Monthly Archives: January 2018

Dubai launches world’s first floating drive-thru

Revealed: Dubai launches world’s first floating drive-thru

Aqua Pod allows sea-goers to enjoy food and beverages as they would from a traditional food truck

Dubai has revealed the Aqua Pod concept, the world’s first sustainable floating drive-thru, serving a range of burgers.

Sea-goers will be able to satisfy their hunger while at sea and pull up to enjoy food and beverages as they would from a traditional food truck.

This unique floating drive-through concept comes from 27-year-young, award-winning architect Ahmed Youssef, founder of Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) and creator of the Aqua Pod.

The first Aqua Pod, named Salt Bay, serves up a creative burgers menu, and has been created in collaboration with successful F&B entrepreneur Koussei Kurbaj.

“Realizing the value of the sea, we have set out to create an innovative platform which allows us to tap into the aquatic market, with sustainability at the core of every design decision to preserve the marine environment,” said Youssef.

“In Dubai, we are almost always surrounded by water; Emiratis and residents alike spend significant amount of time at sea. At AADS, we understand the value of the region’s shorelines and beyond, so we saw an untapped opportunity to bring an innovative concept to the UAE.”

He said the Aqua Pod boasts sustainability features, enabling it to act as a waste collector wherever it is located, eliminating the discharge of brine into the sea.

Largely running on electrical power, the Aqua Pod’s operations enable the production of clean water from the sea excluding any negative discharge, allowing this creation to exist without environmental harm, he added.

The Dubai Maritime City Authority has pledged its support by creating a new licence category for this unique floating facility, placing the Aqua Pod as a benchmark for future creations of its kind.

“The support of the DMCA has been instrumental in the Aqua Pod’s successful launch and is a testament to the UAE government’s forward-thinking commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly among youth,” said Youssef.

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M&S plans closure of 14 more UK stores

M&S plans closure of 14 more UK stores

British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday six UK stores would close by the end of April, while a further eight had been identified for closure.

M&S said in November 2016 it would reposition about 25 percent of its clothing and home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores. In November last year it said it was accelerating this programme.

The group said all staff from the six stores closing in April will move to nearby stores. It said 468 employees would be affected at the eight stores proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation.

M&S also said it had reassessed and reduced its “Simply Food” opening programme, and now only plans to open a total of 36 owned and franchise stores over the next six months.

It said these stores would create 1,200 jobs.

Bargain retail chain has eyes on Northern Ireland expansion

Discount retailer B&M will open two new stores in Northern Ireland in the coming months as part of its UK expansion plans.

The retailer is set to take over a former JJB Store at Drumkeen Retail Park in south Belfast as well as a opening a new unit in Ballynahinch.

The Drumkeen store will open on March 9, creating more than 25 jobs.

While the retailer would not confirm the opening of another Co Down store, job vacancies on its website for a ‘new Ballynahinch store’ indicate that it has interests in a new branch there.

“We try to open 50-60 stores a year so we’re always looking for new sites, which means recruitment can sometimes search areas to see if the local community are interested,” said a spokeswoman.

Speaking about the Belfast store, which is facing Forestside shopping centre, she added: “We are all really excited to get the doors open and welcome our new customers through the door in a few weeks.”

Spar International to open 40 stores in Saudi by 2020

Foot retail giant to open eight stores in Riyadh this year

Foot retail chain Spar International has unveiled plans to open 40 stores in Saudi Arabia by 2020, as part of a partnership with Riyadh-based Al Sadhan Group to bring the brand to the kingdom.

The firm opened three Spar stores in Riyadh over the weekend, with five more scheduled this year, bringing the total number of stores in the country to eight.

The stores are aimed at a mid-to premium customer base, with competitive pricing offered for global and local products.

Managing director of Spar International, Tobias Wasmuhtm said a growing young population and rising GDP has resulted in steady growth in Saudi Arabia’s retail market.

Spar is one of the world’s largest food retail chains, with over 12,500 stores worldwide and global retail sales of €33.1 billion (2016). The Netherlands-based group has existing stores across the region in the UAE and Oman.

