is shuttering smaller stores, although it hasn’t said how many, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The idea is that the larger stores will encourage customers to browse more, and therefore buy more. The move is one answer to retailers’ urgent question of how to stop plunging sales being lost to online shopping channels. Zara’s strategy to set itself apart also includes faster clothing production so that its products are cycled in and out of its stores faster than its competitors’ apparel. (See also: Retail Deathwatch Continues.)
So far this year, several retailers have already succumbed to dour retail trends. Retailers that have filed for bankruptcy in 2017 include Gordman Stores (GMAN​), HHGregg Inc., RadioShack, The Limited Stores and Wet Seal. (See also: Year of Retail Bankruptcies Looms.)
This past earnings season, a slew of retailers, especially mall-based and women’s apparel retailers, reported disappointing losses and sales declines. Most recently, Guess Inc. (GES) on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter revenue growth of 3 percent year over year, although that was driven by an 11 percent increase in Europe and a 27 percent increase in Asia. In the U.S., revenue declined 6.5 percent. (See also: Guess Drops to a Multi-Year Low on Downgrade.)
“In the Americas retail, where the retail environment remains challenging, we are focused on profitability improvements,” Guess CEO Victor Herrero said in a statement. “We will continue to negotiate rent reductions whenever possible and plan to close 60 stores in fiscal 2018. And finally, we will remain focused on implementing supply chain initiatives that should drive profit improvement in fiscal 2018.”
Zara’s is aiming to avoid Guess-type losses with its plan for larger flagship stores and rapid inventory turnover.

Gap opens new concept store at Bluewater

The 10,000 square foot store on Bluewater’s lower Rose Gallery is situated next to the forthcoming Missguided shop, which is set to launch this summer.

Created by an in-house team, the new shop is the first of a new breed of UK concept stores for the fashion brand and includes women’s, men’s, kids and baby collections, as well as GapFit and Gap Body items. The store also features Denim Addict, which allows shoppers to personalise their denim with distressing, studs and patches. In addition, other products can be embroidered with names and initials.

Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Gap’s decision to open their new concept store for the UK at Bluewater reaffirms its position as Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination. Gap’s store, which brings a number of innovations to the guest experience, is part of our strategy to create a select series of statement stores at Bluewater, where the emphasis is on providing something unique.”
The news follows the recent Plaza enhancement plans released at Bluewater which include the creation of four additional screens for the Showcase Cinema de Lux, as well as three new restaurants and two dedicated leisure spaces. Work has begun on-site and is due for completion by Christmas this year.

Mothercare hires new non-exec director

Kent was chief executive of real estate portal Propertyfinder until its acquisition by Zoopla, and also spent 15 years with Microsoft including three years as managing director of MSN UK.
She currently holds non-executive director roles at Pendragon, National Accident Helpline Group, Ascential, Coull and No Agent Technologies.
Kent will serve on the Audit and Risk and Nomination Committees.
Alan Parker, chairman of Mothercare, said: “I am delighted to welcome Gillian to Mothercare. She brings a wealth of experience in marketing, strategy and business development with particular emphasis on digital transformation which will add great value to our board.”

Banana Republic appoints new chief executive

Banana Republic appoints new chief executive
FASHION
16 March 2017 | by The Retail Bulletin
Breitbard will report to Art Peck, president and chief executive of Gap, who will continue to directly oversee Banana Republic until Breitbard joins the company in early May.
Click here

Peck said: “Mark brings significant retail leadership experience to Gap Inc., along with deep knowledge of the company and our customer. We know what Banana Republic is capable of, and Mark’s ability to drive transformation and innovation will help revitalize the brand and position it to achieve its long-term potential.”
Breitbard’s was chief executive of The Gymboree Corporation from 2013 until early 2017. From 2010 to 2013, he held leadership positions across Gap North America where he was instrumental in delivering the product-led resurgence of Gap’s North America business.
He also served as chief merchandising and creative officer of Old Navy from 2009 to early 2010. Other previous positions include leadership roles at Levi Strauss and Abercrombie & Fitch.

