Category Archives: #international

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.

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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.

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.

Christopher Bailey to leave Burberry by the end of 2018

London – The man who has been credited with transforming Burberry into the UK’s leading luxury fashion house is set to leave his role. President and Chief Creative Officer at Burberry, Christopher Bailey, is set to leave the company by the end of 2018, marking the end of his 17-year tenure.

The heritage fashion house announced Bailey’s impending departure on Tuesday morning, as Burberry is set to begin the next decade of its journey under the supervision of its new leader, Chief Executive Officer Marco Gobbetti. Bailey, who is set to pursue new, unnamed creative projects, will remain on board as President and Chief Creative Officer until March 31, 2018, after which he will step down from the company board. He will, however, remain with the company in a transitional advisory role, offering his “full support” to CEO Gobbetti and the rest of the team until he finally exits the fashion house.

“The decision to leave was not an easy one”

Christopher Bailey, President and Chief Creative Officer at Burberry

“It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years,” said Bailey in a statement. “Burberry encapsulates so much of what is great about Britain. As an organization, it is creative, innovative and outward looking. It celebrates diversity and challenges received wisdoms. It is over 160 years old, but it has a young spirit. It is part of the establishment, but it is always changing, and always learning. It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one.”

“I do truly believe, however, that Burberry’s best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco. I would like to thank all my colleagues as well as Sir John Peace and the Board for all their support and faith in me over the years. I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition.”

Christopher Bailey to exit joint role as President and Chief Creative Officer at Burberry

Since joining the team at Burberry back in 2001 as design director, Bailey has become one of the main driving forces behind the luxury fashion house’s transformation. Within the span of 17 years, Burberry has grown from a small-licensed outerwear business into one of the industry’s leading global luxury brands, best known for its trench coats and innovative marketing campaigns. Together with Angela Ahrendts, former CEO at Burberry, Bailey established the Burberry Foundation, a dedicated initiative to help young people achieve their goals. Later in October 2013, he was named as Ahrendts successor, ahead of her departure to Apple in May 2014. He remained in his current role as Chief Creative Officer and became the company’s first CEO and creative head.

In his joint role, Bailey is said to have continued to push the boundaries of creation and innovation at Burberry, leading the way for the brand’s ongoing elevation and turning the luxury fashion house into the industry’s digital leader and overseeing the reinvention of the company’s design and internal structure. He was the mastermind behind Burberry’s key flagship store on Regent Street and built a highly talented and experience creative team to continue the brand’s story. However, in July 2016, the company announced that Marco Gobbetti, CEO of Céline, would be the next CEO of Burberry, taking over the reins from Bailey in 2017, who transitioned into the role of President while remaining in his role as Chief Creative Officer.

p> Bailey worked together with the Board to create a new leadership structure before he was succeeded by Gobbetti this July. Since this summer, Gobbetti and Bailey are said to have worked together to develop a strategy for the next chapter of Burberry’s growth, sharing a strong ambition to drive the success of the Burberry brand while strengthening the leadership team. Gobbetti understands and supports Bailey’s decision to leave his joint role at Burberry, and will now begin the process of finding a successor for his role. “Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the Company’s success in that period,” said Gobbetti.

“We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand”

Marco Gobbetti, Chief Executive Officer, Burberry

“While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry gives me enormous confidence in our future. We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners, and our shareholders.” Sir John Peace, Chairman at Burberry thanked Bailey for his part in transforming Burberry, adding that he leaves the company in “the very best of hands. with a strong team and culture in place, led by Marco as CEO.”

“I have total confidence that Marco’s vision and leadership, with the excellent management team in place, will keep Burberry on the forefront creatively, digitally and financially, creating further value for shareholders in the next exciting stage of our evolution,” added Peace. Full details concerning all payments made to Bailey concerning his role as director will be revealed in the Directors’ Remuneration Report in the company’s annual report for the year ended March 31, 2018, added Burberry. In the past company shareholders have voted against the luxury fashion houses remuneration report concerning pay deals for Bailey. However, Bailey has decided to surrender various awards held by him under the company’s share plan as he is set to step down from the board and exit the company by the end of 2018.

