Monthly Archives: November 2017

Charles Tyrwhitt opens new Birmingham store

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Sonos to open first European concept store in London

The company said the “retail, exhibition, screening and listening space” will open its doors to the public on 16 November.

Situated in London’s Seven Dials, the store has been designed to replicate the home environment. Inspired by Sonos’ flagship store in New York, it features state-of-the-art listening rooms where guests will be able to stream their personal music to one or both rooms.

In addition, every space within the store had been sonically tuned by Sonos sound engineers who are overseen by Sonos sound experience leader, Giles Martin.

Sonos said the store will play host to an ongoing line-up of listening events, screenings, cultural talks and installations. The first of these events will celebrate David Bowie.

During the opening weekend, NTS Radio will be broadcasting live from the store. This will include a full 16 hour programme co-curated by DJ’s Ross Allen, Charlie Bones, Nabihah Iqbal and Bullion with friends and special guests and will feature mixes, interviews and interesting conversations inspired by and celebrating the life of Bowie.

Whitney Walker, general store manager at Sonos, said “The entire store experience is based on the idea of being in a really comfortable and inspiring environment. We’re proud to be opening our first European concept store in London, providing a dedicated space for music fans to create, connect and ultimately discover the best ways to listen to music out loud.”

Sonos is also planning to open more concepts stores in Europe including Berlin in 2018.

Commenting on the UK debut at Seven Dials, Sam Bain-Mollison, head of group retail strategy and leasing at Shaftesbury, said: “Sonos is one of the most exciting brands in the world and we are thrilled they selected Earlham Street for their UK debut. It is a significant launch for Seven Dials that adds to the authentic, cultural appeal of the destination.”

Joe Browns opens debut store at Meadowhall

Situated on Meadowhall’s High Street, the 4,000 square foot shop was designed by creative agency Dalziel and Pow.

Simon Brown, managing director and founder of Joe Browns, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the store, I think we’ve achieved what we set out to do, which was to create an impressive three- dimensional version of our catalogue. It crystallises our brand in a physical space perfectly.”

The opening coincides with the conclusion of Meadowhall’s £60 million refurbishment which will be completed before Christmas. Some 73 brands, including All Saints, Hollister, House of Fraser and Hugo Boss, have invested £38 million in redesigning and refitting their stores to reflect the centre’s new contemporary feel.

Richard Crowther, asset manager for British Land, said: “The opening is an exciting step for Joe Browns, and as its very first physical location, is a testament to Meadowhall’s appeal as a leading UK retail and leisure destination. Our True Value of Stores research shows that stores improve brand awareness, customer service and trust and that physical also contributes to online sales that do not directly touch the store.”

Over the last 18 months, Meadowhall has signed up 30 new brands including Flannels, Tag Heuer, Nespresso, Neal’s Yard and Godiva. In September, the centre also secured a resolution to grant planning consent for a £300 million leisure hall extension.

Huawei opens doors to it’s Dubai Mall store

Huawei announced the opening of its first ‘Experience Store’ at Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates. The store offers consumers a full retail experience, which includes access to Huawei’s latest products and services under one roof. All new products will now be available for pre-booking and sale at the same time as its global launch.

We spoke to David Wang, UAE Country Manager at the launch and he told TechRadar that the reason behind the store was to give Huawei fans a better experience of Huawei products as well as a place to communicate with fans of the brand.

According to Wang, the strategy of opening the store is a long-term one and the Dubai Mall store is the first of the five stores that Huawei plans to open across the UAE. More stores are planned in the GCC with Saudi Arabia likely being the next country. Mr. Wang also mentioned that for this store in Dubai Mall, Huawei has partnered with Axiom.

When we asked Wang if the Huawei Experience Store will carry any exclusive products, he said that it won’t. He did mention that the store will carry the full range of Huawei products that will be released in the UAE but the idea behind it is for consumers to learn more about Huawei’s brand and products and not create competition with local partners and retailers.

The Huawei Experience Store is open daily from 10am – 11pm, Sunday to Saturday, and is located next to the metro link corridor on Level 2 of The Dubai Mall. It is currently taking preorders for the Mate 10 Pro which will be available from the 13th of November in the store.

Mr Price cuts its cloth to suit a higher share price

Credit: Freddy Mavunda

The share price jumped 11% to R169.99 after the announcement. The momentum continued for most of the trading session, with the share eventually closing at R192.25.

Diluted headline earnings per share are expected to rise between 421.4c and 439c.

Portfolio manager at Gryphon Asset managers Casparus Treurnicht said although the company did not give much information, it was clear that the guided range was significantly higher than the market expected.