John Lewis to launch first own brand denim lifestyle brand for women

Due to launch on 22 March, the AND/OR brand has been created in collaboration with LA based denim specialists Calvin Rucker. The retailer will also sell a range of womenswear, shoes, accessories and lingerie to compliment the denim clothing.

The 90 piece range will initially be available online and in 15 shops with items featuring denim washes combined with finishes such as busted-out seams, distressing, bleaching and frayed hems. The different denim styles have been named after places in LA that inspired the collection.
The new collection follows the launch of John Lewis’s first luxury ready-to-wear range, Modern Rarity, last September. The launch helped the retailer’s own-brand womenswear sales to increase by 6.8% in the last financial year.
Jo Bennett, head of womenswear buying at John Lewis, said: “Having built a portfolio of powerhouse own-brand labels over the past few years, we felt there was something missing when it came to serving a younger woman.”
Iain Ewing, John Lewis head of design for womenswear and accessories, added: “This is the first time we have launched a brand across ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes and lingerie. Although the brand starts with denim, you can then add to this to create a fully versatile collection which serves a modern wardrobe.”
The AND/OR denim range will be priced from £85 to £120 while the AND/OR collection will start at £22 for a cotton tee to £250 for a leather jacket.

Apple invites customers to three global store grand openings on March 25th

First mentioned last February, Apple is finally opening their largest Florida-based retail store in the growing Downtown Miami area. Alongside its March 25th unveiling, Apple is also inviting customers to their Nanjing Jinmao and Schildergasse location openings.

All three of the new store pages include invitations for their respective grand openings at 10 AM on March 25th. While not yet listed on the Brickell City Centre’s shop directory, the new Miami store’s page is on Apple’s website and is set to be the largest in the state. The shopping mall contains an open-air design built to facilitate natural climate control thanks to the nearby Biscayne Bay.
Both the Nanjing Jinmao and Schildergasse stores already have a list of upcoming events and workshops, although registration for these looks temporarily disabled ahead of the grand opening.
We can most likely expect that these new stores will be fashioned with the Jony Ive aesthetics. At past Apple store launch events, Apple has celebrated the event by giving away shirts for some of the early customers.

Nike’s new store in New York City is loaded with tech

Sean Madden, senior director of service and experiences for Nike’s direct-to-consumer division, says the tech inside the store isn’t meant to be the main attraction. Instead, he says these features are designed to make the shopping experience more personal. With the hoop, for example, the Kinect sensors are there to capture movements from your body and display those on a massive screen in front of you. That being said, the idea is obviously that you’ll use that area to try on shoes you’re interested in.

I went inside the store, which happens to be near Engadget’s NYC office. Here’s what else I came across during my tour.


Store closures prove retail’s bubble has ‘burst,’ says Urban Outfitters CEO

Shoppers and pedestrians walk past an Urban Outfitters store in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Charles Mostoller | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Shoppers and pedestrians walk past an Urban Outfitters store in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Urban Outfitters isn’t in any rush to sign leases on new stores.
Instead, as the company’s two largest brands have reached what CEO Richard Hayne considers the optimal number of U.S. locations, he’s waiting patiently for the right space to become available. Until that time, the retailer will hold off on any making any plans to relocate some of its Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie stores, or open additional Free People shops.
“It makes little sense to enter into many new, long-term leases at this time when all signs indicate that a similar lease will be less expensive in the near future,” Hayne said on the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call.
“Our industry, not unlike the housing industry, saw too much square footage capacity added in the ’90s and early 2000s. Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble. And like housing, that bubble has now burst,” Hayne said.
“We are [now] seeing the results — doors shuttering and rents retreating,” the CEO continued. “This trend will continue for the foreseeable future and may even accelerate.”
The retailer operates roughly 200 Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie locations in the U.S., and nearly 130 Free People shops. It plans to open 15 new stores in North America this year, a pullback from 26 and 29 over the two previous years, respectively.
Meanwhile, the glut of apparel stores has created a deflationary environment, as chains are strongarmed into discounting to generate store traffic. That trend plagued Urban Outfitters during the fiscal fourth quarter, particularly at its namesake and Anthropologie stores.
Hayne doesn’t expect that pressure to moderate anytime soon. The chain forecasts similar promotional headwinds will weigh on its results in the fiscal year that just got underway, causing its gross margin to contract.
That outlook, combined with a weak earnings forecast for the fiscal first quarter, contributed to a nearly 5 percent decline in Urban Outfitter’s shares on Wednesday.
“All in, this is a rocky start to fiscal year 2018, with an extremely negative margin outlook and little hope for near-term top-line turnarounds in the two largest brands,” Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow told investors.

