Monthly Archives: July 2017

After 159 years, ‘Harrods of SA’ shuts shop

JOHANNESBURG – Department store Stuttafords, the 159-year-old “Harrods of South Africa”, is closing down, a victim of a global shift to online retail and a domestic economic slump that has put brands such as Ted Baker and Gap beyond its customers’ reach.
Mirroring the fortunes of once-mighty department stores in Europe and the United States, the doyenne of the South African high street during apartheid and the two decades since applied for protection from creditors in October.
However, attempts to revive its fortunes proved futile and creditors voted in June to wind up the unlisted firm by 1 August, with closing-down sales at its nine stores in South Africa, two in Botswana and one in Namibia.
In its flagship store in Johannesburg’s Sandton financial district, piles of naked mannequins lay in heaps next to bare shelves as the last few bargain hunters picked through trays of heavily discounted perfumes, make-up and clothes.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen – if we will still have jobs,” said one employee, who did not want to be named for fear of hurting her chances of staying on. “We only heard that maybe this shop will be one that will not close.”
Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for quotes from it).
For South Africa, it is the end of a piece of retail history.
The first shop was opened in Cape Town in 1858 by Samson Rickard Stuttaford with the vision of creating a Harrods-like department store in what was then Britain’s Cape Colony.
Its main Cape Town store, opened in 1938, was designed by in-house Harrods architect Louis David Blanc and echoed the British store’s famous frontage in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge district.
Through various changes of ownership, it never lost its focus on the middle and upper-class South African market, despite the economy’s failure to recover fully from a deep recession in 2009 sparked by the global financial crisis.
Chief Executive Robert Amoils could not be reached for comment but has defended his approach to the tough conditions.
“I believe the path we set was correct,” he told business website Fin24. “We ran out of time. The market downturn was so swift, so severe.”
John Evans, a lawyer overseeing its closure, said he had received a last-minute approach that could salvage two Johannesburg outlets, in Sandton and Eastgate, which would save the jobs of 300 of the group’s 950 staff.
“There’s a chance we’ll save Sandton and Eastgate. If we do, we should be able to save 300 jobs,” he said.
'FALL FROM GRACE'
Nearly all retailers in Africa’s most sophisticated economy have struggled as consumer sentiment has hit multi-year lows, a result of high unemployment and inflation gnawing at disposable income. The economy is now back in recession.
The slump is piling pressure on President Jacob Zuma, who faces increasing calls to resign due to a slew of corruption scandals and accusations of mishandling the economy.
Macy’s and Nordstrom in the United States have also hit tough times, suggesting Stuttafords’ woes are not unique to South Africa, Sasha Naryshkine of local asset manager Vestact said.
The main squeeze has come from cheaper retailers such as South Africa’s Woolworths, Sweden’s H&M and Spain’s Zara.
“The fall from grace in all these department stores is that people can get the same stuff online and there is a rise of other quality brands at a cheaper price,” Naryshkine said. “In an economic downturn, people are going to shop down.”
Nor is Stuttafords alone.
Footwear and accessories chain Nine West, owned by US buyout firm Sycamore Partners, and Spanish fashion chain Mango, whose local licences are held by House of Busby, have closed stand-alone outlets due to poor sales.
“The brands did not meet the required return on invested capital hurdles,” House of Busby Chief Executive Mark Sardi said.
Edcon’s Edgars, another clothing retailer ubiquitous in South African shopping malls, was taken over by creditors last year and had to restructure debt.
In May, no-frills retailer Mr Price posted its first annual drop in profits in 16 years, while rivals Woolworths and Truworths flagged lower or stalling earnings last week.