“After Truworths and TFG came forward last week there might be a combination of short positions being covered and a sigh of relief,” Treurnicht said.

Mr Price’s share price recovery came after it lost 20% in 2016. The main losses came in August 2016 when the company lost 16% in one day after releasing a disappointing trading statement. The share price has since gained about 20% in 2017.

In its 2017 annual results presentation in March, Mr Price CEO Stuart Bird said that the strategy going forward would focus on improving the quality of merchandise while applying an everyday low-price pricing strategy and integrating technology to improve operations and customer experience.

Much like the rest of the retail sector, Mr Price has been affected by weak and declining consumer spending, which continued into the first half of 2017. The retailer’s recovery has been boosted by a number of factors.

Equity analyst at Vele Asset managers Matthew Zunckel said that judging by the positive trading statement the recovery of Mr Price was bumped up by a change in its procurement model, which was the main driver of growth.

The company previously faced issues of procurement and the quality of its merchandise was a constant complaint from consumers in 2016, among other misgivings.

Fashion chain Hobbs bought by South African firm

The deal saw private equity owner 3i offload the business for an undisclosed sum, although a price tag of £80 million has been mooted.

Hobbs has become the latest British retailer to fall into South African hands after it was acquired by The Foschini Group.

The deal saw private equity owner 3i offload the fashion company for an undisclosed sum, although a price tag of £80 million has been mooted.

Hobbs, a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, has 140 outlets globally, including a concession in Bloomingdales, and booked revenues of £120 million last year.

Royal visit to Norfolk

Foschini, which also owns Phase Eight and Whistles in the UK, said it will look to enhance Hobbs’ online presence.

Foschini chief executive Ben Barnett said: “Hobbs is a strong British brand with rich design heritage. (Hobbs chief executive) Meg Lustman and her team have successfully repositioned and reinvigorated the brand, offering an excellent platform for further growth.

“We share their ambitions, not only in terms of maximising the success of their well-established UK presence, but also in their strategic approach towards leveraging the international appeal of the brand, via their physical store portfolio, carefully aligned concession partners and evolving e-commerce proposition.”

It is the latest in a long line of British retailers to get new owners from South Africa.

Struggling fashion chain New Look is owned by investment group Brait, while Steinhoff is the parent firm of Harveys and Bensons For Beds.

But the deal comes at a difficult time for the high street, with retailers across the board struggling with rising costs and falling consumer confidence as Brexit-fuelled inflation hits the sector hard.

On Tuesday new data from the British Retail Consortium showed that growth in non-food sales hit a record low in October

In Pictures: Harvey Nichols 2017 Christmas Windows

Premium department store Harvey Nichols has unveiled its Christmas windows for 2017, its largest visual scheme of the year.

For this year’s festive season, the luxury retailer looked for inspiration from the Autumn/Winter 2017 fashion weeks and pre-spring collections, selecting the most vibrant colours to catch customer’s eyes. During the dark winter season, Harvey Nichols opted to design window displays which ‘delight customers’.and help spread ‘a positive message’ during the holiday season by using a vivid colour palette, innovative lighting techniques and an upbeat sentiment.

Harvey Nichols unveils its Christmas Windows for 2017

The result is a series of celebratory window schemes in a rainbow of hues, bold textures and graphic patterns filed with star shapes and Christmas motifs. Harvey Nichols incorporates unique lighting techniques for the first time, such as rotating mirror balls, LED lights and holographic backgrounds. Potential gift ideas are also included in the window display within giant Christmas baubles in a playful, fun manner.

“Themes of joy and positivity ran through the AW17 and SS18 shows, evoking a determination not to dwell on the uncertain times of the current climate,” commented Janet Wardley, Head of Visual Display. “This inspired us to create a high energy scheme that uses dazzling colours, lights and shapes to entertain our customers – some of the vinyls are so bright that the team had to wear sunglasses during the install!”

Harvey Nichols Christmas Windows can now be seen at Harvey Nichols stores across the UK and Ireland.

Revealed: 23rd Dubai Shopping Festival dates for your diary

Retail festival will run from December 26 to January 27 2018, say organisers

The 23rd edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival will start on December 26 and run until January 27, 2018, it was announced on Monday.

Organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), the latest edition will feature a number of retail promotions and sales offering “unbeatable deals and discounts”, a statement said.

It will also offer the opportunity to win prizes from luxury cars and gold to cash at the daily mega raffles, the statement added.

The festival will also include concerts by international and regional stars, fireworks shows and a range of free-to-attend family-oriented activities in malls, and retail activations themed under Beauty & Perfume, Gold & Jewellery, and Apparel & Fashion platforms.

