Monthly Archives: May 2017

South Africa’s Mr Price posts first annual profit drop in 16 years

Mr Price earnings up due to successful retail formula
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Mr Price Group Ltd posted a 12 percent drop in full-year earnings, the first drop in annual profit since 2001, as consumers struggle in a sluggish economy.
The no-frills retailer, which also sells homeware and furniture, is facing increased competition from international chains Zara, H&M and Cotton On and has lost market share as local competitors, such as the ailing Edcon, mark down stock.
“This was the Group’s first earnings decrease in 16 years during a very difficult trading period,” Chief Executive Stuart Bird.
Mr Price blamed a drop in sales on weak consumer sentiment as political turmoil culminated in President Jacob Zuma firing finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March and credit ratings agencies downgraded the nation to sub-investment grade shortly after.
“Cabinet reshuffles and downgrades by ratings agencies have caused further exchange rate volatility, which the consumer ultimately has to absorb,” the company said.
Mr Price, which has grown over the past three decades by undercutting competitors and catering to thrifty shoppers’ fashion needs, said a mild winter caused rivals to mark down stock to match its own prices, further weighing on sales.
Edcon, an unlisted retailer, has had to restructure debt and clear old stock at much lower prices. Woolworths also marked down stock in what its chief executive Ian Moir described as a “feeding frenzy”.
“The retail environment has become more competitive, with any growth in a stagnant market coming from increased market share,” Mr Price said in a statement.
Diluted headline earnings per share fell to 887.9 cents in the year to end-March, from 1,012.9 cents in the previous year.
Mr Price maintained its full-year dividend at 667 cents per share.
The company said improvement in the consumer environment is likely to only be gradual, but added that it was seeing encouraging signs in the current financial year.

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Edcon shuts stores in bid to save sales

Retail cannibalisation is becoming a significant feature in the domestic market and it is for this reason that Edcon is shutting down stores where it can, says CEO Bernie Brookes.

Edcon shuts stores in bid to save salesRetail cannibalisation occurs when a company’s new stores steal customers from existing stores. This can reduce overall sales even though sales in the new stores generally do well. Cannibalisation can hurt sales volumes and market share.

“As the leases come up, we are reviewing the stores to see if we should keep them open or not,” said Brookes.
“It’s the most sensible thing to do, especially if you consider the market as it is right now. If you look at Mall of Africa, for example, our store there has taken sales away from stores close to that area.
“In some cases, we are looking at reducing store size by closing certain departments or floors,” said Brookes.
In the year ended 25 March, Edcon closed eight Edgars stores, four Jet stores and five Jet Mart stores. The retailer closed seven stores in its speciality division that includes CNA, Red Square and Boardmans.
Brookes said fewer stores would be opened in the future.

Wishing all our readers a blessed Ramadan Kareem

AmazonFresh opens its grocery Pickup locations in Seattle

Amazon has officially begun operating its AmazonFresh Pickup locations in Seattle, letting customers order groceries ahead of time and then quickly grab them on their way home. The service requires as little as 15 minutes advance notice, without any minimum purchase requirements, and it’s a free service for any Amazon Prime members.

Amazon first revealed Pickup back in March, but it’s officially opening shop for general use as of today. The pilot is limited to just one market – Amazon’s home turf – to begin with, but if it works it’s likely to make its way to other cities, since Amazon has been chasing the fresh grocery carrot for many years now in hopes of finding a way to make it profitable at scale.

Look inside Apple’s latest retail store shows stunning staircase, Apple Park paintings, boardroom

Look inside Apple’s latest retail store shows stunning staircase, Apple Park paintings, boardroom
Two days ahead of the opening of the first Apple Store in Singapore, the company has provided a press preview of the interior.
One notably missing feature is the glass staircase which has traditionally been a signature design element of Apple’s retail stores. There is instead what is being reported as a stone staircase but may be a ceramic one. This design was first seen in the Nanjing store in China, and appears to be destined for the refitted 5th Avenue store in NY too …

CNET draws attention to the handrail, which is a carved slot in the wall following the spiral curve of the stairs – and looks quite stunning.
Another rarely-seen feature is a boardroom intended for private meetings. Some other stores have these, using them for meetings with business customers and sometimes individuals, but they are tucked away out of sight. During the Apple Watch launch, they were used to hold private try-on appointments for the gold Edition model.
The boardroom also has paintings of the Apple Park.

Other interior elements are by now familiar: the Genius orchard, the wooden ‘bowling ball’ headphone holders, the giant screen and cube seating.

Miranda Curtis to step down from Marks & Spencer board

Since her appointment to the M&S board in 2012, Curtis has served on the remuneration, audit and nomination committees.
Robert Swannell, chairman of M&S, said: “We are delighted that Miranda will be with us until the end of her second term in February 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her significant contributions to the M&S board and its committees over the last six years. Her experience, challenge and insights have been invaluable. We wish her well in her new role at the FCO”.

Boots to launch in Korea

E-Mart said on March 19 that the Korean first store of Drugstore Boots opened in Starfield, Hanam. It was only 10 months since the signing of a partnership agreement between E-Mart and the Wall Green Boots Alliance (WBA) in July last year. The Boots store is located on the first floor of Starfield with the size of 619 square meter (187 pyeong).