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Jeff Bezos: Amazon founder overtakes Bill Gates to become world’s richest individual – for less than a day

A rally in e-retail behemoth Amazon’s share price on Thursday propelled founder Jeff Bezos to the top of a list of the world’s richest individuals—for less than a day.
Mr Bezos, who is also chairman and chief executive of the Seattle-based company, was worth almost $91bn (£70bn) after Amazon’s share price rose more than 1 per cent in morning trading in New York.
That put his fortune ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates'. The latter has a net worth of around $90.7bn and has been at the top of Bloomberg’s rich list since 2013.
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But Mr Bezos slipped back into second place later in the day.
Amazon is due to report quarterly earnings later on Thursday.
Amazon’s share price has endured a meteoric rise in recent years, surpassing the $1,000 apiece mark, partially helped by its Prime shopping club, media streaming services and the launch of products like the Alexa home assistant.
Back in April, the company reported that net sales rose 23 per cent to $35.7bn for the first quarter of 2017.
On Thursday, analysts and investors will particularly be monitoring the performance of the company’s cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services, which accounts for about 10 per cent of revenue, as well as how Prime has progressed.
Mr Bezos, who founded the company in 1994, owns around 17 per cent of Amazon’s shares. They’ve gained around 40 per cent in value so far in 2017 helping Mr Bezos’s net worth increase by over $24bn. 

Kiddicare opens first store since Dunelm acquisition at Peterborough One

The retailer has taken an 888 square metre unit at the park.
Steve Barton, Dunelm’s director of property, said: “We’re delighted to be opening our first new Kiddicare store at Peterborough One Retail Park. The family-oriented tenant mix at the retail park is complimentary to a physical store presence for the brand in support of Kiddicare’s powerful on-line offering.”

Targetfollow acquired what was formerly known as Peterborough Garden Park in December 2016 and has now rebranded it as part of an expansion and modernisation programme.
George Craig, associate director at Targetfollow, said: “We’re very pleased that Dunelm has chosen Peterborough One Retail Park for its first new Kiddicare store in the UK. Securing Kiddicare immediately after rebranding the park is the beginning of a number of exciting new tenant initiatives.”
Peterborough One is anchored by a 4,645 square metre Van Hage garden centre and has 16 further retail units including Cotswold, Pavers, The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Bonmarché, Pets Corner, Maidenhead Aquatics, Roman, The Works, Granite Transformations and Hammond Furniture.

American Eagle to pull out of UK less than three years after opening first shop


American Eagle Outfitters has around 950 stores in the US and targets 15 to 25-year-olds with affordable, preppy fashion
US fashion retailer American Eagle Outfitters is pulling out of the UK less than three years after opening its first stores on British soil.
Of its three UK shops, the company is said to have closed one – in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent – and ceased trading in the remaining two, which are based in Westfield Shepherds Bush and Westfield Stratford.
According to Retail Week, American Eagle – which is one of the biggest fashion retailers in the US – has struggled to gain a foothold in the competitive UK fashion market since it arrived in November 2014.
<img src="/content/dam/business/2017/07/26/TELEMMGLPICT000135793984-small_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqWZZ9520Qrn8RyVs0byqFfxdYxsWUQUCtgJX18DpO5X4.jpeg" alt="American Eagle Outfitters store front and entrance" width="320" height="199" class="responsive-image–fallback"/>
An American Eagle Outfitters store Credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket
At the time, the firm said it was aiming to have between 20 and 30 stores in the UK and would also look to roll-out its Aerie underwear brand.
The Pittsburgh-based company has around 950 stores in the US and targets 15 to 25-year-olds with affordable, preppy fashion.
Other American brands that have more successfully crossed the pond and entered the UK fashion market include Hollister, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.
Property agency Harper Dennis Hobbs, which has been advising American Eagle in the UK, declined to comment when approached by The Telegraph.
However, an American Eagle Outfitters spokesperson said: “As of July 15, American Eagle Outfitters will be closing our three retail stores in the UK.
"Our valued UK. customers will still be able to shop for American Eagle products online.”
American Eagle Outfitters isn't the only retailer to struggle amid turbulent economic conditions in the UK.
Many of Britain's biggest fashion brands including Next, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have been struggling to keep up with their online-only rivals, due in part to the higher overheads they must pay that chip away at their profits.

Boden to open bricks-and-mortar store

The 1,821 square foot shop will offer Boden adult ranges as well as special collections such as Boden Icons and Mini Boden for children.