As for Al Sadhan Group, it is a family owned business that operates in sectors ranging from real estate to facilities management and retail.

Chairman of the group, Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Al Sadhan, said the partnership is in line with the kingdom’s 2030 vision.

Top franchising trends for 2018

©Ian Allenden via 123RF

The franchising industry has steadily shown adaptability to the tough economy by growing the sector 3,6% over the past four years – from contributing an estimated 9,7% to the country’s GDP in 2014 to its recent figure of 13,3%. This trend is expected to continue on the same trajectory in the short-term and could possibly improve should SA see better economic growth.

According to a survey conducted by the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA), 78% of most franchisors are optimistic about future growth in their businesses. Although this translates to positive sentiments, the franchising is still, like other businesses, also vulnerable to the economic headwinds. As a result, franchisors need to keep abreast of their operating environment.

Here, Cronje shares top trends to look out for in 2018:

The significance of online and social media

Traditional marketing is no longer the magic bullet as more people are starting to use social media to interact with brands, whether to express anger, inquire or to show appreciation. It is no longer about the question of should a business use social media or not, it is now more about how a business uses social media to better serve its customers.

Multi-brand franchisees

More franchisees are starting to jump into the bandwagon of having several franchisees on their belt not just having one, doing this helps to improve cash flow as well as the protection of the ups and downs in business.

Health and education

According to FASA, these two sectors are rapidly growing, because more people are starting to become health conscious, while on the other hand education is a priority for South Africa. As a result, there is a strong demand for these sectors.

Increased customization

Consumers have gained control of what they want; it is no longer about what do you have on the menu, it is now about how your product or service can be tailor-made to what a customer really wants. For example, Brian Altriche, founder of RocoMamas with 61 franchise outlets is of the view that his business model clearly responds to the essence of this trend by allowing consumers to create their own burgers as they want.

On-demand products/ services

In this fast-paced environment, customers control their experiences by wanting products or services that speak to this need. Franchisors who want to expand their business should start exploring this trend.

“2018 will no doubt bring its challenges, however for every challenge there is a window of opportunity to explore. We are advising franchisors to scrutinise these trends carefully, it can definitely give them a boost for 2018,” concludes Cronje.

Protesters Trash H&M Shops in South Africa Following Racist Ad

An apology from international retail giant H&M was not enough to quell the widespread anger over a promotional image that many have described as racist because it shows a black child wearing a sweatshirt with the words, “Coolest monkey in the jungle.”

Groups of protesters in South Africa answered the call from an opposition party to demonstrate at six H&M stores in the country. Many of the protesters were dressed in red that is the signature of the Economic Freedom Fighters as they proceeded to ransack some of the stores, tearing down displays and throwing clothes around in the process.

Number of years it took for each product to reach 50million users

Superdry Sport to design Invictus UK team kit for next year’s Games

as agreed a deal to design and provide free bespoke technical sports kit and team clothing for UK Team competitors and supporters at next year’s Invictus Games.

Invictus Games Toronto 2017, UK Team supported by Help for Heroes

Under the deal, Superdry Sport’s in-house team of designers and technicians will create full technical competition wear for the competitors taking part in the international adaptive sporting competition in Sydney.

The Superdry Sport team will work with a selected group of previous competitors, drawing upon their guidance and expertise to ensure the specialist requirements of the Team are met. Superdry Sport will also make training and team leisure clothing. All the specially designed kit will be available for the full UK Delegation – covering competitors, family and friends and staff and Games guests.

The deal has been agreed with the UK Delegation to the Invictus Games, which is a partnership between the Ministry of Defence, Help for Heroes (H4H) and The Royal British Legion (TRBL). H4H are responsible for training, selecting and developing the UK Team, with TRBL taking responsibility for the Friends and Family.

The Invictus Games is an international adaptive multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick service personnel and veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing. Launching the first Invictus Games in London in 2014, the Prince said that the Games would “demonstrate the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and demonstrate life beyond disability”.