Following the announcement concerning Bailey’s exit, company shares were down 1.46 percent at 10:00 am, making the company’s stock the worst performer on a rising FTSE 100 index. Bailey’s exit comes after a period of rapid expansion, during which the company has struggled with stagnate saled over the recent years. Bailey is set to leave big shoes to fill however, notes Charlotte Pearce, Retail Analyst at Globaldata. “Since becoming Creative Director in 2004, Bailey has contributed to total revenue growth of 2 billion pounds and has helped to regenerate the brand, turning it back into the aspirational, iconic label that it once was,” commented Pearce.

“With just over a year until Bailey leaves, there is plenty of time for Marco Gobbetti, who took over as CEO in July, to find the right candidate to fill Bailey’s shoes. It is crucial that Burberry finds someone with respect for the brand’s British heritage but is able to further evolve the label creatively and bring it into a new era.”

Photo 1 Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP

Photo 2 Credit: On the set of Mr.Burberry, Christopher Bailey with Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen, Burberry Facebook

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Kappahl has announced the appointment of Peter Andersson as the company’s new CFO, effective April 2018. The company said in a statement that Andersson brings many years as CFO of AB Lindex, where he currently is director of expansion.

“I am very pleased with the recruitment of Peter. His extensive expertise and experience from retail will be a great asset to Kappahl”, said Danny Feltmann, Kappahl’s President and CEO in a media release.

From April 2018, Andersson will lead and develop the financial work of the Kappahl Group. The company added that Andersson has many years of international experience from the retail business from strategic and operational perspective as well as qualified work in financial and risk management. He has previously worked for ICA Handlarna AB.

Kappahl was founded in Gothenburg in 1953 and is a leading fashion chain in the Nordic region with 370 Kappahl and Newbie stores, including an online platform, in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and Great Britain. The company’s sales for 2016/2017 totalled 4.9 billion Swedish krona (0.5 billion dollars).

Debenhams appoints David Adams as non-exec director

He will join the audit and remuneration committees and will become chairman of the audit committee in January 2018 when Mark Rolfe steps down from the Debenhams board.

With 30 years retail experience, Adams is a former finance director and deputy chief executive of House of Fraser and has also been chairman of Jessops and Moss Bros and a non-executive director at HMV.

He is currently chairman of Conviviality and a non-executive director at Halfords.

Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of Debenhams, said: “We are delighted to welcome David Adams to Debenhams. He has had a long and distinguished career in the retail and consumer goods industries. His knowledge of the consumer and leisure sectors as well as his financial credentials will be a great addition to the board.”

Deacons plans sale of Mr Price franchise to SA firm

The firm’s chief executive, Muchiri Wahome, says the move comes after South Africa-based Mr Price Group Ltd approached Deacons with a proposal to purchase the chain of stores.

“The proposed transaction will be subject to various conditions that include requisite approvals from regulatory authorities and the shareholders of Deacons through a shareholders’ meeting to be convened once the sale agreement has been finalized,” said Mr Wahome in a statement yesterday.

Mr Price Group Ltd plans to purchase the Mr Price Home and Mr Price apparel brands which have been operating in Kenya since 2007, effectively ending Deacons’ 10-year franchise deal with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed South African company.

The deal, if approved by regulatory authorities, will see the South African firm take over all 11 Mr Price Home and Mr Price apparel stores in Kenya.

The proposed deal comes amid a 12 per cent drop in earnings for the Johannesburg-based firm, marking its first drop in annual profit since 2001 as South African consumers slowed purchases in a struggling economy.

Deacons suffered a similar fate this year after posting a half-year net loss of Sh180 million citing a tough operating environment. Net loss for the period (June 30) deepened by 242.81 per cent as inflation ate into the spending power of consumers amid rising expenses.

Deacons’ principal business is to operate retail establishments including franchise and department stores selling ladies, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories among other items in East Africa.

Deacons’ exclusive franchise deal with South Africa’s luxury fashion brand Woolworths ended in 2013 after the multinational took full ownership of its Kenyan subsidiary.

“We had a franchise (agreement) then it moved to a joint venture and Woolworths will now be an independent brand run by them (Woolworths Holdings),” said Mr Wahome at the time.

