Monthly Archives: December 2017

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Apple’s first ever retail store in Korea, said to open on Dec 30

Apple’s first ever retail store in Korea, close to Samsung’s HQ, said to open on Dec 30

Ben Lovejoy

Apple confirmed back in January plans to open its first ever retail store in Samsung’s home city of Seoul, South Korea – close to the headquarters of Samsung.

A new report from Korea says that the store will open on December 30, with retail head Angela Ahrendts in attendance …

ETNews quotes the construction company saying that work on the store is all but complete.

“We have finished all the major interior decorations of the Apple Store and left only a simple task,” he said […] Apple has decided to open the Apple store Seoul Gangnam store (first store) on Saturday, December 30, in consultation with the construction company. Unless there are special problems at the final stage of the construction, it will open from 10 am to 11 am on the day.

The report says that Apple had originally targeted a completion date of November 30, with construction continuing through both nights and weekends to ensure that the new date is hit. Staff recruitment and training is also said to be complete.

The store reportedly spans ground and basement levels, with a total of 1297 square meters.

The busy Gangnam district of Seoul, above, is known for upmarket shopping and interesting architecture.

Smartphone sales in South Korea are currently dominated by local companies Samsung and LG, so it will be interesting to see how much help a retail presence is going to be in growing iPhone sales in the country.

Poundworld loses CEO

Gerry Gray,  who had held the role of chief executive at Poundworld for almost two years following a long career with Tesco,  has resigned and left the business. Steve Johnson, executive chairman,  is assuming the role until a permanent appointment can be made.

Arket to open third store in London

H&M’s Group newest brand, Arket, is set to open its third store in London next spring as the Swedish retail group continues to roll out its latest store concept.

Set to open in spring, 2018, the store will be located in Westfield Stratford City. The third UK Arket store opening comes after the brand’s debut opening this August. Market opened its first store on Regent Street on August 25 to much fanfare. One month later, Arket opened its second store in London at Covent Garden, at 27-29 Long Acre.

Since the launch of the new retail chain, Arket has opened five stores across Europe, including stores in Germany, Belgium, and Denmark. The next store openings following Arket’s third store in London at Westfield Stratford will be the brand’s first store in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam and Stockholm, Sweden.

Arket aims to be a “modern-day market” for men and women, focusing on minimalistic and timeless wardrobe essentials. An exact opening date for its store in Westfield Stratford has yet to be confirmed.

Souq.com launches Amazon Global Store

New store brings over one million global products to the UAE

E-commerce giant Souq.com has launched Amazon Global Store, which allows customers in the UAE to choose from over one million products from US-based Amazon.com, in Arabic or English, and pay in AED.

Several payment methods including cash on delivery is available, while product categories include apparel, handbags, shoes, watches, kitchen and home goods and many more.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and chief executive of Souq, said the store brings global selection closer to customers in the region.

“We will continue to grow this further. We share the same vision as Amazon and focus on providing our customers with best-in-class selection, great prices and a convenient shopping experience,” he said.

The Amazon store also allows customers to see prices in AED inclusive of import fee deposits at checkout (where applicable), without any unexpected fees added later. It offers two delivery options including priority (2-5 business days) and expedited (6-10 business days).

Customers can speak directly with the service team at Souq, a subsidiary of Amazon, in English or Arabic for any queries, and are able to return product for a full refund within 30 days, in most cases.

The store represents Amazon’s confidence in the region, according to Samir Kumar, vice president of international retail at Amazon.

“Our continued investment will provide customers with more of what they want – the largest selection combined with a reliable shopping experience that includes unique products and international brands from the US and beyond” he said.

The Amazon storefront is available on both the Souq website and mobile app.

Souq was acquired for $580m by Amazon in September this year. The online retail marketplace features over than 8.4 million products across 31 categories, and attracts over 45 million visits per month. It has localised operations in the KSA, UAE and Egypt.

Azadea to open 11 new stores at $1.2bn UAE mall

Premier lifestyle retail company Azadea Group has joined hands with Kuwait-based Al Farwaniya Property Developments to open 11 new stores at the $1.2-billion Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi’s new entertainment, dining and shopping destination, located on Reem Island.

Al Farwaniya Property Developments is a joint venture between Agility, Agility-affiliate United Projects for Aviation Services Company (UPAC), and National Real Estate Company (NREC).

As part of the agreement, Azadea will bring 11 influential brands to Reem Mall, covering a total area of more than 4,200 sq m.