TK Maxx is coming to Australia

TK Maxx is officially coming downunder. The U.S. retailer will roll out a slew of standalone stores across Australia, replacing the current Trade Secret shops in operation, which TJX, the parent company of TK Maxx, bought in October 2015 for AU$80 million (US$60.59 million).

TJX has continued to operate the stores under the Trade Secret mantle for almost 18 months, but will refit 35 Trade Secret stores and relaunch them as TK Maxx from April. Brand new stores are also planned to open later in the year along the east coast of Australia.
The retailer’s entry is set to sting local department store majors Myer and David Jones, as well as local apparel and lifestyle chains, with some still licking their wounds after fast-fashion giants H&M and Zara continue to dominate the Australian retail landscape.
Last month, four local fashion retailers — David Lawrence, Marcs, Rhodes & Beckett and Herringbone — went in to voluntary administration resulting in several store closures. All are still in search of a rescue buyer.
Meanwhile, discount store Payless Shoes fell victim to bankruptcy in December 2016, and failed to attract an investor, leading to the closure of all Payless Shoes Australia stores earlier in the year.
TJX owns 3800 retail stores worldwide, including 500 TK Maxx stores, as brands TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. The company operates stores in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands.
TJX’z global sales hit $US33.1 billion in the last financial year.

Ted Baker reopens Tokyo flagship

Affordable luxury brand Ted Baker has opened its newly renovated Tokyo flagship store, as well as two new shop-in-shops within prominent department stores.

Located in the Japanese capital’s hip Omotesando district, the newly developed Ted Baker store has moved into a 4,500 square foot space.
Previously the home of Marc Jacobs, the outfit spans three floors and houses the British brand’s latest fashion and accessories offerings, including a men’s bomber jacket and a women’s lace jacquard dress, designed specifically for the Tokyo store. The boutique sits just off its former flagship spot, which it opened in 2012, before closing it for renovations last October.
The redesign, which boasts wall panels inspired by computer circuit boards, technical blueprints, steel and brass, marks a significant retail shuffle in Asia for Ted Baker, in which the fashion chain hopes to present British style that is inline with Japanese taste.
“We have been expanding our business in Asia over recent years, particularly in Japan,” Ray Kelvin, the founder and chief executive officer of Ted Baker, told WWD. “Our team have been proactively promoting the brand and raising awareness through multiple pop-up locations in Tokyo.”

In mid-February, Ted Baker also opened a corner at the Takashimaya department store in Nagoya, and a corner at the Marui City department store in Yokohama just two weeks later.
“We will continue develop on the success in Japan, and we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities,” he said. “We’re cautious, thorough, and it has to be right.”
Which is why the fashion chain has no plans to launch a Japan-dedicated platform in the near future, said Kelvin. Currently, Ted Baker is only available online in Japan through the multi-brand site Zozotown.
The UK-based Ted Baker saw holiday sales rise 17.9% over the eight weeks to January 7. Ted Baker cited a surge in e-commerce sales, both domestically and abroad, for the gains, with e-tail sales up 35%.