H&M profits dive 20% on heavy retail discounts

Swedish fashion retailer H&M said third-quarter profits were adversely affected by heavy discounting of the retailer’s summer collection, in a bid to boost sales over the warmer months.

The world’s second-largest clothing retailer said net profits fell 20 percent in the three-month period ending August 2017. Net profit in the third quarter fell from SKr4.8bn a year earlier to SKr3.8bn ($470m). Sales increased 5 percent to SKr59.4bn.

Moreover, in the first nine months of its business year, sales rose just 4 per cent in local currencies. The fast-fashion firm’s new annual target is 10-15 per cent growth, according to Karl-Johan Persson, chief executive of the family-controlled group.

Persson told the Financial Times he was hopeful that the company could reach the target next year. “It is an ambitious goal but it’s realistic. We have to be humble not having reached it this year or last. Also it is a challenging market,” he added.

Helping H&M recover, the affordable European retailer – who’s suffered at the hands of online stores Asos and Zalando, as well as cheaper fashion chains such as Primark – plans to close 90 stores globally in 2017. In return, H&M will focus on its e-commerce.

The group said online sales should increase by at least a quarter in 2017. It added that in some markets, online sales already make up 25-30 percent of its revenues.

H&M plans to invest more in online shopping, including giving customers different and faster delivery options and increasing the product range. It is also investing in its supply chain in an attempt to reduce the amount of inventory it holds and cut the time it takes to get products into shops.

H&M recently opened its first shops in Colombia, Iceland, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. It operates more than 380 stores worldwide.

Gucci opens new Gucci Kids store in Dubai at Dubai Mall

Italian luxury house of Gucci has recently opened a new children’s clothing store in Dubai at the Dubai Mall. The store features Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s signature style. The store stocks the complete range of products for kids of the brand.

Sweaty Betty has opened its first European flagship at No. 1 Carnaby Street in London

Fitness brand Sweaty Betty has opened its first European flagship at No. 1 Carnaby Street in London. The prominent 204 sq m store is located at the south entrance to Carnaby Street and is the result of the brand upscaling from its existing store on Beak Street where it has been a resident since 2002.

’19 years and over 50 shops later, I’m so excited to introduce our flagship: No. 1 Carnaby. We spent years dreaming up this concept, I have even handpicked all of the partners to ensure they had a similar value and ethos to the Sweaty Betty brand, to live a balanced life that goes beyond fitness,’ says Tamara Hill-Norton, founder of Sweaty Betty.

The shop is arranged over ground and basement floors allowing the brand to expand and offer its full clothing, accessories and equipment collections, as well as housing a studio space for exclusive wellness events, giving a wider customer experience.

‘Our brief was to design a location filled with fashion, food, fitness and beauty, where you could come with your friends do a workout, grab a smoothie bowl, shop and get pampered,’ says a spokesperson on the Sweaty Betty in-house store design team. ‘Design wise we wanted to encourage our customer to spend time in store, bringing the fun side of our brand alive with unexpected touches including neon and graphic illustrations. My favourite example of this is the lockers in The Studio; from the outside they are really minimal and chic, then once you open the door you’ll find a fun feminist quote hand-illustrated by Lo Parkin.’

The design team wanted to stay true to the brand using its signature grey tones and fluoro pops that it has become known for. The space is really industrial, so to take No.1 Carnaby to the next level, the designers used bright neon installations throughout the space inspired by the lights of Soho. In the shop area itself, the shopping experience has been simplified using blackened steel fixtures and touches of marble and concrete.

As the main concept of the space was to create an area where women would come and want to hang out, homely touches were added, including hanging plants, oak furniture and lots of cushions and rugs.

‘In retail spaces designers now have to think, is this Instagrammable? At Sweaty Betty we love motivational quotes, so you will notice these throughout the store; on a mirror, or a big neon, as they are a huge part of our brand. To ensure these stayed true to our look, we used stencilling for a premium, long-lasting finish,’ says the spokesperson.

‘Our visual merchandising in-store has really elevated our retail space, we love telling a story of the collection with a selection of beautiful imagery, typography and at the moment a vase filled with eucalyptus all displayed on a shelf like a collage. You’ll also see this reflected in the windows; to launch our new Power Leggings we’ve got three girls acting out the store through really fun props.’