Boden founder and creative director Johnnie Boden said: “I’m so excited to be going into retail. This is a new chapter for Boden. At last our customers will be able to see the brand in all its glory. I would like the shop to feel like you’re walking into my home.”
Due to open in October, the store will be part of a line-up that includes Cos, Joseph, Trilogy, Whistles, Monica Vinader and Zara.
Hugh Seaborn, chief executive of Cadogan, said: “The Boden brand has so much personality and is an ideal fit for Duke of York Square – we’re delighted that they have chosen Chelsea for their first physical UK store.”

UAE clothing retailer Sana to shut stores, cut 1,000+ staff

Gulf clothing retailer Sana is shutting down its 35 shops and making more than 1,000 staff redundant, according to reports.
UAE newspaper Gulf News cited a senior executive as saying the company’s stores in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will close by the end of August.
He said senior staff were informed of their dismissal at the company’s headquarters in Dubai’s Al Quoz on June 28 and asked to work one month’s notice.
The decision came just days after the June 22 opening of a new flagship store in Dubai’s BurJuman mall, which has now been closed.
There has been no communication to the employees from the company’s owners, according to the publication, and many are concerned they will not be paid their owed salaries and end of service benefits when they leave.
Sana, which has operated in the UAE since 1987, announced two years ago that it was targeting 100 stores across the region by 2020 through an initial investment of Dhs200m.
The company’s website indicates it has 14 stores in the UAE, one in Qatar, 10 in Oman, two in Bahrain and eight in Saudi Arabia.
It was unclear why the company was closing its operations, although many Gulf retailers have struggled in recent years due to a reduction in consumer spending linked to the lower oil price.
Regional retailers have also been made less competitive for tourists in markets like Dubai due to the strength of the US dollar and are being pressured by increasing online sales.

LVMH’s Louis Vuitton launches e-commerce website in China

French fashion brand Louis Vuitton, part of luxury giant LVMH , said on July 21st it had launched an e-commerce website in China to tap a booming online shopping market.

Louis Vuitton, which opened its first store in Beijing in 1992, said the website offered leather goods, small leather goods, shoes, accessories, watch and jewellery, luggage, and the newly launched Les Parfums Louis Vuitton.
Payments can be made via UnionPay, Alipay and WeChat, the statement said.
The website will be available in 12 cities – Beijing, Shanghai, ChongQing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Haerbin, Wuhan. More cities will be added later on.

It is the 11th e-commerce market for Vuitton since it launched its first site in France in 2005.

Subway launches Fresh Forward design concept


Restaurant chain Subway is rolling out the Subway Fresh Forward design, transforming the guest experience. The new store concept is a distinctive and welcoming restaurant space that highlights an amplified guest experience surrounding its fresh ingredients. The bright colour palette is inspired by fresh vegetables.

'We’ve created a modern design that gives our guests choices, from how they order to how they pick up their food, to how they enjoy their meal,' says Trevor Haynes, vice president of operations at Subway. 'We’re bringing fresh forward, and the reactions from our guests, our franchisees and their sandwich artists has been incredibly positive.'

Robyn Novak, vice president and creative managing director at FRCH that is behind the new design, says: 'With an outlook on the food’s inherent freshness, we sought to establish a contemporary design that inspired new and recurring customers by elevating what Subway is known for: their customised experience. The restaurant revolves around a bright and energetic footprint by creating greater awareness with a new presentation that brings freshly baked bread forward, highlights fresh-prep ingredients and provides the guest with choice in dining experiences.'

Digital self order kiosks have been installed in select locations, alongside digital menu boards and Apple and Samsung Pay.

The restaurant design features a veggie display with whole tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cucumbers that are sliced daily in the restaurant, plus new bread and cookie displays on the front of the line. Subway Fresh Forward restaurants are also testing new menu items, starting with pico de gallo, new sauces and gluten-free bread.

For those dining in, the bright and playful decor is accompanied by curated music and comfortable seating with USB charging ports and complimentary Wi-Fi creating a welcoming environment for guests.

The new restaurant design is the next phase of Subway’s evolution. The company created Subway Digital in 2016 including a new logo, choice mark and color palette, designed by Turner Duckworth, as well as bright and bold new packaging, uniforms and signage started rolling out this spring in North America and will be worldwide by the end of 2017.