Aldo names founder’s son as new CEO

Footwear retailer Aldo has appointed David Bensadoun as its new chief executive, to replace current boss Patrick Frisk.
Bensadoun first joined the Montreal-based retailer – which has several stores in the UK – in 1995 as a project manager before working his way up to president of the Aldo Group in North America.
He is also the eldest son of founder Aldo Bensadoun, and he is slated to start his new role on April 3.
The news comes amid other senior management changes at the global retail chain, including the appointment of Norman Jaskolka as deputy chairman of Aldo Group.
Frisk was thanked by the new management team for his work at Aldo.
“Frisk has been instrumental in helping the Aldo Group reach new heights as we continue to build our business and culture around the world,” Aldo Bensadoun said.

Tesco to cut deputy manager roles at UK convenience stores

It said the changes would result in a net increase of about 1,500 positions, increasing the number of staff serving customers on the shop floor.
Tesco to cut deputy manager roles at UK convenience stores

LONDON: Britain’s biggest retailer, Tesco , is replacing 1,700 deputy managers at its “Express” convenience stores with lower paid “shift leaders” in a restructuring of the business, it said on Monday.
The supermarket group, which agreed a 3.7 billion pound ($4.6 billion) merger with wholesaler Booker last month, said it would abolish deputy manager positions at its 1,800 Express stores and instead create 3,300 shift leader roles.
It said the changes would result in a net increase of about 1,500 positions, increasing the number of staff serving customers on the shop floor.
This week, about 1,700 deputy managers will begin a 60-day consultation process and would be offered shift leader positions, alternative roles in other Tesco stores or redundancy.
“For any that do make the change from deputy manager to shift leader we’ll be financially supporting them,” a Tesco spokesman said.
In October, Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis set out a plan to earn between 3.5 pence and 4 pence of operating profit for every pound spent by shoppers by 2019-20, up from 2.18 pence now.
The plan was predicated on sales rising and operating costs being cut by 1.5 billion pounds through efficiencies in stores and its distribution network, as well as from procurement savings.
Last month Tesco proposed a shake-up of its distribution network that would result in the loss of a net 500 jobs.
Tesco is Britain’s biggest private sector employer with a staff of more than 310,000.

Trafford Park site sold for £5m
The property was purchased by The Schroders MLIPUT for £4,968,000, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.24 per cent.

A Trafford Park industrial scheme has been sold for just short of £5m as investors – and occupiers – take advantage of the surge in shed values.
B8 Real Estate, acting on behalf of Aviva Investors, have sold a three-unit 64,924 sq ft multi-let industrial estate situated in a prominent location adjacent to the Parkway Circle roundabout in Trafford Park.
The property was purchased by The Schroders MLIPUT for £4,968,000, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.24%.
John Burrows of B8 Real Estate commented, ”We are pleased with the extremely strong level of interest generated, resulting in a host of bids being received for the property.
“The strength of the offers submitted highlights continued investor demand for prime assets against a supply shortage of good quality industrial properties.”
Schroders MLIPUT were represented by Cushman & Wakefield.
In a seprate deal office furnirture firm Woodstock Leabank has agreed the £2.5m sale and lease back of its Stockport premises, raising £2.5m
The sale and leaseback agreement has seen Property Alliance acquire the company’s 41,500 sq ft unit in Bredbury, Stockport for £2.5m. Woodstock Leabank has agreed a 10-year lease with Alliance for the space, paying a rent of £5.50 per sq ft.
Joe O’Malley from Woodstock Leabank added: “This agreement enables us to stay in our property, while minimising risk and unlocking capital which we can use for further investment to support our future growth plans.“

South Africa’s Product of the Year winners revealed

South Africa’s best products, recognised through a market-leading independent consumer survey, were announced at the Product of the Year gala event in Johannesburg last week.
South Africa’s Product of the Year winners revealedPart of one of the world’s largest consumer-voted awards programmes, this independent consumer survey, conducted by leading global information and measurement company Nielsen, rewards product innovation based on the endorsements of over 5,000 consumer households. Established 30 years ago in France, Product of the Year currently operates in 38 countries to guide consumers and help them find the best new products and services in their market, while also rewarding manufacturers for quality and innovation.