The group’s popular franchise brands such as Virgin Megastore, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Paul will add further value to the mall’s retail offering.

Commenting on the deal, Shane Eldstrom, the chief executive of Al Farwaniya Property Developments, said: “Our mission is to provide shoppers and visitors with a world-class retail experience and this significant new agreement with Azadea Group brings us closer to achieving this ambition.”

“Azadea Group is a highly respected premier lifestyle retail company and they share our passion and commitment of the highest quality standards in customer care. We are very pleased to be enhancing Abu Dhabi’s retail landscape by working alongside them,” noted Eldstrom.

Marwan Moukarzel, the deputy chief executive at Azadea Group said: “Our partnership with Reem Mall embraces our mission to further extend our promise in the wider Mena region of continuously providing entertaining and exciting experiences to our customers and people through great retail space.”

“Overall, we are certain that this will only bring forth great outcomes and further cement our presence in the UAE, especially in the city of Abu Dhabi. We look forward to working with Reem Mall on the launch of this great new project,” he added.

The mega retail destination, located on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island, is set to offer 2 million sq ft of leasable area comprising around 450 stores, of which 85 will be food and beverage (F&B) outlets, as well as a range of family-focused entertainment and edutainment anchors including Snow Park Abu Dhabi, a destination snow park attraction.

It is located in the Najmat District on Reem Island, the residential and commercial master development by Reem Developers, which will boast a population of 200,000 once completed.-TradeArabia News Service

CHANEL to open six new flagship stores in 2018

Dec 11, 2017

“2018 will be the year of flagships, six of them, either brand new stores or major re-openings, which will be very impactful,” says Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of Chanel’s fashion and accessories divisions.

And the destinations are all major ones. From New York, a new boutique on 57th street to a new flagship in Seoul, Chanel’s first there, to a new location in tony London shopping mecca Brompton Cross. Plus, openings in new markets like Copenhagen and Abu Dhabi, to a Chanel network currently consisting of 190 free-standing boutiques. Plus, on December 1, Chanel opened a second Tokyo flagship in Ginza on Namiki-Dōri, a three-year renovation, where architect Peter Marino clad the building in matte black and white panels, a very Coco color scheme.

Though the biggest opening will be in Paris, where rue Cambon (Chanel’s historic headquarters) meets the rue St Honoré, in mid 2018. A space clad in scaffolding at present, unlike a new mat gray Christian Dior boutique which opened a catty corner nearby.

Last month Lagerfeld was in Chengdu, where Chanel reprised the Ancient Greek goddess cruise collection, originally shown in Paris in May.

“We scored 698 million hits from that show, on WeChat and Weibu, etc. That impact allows us to create an accessible dream. A chance to see and touch and understand what the brand is all about. That has nothing to do with customers – we don’t have 500 million customers in our boutiques. Don’t worry!” he laughs.

To Pavlovsky, the key equation in luxury is balancing accessibility to the dream with the exclusivity of one’s products inside boutiques, carefully playing those two cards. Hence, unlike practically all its competition, Chanel’s e-commerce is essentially limited to beauty and eyewear.

“Chanel is not a click. But when you think of a $5,000 jacket or a $10,000 dress the customer experience has to be more than just a click – you can click on everything,” he snorts.

In China, Chanel is also about to open in Beijing’s China World mall. Business in China, he stresses, has been boosted by the policy of global price harmonization that Pavlovsky began introducing in 2015.  Chanel, privately owned by the hyper discreet Wertheimer family, does not release official financial results, but is understood to have achieved 2016 turnover of $5.7 billion.

“We see more and more Chinese in China coming to our boutiques regularly. They don’t need to travel to Paris, New York or London to buy Chanel and this is very important,” he underlines. Comparatively, Chanel garners less revenue (less than 10% of global sales) from Chinese consumers than many of its rivals, allowing considerable room for expansion in the key market of the 21st century. One vehicle will be harnessing influencers.

“What is interesting about influencers in China is their point of view of the brand. Some are followed by 20 or 25 million, which is quite impressive. And they are very clear that what their followers want from them is a point of view. And we have to work with them not to dilute this kind of positioning. They are KOLs, Key Opinion Leaders, and we don’t want to try to turn them into Key Office Ladies! One of them told me, ‘Our followers want to know our point of view, but we cannot do the job of a brand. So be careful. The brand should not mix up and blur everything.’ That was a good message. I don’t want to pay them to say that the brand is wonderful. Anyway, we don’t have any of them under contract. Not one!” he stressed, as a small armada of craft passed by his giant picture window.

adapted from FashionNetwork.Com

Spinneys to open 18 new UAE stores by 2020

New CEO Matt Frost said Spinneys has invested $48 million in new headquarters that will feature flagship store

Spinneys will open 18 new outlets as part of an expansion in UAE by 2020, according to incoming CEO Matt Frost.