WBA is a global ‘distribution giant’ that has 13,100 stores in 11 countries around the world, including the UK’s No. 1 health and beauty (H & B) brand, with annual sales of 145 trillion won.
E-mart will show Korean version of H & B, which is differentiated by global sourcing power of boots, the world’s top drugstore company, and E-Mart’s product planning ability.
The H & B market in Korea last year was1.2 trillion won. It has been on a steady upward trend with a growth of 30~40 percent every year and the business holds great promise for the future. In the next five years, it will grow to over 3 trillion won.
The boots strengthens the competitiveness with their own brand products (PL) and services. Boots has PL products such as ‘Soap & Glory’ and ‘Botanics’, including functional cosmetics ‘No.7’. In particular, No7 is the number one beauty brand in the UK, and has already been famous among Korean customers. With the official opening of boots, consumers can purchase boots PL products more easily such as No7.
The boots offers a ‘Match-made’ service that will consult the colours for their skin tones on the opening day. It recommends foundation and colour cosmetics by measuring consumer’s skin tone using No7 exclusive device.
To celebrate the opening of the Starfield Hanam store, the boots will carry out the ‘3 for 2’ event, which takes one more item if you buy two items of their own brand of boots by the 1st of next month. Until June 29th, 5000 won discount certificate will be presented to customers who purchase more than 50,000 won. The boots eco bags will be presented to 5,000 people by order of arrivals regardless of the amount of purchase. When purchasing more than 50,000 won, the boots beauty box will be presented for the first 400 people as well.
E-Mart will also open a large flagship store in Myeong-dong, which is called “The Holy Land of Cosmetics” in July. The size of the store is 1284 square meter (388 pyeong). E-Mart plans to gradually expand its H & B gmbusiness, starting with Starfield Hanam, complex shopping mall and Myeongdong stores.

Canada Goose to open two international flagships

Continuing its global expansion, Canadian winter clothing specialist Canada Goose Holdings has announced it will open two flagship stores this autumn, in London and Chicago. The company has also announced the expansion of its e-commerce channel to seven new markets including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria.

Marking the company’s first location in Europe, the Canada Goose London flagship store, the brand’s largest retail space to date, will be located on Regent Street. In Chicago, the brand will open its doors on Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue. Both stores will feature inspired Canadian design elements, including marble quarried in British Columbia, as well as the broadest assortment of seasonal collections and exclusive collaborations, and will provide an opportunity for consumers to engage and learn more about the company’s 60-year history.
‘Opening our first European store is not only a milestone for Canada Goose, but it’s turning a dream into reality. London and Chicago are world-renowned shopping destinations and I’m proud to bring our Canadian heritage, experience and unparalleled product to their historic streets,’ says Dani Reiss, president & CEO of Canada Goose.
In 2016, Canada Goose opened its first two flagship stores in Toronto and New York, showcasing the spirit of Canada Goose. The stores weave together the brand’s authentic heritage and commitment to craftsmanship with modern design in an Arctic-inspired environment.

Geox unveils new store concept ‘X Store’

Footwear and apparel retailer Geox has unveiled its newest store concept in Milan, Italy which aims to bring together technology, design, sustainability, and well-being.
Known as the ‘X Store’ concept, the new design preserves and enhances existing architectural features in the building, such as glass windows, columns, ceilings and exposed brickwork and works them seamlessly into the new concept.

In line with Geox focus on sustainability the new store concept, which has been unveiled in Geox flagship stores in Rome, London, Toronto Kuala Lumpur, uses only green materials. In fact, all materials used in Geox X Store concept, ranging from the terracotta tiles to the natural wood, are compliant with Leed Certification, in line with the company’s commitment to the environment.
The new concept also features a range of digital touchpoints to offer consumers a multi-sensorial shopping experience. These range from integrated digital screens and interactive displays where customers can learn more about an item, to charging stations in the fitting rooms. X Store is said to offer further proof of how important technology is to the Veneto-based company.
“This is a brand-new approach to retail. As soon as customers cross the threshold of a Geox store, they breathe, see and absorb the values which inspire our corporate design philosophy and mission day by day, gaining insight into our immense motivation to constantly improve quality and performance,” said the company in a statement.

“Our ultimate goal is to achieve day-to-day excellence, not only in terms of what our customers wear but also in terms of real coherence between urban life and the ethics of sustainability.”

Coach to re-enter the Russian market

COACH left Russia in 2011, where it was only distributed via multibrand stores, is returning to the country with a new partnership. Coach has just signed an exclusive agreement with BNS Group, a distributor in the region for labels including Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Topshop.
The agreement has a duration of five years, with the possibility of renewal. The opening of four Coach boutiques in Russia is forecast between 2018 and 2023.

Currently, Coach is sold in Russia via two multibrand stores through Tsum. The brand entered the Russian market in 2008, partnering with local usiness Jamilco. At the time, it planned to open 15 stores. Finally, it only opened a handful, which have been closed since 2011.