“In this competitive and cluttered market, making informed purchase decisions can be extremely confusing for consumers,” states Preetesh Sewraj, CEO and chief innovation analyst at Product of the Year South Africa. “With limited expendable income, consumers are often unable to test and trial every offering on the market, which is why we aim to take the guesswork out of this process for local consumers, effectively giving them a shortcut to the check-out counter while also saving them time and money.”
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To enter, brands submit products for inclusion through an opt-in process in a variety of categories. Winners are chosen through a robust research process that employs best in class research techniques to understand consumer perception of innovation in the market. 

In its infancy, Product of the Year award categories extensively covered the FMCG sector, specifically food, beverages, personal care and household care, but these have since expanded to include other important consumer-facing market segments such as automotive, technology, petrochemicals, medical and health products, and clothing, among many others.
The winners are now able to use the distinctive red Product of the Year logo on packaging and marketing, under licence, for a period of 12 months. 
Winners list

Based on the independently verified feedback of the 5,000 consumers surveyed, the most innovative products of the year for 2017 are:
Category Winner

Baby care Epi-max Baby & Junior Range

Beverages Fuze Tea

Biscuits Bakers Eet-Sum-Mor Chocolate Chip

Breakfast White Star Instant Maize Porridge

Chips Doritos

Dairy Beverages Deneys Swiss Diary Gourmet Drinking Yoghurt

Dessert (Heritage) Ultra Mel Vanilla Flavoured Custard

Female Deodorants Shield MotionSense

Feminine Skincare Johnson’s Vita-Rich

Food (Heritage) Big Jack Pies

Fuel BP Ultimate with Active Technology

Hair Treatment Dove Intensive Repair Treatment Mask

Hairwash Tresemme Beauty Full Volume

Healthy Snacking Planters Nuts

Home Appliances Hisense Ice Maker Refrigerator

Male Deodorants Shield MotionSense

Male Grooming Schick Hydro 5

Mayonnaise Miracle Whip

Mobile Phones Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Motor Lubricants Shell Helix Ultra

Popcorn Simba Kettle Popped Flavoured Popcorn

Pourable Sauces Wellington’s New Recipe Tomato Sauce

Television Samsung SUHD TV

Therapeutic Skincare Vaseline Camphor Restore

Wearables Samsung Gear VR

Yoghurt NutriDay Yoghurt

Product of the Year also launched its partnership with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) at the event. “We were honoured to have in attendance of Adam Patisson, VP the America and EMEA at BBM,” states Sewraj. “It is an important partnership for both us and our category winners as modern consumers increasingly adopt a mobile-centric approach to information sharing and e-commerce. We are therefore well positioned to drive innovation within the mobile channel, to amplify our reach and highlight the work being done to champion the consumer cause.”
Heritage – new category

A Heritage category was included for the first time in this year’s endorsement programme, offering multiple divisions in line with the other established Product of the Year categories. 
“South Africa has a strong history of innovation, which means that there are still iconic brands on shelf today that have woven their way into the fabric of our society and continue to offer consumers quality and value for money. While they may not be innovative by today’s standards, we feel they still deserve recognition and should still be considered by consumers at the point of purchase. This is why we chose to expand our footprint and include the Heritage category in the Product of the Year awards,” explains Sewraj.
“Product of Year looks forward to supporting the winners through the company’s innovative and diversified platform. We hope to continue stimulating innovation in South Africa through our brand endorsement programme to ensure that deserving brands and their products get the exposure and recognition they deserve in the marketplace,” concludes Sewraj.