Frost, who replaces current CEO Jannie Holtzhausen on January 3, said that the 18 stores will be “either Spinneys or Waitrose.”

“Ultimately, it will be the customers that help us decide that,” he noted, adding that at the moment the plans call for the additional outlets to be located in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

The new openings will see the number of outlets in the region rise to 79 stores, which Spinneys believes will lead to the creation of 2,000 new jobs. Spinneys is forecasting 40 percent growth by 2020.

While Holtzhausen and Frost declined to comment on the possibilities of expansion outside the UAE, Frost said that it isn’t out of the question.

“Ultimately, we’re an ambitious business,” he said. “We have a team that are more than capable of considering expansion outside of the UAE. If it’s right, and it’s pragmatic, and it’s responsible to make that decision, I’m sure we’d be agile enough to be able to take it.”

Frost noted that it has invested $48 million (AED175m) in a new Spinneys headquarters located in Dubai’s Meydan area, which will feature a flagship store and on-site cookery school to assist culinary training and development.

According to Frost, work on the project is already underway, and it is expected to be operational in Q1 2019.

Westfield London signs 70,000sq ft Primark store

Primark is set to take a 70,000sq ft store in Westfield London’s new 740,000sq ft expansion that is expected to open next summer.

The store will be the second largest in the shopping centre’s £600 million expansion, after John Lewis’s 230,000sq ft anchor.

After the new extension is opened to the public, Westfield London is expected to become the largest shopping centre in Europe.

“We are delighted to announce that Primark will open in the UK in 2018 at Westfield London,” Westfield UK’s director of leasing Keith Mabbett said.

“The arrival of this much-loved brand will be hugely popular amongst customers as one of the most requested new stores to the centre.

“Primark has attracted millions of visitors to Westfield Stratford City, and the expansion of Westfield London has enabled us to provide large-scale modern retail space for this important retailer.”

Alongside Primark, luxury beauty retailer Space NK has taken an 820sq ft store, lingerie brand Bravissimo will take a 4800sq ft store, and Emperor will open its first 581sq ft UK store.

A number of retailers which currently have a presence in Westfield will expand their footprint thanks to the new extension.

These include H&M, Adidas, Boots, Lush, The White Company, Monsoon, Guess, UGG and Cath Kidston.

South African Retail Tycoon Loses Billionaire Status Amid Accounting Crisis

Christo Wiese. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South African retail tycoon Christo Wiese dropped from the billionaire ranks earlier on Thursday after the stock of Steinhoff International Holdings, the retail conglomerate where Wiese serves as the chairman, fell 80% in the course of two days. The company’s shares plunged after its CEO, Markus Jooste, resigned due to accounting irregularities, causing Wiese, who debuted on Forbes’ Billionaires list in 2011, to lose more than $3 billion of his net worth. He now sits on a fortune estimated at $742 million, according to Forbes Real Time Rankings.

Wiese made a fortune with his portfolio of publicly traded companies, most of which target rural and low-income areas with reasonable prices for furniture and home goods. “The business has basically been built on one slogan: Low prices you can trust. Just very, very low everyday prices,” the magnate told Forbes in a 2016 profile. Wiese said about Steinhoff: “I suppose we could be described as the Wal-Mart of Africa.”

The 76-year-old retailer also has an 18% stake in the largest retailer in Africa, Shoprite Holdings, which operates supermarkets, furniture stores and fast food outlets in 15 countries across Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Wiese also owns an estimated 23% of the retail conglomerate, Steinhoff, which had moved its listing in December 2015 from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange to focus on the European market. Steinhoff made up about 90% of Wiese’s net worth until its shares fell by more than 60% on Wednesday, followed by Thursday when the stock took a hit by 46%, erasing $743 million from the South African’s fortune. Wiese had borrowed heavily to purchase shares of Steinhoff; Forbes estimates that he holds about $2.4 billion in debt.