Over the past 2 years, Coach has seen its stores in esteemed shopping destinations multiply: in Paris in 2015; then on London’s Regent Street in November; its flagship opening in New York in December on 5th Avenue; followed by its very first Italian boutique in the upscale Milanese Via Montenapoleone. Coach now operates over 450 stores in North America, 520 in Asia and 40 in Europe.

Coach recorded revenue of $4.147 billion (3.946 billion euros) for its fiscal year 2015-6 ended last July, of which women’s handbag sales accounted for 53%.

Mothercare looks to almost halve number of UK stores

Mothercare used to have almost 400 stores, but will now have about 80 to 100. Photograph: Rex
Mothercare is to almost halve the size of its UK chain and stop selling clothes for older children as it tries to carve out a profitable future on the high street.
Mark Newton-Jones, Mothercare chief executive, said it would look to close up to 70 of its 152 UK stores as it adapts to a digital age where 41% of sales are rung up online.
“We are taking a fresh look at our estate and asking how many do we really need?” said Newton-Jones. “We’ve got six stores in Bristol – we don’t need six stores in Bristol. In Sheffield we’ve got five within a 20-minute drive time when we only need one or two. To cover all the major conurbations you only need 80 to 100 stores.”
At the start of this decade Mothercare was a ubiquitous presence on British high streets with closer to 400 stores but successive management teams have whittled away at that figure as the retailer struggled to compete with incursions by the supermarkets and online giant Amazon into what was once a specialist market.
Newton-Jones was hired in 2014 to lead a turnaround of Mothercare, but confidence was knocked by poor trading last summer. Since taking the helm he has closed 100 loss-making UK outlets and modernised 70% of the remaining stores.
Rather than competing in the cutthroat general kidswear market his strategy has focused on the lucrative niche of expectant parents and the paraphernalia required for newborns and toddler. It will now also stop selling clothes or toys for children older than four – previously its ranges ran up to age 10.
Pruning the UK chain, which has racked up losses of close to £100m over the last six years, has put it on the road to recovery with analysts predicting it will move into profit next year.
In recent years Mothercare has been forced to fall back on the success of its large overseas business but that is now facing headwinds of its own as shoppers in the Middle East – its biggest regional market outside the UK – spend less because of the slump in the oil price.
Pre-tax profits at Mothercare were flat at £19.7m on sales of £667.4m in the year to 25 March. Within that UK losses narrowed to £4.4m from £6.4m a year ago while underlying profits at its international business declined 13% to £35.2m. UK like-for-like sales were up 1.1%. The shares closed down more than 3% at 124p.
GlobalData analyst Sofie Willmott described the figures as “lacklustre” with the inclusion of online sales masking some poor store performances in the UK: “Given that Mothercare’s turnaround plan is in part focussed on investment in store refits we expected to be seeing more significant gains in UK store sales by now.”

Germany’s Lidl to open its first U.S. stores in June, create 5,000 jobs

Lidl is opening its first stores in June, ahead of the original 2018 schedule
German grocer Lidl said Wednesday that it’s going to open its first U.S. stores on June 15.
The company will open 20 stores this summer in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. By next summer, it plans to have up to 100 stores across the East Coast, and create a total of 5,000 jobs.
Stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Last year, Lidl said it planned to open its stores in 2018.
Lidl already operates about 10,000 stores in 27 countries in Europe. The company opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, VA in June 2015.
For now the company will be focused on bricks-and-mortar stores, according to Boudewijn Tiktak, Lidl’s chief commercial officer, who spoke at a Tuesday evening media event. The company is starting in these three states because of their proximity to Lidl’s U.S. headquarters and its facilities, the company said.
Lidl locations will be newly constructed and span six aisles over 20,000 square feet. About 90% of the goods sold will be Lidl private label, with far fewer items in each category available for sale, though the total number of stock keeping units (SKUs) is undisclosed.
“Do you need 50 labels of ketchup?,” asked Tiktak, at a media event Tuesday evening.

According to the company, its goods and groceries will be up to half the price of other U.S. supermarkets. Both fresh and frozen seafood in the core assortment will be certified sustainable or responsibly farmed. And there will be an assortment of organic and gluten-free merchandise in stock. All of the company’s private label goods will be free of certified synthetic colors, trans fats or added MSG, the company said.
“Curation” was a word that came up many times during the event, with various department representatives on hand to talk about the ways in which goods are selected.
Adam Lapierre, director of wine for Lidl U.S., said he tasted at least 10,000 wines to create Lidl’s assortment, which includes a rare Chilean Malbec and a rosé from Provence that he said shoppers won’t find elsewhere.
And Anna Sadovskaya, senior purchasing manager who works with items like chocolate and snacks, ate peanut butter for a week to select what goes on the shelf.
“You get to follow it through to the end and interact with items on a more intimate level,” she said.