Niketown to open at Dubai Mall in 2018 – sources

Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rahman/Gulf News

Dubai: Nike is planning a major overhaul of its retail offering in Dubai, according to four people familiar with the matter, with a huge new store slated for 2018.

The world’s biggest sportswear maker will open a Niketown in Dubai Mall sometime next year, said the individuals, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public yet.

In a significant shake-up of its retail offering, the new store will set in motion a reshuffle of its two existing spaces at the mall.

The opening of Nike’s new flagship shop, expected to be located in the space that Kinokuniya Bookstore left in February 2017, will pave the way for the existing Jordan Brand store to move in to the space Nike is vacating on the ground floor. A Nike Lab store, the company’s high-end retail concept created in 2014, will then open in the old Jordan store.

The Nike Lab store will feature limited edition collaborations and other rare footwear and clothing.

Dubai will become the ninth city in the world to acquire a Nike Lab, joining Milan, London, Tokyo, Chicago, Paris, New York, Shanghai and Beijing.

The new flagship Niketown store is expected to be one of the brand’s biggest globally, according to three people associated with the store.

“It will most likely be Nike’s largest store in the world,” said one footwear industry individual familiar with the negotiations.

The biggest Nike store in the world is currently in the UK: Niketown London covers approximately 42,000 square feet over four floors.

The space that Kinokuniya Bookstore vacated in February is 68,000 square feet, according to the company’s website, meaning that the Nike store would be significantly larger if it took the whole space.

According to a quarterly report released in June 2017 from Dubai Mall owner Emaar, the company currently charges Dh680 per square foot, with an occupancy rate of 99 per cent across its flagship regional malls.

At this average rate, not factoring in any discounts or special rental agreements, Nike would be expecting to pay over $12 million (Dh44 million) every year to lease the entire space.

In an emailed statement to Gulf News, Sun & Sand Sports said that they were unable to “confirm or provide any information at this stage.”

According to one individual familiar with internal discussions at Sun & Sand Sports, the sportswear retailer came to an agreement with Nike to revive the Niketown brand for its new Dubai Mall flagship store.

Since 2013, the US company has been moving away from the Niketown label, renaming its Niketown in San Francisco to simply Nike San Francisco.

Over the last two years, the UAE-based Sun & Sand Sports has been aggressively expanding its business, with plans to open 500 Sun & Sand Sports-branded stores between 2015 and 2022.

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Storm brews as Shoprite investors challenge pay policy

Mehluli Ncube, representing the Sentinel pension fund, described the invitation to participate in the teleconference as a little hostile. Ncube, who attended the annual general meeting on Monday to express his concerns about the remuneration policy, said the teleconference was in line with the new JSE requirements, which oblige companies to engage with shareholders if more than 25% of them votes against the remuneration policy.

The obligation is in line with the King IV recommendation, which also requires Shoprite to disclose with whom it engaged, the manner and form of engagement and the reasons for the dissenting votes. Shoprite should also disclose the steps taken to address “legitimate and reasonable objections”.

At Monday’s meeting, almost 30% of the shareholders voted against the remuneration policy — this was in line with the voting pattern of the previous three years. However, if the ordinary and deferred shares held by controlling shareholder chairman Christo Wiese are excluded, the level of opposition shoots up to 65%.

In financial 2016, 66% of “outside shareholders” voted against the remuneration policy. Ncube said they had consistently voted against the remuneration policy in the past because they felt the package awarded to the previous CEO, Whitey Basson, was out of line.

Ncube said that the teleconference was a new development, but the company had engaged with them after past annual general meetings. “Previously, the investor relations people engaged with us on an individual basis and that was quite constructive. I’m not sure how well the teleconference will work,” he said.

One analyst, who did not want to be named, said that the vote against the remuneration policy had increased in 2017, although the policy had actually improved “if you compare the new CEOs incentives with Whitey Basson’s package”.

“Outside shareholders” may have been concerned by the R50m paid to Basson in 2017, although he had played an executive role for only six months of the year. A footnote in the annual report says that Basson, who gave notice of his retirement on September 30, 2016, had an agreed notice period of 12 months. “He, therefore, receives guaranteed pay until 30 September 2017”.

However, a Sens announcement released on October 31, 2016, said that Basson was retiring at the end of December 2016 and would remain as nonexecutive vice-chairman.

On Monday, Shoprite announced that Basson, who has driven the group’s growth for 45 years, had retired from the board on October 25.

Truworths’ share price falls after disappointing sales report

The clothing chain said this was partly because it reported in weeks, and the decline would have been only 2% if the previous 53-week financial year had not shifted the comparative periods by a week.

Truworths said half of its total sales were “account” and half were cash. Both declined by 3%.