The café area has a huge communal table and hanging chairs, to encourage customers to sit and enjoy the space. ‘We’ve tried to think of everything, from organic Bamford products in the showers to specially designed cups in Farm Girl to ensure the ultimate customer experience.’

Sweaty Betty joins other recent additions including Urban Decay, G.H. Bass and Estee Edit who have all chosen Carnaby for their first global or UK flagship store.

Topshop and Topman New Zealand to close stores

Topshop and Topman New Zealand to close stores

Topshop and Topman New Zealand are closing its Auckland and Wellington store  after a failed attempt to find a buyer for the fast-fashion retailer.

Topshop and Topman is operated by Top Retail in New Zealand, with the firm entering voluntary administration in early September on the back of consecutive losses.

The UK-based retailer came to New Zealand in 2014, with Kiwi clothing firm Barkers, Christchurch property investor Philip Carter and fashion designer Karen Walker taking the rights to own, develop and operate the brand locally.

Topman/Topshop opened on Auckland’s Queen Street and on Wellington’s Lambton Quay, with plans to add two more stores as well as an online store by the end of the year 2017.

Conor McElhinney and Kare Johnstone of McGrathNicol said in a statement that “after conducting a detailed assessment of the business and following conclusion of a sale process for the business and assets in whole or in part”, the stores would close after 1 October 2017, but could close earlier if they run out of stock, according to local media.

“It is with regret that we have had to inform staff today that the business is unable to continue trading and that Topshop and Topman will no longer have a presence in New Zealand from Sunday,” the receivers said.

“We would like to thank the directors of Top Retail for their support, which has enabled gift cards to be redeemed during the receivership trading period, and staff for their commitment since our appointment.”

Topshop’s Australian arm was put into receivership in May 2017.

COS to open online mall in Korea

Hyundai Department Store announced that it will open COS brand mall at The Hyundai.com.

COS also launched the official online store in Korea. Price at online mall is the same as the offline mall.

COS is a fashion brand that offers a collection of high quality at reasonable prices based on modern and practical design.

Launched in London, UK in 2007, it currently operates stores in 35 countries around the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, and is being sold online in 20 countries.

In Korea, there are 11 offline stores, including Hyundai Department Store Trade Center and Pangyo Branch.

Hyundai Department Store expects to have more young customers in their 20s and 30s, which are the main target of online shopping, through the launch of the course brand on Hyundai.com.

According to the analysis of the sales by age group of COS in Hyundai Department Store trade center and Pangyo branch, 30s (31.9%) and 20s (28.8%) were ranked first and second respectively.

The official of Hyundai Department Store said, “As competition in online shopping mall gets tougher, sole products that do not sell at other online malls are attracting attention as major competitiveness.”

“We will introduce various brands to offer shopping experiences for customers in the future,” he added.

In the meanwhile, H&M Group’s premium spa brand, & Other Stories, is also in the process of launching an online store. In 2017, & Other Stories opened three stores in Apgujeong, Starfield Hanam and Starfield Goyang in Seoul.

Since & Other Stories launched the first online mall in2013, it is currently operating in 14 countries and Korea becomes 15th online selling country.

The online mall is scheduled to open in Korea this autumn and the date is not yet confirmed.

Amazon invests $27.6m in Indian retailer

CEO Jeff Bezos has allocated $5 billion toward Amazon’s expansion in India

Amazon.com  is set to buy a 5 percent stake in Indian retailer Shoppers Stop, valued at $27.6 million (1.79 billion-rupee), as the US company steps up efforts to gain ground in the fast-growing consumer market.

Shoppers Stop’s board approved the issuance of 4.4 million shares to a unit of Amazon for 407.78 rupees ($6.28) each, the Mumbai-based company said in an emailed statement late Saturday. As part of the deal, Amazon experience centres – which let customers test out the products available online – will be set up across Shoppers Stop’s network of 80 bricks-and-mortar stores in India.

CEO Jeff Bezos has allocated $5 billion toward Amazon’s expansion in India as it seeks to secure an advantage over local rivals in the South Asian nation. The e-commerce giant has a lot riding in the country after its washout in China, where the dominance of Alibaba Group and other domestic players made Amazon’s entry difficult.