These efforts to differentiate itself will be necessary in a crowded U.S. grocery market, where giants like Whole Foods Market Inc. WFM, -0.44% Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, +1.59% and Kroger Co. KR, +0.48% are vying for market share.
“They can be disruptive,” said Rupesh Parikh, senior food analyst for food, grocery and consumer products at Oppenheimer & Company, who points to Lidl’s success in the U.K. as evidence. But, he asks, “can they execute?”
Much about Lidl stores is still a mystery, such as the size of the produce department amid consumer demand for fresh food, how items will be presented, and what the overall experience will be like.
“Are they willing to make an investment and take losses because they see bigger opportunity down the road?” Parikh asked. Wal-Mart is watching competition like Aldi and Lidl closely, he said.
“If [Wal-Mart] reacts it can cause a chain reaction for others so they don’t lose share,” Parikh said. “If others have to follow, that can be an issue.”
But with consumers shopping in more places for groceries and willing to try new things, Lidl has a chance to make its mark.

Dubai prepares for three-day shopping bonanza

Dubai retailers are gearing up for a three-day ‘Super Sale’ in the emirate starting Thursday May 18.

More than 750 retailers across the emirate – more than 250 brands – will slash prices, knocking between 30 percent and 90 percent off products.
Some of the brands offering discounts include Guess, Steve Madden, Kurt Geiger, Roberto Cavalli, Galeries Lafayette, Furla, Missoni, Boutique 1, Scotch and Soda, Balmain, Aldo, Toms, Birkenstock, Charles & Keith, Nine West, Desigual, Al Jaber Optical, IDdesign, Marlin Furniture, Porsche Design and Disney Fashion.
More than 1,000 retail outlets across Dubai will offer discounts on a range of electronics, jewellery, toys, homewear, furniture, apparel and fashion.
The pre-Ramandan sale is organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

Apple planning new Mexico retail location in San Luis Potosi mall

Apple is planning a new Apple Store in Mexico as it continues to expand its presence around the globe. The new retail location will be located in the city of San Luis Potosi and construction is currently ongoing…

Specifically, the Apple Store will be located in a new section of the El Dorado Mall. While Apple has not yet confirmed details about the store, there is a sign with Apple branding where the store will be located that reads “Próximamente,” or “coming soon.”
Additionally, Apple has started hiring for the store, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple opened its first retail store in Mexico last September and is already working on another location in Mexico City. The San Luis Potosi will be the company’s third in Mexico. The new Mexico City location is said to be “flagship” in nature, with a design akin to that of Apple’s World Trade Center location in New York City. The store is said to be multi-level with the Genius Bar and retail space split from one another.
There’s no word on when Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location will open to the public, but the company is clearly moving things along as construction and hiring both continue. It’s also unclear just how big the new retail location will be and what sort of design traits it will share.
Elsewhere around the world, we reported last week that Apple will do a worldwide overnight refresh on older retail locations on May 16th. This effort will see Apple bring some of the qualities of its new flagships stores to older, smaller stores that can’t accommodate the full redesign. The changeover is best described as sort of a “‘halfway house’ between the original and new looks.
Apple also recently showed off motorized carbon fiber windows in its Dubai Mall store, and is working on the opening of a new Singapore store.
As always, we’ll update with more information about Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location as we get it. Do you have plans to visit this location when it opens to the public? Let us know down in the comments.

Apple reveals its plans for a flagship retail store in Milan, where you walk through a fountain to enter

It was back in January that we first heard that Apple was planning a new flagship retail store in Milan, Italy, with an outdoor amphitheater – and the company has now confirmed those plans.
It will be a square full of ideas. We are incredibly happy to be in the center of Milan, a town that for centuries combines creativity and innovation. In the coming months we will work to give you a new Liberty Square: an open space for everyone to take a break, meet with friends, discover new interests.
The store will sit beneath the amphitheater, and you’ll enter it using a staircase that descends through the middle of a fountain …
The store is there but you do not see it. Thanks to an original architectural solution, it is hidden beneath the cozy outdoor amphitheater. It will be the perfect place to share your passions, discover new ones and deepen your skills.
You enter the store passing through two tall walls of water forming a great fountain, a tribute to traditional Italian squares.
The store will be named Apple Piazza Liberty and will be located at Piazza del Liberty, 1–20121 Milano. Apple is reportedly paying the city around €768k ($843k) to cover the cost of reconstructing the square after the store is completed, as well as an annual rent of €127k ($140k) for the use of the square. The opening date has not yet been announced.
This is the first store I’ve seen that really makes sense of the idea of Apple Store becoming a new place to meet friends. With usually crowded interiors and no tea or coffee, that aspect of the Today at Apple initiative seemed a bit of a stretch, but where the roof of your store is a piazza, the idea clearly works. Apple is also expanding both the scope and the profile of its workshop program.
Apple has been rather active on the retail store front of late, removing the iconic glass cube at NYC’s 5th Avenue store as part of a major development, preparing to open its first store in Singapore, revealing plans for a Carnegie Library store in DC and ensuring that older stores unsuitable for a complete makeover don’t get completely left out.
Check out a couple more photos below.

Canada Goose chooses London for first European store

The London store in Regent Street will be the first Canada Goose shop in Europe. The Chicago store will be situated on Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose, said: “Opening our first European store is not only a milestone for Canada Goose, but it’s turning a dream into reality. London and Chicago are world-renowned shopping destinations and I’m proud to bring our Canadian heritage, experience and unparalleled product to their historic streets.”
Canada Goose will also be expanding its ecommerce channel to seven new markets this year including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria.
In 2016 Canada Goose opened its first two flagship stores in Toronto and New York, having launched its first ecommerce site in Canada in 2014. This was followed by the launch of online stores in the US in 2015 and the UK and France in 2016.
Canada Goose was founded in a small warehouse in Toronto in 1957 and has grown into one of the world’s leading makers of performance luxury apparel.