Since he joined the billionaires ranks in 2011 with a net worth of $1.6 billion, Wiese’s fortune fluctuated significantly. Forbes pegged the retail businessman’s fortune at $6.3 billion in March 2015, and two years later, at $5.9 billion, when he was the sixth-richest person in Africa.

Steinhoff released a statement this week, announcing that it has asked accounting firm PwC to investigate the accounting irregularities. As the company deals with the tumult, Wiese will temporarily be the executive chairman, the statement said. Wiese could not be reached for comment.

Retailers brace as Amazon launches in Australia

The arrival of Amazon in Australia poses a threat to a market already grappling with weak consumer confidence amid tepid wages growth© AFP/File LEON NEAL

US internet giant Amazon launched in Australia Tuesday in time for Christmas, with retailers scrambling to cut costs and boost their online offerings as they brace for an expected shake-up of the sector.

The arrival of the behemoth — which has grown from an online bookstore to one of the world’s largest firms — poses a threat to a market already grappling with weak consumer confidence amid tepid wages growth.

The American giant is offering “millions” of products from well-known Australian brands, as well as small and medium-sized Australian businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace.

They will be shipped from a warehouse in Melbourne.

Online shopping only accounts for between 8-13 percent of total sales in Australia, leaving room for growth in a sector estimated to be worth more than Aus$300 billion (US$227 billion) annually.

“We believe Amazon’s full entry into Australia will likely be a success,” UBS analysts said in a note ahead of the launch, adding that Australia was an “attractive market where online is under-penetrated”.

“Australian online shoppers spend the third-most globally of Amazon’s markets.”

Retail categories most likely to be hurt by Amazon’s entry include electrical, appliances, apparel and cosmetics, UBS added.

Faces challenges

The US firm was likely to absorb losses initially to boost its market share, IBISWorld senior analyst Kim Do said, pressuring the profitability and margins of its competitors.

Orders will be shipped from Amazon’s new 24,000-square-metre centre in Melbourne© AFP Mal Fairclough

Several top Australian retailers have recently succumbed to pressure from foreign giants such as Japan’s Uniqlo and Sephora of France, while others have cut back on bricks-and-mortar stores.

But Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman welcomed Amazon’s arrival, saying it provided an additional platform to boost sales.

“With over 300 million active users already on Amazon’s Marketplace, the majority of Australian retailers view Amazon’s platform as a supplementary channel to their current retail offering,” he said.

Some analysts warned Amazon would face challenges, such as low access to broadband and the large size of the island continent.

“A key reason why Australia lags behind its peers (in the development of the e-commerce sector) is the low access to broadband,” BMI Research, Fitch Group’s research arm, said in a note.

Broadband subscriptions in Australia stand at 57.3 per 100 people, rising to a forecast 60 in 2021, in contrast to markets like Singapore which is projected to have subscriptions of 75.3 per 100 that year, BMI said.

“Slower delivery speeds due to the large geographic size of the country and as a result, more costly delivery services… will not bode well for the success of an e-commerce company.”

Retail analyst Brian Walker said according to his research, Amazon was “producing a positive return” in just one-third of the countries it was operating in outside of the US.

“The rest are still in the various stages of growing. And that is the point about Amazon,” Walker told AFP. “They will take in our view of somewhere between two to five years to hit any form of scale in Australia.”

Amazon, a Seattle-based company, has expanded far beyond its roots as a digital bookstore, moving into the groceries and other retail sectors as well as cloud computing, streaming video, artificial intelligence and more.

It has become one of the most valuable companies on the planet alongside US tech rivals Apple, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet, and in October reported third-quarter profits of US$256 million.

The world’s biggest Starbucks just opened in China

Starbucks is going venti in China.

The Seattle-based coffee company opened a 30,000-square-foot store in Shanghai on Tuesday. It’s the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery — the company’s new retail offering — outside the U.S.

It’s also the largest Starbucks in the world, spanning an area nearly twice as large as the next biggest, a Roastery in Seattle that opened three years ago.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said the store would blend the company’s 46-year history in the coffee shop business with “China’s rich, diverse culture.”

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery opened Tuesday in Shanghai, China’s most populous city.

Could India be the next optimal market for investors?

Explore the answers at this month’s UBS Investor Forum.

China is a vital market for Starbucks (SBUX), according to John Gordon, a restaurant analyst at Pacific Management Consulting.

The company’s latest quarterly earnings were pretty gloomy, showing disappointing sales growth in a tough retail environment.