Amazon announces 450 new UK head office jobs


Amazon has confirmed its commitment to maintain a diverse workforce even after Brexit as the online retail giant opened its new UK head office and announced plans to create 450 new research and development jobs.
The internet behemoth is set to move in to all 15 storeys and 600,000sq ft of the Principal Place building in Shoreditch, east London, so it can double the capacity of its research and development centre from 450 to 900 staff.
The roles include software development engineers, user-interface experts, data analysts and graphic designers who will work on building new technologies for Amazon’s Prime Video service.
Principal Place will also house other corporate roles from across the company, and it is part of Amazon’s investment in the UK, whereby the company has pumped more than £6.4 billion in building and running its operations here since 2010.

Amazon has so far pledged to create around 5000 new permanent roles across the country, bringing its total workforce to 24,000 across its head office, three development centres as well as its fulfilment and customer service centres.
Of that total workforce, 5000 roles will be based in London across three offices in Shoreditch, Holborn and Barbican.
“London is one of the world’s truly great cities and home to some of the most talented, creative people on the planet, and we are delighted to provide our teams of innovators with a new, purpose-built workplace,” Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr said.
“While we open a new development centre to house today’s innovators, we also want to help foster the next generation of inventors by funding a million healthy breakfasts to give schoolchildren the fuel to learn, and expand our bursary programme to help more women get university educations for high tech roles.”
Gurr later added that his company employs a large number of EU citizens, and he was happy to see their status is being prioritised in Brexit talks.
“In common with any large organisation here, we have a large number of EU citizens, and we love that, we’ve always celebrated diversity in the workforce,” he said.
“We benefit hugely from a diverse workforce, we’re very optimistic and hopeful that will continue to be the case going forward.”

Tesco to extend same-day online delivery service across UK

Service will cover more than 99% of UK households, says supermarket as fears grow over amazon

Tesco is going head to head with Amazon by extending its same-day online grocery delivery service across the UK.
Britain’s biggest supermarket chain said on Monday that the service, which is only available in London and rest of the south-east, will now be rolled out across the country, covering “over 99% of UK households”.
Tesco claimed this would give it the “biggest reach of any retailer in the UK, stretching from the Shetland Islands in Scotland to Cornwall in south-west England”.
Customers can order by 1pm to have their shopping delivered from 7pm onwards and receive an unlimited number of items, with the rolled-out service priced between £3 and £8.
The retailer has also recently extended its same-day click and collect service to 300 UK locations and last month launched a one-hour delivery service in central London.
Adrian Letts, managing director of Tesco Online, said: “Customers tell us they like getting their shopping delivered quickly and conveniently.”
He said the popularity of the same-day delivery service had grown since being launched in London and the south-east, adding: “We’re really excited to be rolling it out to customers nationwide.”
The move comes after the launch of AmazonFresh, which entered the UK market last year, raising fears that the dominance of the so called big four supermarkets – Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda – could be further eroded.
Amazon, which has also teamed up with Morrisons in the UK, operates its service across London, Surrey and parts of Hampshire.
In the US, Amazon is also acquiring the supermarket chain Whole Foods in a $13.7bn (£10.7bn) deal, its biggest foray into the grocery sector to date. The acquisition is being viewed as a signal of intent by Amazon to wade into the grocery business.
Tesco, along with the other established players, has also been hammered by the emergence of the German discounters Aldi and Lidl, whose entrance onto the grocery scene has sparked a bitter price war that has eroded profit margins.