House of Fraser names new chief executive

Due to take up his position on 31 July, Williamson will join House of Fraser from the Goodwood sporting estate. Having originally started at Goodwood in 2008 as chief financial officer, he was promoted to group managing director and in 2012 took up the position of chief executive.

Prior to this, he was head of finance at TUI Travel and has held a variety of other roles and across the leisure and hospitality sectors.
Frank Slevin, executive chairman of House of Fraser, said: “Having recently set out our vision for the future of House of Fraser, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Williamson as our new CEO. Alex is uniquely placed to execute our vision, and to contribute his extensive expertise of delivering compelling and engaging experiences for the customer.
“House of Fraser operates in an exciting and challenging market requiring an ability to innovate and manage an increasing pace of change. I am confident Alex will be able to add his perspective and skill of running the Goodwood Estate, one of the great British heritage brands to the benefit of our continued growth.”

Smashbox launches first South East store at Bluewater

Situated on the Upper Rose Gallery adjacent to Topshop, the 889 square foot shop recreates the look and feel of the legendary Smashbox Photo Studios in Los Angeles.

Anuschka Kuhnel, brand manager at Smashbox Cosmetics, said: “The new Bluewater standalone store is an exciting step for the Smashbox Cosmetics brand, further marking our move of opening standalone stores outside the capital in select locations. The enthusiasm and demand we have experienced for our brand amongst consumers throughout the South East makes Bluewater an exciting move for us.”
The news follows the launch of The White Company’s new upsized statement store earlier this month on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall and the opening of Gap’s new UK concept store on the lower Rose Gallery in March.
Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Smashbox Cosmetics is a fantastic addition to Bluewater’s outstanding offer. The new flagship retail space will further strengthen the health and beauty category of the scheme, and reinforce Bluewater’s position as the UK’s leading retail and leisure destination.”

Sheikh Mohammed launches Dubai’s new $1.7bn mega-project

Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed has announced the launch of Marsa Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s latest tourist destination development in the emirate.
The $1.7 billion (AED 6.3bn) mega-project, spread across 4 million sq. ft, will be developed on new two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Marsa (Arabic for marina) Al Arab is expected to be completed by 2020.
One island will be dedicated to entertainment and family tourism, while the other comprises an exclusive luxury resort. The two islands will add 2.2 kilometres of beach frontage, as well as three new hotels and a number of new tourist attractions.
The family resort island will see Jumeirah Group introduce new leisure concepts and services as well as a new family-oriented hotel. To boost guest experience, Wild Wadi Waterpark will be moved from its current road-side location closer to the beach, and will be more than double its existing size when fully completed.
Dubai Holding will also develop ‘Marine Park’, a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre in the Middle East, with a live theatre of a 1,000 seat capacity that will attract world-class shows to showcase various elements of marine life.

Marsa Al Arab will also include a private marina and a yacht club, as well as diverse food and beverage offerings, as well as a helipad.
Complementing Madinat Jumeirah, the development will include a mixed-use convention centre capable of hosting large international conferences and festivals. The convention centre will be supported by a new hotel, offering a selection of services for businessmen and corporates.
The project will also include a large retail space stretching across 20,000 sq. m, which will replace the current Wild Wadi Water Park area.

The shopping centre will consist of international high-end brands, as well as a selection of restaurants and coffee shops to meet the needs of its luxurious shoppers. Marsa Al Arab will also offer 300 sea-front residential apartments in the heart of the development.
Together, the enhanced Wild Wadi and Marine Park will sprawl over an area of 2.5 million sq. ft.
The new family destination will house a dedicated theatre with a capacity of 1,700 seats, which will become home to the world-renowned show Cirque du Soleil for the first time in the Middle East.
Dubai Holding will develop 140 luxury villas on the ‘exclusive private island’, which will include a marina for its residents. Located on the left of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the luxury villas will be operated by Jumeirah Group. The island will also host a boutique hotel equipped with world-class facilities that reflect ‘Marsa Al Arab’s status as an attractive destination for elite travellers.
Overall, Dubai Holding will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Jumeirah Group’s portfolio, bringing its total offering to 8,428 rooms. There will be 400 new F&B outlets throughout the destination.
The existing hotels in the vicinity will be transformed into a unified tourist destination.
The development will offer pedestrian pathways, a jogging track, large swimming pool and a cycling course, allowing its residents to practice a diverse selection of physical activities.
Location of the two islands – on the left is the luxury island, located behind Jumeirah Al Qasr and Madinat Jumeirah. On the right, the island located behind Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah Beach.
Jumeirah Group will offer 10,000 additional parking spaces to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors, as well as work closely with various government entities and other relevant companies to provide a rapid transport network to interconnect the resorts and entertainment destinations, facilitating fast and easy movement throughout Marsa Al Arab.
The project will break ground in June 2017 and will completed by late 2020.