Forever 21 Opens 4th Store in Mumbai

Feb 28: Forever 21, a leading fast fashion brand from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL), part of the Aditya Birla group, is further strengthening its foothold in Mumbai with the launch of its 4th store, taking the total count to 15 stores in India.
Forever 21 is a California-based fast fashion brand that entered the Indian market in 2010. In July 2016, ABFRL acquired the exclusive online and offline rights to Forever 21’s India network from Diana Retail Pvt Ltd.
“Having established a strong affinity with fashionable Indians in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad, Forever 21 creates a new fashion destination for the uber-stylish Mumbaikars with its 4th store at Phoenix Market City. Bringing global trends and runway fashion closer to the fashionistas, Forever 21 promises to provide a fashion journey with the latest looks and Spring Summer 17 collection,” said a company statement on Tuesday.
Complementing Forever 21 apparel and accessories, the new store will feature the retailer’s other brands, including 21MEN-a line of fresh, fast fashion for men of all ages, Love & Beauty-a cosmetics line and Forever 21’s lingerie and shoe line.
Abhinav Zutshi, India Business Head, Forever 21, said, “we are proud to say that Forever 21 is the most loved fashion brand by Mumbaikars and our 4th store launch is a testimony to the love and support we get from our consumers. Forever 21 brings the latest global runway trends to India and we aspire to make them accessible for fashion conscious millennials.”
Based in Mumbai, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd manufactures and retails clothing, footwear, and leather products. ABFRL was formed after the consolidation of the branded apparel businesses of Aditya Birla Group comprising Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd’s (ABNL) Madura Fashion division and ABNL’s subsidiaries Pantaloons Fashion and Retail Ltd (PFRL) and Madura Garments Lifestyle Retail Company Ltd (MGLRCL) in May 201 Post the consolidation, PFRL was renamed as Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd.
ABFRL shares were trading at Rs 159.65, up 1.40% from the previous closing of Rs 157.45, on BSE at 11.43 am today.

Philip Green agrees to pay £363m into BHS pension fund

Retail tycoon says deal is part of a cash settlement with Pension Regulator which has now halted its enforcement action
Graham Ruddick and Sarah Butler Tuesday 28 February 2017 18.37 GMT First published on Tuesday 28 February 2017 14.42 GMT
 The BHS collapse led to a high-profile parliamentary investigation and calls for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood

The BHS collapse led to a high-profile parliamentary investigation and calls for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood Photograph: Getty

Sir Philip Green has agreed to hand over £363m in cash to rescue the BHS pension scheme, and settle one of the biggest City rows of recent decades.
The deal with the Pensions Regulator, which is likely to help the billionaire keep his knighthood, follows the controversial collapse of the BHS department store chain last April, which led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a pension deficit assessed at £571m.
A high-profile parliamentary investigation into the demise of BHS concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and described the hole in the pension fund as “the unacceptable face of capitalism”. MPs voted in favour of stripping Green of his knighthood.
The billionaire tycoon owned BHS for 15 years until he sold it to Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt, for just £1 in March 2015. During his ownership, the Green family and other shareholders collected at least £580m from BHS in dividends, rental payments and interest on loans.
Green said the settlement with the regulator, which is supported by trustees of the BHS pensions scheme, represented a “significantly better outcome” for former BHS staff than the scheme entering the Pension Protection Fund, the government’s pensions lifeboat.
He added: “Once again I would like to apologise to the BHS pensioners for this last year of uncertainty, which was clearly never the intention when the business was sold in March 2015.
“I hope that this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them.”
Sir Philip Green is sad and very, very sorry to BHS workers