First Look: Beauty giant Sephora launches new store concept



Sephora continues to experiment with store formats, and this time it's going smaller.
The beauty retailer has opened a new concept, called Sephora Studio, on Newbury Street in Boston, designed to provide a very customized shopping experience, one that drives personal connections with customers. At 2,000 sq. ft., it is the brand's smallest store in North America, and features a variety of digital tools to optimize customer experiences before, during and after their visit. Among them are digital welcome and service menu screens for easy navigation and self-help, and mobile-equipped sales assistants ("beauty advisors") who can quickly assist customers with appointment check in, look up their rewards status, and retrieve Sephora.com ratings and reviews on any product throughout the store.
The Studio promises a high level of service, with all sales assistants having the highest level of certification employees can earn from Sephora. The space includes a "beauty studio" that offers on-demand, one-on-one services, including 45-minute makeovers and 15-minute mini-facials. 
Additionally, it is the first Sephora to offer two new services: a a 75-minute custom makeover that includes either  a skincare consultation or mini facial; and a Studio Concierge, a specially appointed store consultant who, among other things, will match a customer with the appropriate consultant based on beauty need. 
The store also features two omnichannel product delivery options: order in store, and same day pick up, With order In store, sales assistants can place a customer order through Sephora.com, with complimentary standard shipping or reduced next day shipping. 
For those who want products faster, the store will partner with Sephora's location at nearby Prudential Center to offer same day pick up. Starting in October, Boston area consumers can purchase on products their device via the Sephora app and pick it up at the Prudential Center location the same day.
"In today’s retail environment where very little is constant and clients’ expectations are ever-evolving, one thing has remained true for Sephora: There is no better way to create meaningful connections with clients than through personalized experiences and a customized approach to beauty," said Calvin McDonald, president and CEO of Sephora Americas. “The Studio merges the best of an inclusive neighborhood retail environment with best-in-class digital tools that enable our expert beauty advisors to customize recommendations on an individual basis."
The Boston store comes on the heels of the opening of Sephora's largest store in North America on Manhattan’s 34th Street.

More than 63,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Macy’s drop Ivanka Trump’s brand


Ivanka Trump's clothing line is still being sold at Macy's. Macy's
More than 63,000 people have signed a petition urging Macy's to drop Ivanka Trump's clothing line.
The petition, which was set up by women's rights organization UltraViolet, had 30,000 signatures within 24 hours of being posted online last Thursday, the Huffington Post reported.
It was launched during President Trump's "Made in America" week last week, during which the president hosted companies from 50 states across the US to showcase their products that have been made in America. 
The idea, according to the White House, was  to honor " the incredible workers and companies who make 'Made in America' the world standard for quality and craftsmanship." 
Ivanka Trump stepped down from her clothing label in January to take on her role as first daughter and adviser to the president. But she was noticeably absent during "Made in America" week. Three days prior, The Washington Post released an exposé revealing the appalling conditions of factory workers who were manufacturing products for her brand. These workers were barely making enough money to live, The Washington Post reported. 
Macy's already removed Donald Trump merchandise from its stores in 2015, after he referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists," but has not yet responded to The Washington Post's investigation into Ivanka Trump's clothing line.
"If thousands cause another outcry with this latest news, Macy's will drop Ivanka Trump — dealing a huge blow on her falsely-crafted image as an advocate for women," the petition reads.
Macy's has already faced pressure from its shoppers to drop the line after a #GrabYourWallet campaign was launched in October 2016, urging retailers to drop Trump brands. Several retailers like Nordstrom had already stopped selling Ivanka Trump's clothing line. 
Macy's did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Michael Kors buys Jimmy Choo for $1.35bn


Michael Kors has successfully reached an agreement that will see it acquire luxury footwear maker Jimmy Choo.
The board of directors at both the retailers have approved the deal, which will see Jimmy Choo shareholders receive 230p per share, leading to a total value of $1.35 billion (£1.04 billion).
Jimmy Choo, which trades from an estate of 560 stores worldwide, put itself up for sale in April with its largest shareholder JAB Luxury supporting the move.
In early May it was reported that Coach also expressed interest in the brand, tabling a £1 billion offer after hiring Jimmy Choo’s former boss Joshua Schulman as its new chief executive.
Michael Kors’ chief executive John D. Idol has stated that both chief executive Pierre Denis and creative director Sandra Choi will maintain their current roles at Jimmy Choo.
READ MORE: Coach eyes takeover of Jimmy Choo
“Mr Denis, Ms Choi and the rest of the highly-talented management team have done a tremendous job, and this continuity of leadership will ensure that the DNA of Jimmy Choo is maintained as we work together to continue to grow the brand globally,” Idol said.
Denis added: “It is a privilege for our management team to lead Jimmy Choo and to preside over such an exciting period for our company.
“We are convinced that there is so much more that can be delivered in the years ahead. We look forward to working closely with the leadership and team at Michael Kors Holdings Limited to further develop our iconic brand.
“Our two companies share the same vision of style and trend leadership. Our luxury heritage is the foundation of Jimmy Choo and we will continue to bring our brand vision to consumers globally.”