Shoppers Stop, which sells cosmetics to clothing and home appliances at its outlets, will have an exclusive flagship store on Amazon’s Indian site where it will retail its entire portfolio of more than 400 brands, the company said. Shares of Shoppers Stop have gained 45 percent this year and closed at 418.1 rupees on Friday in Mumbai.

The deal will be Amazon’s first investment in a publicly traded retailer in India.

Max Mara opens redesigned flagship store in New York

Max Mara opens redesigned flagship store in New York at Madison Avenue

The opening event of the Max Mara flagship in New York unveiled not only the stunning reimagined space, but saw the release of a special edition mini Whitney Bag. While the bag boasts vibrant, jewel-tone colors and a luxe velvet material, the newly conceptualized store boasts approximately 5,000 square feet in the Victorian-style building located on Madison Avenue and 68th Street.

The refurbished space, designed by Duccio Grassi Architects, highlights the spirit of the Max Mara brand through a manifestation of its Italian heritage and contemporary energy.

Toys ‘R’ Us forced to file for US bankruptcy

Toys ‘R’ Us forced to file for US bankruptcy

September 20 2017 2:30 AM

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Toys R Us Stock

US retail giant Toys ‘R’ Us filed has for bankruptcy, under a debt load piled on the business in a private-equity buyout a decade ago.

The company listed debt and assets of more than $1bn each in Chapter 11 documents at the US Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia.

Prior to filing, the chain secured more than $3bn in financing from lenders including a JPMorgan-led bank syndicate and certain existing lenders to fund operations while it restructures, according to a company statement.

The funding is subject to court approval.

US debtor-in-position loans allow a company to tap new lenders who get preferential security, while it goes through Chapter 11, helping the business trade throughout its insolvency process.

Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t announce plans to close stores, and said its locations across the globe would continue normal operations.

“Like any retailer, decisions about any future store closings – and openings – will continue to be made based on what makes the best sense for the business,” a spokesman said.

The bankruptcy filing is the latest blow to a brick-and-mortar retail industry reeling from store closures, sluggish footfall and the rise of Amazon.com.

A dozen big US retailers have filed for creditor protection this year. (Bloomberg)

Monki announces new UK store openings

Following the openings of Arket and Weekday on London’s Regent Street in August, parent company H&M has announced plans to open two new Monki stores, one at Westfield Stratford and the other at Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. Both stores will adopt the Monki World concept, leading customers into an imaginery universe that has inspired 115 stores.

With fitting rooms decorated across a spectrum of rainbow colours, Sea of Scallops tables, shimmering features and exclusive Monki World facade, the new stores will offer the full storytelling experience.

Although technically the Swedish fashion brand’s debut in the Scottish market, the 480 sq m Glasgow store will cater to an existing fan base that already gets its fashion fix online.

The 370 sq m Westfield Stratford store will mark Monki’s third retail space in England, alongside its Carnaby Street and Bristol stores.

UAE’s Al-Futtaim said to be in talks to buy M&S business in Hong Kong, Macau

UK retail giant Marks & Spencer reportedly in discussions over deal for Hong Kong and Macau operations

UAE-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim is reportedly in talks with UK retail giant Marks & Spencer for the possible purchase and franchising of its business in Hong Kong and Macau.

The UK’s Financial Times said the talks could see Al-Futtaim become the sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau, adding that M&S has operated in Hong Kong since 1988 and has 27 stores in the city.

Al-Futtaim has worked with M&S since it opened the British retailer’s first store in Dubai in 1998.

The deal covers only the company’s retail business and its Hong Kong sourcing operations will remain wholly-owned, the FT added.

Burberry to open new flagship store in Knightsbridge, London

The ew store is part of the first phase of The Knightsbridge Estate K1 development (1, Sloane Street) and will see Burberry relocating its local flagship from nearby Brompton Road where it currently trades from twin men’s and women’s shops. The new move to a site not far from Harvey Nichols will give it the chance to consolidate all men’s and women’s product into one flagship location on four floors and covering an area of over 15,000 sq ft.