The group’s trade receivables book decreased by 4% relative to the previous period to R5.6bn. The percentage of active account holders able to purchase improved to 85% compared with 83% in the prior period.

At its flagship Truworths chain, account sales comprised 69% of total sales. Sales at Truworths stores declined 2% to R4bn despite its trading space growing 3% from the matching period.

Clothes on average were 1% cheaper than in the matching period in 2016, according to the update.

The group’s UK chain Office kept sales level at £89m, but contributed a decline measured in rand. Its trading space increased by 1% on the prior period and is expected to increase by 2% for the full fiscal period.

Competitor TFG is scheduled to release its results for the six months to end-September at about 1.30pm on Thursday.

Amazon closes two UK Whole Foods store

Amazon closes two UK Whole Foods stores just two months after completing its £10.7bn takeover

Amazon is shutting two Whole Foods shops in the UK just two months after completing its £10.7bn takeover of the upmarket grocery chain. The company is closing down its stores in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and Giffnock, East Renfrewshire meaning that there will be just seven UK shops remaining, all of which are in London.

Industry sources said that the decision to shut the stores made sense as neither shop could be serviced by Amazon’s online grocery service. Amazon Fresh has only recently been expanded from London to include Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

“It makes perfect sense for Whole Foods to close both stores from a business standpoint, the logistics must be nonsensical,” commented Steve Dresser from Grocery Insight.

“I think it marks the new age from Amazon where the balance sheet is scrutinised and sacred cows in Gloucester and Scotland aren’t permissible just to ‘spread the brand’.”

In contrast to the US – where Whole Foods’ 440 shops help to boost Amazon’s grocery distribution network – in the UK Amazon is largely using its Whole Foods acquisition to broaden the range of groceries available on its Amazon Fresh and Prime Now services by including items such as organic baba ganoush, crostini and fillet steak.

It has also attempted to widen the Whole Foods appeal by slashing prices on some staple goods, such as apples, to become more competitive. However, the overwhelming majority of Whole Foods goods are still much more expensive than rival supermarkets.

“A decision on the future of the stores will be made after the company has consulted with team members to discuss the proposal,” a company spokesperson said. “In the event that the decision is taken to close the stores, we will work with team members to explore alternative employment opportunities.”

Around 150 people are currently employed at the two Whole Foods shops.

Oxford Street may become ‘the world’s best outdoor shopping experience’

If plans to transform Oxford into a pedestrianised area go through, the Western section of Oxford Street may well become the ‘world’s best outdoor shopping experience.’ Ambitious plans for the transformation of the shopping district where unveiled today by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Robert Davis.

Depending on approval, the plans, which are currently under public consultation until December 17, include the transformation of Oxford Street and the creation of new, traffic-free public spaces. Plans include all east-west traffic restricted from entering Oxford Street between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus but maintaining the north-south routes through the section.

Plans for the region include new seating areas placed along the street, an 800-meter long work of public art to fit in the former carriageway, which would be level with existing pavements and new and extended taxi ranks close to Oxford Street. Two bus routes will be rerouted to provide connections for locals and visitors and the TfL and Westminister City Council will also consult on creating new high-quality cycle routes along quieter roads to the north and south side of Oxford Street.

“This is a hugely exciting moment for the capital. Oxford Street is world famous with millions of visitors every year, and in just over a year the iconic part of the street west of Oxford Circus could be transformed into a traffic-free pedestrian boulevard,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. “Whether you’re a local resident, a business, or shop in some of the area’s famous stores, our plans will make the area substantially cleaner and safer for everyone, creating one of the finest public spaces in the world. Alongside the arrival of the Elizabeth Line, the Oxford Street area will be truly transformed over the coming years.”

Galeries Lafayette to open stores in Istanbul, Kuwait

Galeries Lafayette plans to open a second store in Istanbul and its first in Kuwait City in 2019, tapping into high-spending shoppers in the Middle East.

“These two projects give further substance to our goals of consolidating our positions in the Middle East where we will have a network of eight stores,” Nicolas Houze, chief executive of the family-owned group said in a statement on Monday. “(It will) bring us closer to our objective of having around 20 stores in international markets within five years.”

The 7,500 square metre Kuwait City store is located in the Assima Mall, a high-profile shopping centre close to the city’s central business district and will be operated under a franchise with Ali Bin Ali, a family-owned retail and luxury goods group.

The second store in Istanbul is spread over 6,000 square metres in the Vadistanbul shopping centre and is operated under a franchise with DEMSA group, a Turkish retail specialist.

The Galeries Lafayette group, known for its flagship Boulevard Haussmann store in Paris, also has stores in Berlin, Jakarta, Dubai, Beirut and Beijing.