Abercrombie & Fitch to launch on Alibaba’s Tmall

Tmall has carried the Hollister brand since 2014 and from 26 July will also include a full offering of Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie Kids products.

In a statement, Abercrombie said the fact that 75% of Alibaba’s users are under the age of 35, and around 80% of its gross merchandise value takes place on mobile, the demographics on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces align well with its updated brand target of consumers in their twenties.
Abercrombie currently has ten physical stores in mainland China and a local site at Abercrombie.cn. The brand said it is exploring with Tmall how to provide additional omnichannel capabilities to shoppers.
Fran Horowitz, chief executive of Abercrombie & Fitch, said: "Alibaba Group places a strong emphasis on consumer engagement, which aligns with our focus on creating a unique online brand experience for our customers, as well as facilitating a seamless and frictionless shopping experience. Building on our Hollister brand's successful partnership with the leader in China's online retail space, we are excited to bring our A&F brand experience to the broader Chinese market, beyond the reach of our physical stores through Tmall."

B&M shares jump 4% on reports Asda is considering £4.4bn takeover bid

Ben ChapmanMonday 24 July 2017 10:59 BST
Shares in discount retailer B&M jumped 4 per cent after reports that Asda is reportedly eyeing up a £4.4bn takeover bid. 
Asda is understood to be attempting diversification to combat the threat of cut-price rivals, Lidl and Aldi.
Walmart-owned Asda, Britain’s third-biggest supermarket chain, has seen sales fall over the last three years amid fierce competition in the groceries sector.
FTSE 250-listed B&M could give Asda 500 extra stores through which to sell products such as its George clothing range.
The takeover target counts former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy as its chairman. Asda is in the early stages of assessing a potential bid for B&M, having commissioned external research into the company, the Sunday Times reports.
Asda did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A move for B&M would follow similar deals by larger rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Tesco is in the middle of a £3.7bn takeover attempt of wholesaler Booker, with the deal currently being assessed by the Competition and Markets Authority amid fears that the combined firm could have too much power in the sector.
Sainsbury’s completed its acquisition of Argos owner Home Retail for £1.4bn last September and has begun installing Argos concessions inside its supermarkets.
B&M sells a broad range of products ranging from furniture to home appliances to food. 
Asda, which has positioned itself at the cheaper end of the big four supermarkets, has been hardest hit by the rise of the German discount chains, having reported its 11th straight quarter of declining sales in May.

M&S reports 2.7 percent increase in Q1 sales
Marks and Spencer Group (M&S) said that the revenues increased 2.7 percent or 1.8 percent in constant currency, in the 13 weeks to July 1, 2017 to 2,531.5 million pounds (3,259 million dollars). Revenues in the UK were up 2.6 percent to 2,259.2 million pounds (2,910 million dollars) but like-for-like sales declined 0.5 percent.
Commenting on the results, Steve Rowe, M&S Chief Executive said in a media release: “Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced last year. I am pleased that we continue to grow full price sales in Clothing & Home, with reduced discounting and no clearance sale in the quarter.”
Q1 full-price sales increased 7 percent
The company’s Clothing & Home revenue was down 0.5 percent during the quarter to 852.1 million pounds (1,097 million dollars), while like-for-like sales were down 1.2 percent. The company said, in line with the strategy, full price sales were up 7 percent, as the number of promotions was reduced and there was no clearance sale in the quarter compared with one last year. M&S has commenced its summer sale today, a week later than last year, with terminal stock for the season significantly down.
International revenue increased 3.8 percent but declined 4 percent in constant currency to 272.3 million pounds (350 million dollars). The company’s retained owned and franchise revenue was up 9.4 percent or 1.4percent in constant currency. Consistent with the plans set out in November 2016, M&S closed 28 of 53 stores in the markets it is exiting.