The fashion brand and the property company have worked together before with Chelsfield having been responsible for the label’s Bond Street flagship back in 2005.

Despite a raft of openings in recent years, Burberry is carefully targeting its investment at present and only recently scrapped plans to revive the Temple Works mill in Leeds as well as delaying a decision about building a new factory on a neighbouring site. It is also reported to be looking at its London offices with a view to cutting costs.

But the brand is clearly still investing where it can see major returns. It has invested heavily refining its product offer, adding new star bags that appear to be making a major impact on its balance sheet. And it has licensed its beauty ops to specialist Coty, as well as opening a China-specific website.

The new Knightsbridge store is part of this very focused strategy with the area being a key beneficiary of the booming luxury tourist trade in London.

Burberry new store London at 1 Sloane Street

Radley to target America with Macy’s deal

British handbag and accessories brand Radley is set to return to the American market, following its withdrawal six years ago, after signing an exclusive deal with US department store chain Macy’s.

The deal, will see Radley opening concessions in 100 Macy’s stores by Christmas, with as many as 300 possible within the next 12 months, as the handbag brand attempts to crack the US market, according to reports in The Times.

“It was poorly thought through and the execution was even worse,” chief executive Justin Stead said in an interview with The Times. “This time around we’re going back with a very well thought through plan. I think it’s going to pay huge dividends.”

The move follows the private equity-backed company selling its products on TV shopping channel QVC, which was declared a success as Stead told the newspaper that during its hour-long show it sold out of its 750,000 dollars of product in just 30 minutes.

Acquired by private equity house Bregal Freshstream last year, it said at the time it saw “significant potential” in expanding Radley to the international market.

Radley was founded in 1998 and has around 32 standalone UK stores, it is also sold in John Lewis, House of Fraser and other department stores and independent retailers, as well as via its website.

New Look chief Kristiansen to step down

The chief executive of New Look is to step down just over two years after his turnaround of the high street fashion chain paved the way for its £2bn sale.

Sky News has learnt that Anders Kristiansen is to leave the company, which is majority-owned by South African investor Brait, in the coming weeks.

His departure is expected to be announced on Friday, according to a person close to New Look.

Mr Kristiansen, who previously ran a major Danish retailer’s huge Chinese operations and also held a senior job at Staples, the office supplies group, is expected to move to an undisclosed role elsewhere in the coming months.

His nearly-five year tenure at the company was characterised by significant expansion of its store network in China, where New Look is targeting 500 shops over the next few years, and the stellar growth of its digital business into the UK’s third-largest online fashion brand.

He has also presided over a recent shake-up of his executive team, recruiting Paula Dumont Lopez from Zara-owner Inditex to sharpen its product offering.

Brait’s takeover of New Look in 2015 cemented the presence in the UK retail and leisure sectors of South Africa’s Wiese family, which also has interests in chains such as Iceland and Virgin Active.

News of the change in leadership at New Look will nevertheless come during a challenging period for the mid-market clothing retailer and many other British fashion retailers hit by weakening consumer spending and the weakness of sterling.

Earlier this month, New Look reported a 7.5% fall in UK like-for-like sales in the quarter to June 24, with underlying operating profit declining sharply to just over £12m.

Mr Kristiansen is expected to be replaced temporarily by Danny Barrasso, New Look’s UK and Ireland managing director, while its board hunts a permanent successor.

The company now trades from nearly 600 outlets in the UK and almost 300 more in international markets – including more than 125 in China.

Announcing the results this month, Mr Kristiansen described the UK as a “difficult” market, saying: “As expected, the UK market has remained difficult, which has resulted in a disappointing quarter of trading.

“We have managed the business accordingly by controlling costs, tactical investment in our strategic initiatives and enhancing our product proposition.

“We remain committed to our long-term strategy of diversifying the business and reducing our dependence on the UK high street, and are confident that we will see improvements, but expect these to take time.”

Mr Kristiansen, who has in recent weeks been a vocal advocate for improved clothing factory conditions in the UK, could not be reached for comment on Thursday night.

A New Look spokeswoman declined to comment.

Abercrombie & Fitch to open first store in Jeddah

Abercrombie & Fitch to open first store in Jeddah as part of Middle East expansion

0The new store will launch in the Red Sea Mall in September and will offer the brand’s Autumn/Winter collection for men, women and children.