It opened a first store in Istanbul in May 2017 and is preparing to open a store in Doha, Qatar in 2018.

In a report on the global luxury goods industry this year, Deloitte listed the Middle East as a major growth market, with high-spending in Qatar and Abu Dhabi particularly driving sales for major brands.

Asda hires former Carrefour exec Jesús Lorente as new merchandising boss

Asda has hired Carrefour’s former chief merchandising officer Jesús Lorente for a similar role as the Big 4 grocer undergoes a leadership overhaul.

The news comes a week after Asda announced that deputy chief executive Roger Burnley will replace current chief executive Sean Clarke from January 1.

Lorente will succeed Andrew Moore, who is stepping from the chief merchandising officer role in January after almost 10 years with Asda, three of which were in his current role.

Burnley and Lorente will form part of a new executive team that will work to continue the momentum of financial recovery that Clarke has brought about since Asda’s parent company Walmart parachuted him into the role in June 2016.

Lorente has already joined Asda and is in the process of being introduced to the business to ensure a smooth transition.

He first joined French retailer Carrefour in November 2009 as director of supply chain in its Spanish business.

He then chief merchandising officer for the company’s Spanish arm in December 2012 – a role he held until July this year.

Before Carrefour, Lorente’s career spent almost 20 years with Unilever in the UK, Spain and the US.

ASDA Christmas Advert 2017

Click here to see

Argos Christmas advert 2017

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Cashier-less shop set to open in Cork

A brand new, cashier-free shop is set to open in Cork early next year, in what looks to be a world’s first.

The Irish Examiner reports retail technology agency Everseen is developing the store on French Church Street, which uses mobile technology, beacons, and other highly advanced techniques to allow customers to walk in, pick up what they want and simply walk out. The price of their messages will be applied to their account without any till or checkout interaction require.

Everseen, which works with some of the world’s top retailers in loss-prevention techniques, says the technology involves a lot more than simply removing the registers.

“0Line [Zero Line] gives offline retailers intelligence about their customers,” says Alan O’Herlihy, CEO of Everseen. “It allows them to respond to consumer behaviour and emotions, not just purchasing patterns.”

Amazon has been testing a similar store near its HQ in Seattle for several months, but it is yet to open to the public. Looks like there’s something of an arms race developing in the area of self-service.

O’Herlihy added that Everseen believes it can introduce the technology to “football stadium-sized” stores within the next two years.

Argos launches Christmas advertising campaign

The 60 second TV commercial is set in a magical Argos distribution centre where a troupe of Argos elves are helping Santa to deliver gifts across the country.

Created by CHI & Partners and directed by Gary Freedman, the advert aims to highlight Argos’s commitment to speedy delivery and its Fast Track same-day delivery service.

The action begins when a child’s long-awaited Christmas present, a Teksta voice-recognition robotic puppy, is found wandering the aisles of the distribution centre by an elf. The quick-thinking elf scans it in at the “elf station” to reveal its intended recipient on-screen whose family’s gifts are departing from gate nine. This leads to a blockbuster-style chase across the distribution centre in which the elf pulls out all the stops to ensure the robotic puppy makes it to the child in time for Christmas.

Argos is also giving three children the opportunity to feature in the advert. From Tuesday 7 November, parents can visit Argos’s Facebook and Twitter channels to submit an image of their child using the hashtag #ReadyForTakeOff.  The chosen winners will appear on national TV in the Argos advert for a whole day each on Friday 10, Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November.

In addition, parents will get a chance to see their child’s face in a personalised social media version of the advert by uploading their child’s photo on the Argos Facebook or Twitter sites.

Gary Kibble, marketing director at Argos, said: “We love this edge-of-your-seat, high-energy Christmas campaign, which aims to surprise and delight across all channels – showcasing Argos’s Fast Track delivery commitment to getting customers what they want, how and when they want it, faster than anyone else.

“We hope our super-swift, stop-at-nothing Argos Christmas elves help us once again to break the traditional retailer advertising mould by adding some excitement, energy and above all speed to the nation’s Christmases this year.”

Kibble said Argos will deliver 1.7 million items  and process 27 million in-store transactions over the festive period.

The Argos ‘Ready For Take-Off’ advert forms part of a 360° campaign spanning TV, digital, print and in-store and social media activity.

MySidekick shopping app launches across SA

South African startup MySidekick has launched its free Android-based shopping app across the country, offering users special deals from retailers such as Clicks, Dis-Chem and Volpes.

Incubated at the Nedbank Stellenbosch University LaunchLab business incubator, MySidekick has developed an application that provides users with relevant shopping deals and in 2015 secured a R4 million (US$280,000) staged investment from Stellenbosch-based technology funder and developer Alchemy-A.