In addition, Dubai Holding will launch the Dubai Pearl Museum to showcase a historical collection of rare and ancient pearls from the region and worldwide. The Dubai Pearl Museum aims to shed light on the lives of the divers as well as the tools they used to find the precious jewels, reflecting the UAE’s heritage, culture and national pride.
“The launch of this new and ambitious project is in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to provide the finest and rewarding tourist experiences for visitors to Dubai, as well as enhance Dubai’s position as a global tourist destination,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman, Dubai Holding.
“We are proud of the vital role that Dubai Holding plays in this sector through supporting innovation and contributing to the economic diversification of Dubai.”

H&M expands into Colombia

The new store in Bogota at Centro Commercial La Colina has been highly anticipated with 3,000 locals queuing from 2pm two days before the opening to get the first glimpse of one of the world’s largest H&M stores and its fashion collection

The 6,000 square metre shop over two levels houses a selection of fashion and accessories for men, women and children.
H&M north American continental manager Daniel Kulle said: “We have been waiting for this day for a long time now and the response from our fans in Bogota 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.”
The first shoppers in the store were given gift cards worth 600,000 pesos and the next 300 people received 150,000 pesos each. H&M staff then performed their iconic team dance along with award winning dance troop Dunkan Dance.

Musgrave unveils new brand identity

To celebrate the anniversary of brothers Thomas and Stuart Musgrave launching the business just over 140 years ago, Musgrave has unveiled a new brand identity.
The company has revealed a new logo – a modified version of the Musgrave chairman in 1902’s signature – which will now rollout across the entire Musgrave business.
Commenting on the new brand identity, Musgrave CEO Chris Martin described it as “a symbol of Musgrave’s heritage and the pride we share in being a sixth-generation Irish family business”.
He added that the new identity “will support our ethos of Growing Good Business as we continue to expand our retail, wholesale and export offering”.
Musgrave’s brands comprise SuperValu, Centra, Daybreak and Marketplace. Together with its retail partners, the business employs over 35,000 people in the Republic of Ireland alone – making it the State’s largest private sector employer.
Musgrave’s Growing Good Business strategy has also seen the company explore new opportunities, including the rollout of Frank & Honest, its new artisan take away coffee brand which has been launched in SuperValu and Centra. The strategy has also encompassed the development of a food emporium at its Musgrave Marketplace in two locations in Dublin; the launch of Chipmongers, it’s new foodservice franchise; and export to China through a partnership with Alibaba which has seen Musgrave start to export SuperValu products.
“Food retail is our core business and we are focused on strengthening the leadership position of our brands through our food leadership agenda, through investing in digital and by building on the foundation of our success,” Martin added.

Retail Acquisitions, which bought BHS for £1, heads for liquidation

Demise of firm fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell could aid administrators seeking to recover funds owed to creditors

 Former bankrupt Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions bought BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.

Retail Acquisitions, the former owner of the collapsed BHS, is on the point of liquidation, potentially helping investigations into the demise of the department store chain.

The group, which bought BHS for £1 in 2015 and was fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, has been accused of extracting an estimated £17m from BHS despite owning it for just 13 months before it went into administration in 2016. An estimated £6m was owed by Retail Acquisitions to BHS when it collapsed.
The failure of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m pension deficit. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into its demise concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and accused Chappell of having “his fingers in the till”.
The Pensions Regulator is also understood to be seeking as much as £17m via legal action against Chappell and Retail Acquisitions (RAL) in relation to the pension deficit.
On Wednesday the high court heard insolvency proceedings for Retail Acquisitions, and the judge ruled it should be put into liquidation. The judgment has been temporarily stayed and is expected to be formally handed down in the next few days.
Duff & Phelps, which is acting to track and retrieve BHS assets for the company and its creditors, said: “Duff & Phelps, acting on behalf of BHS Group Ltd, is satisfied that RAL has been put into liquidation. The process of realising the assets of RAL can now commence to the benefit of all the creditors of the BHS companies.”
The insolvency will give administrators complete financial records of RAL giving clarity on where funds taken from BHS were moved on to with a view to potentially recovering them for shareholders.
Chappell said: “RAL is disappointed by the outcome of the hearing … The order has been stayed by the court until its written reasons are provided so that RAL has an opportunity to properly consider an appeal.
“It will look forward to those written reasons and will then be able to take advice and decide next steps, to include an appeal.”
The collapse of BHS is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service which could recommend that former directors of BHS are banned from being company directors in Britain. The Financial Reporting Council is also looking into the collapse, while the Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a formal investigation.
Chappell was also arrested last year as part of an HMRC investigation into unpaid taxes on profits made from the collapsed department store chain.