The pensions deal should calm the reputational storm which has engulfed Green, the self-styled king of the British high street. The 64-year-old fashion tycoon, who also owns Topshop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Burton, has been forced to curtail his public appearances since the scandal, including missing Topshop’s London Fashion Week show, where he usually has a front row seat.
Public anger over Green’s apparent reluctance to address the pensions gap focused on the tycoon’s £100m 300-foot superyacht, which was delivered as BHS collapsed, along with a new £46m private jet. He lost his temper on TV when approached in a Greek port by journalists and protesters fixed a “BHS Destroyer” banner to the yacht in harbour.
The pension settlement comes after the Pensions Regulator started legal action against Green last year in an attempt to force him to contribute cash to the pension scheme. This enforcement action has now been halted against Green, but legal proceedings are continuing against Chappell and his company, Retail Acquisitions, which acquired BHS from Green.
Lesley Titcomb, the chief executive of the Pensions Regulator, said: “The agreement we have reached with Sir Philip Green represents a strong outcome for the members of the BHS pension schemes. It takes account of the interests of both pensioners and the PPF, and brings a welcome level of certainty to present and future pensioners.”
Frank Field, the Labour MP who co-led the parliamentary investigation and led the calls for Green to make good the pension scheme, welcomed the deal. “I very much welcome this out-of-court settlement which is an important milestone in gaining the justice for BHS pensioners and former workers that we have been pushing for since beginning our inquiry into the downfall of BHS,” Field said.
However, BHS workers are still likely to suffer cuts to their pension benefits. The Pensions Regulator estimates that workers will on average receive around 88% of the value of their original benefits in a new pension scheme created by the settlement. This is a better outcome than if the BHS pension scheme had entered the Pension Protection Fund, a lifeboat for failed pension schemes, where workers would have received an estimated 75% to 79%.
Grant Atterbury, a former BHS worker, said the deal was “literally the least Green could do”. Atterbury is still unemployed and living on benefits after losing his job at the BHS in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, last August.
“This deal is great news for pensioners but it doesn’t improve my lot,” he said. “It is literally the least Green could do. He filled his pockets with a great deal more than he’s putting back into the pension pot. He has filled the black hole in the pension but there are still a lot of black holes including one on our high street. My opinion of him is as low as it was.”
John Ralfe, a pensions expert, added: “This is not Sir Philip Green as the all-conquering hero. This is Sir Philip making the best of a bad job.”
Green initially pledged to “sort” the problems facing the BHS pension scheme last June when he was questioned by MPs.
John Hannett, the general secretary of trade union Usdaw, said: “It is difficult to understand why this saga has been allowed to continue and why we have had to campaign for so long to get justice for our members.”
The Pensions Regulator said measuring the BHS deficit as £571m was not appropriate when working on a cash settlement because this figure is based on what the retirement scheme would have to pay an insurance company to guarantee its liabilities – which is expensive.
Green has already paid over the £343m into an escrow account as part of the settlement. An additional £20m will be spent on expenses and implementing the changes to the BHS pension scheme.
The deal will see the creation of a new pension scheme, which will be funded by Green’s cash injection. BHS workers will have the option of moving their pension into the new scheme, receiving a lump-sum payment, or remaining in the existing pension scheme, which will enter the PPF and see a 10% cut to existing benefits.
As much as £15m could be returned to Green if 90% of the eligible members decide to accept the lump sum. About 9,000 of the remaining 19,000 former staff in BHS’s two pension schemes will be offered the lump-sum payments.
Trustees sent an letter to pension members on Tuesday. The members will all be contacted within the next three months with a personal offer and they will have three months to decide what to do with their pension money.
The new scheme will be run via a “special purpose vehicle” and will not be attached to a sponsoring company, which pensions experts claim is risky. It is the first time such a vehicle has been cleared by regulators in the UK and £100m was added to the settlement to reduce fears about the scheme falling back into the PPF lifeboat in future.
Chris Martin, the chair of the BHS pension fund trustees, said the cash injection from Green put the new scheme on a “stable footing”.
He added: “The trustees have carefully considered all aspects of the deal and we are confident that this is a robust scheme that delivers improved and sustainable benefits.
“We are now in a position to confirm that members will be offered benefit improvements, enhanced flexibility, and just as importantly, long-term sustainability for their benefits.”