“The user can personalise the app so that they only see specials of product categories they are interested in, and this can easily be changed or updated by the user. We then have proprietary algorithms that make sure there is a good variety of specials on display,” said MySidekick chief executive officer (CEO) Leonard Brewer.

“When a user arrives at a mall, they receive a notification reminding them that there are relevant specials for them, and they can then open the app from the notification to browse through them so they can decide which store to go to, to save some money.”

The aim of the app is to save the user time and money by showing them relevant retailer specials as they shop. On installation, the app will ask the user what they are interested in and then notify them of tailored specials when they arrive at a particular shopping destination.

“And it’s clever enough to know you’re not just passing by, it will only notify you once you have parked your car and are walking to the entrance,” said Brewer.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (US) to Expand into the Middle East

After 75 years in business, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is going global. The nearly 600-unit chain has partnered with Middle Eastern hospitality group, Serenity Hospitality, to bring 45 Dickey’s locations to seven countries throughout the Middle East.

“Dickey’s has been in search for the right partner to take our brand international for some time now, and we truly believe we have found that in the folks from Serenity Hospitality, Roland Dickey Jr., CEO of Dickey’s Capital Group, said in an interview with FastCasual. “Their company is an acclaimed hospitality group in the Middle East with experience in the fast casual industry and we look forward to working with them to bring Dickey’s to the Middle East.”

Dickey’s chose the Middle East because of its heavy boom in commerce and hospitality.

“Dubai and Abu Dhabi particularly are two very popular travel destinations that we look forward to expanding in,” Dickey said.

Although the menu will be slightly different compared to the American units, it will, of course, include the chain’s Texas-style barbecue.

“However, we have had to modify it appropriately due to the region we are expanding in,”Dickey said. “For example, pork is typically not consumed in the Middle East, because of this we plan to substitute our pork options for lamb.”

Serenity Hospitality is led by CEO Youssef El Habbal, who has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry with a heavy focus on concept development and franchise operations.

“At Serenity Hospitality, LLC we take pride in owning innovative Food and Beverage concepts. After doing much research of high-quality American brands, we found that Dickey’s business model, menu options and future plans aligned perfectly with what we were looking for,” El Habbal said in a company press release. “A company’s values and heritage are extremely important to us, and Dickey’s long family-owned history along with their promise to serve only the best food to their guests meet the values that we look for in a partner.”

The 45 international Dickey’s Barbecue Pit locations are slated to opened in seven countries throughout the Middle East, including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman. The first locations are planned to open in 2018 in the UAE.

Lloydspharmacy chief Cormac Tobin resigns

Cormac Tobin had been with the Celesio group for more than 10 years

Cormac Tobin, managing director of Lloydspharmacy’s parent company Celesio UK, has left the company “with immediate effect”, the multiple has announced.

His departure comes just one week after Mr Tobin – who had been with the Celesio group for more than 10 years – told Lloyds employees that 190 “commercially unviable” branches of the multiple would have to close or be sold.

Celesio UK said the remaining members of its board would manage the business “whilst a successor is sought”.

Brian Tyler, chairman of the management board of McKesson Europe – which owns Celesio – said Mr Tobin had “built a strong leadership team for Celesio UK”, and added “his warm and engaging personality made him many friends across community pharmacy and beyond”.

“I am grateful for the dedication that Cormac has shown over the last few years and his leadership through an ever-changing external environment,” Mr Tyler said.

Galeries Lafayette opens new Paris store

Galeries Lafayette has unveiled a new flagship store at the heart of the new extension to the Carré Sénart shopping centre in Paris. The opening marks the first significant addition to the Galeries Lafayette network of 56 stores in France in the past few years, and the new store concept is intended to be experience-led, fully omni-channel and firmly anchored in its local environment on the edge of the Forest of Sénart.

Spread over two floors, the store is based on standards of hospitality and services that provide a harmonious blend of physical and digital innovation, with comfortable relaxation areas, intuitive signage and sleek, modern furnishings. Remaining loyal to its strategic positioning, Galeries Lafayette offers a selection of prestigious brands spanning fashion, beauty, accessories, shoes and leather goods, in many cases some as the exclusive retailer within the shopping centre.

The 6,000 sq m store enables shoppers to enjoy a stroll through a natural setting, where products are displayed in spaces such as cabins, hunting lodges or kiosks. It features a monumental glazed facade and a light well at the heart of the store. French artist Julien Colombier has created a major artwork on either side of the facade, influenced by both plants and the urban environment, recreating the edge of a forest.