Location of first Apple Store in Singapore finally officially confirmed

Apple’s first retail store in Singapore has been partially unveiled, providing the first official confirmation of the long-rumored Orchard Road location.
It was back in 2015 that Apple confirmed that it was opening a store on the island. At that point, the location wasn’t known, though there were strong signs pointing to the location on Orchard Road, the main upmarket retail area in the country …

Apple has now removed the barricades around the store, revealing a giant ‘Apple loves Singapore’ message in graphic form. The name of the store is also shown as Apple Orchard Road.
StraitsTimes notes that smaller versions of this graphic are used to signal the Creative Pros who will be available at the store.
There are 12 smaller groups of these icons close to the doors of the store. Each group of icon has a different red dot to represent the 12 local Creative Pros that Apple has selected.
Dubbed “Red Dot Heroes” by Apple, these Creative Pros are the liberal arts equivalent of Apple’s technical Geniuses that specialise in troubleshooting and repairs of products. Some of them will conduct free hands-on sessions at the upcoming Apple Orchard Road Store.
Apple first revealed its new ‘Today at Apple‘ initiative at its retail stores – with much greater focus on free workshops and help with creative projects – in a CBS interview last month, though we first learned about it last summer. The program was also a major focus at the recent opening of the spectacular Dubai store.
The opening date of the Singapore store isn’t yet known, though we have heard whispers about May 29. All of Apple’s operations in the country will be powered by solar energy.

Victoria’s Secret to debut at Milton Keynes

The new 8,258 square foot shop will be situated on East Walk and will stock the brand’s full collections including Victoria’s Secret PINK.

Other premium brands at Intu Milton Keynes include Hugo Boss, Apple, Karen Millen and Michael Kors. The shopping centre attracts 35 million customers a year.
Nick Round, regional director at Intu, said: “With its high proportion of affluent customers and location in the heart of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities, Intu Milton Keynes is the perfect destination for desirable brands to flourish. The increasing number of aspirational brands like Victoria’s Secret joining Intu Milton Keynes is giving our customers even more great reasons to visit the centre thus helping all our retailers flourish.”

UK card chain to expand into Ireland

 Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years1
Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years

UK high street retailer the Card Factory is gearing up for its entry to the Irish market, three years after it first floated a plan to open as many as 100 outlets here.
New CEO Karen Hubbard, who has been in the role for just a year, has told investors that she intends to pursue a strategy of expanding in Ireland and that there is a “clear opportunity” to build a strong presence here.
The retailer has just established a company in Ireland to spearhead the expansion.
Over the next three years, Card Factory plans to open a total of about 50 stores a year.
At the beginning of February 2016, it had 814 outlets across the UK, including a handful in the North, a figure that had risen to 865 at the end of last January.
Listed on the stock market, Card Factory posted revenue of £398.2m (€473.2m) in its last financial year, with like-for-like increases of under 1pc.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was £98.5m (€117m), which was 3.8pc higher on the previous financial year. Its margin slipped slightly from 24.9pc to 24.7pc.
The profits fell as footfall to its stores declined.
But apart from paying a regular dividend, it also paid a special dividend to shareholders. It is a strong cash generator and has only a small amount of debt on its books.
The company floated on the stock market in May 2014, in an initial public offering that was widely seen as unsuccessful at the time.
But its market capitalisation has risen from £712m in 2014 to the current £1.1bn (€1.3bn).
Card Factory recently hired Edinburgh Woollen Mills finance boss Kristian Lee as its chief financial officer.

Coach could buy Jimmy Choo

Coach is being seen as the most likely buyer to win up-for-sale British luxury footwear brand Jimmy Choo as the American giant forges ahead with its plan to become a multibrand luxury player.

Jimmy Choo was put on the block last month after its majority own JAB Holdings decided to focus on its coffee shop and café interests leafing to its other British brand Belstaff and its Swiss luxury label Bally also being up for sale.
It is thought less likely that one of the big European luxury houses would target a Jimmy Choo buy with Coach’s rivals more likely to be wealthy private equity investors from Asia or the Middle East.
Buying Jimmy Choo would instantly strengthen Coach’s presence in the growing footwear sector and take it even into more upmarket territory than its existing premium-to-luxury Stuart Weitzman label.
Industry sources told the Sunday Telegraph they see $11bn market-cap Coach as having the resources to beat off competition for Coach, as well as the investment cash to expand it fast. The company also benefits from the Coach brand’s new president and CEO, Joshua Schulman, having been CEO of Jimmy Choo until 2012.
After buying Stuart Weitzman for almost $600m in early 2015, Coach continued its won turnaround and drove Weitzman’s sales upwards. It now seems determined to convert itself into a much bigger multibrand player and in recent months an audacious approach to buy Burberry was turned down by the UK firm. Coach is still among the big names linked to a potential Kate Spade buy, however.
Whether it eventually wins Spade, Kors or any other giant brand, with Jimmy Choo potentially having a £700m-plus prince tag, buying it would be an affordable way to give Coach a label with massive growth potential and an as-yet-under-exploited presence in the key Chinese market. It’s also a brand that’s growing fast in the men’s sector and has a thriving perfumes portfolio, two crucial growth areas.

M&S to trial online food delivery service this autumn

Marks & Spencer is to launch an online grocery shopping service this autumn as it looks to cash in on the success of its food halls.