At next year’s Games in Australia more than 500 competitors from 17 nations are expected to take part in 10 different adaptive sports. The Games will take place from 20 – 27 October with events being held across Greater Sydney, including Sydney Olympic Park and on and around Sydney Harbour.

The news follows the significant expansion of Superdry Sport’s offering in stores and online and the opening of the first standalone Sports shops. Superdry Sport is designed to push the boundaries; combining extreme colours and graphics with pioneering fabrics, moisture wicking technology and impeccable attention to detail both inside and out.

Euan Sutherland, chief executive of Superdry, said: “The Invictus Games has shown how the power of sport can help injured service personnel, veterans and their families and inspire us all. At Superdry we are very proud to have been chosen to provide the clothing for the UK team and the wider delegation. Our Superdry Sport range represents everything that Superdry stands for – great design, technical expertise, attention to detail and constant innovation.”Sensitivity: Operational

Jayne Kavanagh, UK Team Chef de Mission, said: “We are incredibly pleased and proud to be working alongside Superdry to continue supporting the recovery journeys of those whose lives have been affected by injury or illness.

“The legacy of the Invictus Games is clear to see through the fact that more hopefuls than ever before have registered their interest for a place on the 2018 UK Team. The Invictus Games in London, Orlando and Toronto demonstrated how powerful sport is as a means of rebuilding confidence as well as aiding physical and mental recovery. The Games will continue to get bigger and it is important the UK Team and supporters are comfortable in the kit they wear, something we are confident Superdry Sport will deliver.

“Through offering support to our veterans and service personnel on their Invictus journey, Superdry Sport are helping to empower them to look beyond illness and injury, regain their purpose, reach their potential and have a positive impact on society.”

Bernie Broad, a former Army Major with the Grenadier Guards, was the UK Team Captain at the Invictus Games 2017 in Toronto. Bernie lost both his legs below the knee due to injuries sustained in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2009. He underwent four and a half years of extensive surgery whilst at the same time undergoing rehabilitation at DMRC at Headley Court.

Speaking about the announcement, he said: “The Invictus Games empower and inspire all of us as competitors to be the best version of ourselves. Having a globally-recognised British brand endorse the British team will give athletes an extra sense of pride when they wear the kit and represent their country. Additionally, there will be added motivation to show the world that we can push our limits and that we can still achieve our personal bests in a life post injury or illness.”

Nyden: H&M’s new affordable luxury brand

Introducing Nyden: H&M’s new affordable luxury brand

H&M has announced it will be adding another brand to its portfolio in early 2018 aimed at millennials and co-created with “influencers”.

The first /Nyden influencers will include Instagram-famous tattoo artist Doctor Woo and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace. The aim of working with influencers is to ensure the brand and product resonates more with its target market.

The collaborators will work with /Nyden at their design centre in Los Angeles using a library of pre-developed fabrics, designed by H&M according to market data on trends. Products will be developed in three to four weeks, produced in limited quantities and will be priced in the “affordable luxury” range.

The new brand will be headed up by creative director, Oscar Olsson, who believes that the future of fashion is in the ‘tribes’ who decide to wear it, rather than designers dictating what consumers should wear.

H&M already incorporates a number of sub-brands aimed at different markets including COS, weekday, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Monki, and ARKET.

Al-Futtaim buys M&S retail business in Hong Kong & Macau

United Kingdom : Al-Futtaim buys M&S retail business in Hong Kong & Macau – Apparel News United Kingdom

Al-Futtaim has acquired the retail business of Marks and Spencer (M&S) in Hong Kong and Macau. The sale completed on December 30, 2017 after several discussions, now sees Al-Futtaim become the new sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau. Al-Futtaim has worked in partnership with M&S since 1998 when the first M&S store was opened in Dubai.

“We have substantially reshaped our international business, which has improved profitability and positioned us for growth. As one of the world’s leading retail operators, with strong logistics capabilities and local expertise, Al-Futtaim is the ideal partner for us to develop and grow our business in Hong Kong and Macau,” said Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer’s international director.