The artwork opens up into the store, where a grove of life-sized trees catches the attention of visitors, and is another nod to the forest-inspired interior of the store beyond.

In the woodland-inspired and modern space, the codes of the forest are found in product racks and displays, showcasing the retailer’s collections. The store is bathed in natural light, thanks to the glazed facade and particially transparent ceiling. Galeries Lafayette Carré Sénart has been designed to reinvent the department store experience by offering customers open plan spaces and different departments marked out by woodland-inspired furniture, created directly by sustainable funiture designer, Agence Forêt.

The store has been designed around both the physical and digital experience. On the first floor, a 150 sq m space is dedicated entirely to services, including e-reservations and Click & Collect. Following a number of pilot projects, the Digital Showroom is now available at Carré Sénart. This makes it possible to offer a very wide range of up to 100 products in a small, physical space. Usually used for leather goods, the 40 sq m area displays a selection of four luggage brands made available to customers thanks to a digital counter. Customers can see and try the demonstration produt and then, by placing it on the dedicated counter, benefit from a wide range of options (size, colour etc) and buy it online. Orders are collected using the store’s Click & Collect service within 24 hours, or delivered to the customer’s home.

The Carré Sénart store is also running a pilot project in omni-channel training of sales advisors. Staff are armed with mobile tablets to help customers throughout the entire shopping experience, including managing stock levels in store, providing a constant link with the website and giving proactive advice when trying items. Mobile payment points are also available throughout the store.

Work starts on new $380m super mall in Abu Dhabi

Retail giant Majid Al Futtaim says City Centre Al Jazira will be its first in the UAE capital

Construction work has started on a new AED1.4 billion ($380 million) lifestyle destination in Abu Dhabi, with an opening slated for 2021.

An official greound-breaking ceremony has taken place for City Centre Al Jazira which will include 153 stores, a Carrefour Hypermarket, a Magic Planet family entertainment destination, a fitness centre, as well as indoor and alfresco dining choices.

Total leasable area is expected to be 80,500 sq m within a built-up area of 215,000 sq m, said operator Majid Al Futtaim in a statement.

The project is a joint venture between Majid Al Futtaim and Al Jazira Sports and Cultural Club.

“We believe in empowering our community, and we are thrilled to partner with Majid Al Futtaim which will allow us to have the opportunity to have a major role in building a new lifestyle destination in the heart of Abu Dhabi,” said Saeed Mohamed Bin Butti Al Qebaisi, chairman of Al Jazira Investment.

“We are delighted to partner with Al Jazira Sports and Cultural Club to bring our first ever City Centre mall to the capital,” added Ghaith Shocair, CEO, Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim – Properties.

He said the new super-regional mall is scheduled to open its doors in early 2021 and is part of Majid Al Futtaim’s plan to increase its total investment in the UAE by AED30 billion by 2026, taking its total investment in the country to AED48 billion.

In addition to City Centre Al Jazira, the company recently announced the up-coming My City Centre Masdar, set to open by 2019 in the capital.

Next’s full price sales improve

by The Retail Bulletin

In the three months to 29 October online sales climbed by 13.2% but sales in the retailer’s stores were down 7.7%.

In a statement, Next said the lower clearance rates seen in its summer end-of-season sale this year had continued into the third quarter, both in the mid-season sale and its clearance operation. As a result total sales, including markdown sales, were up 0.8% in the three month period and down 1.2% for the year to date.

Next said its sales performance has remained “extremely volatile” and is highly dependent on the weather. In August and September sales were significantly up on last year as cooler temperatures improved sales of warmer weight stock.

Looking ahead, Next said the volatility was making it difficult to determine any underlying sales trend but added: “We believe the most reliable guide to sales for the balance of the year are the full price sales for the year to date, which are down -0.3%. This number is at the mid-point of the sales guidance we gave in September and so we are maintaining the central profit guidance we issued at that time, albeit we are narrowing the range.”

Next now expects its full year pre-tax profit to be between £692 million and £742 million compared to a previous guidance of £687 million to £747 million.

Uniqlo founder to retire

The chief of Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing is to retire from the company he founded when he turns 70 in 2019.

Tadashi Yanai told the Japanese financial publication The Nikkei on Friday he is due to retire, but will continue as chairman of the company, stating “there is no such thing as retirement for founders.”

According to the publication, Yanai said a successor should have the physical strength and technological know-how of young managers to make quick decisions and keep up with the ever-changing fashion industry. “Young people must handle actual management,” he said.

“The next CEO will be the most suited person among our current executive officers,” he explained. Fast Retailing has over 40 executive officers, two of whom are Yanai’s children, but he already has denied that either will be his successor.