McDonald’s scales back its Irish head-office team

A NUMBER of roles at McDonald’s Ireland corporate headquarters have been cut as part of a global cost-reduction, the Irish Independent has learned.

The ‘Sunday Independent’ reported at the weekend that McDonald’s is scaling back its head-office operations in Ireland, with the business set to be managed from the UK.
The managing director of the Irish business, Adrian Crean, is to leave the business this month and sources have said he will not be replaced.
Other staff at the head office in Clonskeagh, Dublin, were notified of the risk of redundancy in March of this year, according to a source close to the matter.
Through a series of redundancy consultation emails and meetings following the initial announcement, a number of employees were informed that their positions were “being removed from the structure”.
In an email sent on Friday, June 9, staff were told that McDonald’s Ireland MD Adrian Crean would be stepping down from the role on July 31 after a period of “gardening leave”.
The source told the Irish Independent that the original team in the head office of around 40 – “most of whom had worked with McDonalds for 15-30 years” – was being reduced to just six.
The senior staff were told that the changes to the Irish structure were originally put in motion in 2015 by CEO Steve Easterbrook, who had just taken over from Don Thompson.
“He identified a plan to achieve returns (to ensure continued investor support)… and alongside it a reduction in the cost of running the McDonald’s global business.
“A large part of these running costs is made up of salary costs.
“This means that we are identifying a number of roles which will be at risk of redundancy.”
The source said staff were offered alternative vacancies “in the restaurants in Ireland” or ‘outplacements’, meaning jobs based in the UK.
The affected employees are understood to be bound by confidentiality agreements that they are disinclined to break “or they will not receive their redundancy pay”.
McDonald’s opened its first Irish store in Grafton Street in May 1977 and operates in 92 stores nationwide.
McDonald’s Ireland said it was committed to its customers, franchisees and the 5,000 people who work in the restaurants across the country.
“For over a decade, the Irish business has been part of the UK and Ireland business unit and we have recently made some operational changes to reflect that structure,” said a spokesperson.
“In a planned restructuring, operations at the Dublin office are being scaled back.
“We are currently in a consultation process with our employees and are not able to give specific details while the new corporate structure is being finalised.
“However, McDonald’s staff and franchisees are already aware that Adrian Crean will be stepping down as McDonald’s’ Restaurants of Ireland managing director at the end of July.”

H&M to open six more stores in SA

The news follows on the group’s interim results, which showed a 32% rise in sales in rand terms in SA. The rise came at the expense of local retailers such as Mr Price and Edcon.

“We see a lot of potential in SA,” said H&M South African country manager Pär Darj.
Three stores will be opened in Cape Town from September to November. The remaining three will open in Witbank, Richards Bay and Durban during the course of the year.
The Canal Walk store in Cape Town – to be opened on November 18 – will cover more than 4,600m² on two levels.
“We are extremely excited to be opening yet another flagship in the western part of the country,” said Darj.
H&M’s expansion comes at a time when local and international fashion brands are finding it harder to eke out sales gains as consumers come under increased pressure.
International fashion brands Mango and Nine West, which were brought to SA by House of Busby, closed their stand-alone stores in March. British retailer River Island, which has a presence in Rosebank Mall, Sandton City and Mall of Africa in Gauteng, Canal Walk in Cape Town and elsewhere has exited the country in the past month.
Analysts have warned it is going to become even tougher for clothing retailers. Since the beginning of 2017, retailers of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods have experienced sharp declines.
The Statistics SA retail trade sales report for April showed this segment of goods recorded a 4.7% drop after a 5.1% decrease in March.

Store Twenty One goes into liquidation with loss of 900 jobs

West Midlands-based discount fashion retailer to close its 122 stores after battling losses for several years

Store Twenty One, Waterlooville, Hampshire, UK
Struggling fashion chain Store Twenty One is being liquidated with the loss of 900 retail jobs.