The one bright spot was China, which stood out as Starbucks’ fastest growing market. Sales there were up 8% compared with the same quarter last year.

The company is riding that wave and expanding aggressively in China, opening a new Starbucks store every 15 hours on average.

Even though Chinese are traditionally tea guzzlers and less hooked on coffee than Americans, the country’s growing ranks of upwardly mobile consumers still view Starbucks as an attractive, aspirational brand.

The company is playing to that perception with its new Shanghai shop.

“This is a show store,” Gordon said. “The point is to be in a highly, highly visible, touristy [area] where there’s foot traffic, offices and urban housing in order to promote the brand.

The new store will roast beans on site in a massive copper cask. There is also a special emphasis on tea, with a dedicated bar offering items like nitrogen cold brew tea.

In a sign of the times, Starbucks partnered with Chinese tech giant Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) to aggressively promote the Shanghai store opening online. Customers can book coffee tasting experiences on Alibaba’s e-commerce site and also buy special Starbucks Reserve coffee and related products tied to the store’s launch.

But the Shanghai roastery won’t hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long. The company has already inked a deal for an enormous 43,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery in Chicago that’s set to open in 2019.

Toys ‘R’ Us prepares to shut a quarter of its 105 UK stores

• News comes ahead of the busy Christmas period, a crucial time for high street

• Stores will remain open during the Christmas period and into the New Year

• In September, the company’s US arm filed for bankruptcy protection

Toys R Us is preparing to shut a quarter of its UK stores, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

The news comes ahead of the busy Christmas period, a crucial time for high street retailers which have been struggling to compete with online shopping.

The toy retailer, which has been a family favourite since the 1980s, could close at least 25 of its 105 stores.

The grim news comes ahead of the busy Christmas period, a crucial time for high street retailers which have been struggling to compete with online shopping

The company is preparing to launch a process called a company voluntary agreement as early as next week, which will require the approval of 75 per cent of its shareholders.

Toys R Us says its stores will remain open during the Christmas period and into the New Year, but the news paints a desperate picture for the business.

In September, the company’s US arm filed for bankruptcy protection in order to restructure debts of £3.7 billion.

The move was used as a guarantee that the retailer’s suppliers would be paid ahead of Christmas. At the time, the firm insisted that its UK stores were safe.

The toy retailer, which has been a family favourite since the 1980s, could close at least 25 of its 105 stores

Retail analyst Richard Hyman said: ‘The vast majority of UK retailers have too many stores. Many have closure programmes that tend to be modest.

‘When an event triggers a bigger intervention, as with Toys R Us, a more realistic closure plan can emerge and this is what we are seeing here.’

Toys R Us recorded a loss of £500,000 in the year to January. It is understood to have made a loss in seven of the past eight years.

Thomas Cook to close 50 high street shops

Thomas Cook has announced it plans to close high street branches. PIC: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Travel giant Thomas Cook is to close 50 high street shops, putting 400 jobs at risk, just weeks before Christmas.

The closures will affect Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel branded stores and will take place between now and March 2018.

Thomas Cook said that the affected stores are either in close proximity to other outlets or are located where a decline in footfall has impacted profitability.

A rise in online travel bookings was also flagged as a reason for the closures, with the group saying that just 47% holidays were booked in store this year while online sales in the UK grew by 27%.

Thomas Cook retail and customer experience director Kathryn Darbandi said: “We continually review our network of stores across the UK to make sure we’re offering customers the best of Thomas Cook, and it is clear that to succeed we have to operate as a truly omni-channel business.

“We’re one Thomas Cook to our customers and we will offer them a world-class service whichever channel they chose to book, be that retail or online.”

The announcement caps a torrid week for the high street, with RBS, Lloyds and Yorkshire Building Society all also outlining store closure plans and job cuts.

Last month, Thomas Cook revealed a 40% plunge in UK earnings as it suffered amid “challenging” trading and a hit from the weak pound.

The holiday giant reported underlying earnings of £52 million for the UK division in the year to September 30, down from £86 million the previous year after it was knocked by rising hotel prices, the pound and intense competition in the Spanish market.

It also said its costs were sent surging after facing a torrent of fraudulent illness claims, and after supporting 10,000 customers caught up in the devastating Hurricane Irma.

The group said it has launched action to return its UK division to profitable growth by slashing costs, taking legal action against illness fraudsters and focusing on fast-growing holiday destinations Turkey and Egypt as demand returns to the countries.