Fast Retailing in 2002 appointed Genichi Tamatsuka, an executive with experience working at Asahi Glass to take over as president from Yanai. But Yanai reassumed the presidency three years later after earnings flatlined and stronger leadership was needed to guide the company through a review of its businesses. In 2013, Yanai also reneged on his promise to retire as president at 65.

The retailer’s earnings are recovering, with higher revenue and profit for the fiscal year ended in August. The brand is gaining more recognition in China and Southeast Asia thanks in part to aggressive store openings. Though Fast Retailing continues to bleed red ink in the U.S. market, overseas operations are growing overall.

But the company remains far from its sales goal of 3 trillion yen (26.5 billion dollars). To that end, Yanai aims to make Fast Retailing into a global and digital business “that turns information into products,” a shift that depends on the progress of its information technology strategy.

Hugo Boss launches first digital showroom

Hugo Boss has launched its first digital showroom in Berlin, Germany, marking a shift in the company’s strategy.

The German fashion brand presented its Hugo pre-fall collection for 2018 at a pop-up space in Berlin to showcase its digital showroom last week. Via a 65 inch touchscreen, which resembles a table, viewers were able to browse through the entire collection, go through numerous colour and combination options and directly order pieces from the collection.

Specially developed for Hugo Boss, the dedicated application was developed in a short period of time using the ‘scrum method’ – a technique which uses a form of agile project management to enable the rapid visualization of solutions for complex issues within a flexible framework.

The launch of the digital showroom signals a change in Hugo Boss order system – from now on the German fashion brand will no longer prepare complete collections of physical samples for its order phase. The collection, including the entire range of available colours and combinations options, will be offered to customers exclusively in digital form.

Hugo Boss aims to roll out its digital showroom to its global market in 2018 following its launch in Berlin.

First BENTLEY standalone boutique opens in Dubai

The Al Habtoor Group is proud to bring together two world-class brands under one roof, Bentley, and St. Regis Dubai Polo, the world’s first ever equestrian resort located at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club.

The brainchild of Mr. Mohammed Al Habtoor, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Al Habtoor Group, the idea of building the luxury boutique was born over a year ago and after consultations with Bentley UK, the boutique opened on 27th October, making it a powerful addition to the whole Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. Bentley has long been associated with Polo in the UAE. Over the years it has been sponsoring many high-profile polo events, including The Dubai Open, which is played at The Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club.

Clicks targets 900 stores after ace results

On Thursday the retail-led healthcare group posted a 15.4% rise in operating profit to R1.8bn driven by strong health and beauty sales that grew 14.7%.

Opening 111 stores, including 80 through the outsourcing agreement with the Netcare Group, bumped up its store footprint to 622. Its pharmacy network was increased to 473.

During the 2017 financial year, the retailer’s cash inflows from operations exceeded R2bn for the first time.

Clicks plans to invest R680m during the 2018 financial year to add 25-30 new stores, and about 35 pharmacies, among other things.

CEO David Kneale said the company was confident it would reach its new store target.

Only 50% of households in SA lived within 5km of a Clicks store, presenting a gap for growth and convenience. “We believe the faster growth we experienced in the beauty and pharmacy divisions will lead to a 6.5%-7.5% growth in the medium term,” said Kneale.

36One Asset Management equity analyst Daniel Isaacs said the company’s targeted store footprint had jumped from 600 to 900 over the past few years as it spotted certain areas growing more than predicted.

But he warned that if today’s economic environment continued, it would negatively affect the growth plans of Clicks and all other retailers.

“You can be a very well run business, but you can’t compete against or escape the environment,” Isaacs said. Electus Fund Managers analyst Damon Buss said that because of income inequalities not everyone could afford to shop at Clicks.

While the company would probably meet the target it would take a significant time.

Online shopping would have long-term effects on foot traffic while store location would remain a key issue.

“You run the risk of cannibalising some of your current store base or you put them in a less optimal location,” Buss said.

While retail health and beauty sales, including Clicks and the franchise brands of The Body Shop, GNC, and Claire, increased 14.7%, the Musica business performed poorly. Musica’s profit in the year under review was R28m lower than a year earlier but Clicks chief financial officer Michael Fleming said the company was managing the Musica brand for shareholder value.

However, the group would be open to selling the music and gaming retail chain to any suitor ” with a chequebook that won’t bounce”.

Clicks ClubCard increased active membership to 7-million, with the loyalty programme accounting for 77.4% of sales in Clicks stores.

Clicks declared a final dividend of R2.34 per share,

taking the total for the financial year to R3.22, an 18.4% increase on the previous year.

The company’s share price closed 0.55% down at R154.35 on the JSE on Thursday.