The value clothing retailer, which was based in Solihull in the West Midlands, has entered compulsory liquidation and its 122 stores which ceased trading on Friday will not reopen. The company had been in a precarious financial situation since April when HM Revenue & Customs issued a winding-up notice over unpaid tax.
Store Twenty One, which was owned by Indian textiles company Alok Group, had a chequered financial history and had struggled to adapt as low-cost fashion rivals such as Primark expanded across the UK. In recent years its turnover had declined from £95m to £57m, a performance that was accompanied by sustained losses.
“It is very sad that matters have got to the stage where all the stores were closed by management on Friday following a prolonged period of uncertainty leading up to the liquidation,” said Simon Bonney, a partner at Quantuma, the corporate recovery and business advisory firm that is handling the liquidation.
“We are now in the process of conducting an orderly wind-down and would welcome contact from any interested parties who may wish to purchase assets of the company.”
Store Twenty One started in the 1930s as a manufacturing business supplying retailers including Marks & Spencer. It subsequently opened its own branches, selling seconds, but in the 1980s changed tack, rebranding the chain as QS.
In 1990 QS floated on the London Stock Exchange and went on to acquire sister chain Bewise. It was taken private in 2002 and sold again, to Alok, five years later. It rebranded again as Store Twenty One nearly a decade ago after a restructuring that involved the closure of 140 shops.
But it had been fighting for its survival since management failed to secure fresh investment following a company voluntary arrangement – a type of insolvency proceeding – in July 2016, which saw the closure of about 80 shops. After twice flirting with administration in recent months, the court finally issued a winding-up order this week.
“The traditional retail sector continues to face significant challenges, not least with the changes in business rates,” said Bonney. “The company was founded in 1932 and unfortunately it is another example of the difficulties arising in the current economy.”

Converse to open store at London Designer Outlet

Owned by Nike, the brand is famous for its All Star sneakers. The shop will be its first physical store in the UK.

The outlet centre has also announced that Dr Martens has signed a long-term lease for a 1,350 square foot unit following the success of a pop-up trial store. Meanwhile, Vans is taking a 1,800 square foot shop.
Christine Grace, Realm’s leasing director for LDO, said: “Converse and Vans are great additions to the range of top brands LDO offers and we’re proud to be the centre of choice for Converse’s first-ever store in the UK. Furthermore, the move from temp-to-perm by Dr Martens shows the confidence top brands have, not only with this location but also with an urban outlet option as part of their go-to-market mix.”
Quintain owned LDO said overseas tourists are increasingly seeing the outlet centre as an important part of their trip to London. Tax-free sales rose by 36.8% year-on-year in the first five months of the year. Of the visitors from outside of the EU, some 22.6% were from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Other brands at the centre include the likes of Superdry, Jack Wills, H&M, Gap, Lee Wrangler, Kurt Geiger, M&S, Guess and Hamleys.

Apple’s redesigned Fifth Avenue retail store to reopen around November 2018

Earlier this year, Apple began renovations of its Fifth Avenue retail store with the goal of more than doubling its size. Details on the project have been somewhat unclear throughout the project, but a new report today from MacMagazine says that Apple’s flagship retail location will reopen towards the end of 2018…

The report explains that construction is currently slated to come to an end on October 31st, 2018, that’s according to signage posted around the construction site. As with all construction projects, however, there is of course room for error and that date could certainly be pushed back.
With construction on track to end on October 31st, 2018, it’s likely that Apple will reopen its Fifth Avenue location sometime in November. That would mean that the retail store would be open in time for the United States holiday shopping season, one of the busiest times of the year for both Apple and New York City.
Apple commenced renovations on its Fifth Avenue retail store in January of this year. The company is working to more than double the size of the store, from around 32,000-square-feet to 77,000-square-feet. The new retail store will also feature a dedicated Beats 1 broadcasting booth, allowing for hosts to broadcast straight from the retail store.
To make the renovation job easier, Apple has removed the iconic glass cube that normally encompasses the Fifth Avenue location. In the meantime, Apple has opened a temporary replacement location adjacent to the normal Fifth Avenue store. The temporary store is right next door and was formerly occupied by toy retailer FAO Schwarz.
Apple last updated the store in 2011 when it reduced the number of sheets of glass in the cube design from 90 pieces to 15 pieces. With today’s report, we now know that the iconic store should reopen to the public, redesign and all, in late 2018 in time for the holiday shopping season.