The retailer confirmed that a team of executives was currently drawing up a battle plan ahead of trials this autumn, allowing M&S customers to order food online and have it delivered to their home.
While Britons may have fallen out of love with the M&S clothing ranges in recent years they have been heading in droves to its food aisles as they opt to pick up food for an evening meal rather than do a big weekly shop.
Until now selling food online has not made business sense for M&S as its customers do not typically spend enough on groceries on each visit to make the service profitable.
But the retailer has concluded it can no longer ignore what is the fastest growing section of the UK’s £180bn grocery market as new delivery services, such as AmazonFresh, which allows shoppers to order groceries at lunchtime and get the delivery in time for dinner, revolutionise the way Britain buys food.
Senior executives were informed of the plan at a meeting at Wembley, north-west London, on Wednesday.
“We continue to review food online carefully,” said Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S. “It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response. There are unanswered questions over what this means for M&S and we have a team looking at this now with a view to undertaking a soft trial in the autumn.”

M&S already sells a limited selection of party food and alcohol on its website but this would be the first time its wider grocery offer would be made available online.

The high-street store is different from other food retailers as it stocks just 7,000 products compared with 40,000 at most Tesco shops. It also focuses on exclusive own-brand products with only a limited number of household brands available in its stores. It is not clear how the retailer would overcome these hurdles if it were to offer customers a full grocery outlet.
“The economics of food online are not straightforward and it is not something that we are going to rush into until we have substantial customer insight and a better understanding of what is right for M&S and right for our customers,” Rowe added.
Tony Shiret, an independent retail analyst, said Rowe was finally “biting the bullet”. Shiret added: “If they don’t do food online they stand to lose market share to people who do. It’s become a basic expectation from customers.”

However, the analyst said the retailer would face a big challenge trying to make the service profitable. “It is going to be tricky for them because their shopping baskets are small as people use their stores to buy bits and pieces.”
Rowe, who began his retail career aged 15 as a Saturday boy at the M&S Croydon store in south London, and took over as chief executive last April, is seeking to revive the declining profits of the 132-year-old retailer. His biggest job is turning around its clothing arm which under his predecessor, Marc Bolland, relied on heavy discounting to attract shoppers. Rowe is also keen to exploit the success of its food arm.
Last year Rowe announced plans to shut 30 UK stores and convert 45 more into food-only shops as part of a business overhaul that would slash the amount of shopfloor space devoted to clothing and face the challenge posed by online shopping.
M&S confirmed the location of six of the affected stores, which included four large “full-line” stores – which sell clothing, homeware and food. They are in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in Slough, Berkshire, Warrington in Cheshire, and Wokingham, Surrey. The retailer also unveiled plans to open another 34 food shops in the next six months.

Guess opens biggest UK store outside London at Liverpool One

Fashion brand Guess has opened its largest UK store outside London, with a 465 sq m (5,000 sq ft) store in the Liverpool ONE development.

The store, designed in-house, is arranged over two floors. It features a clean, white interior, high-tech lighting and contrasting materials, in line with the chain’s recently updated branding and layout plans.
Merchandise is presented to offer ‘total looks,’ with accessories displayed in the centre of the store to maximise visibility.
“We are delighted to have opened this store and started trading during the busy Bank Holiday weekend. It has been a great opportunity for us to introduce the new store concept and branding to Liverpool ONE’s stylish shoppers and we have received very positive feedback in addition to strong sales already,” says Guess CEO Victor Herrero.
“The brand has created a great store, bringing the best of London to Liverpool,” says Miles Dunnett of property group Grosvenor Europe.
 

Primark’s new Birmingham store will be its biggest yet

Primark’s new store in Birmingham is set to be the budget fashion retailer’s biggest store yet once it opens in December 2018.

Spanning 160,000sq ft across four floors, new store is located at the Birmingham Pavilions centre, which Primark is rumoured to have acquired for £60 million in 2014.
Its redevelopment plan to create its largest flagship store in the UK was approved in January 2016.

The opening of the new store will lead to the closure of the existing New Street store in Birmingham, but the retailer will relocate its staff as the new flagship is set to employ around 800 people – almost twice as the 460 New Street currently employs.

Once open, the new Birmingham store will be bigger than Primark’s current largest UK shop, which is in Manchester and spans across three floors of the former John Lewis building at around 155,000sq ft.

Mall of Africa celebrates 1st birthday

Morné Wilken, CEO of Attacq, explained that Attacq regards the Mall of Africa as one of its most valuable assets in the Attacq property portfolio.
“This mall is the realisation of a very significant vision and a long-term business journey. We identified a gap in the market to develop something extraordinary in the Waterfall area in the centre of Gauteng, the financial hub of South Africa,” said Wilken.
The 133 000m² first phase has more than 300 retailers and restaurants. When the mall opened on 28 April last year, more than 123 000 people visited the mall. In the eleven months to the end of March this year, over 13 700 000 people had visited the mall at an average monthly visitors’ rate of over 1 200 000 visitors per month.
The best performing months were May 2016 with 1 537 661 visitors and December when 1 517 899 visited the Mall of Africa, according to Wilken.
Despite tough economic times, the Mall of Africa achieved a turnover of R3 427 184 526 for the eleven months of trading to March 2017, at an average of R311 562 229 per month with a highlight month of R491 145 650 turnover achieved in December.
As part of the sustainable environmental approach, a solar rooftop photovoltaic plant, with 15 080 solar panels, has been installed on the roof of the mall.