“We are delighted to strengthen our long-term partnership with M&S and expand Al-Futtaim’s international footprint to Hong Kong and Macau. Al-Futtaim looks forward to building on our solid foundations as we continue to enrich our customers’ lives and aspirations through the provision of quality products and services in Hong Kong and Macau,” Stephen Rayfield, vice president M&S and sports & lifestyle division at Al-Futtaim said.

The sale follows M&S’s strategic review of its international business in November 2016, where M&S proposed to have a greater focus on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships and operate with fewer wholly-owned markets.

Al-Futtaim operates 43 M&S stores across seven markets in the Middle East, as well as in Singapore and Malaysia. Most recently Al-Futtaim has extended the reach of M&S’s popular chilled food to three markets, and will shortly be opening the first standalone M&S food store in the Middle East. (RR)

Co-op to open 100 new stores in 2018

Co-op to open 100 new stores in 2018 as it continues expansion

The Co-op has confirmed plans to open 100 new stores across the UK this year, creating an estimated 1,600 jobs, as part of a continued drive to expand its footprint across the country.

The retailer is spending more than £160m on new store launches, with more than 20 set to open in London, 10 in Wales and 18 in Scotland. The group will also invest in major renovations for around 150 existing outlets.

Elsewhere in the country, stores will be appearing in Blackpool, Bristol, Chesterfield, Crewe, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton and York.

Co-op’s rapid growth campaign comes as rival retailers, including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, have scaled back plans to open new stores amid worries about shifting consumer habits, with customers increasingly preferring to shop online.

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said the chain was “positively responding” to the changes occurring within the dynamic retail sector, with the food business going “from strength to strength in what is clearly a challenging retail market”.

Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s director of portfolio and development, said the expansion plans for 2018 meant that the Co-op was on track to have opened at least 100 new stores in each of three consecutive years.

Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl are also rapidly expanding their networks, having filed at least 90 planning ­applications for new supermarkets in 2017, according to figures compiled by Barbour ABI. By stark comparison, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons had together filed a total of just 11 by October of last year.

In November, the Co-op struck a deal to supply 2,500 Costcutter shops across the UK from spring 2018. The contract win came just two weeks after the Co-op narrowly won approval from Nisa members for its £143m takeover of the convenience chain.

Hamleys opens biggest store

Hamleys opens biggest store on the planet

British toy giant Hamleys has opened its largest worldwide flagship store in Beijing spanning over 115,000sq ft.

The 257-year-old store opened the doors its new location just two days before Christmas, accompanied by an exclusive parade to mark the occasion. The British ambassador Barbara Woodward and Sanpower chairman Yafei Yuan.

Marking its third store in China, Hamleys new store will be located in Beijing’s sought after Wangfujing area alongside the country’s most prestigious shops

It will span five stories and display thousands of toys taking cues from its well tested central London store. Thousands of customers are also expected to visit the room daily.

Hamleys store opening coincides with a population boom in China, with childbirth seeing a 7.6 per cent rise and creating a high demand for toys. This has seen sales volumes of toys and games in China more than triple over since 2011, rising more than 20 per cent every year.

The retailer now trades from 25 countries across the globe including China, Ukraine, India, Russia and Germany.

Apple to open first Saudi stores

US giant Apple said to be in talks to open first Saudi stores

Tech major is reportedly in licensing talks with Riyadh; first Apple store could open in 2019

US tech giant Apple is reportedly in licensing talks with Saudi Arabia with a view to open its first stores in the Gulf kingdom.

The maker of the iPhone, which sells products in Saudi Arabia via third parties, is in discussions with SAGIA, Saudi Arabia’s foreign investment authority, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

They said a licensing agreement is expected by February, with the first retail store targeted for 2019.

The sources said that Amazon is also in talks with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia, adding that discussions are in earlier stages.

Both companies declined to comment, while SAGIA was not immediately available to answer questions about the discussions, Reuters said.