The expansion is part of a franchise agreement between Majid Al Futtaim Fashion and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Majid Al Futtaim introduced the Abercrombie & Fitch brand to Kuwait in 2015 by opening stores at 360 Mall and The Avenues, followed by a flagship store in Mall of the Emirates. Two further stores opened in Qatar at Doha Festival City and Mall of Qatar in March 2017. Including the launch in Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim partners with Abercrombie & Fitch on a total of six Abercrombie & Fitch and three Abercrombie kids stores in the Middle East in a mix of franchise and joint venture arrangements.

The 728 square metre store in Jeddah will open in a new extension of the Red Sea Mall.

Fran Horowitz, chief executive of Abercrombie & Fitch, said: “We are looking forward to bringing our unique Abercrombie & Fitch store-based brand experience to our customers in Saudi Arabia, and complementing our existing omnichannel capabilities, supporting our goal of providing our customers with the ability to engage with our brands, whenever, wherever and however they choose to do so. We are proud to have Majid Al Futtaim as a partner to drive and support our continued expansion throughout the region.”

The franchise agreement will see the brands eventually expanding into Oman and Bahrain.

Inside Arket, H&M Group’s new store

Swedish fashion and lifestyle brand Arket, from the H&M Group, has unveiled its long-awaited debut flagship store on Regent Street, ahead of its official opening on Friday, August 25.

Located within the unit that once house Banana Republic, Arket has transformed the 17,000 square foot space into a calm, modern and very grey environment, with bespoke terrazzo stone floor, cement-grey walls and an OCD-neat layout that is light, airy and simple in its construction.

The interior has been developed by the brand’s in-house team and centres around the simplest of contraction elements – the plank, and features larch, birch, ash, stainless steel, aluminium, rubber, textile and bespoke terrazzo stone, all chosen for their “practical needs of the construction” explains Arket “in order to waste as little raw material as possible”.

“The plank creates the entire system vertically as well as horizontally and is reused on tabletops and mirrors. It is the repetition of this simple element and the monochrome palette that forms the concept,” the brand adds on the design on its Instagram.

The whole idea of Arket is to be a fast-fashion disrupter, the brand is looking to offer “durable products designed to be used and loved for a long time” with items geared around the whole family, which is why the store houses menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, as well as homeware and a cafe, which is based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto, featuring a vegetarian menu.

Arket aims to disrupt the UK high street with London launch

What instantly hits you when you walk into the store is the space, the design and OCD approach to the styling of the clothes and accessories means that you feel calm. There isn’t masses of rails to weave around, no huge displays of mannequins showcasing the latest trends, instead there are shelves not filled, racks are evenly spread out in colours, and tables are covered with individual items rather than piles.The design is definitely all about attention to detail, it makes you focus on the quality of the product and adds a more luxurious feel to the traditional high street shopping experience.

Also a surprise is that Arket has given menswear the unprecedented ground floor spot, with the men’s tailoring and knitwear being the first thing customers will see when they enter. The menswear then leads into the very Instagram-friendly homeware and beauty department at the heart of the store, which I’m sure will be a firm favourite with consumers. Rounding off the ground floor is the vegetarian cafe, which has its own entrance opposite Liberty’s, which is probably the most exciting prospect as they really are hoping that Arket will be more than just a clothes shop but rather a shopping destination.

Upstairs is dedicated to a womenswear and childrenswear, showcasing the curated edit of its ‘archive’ collection, which sets about creating the building blocks to creating a capsule wardrobe filled with an “everyday uniform” of quality staples in a minimalistic design in fabrics such as organic cotton, silk, recycled cashmere, wool, and polyester yarn made from used plastic bottles, all colour coded across the floor.

Essentially, Arket is billing itself as the “modern-day market” offering wearable pieces that focus more on quality, simplicity and functionality, rather than trend. While you won’t see the latest catwalk copies at Arket, like you would in H&M, you will see seasonal updates to the core collection, such as colour and material changes.

There will be comparisons made regarding the fashion offering to sister brand Cos, however, the aesthetic is more classic and traditional at Arket, with premium staples being at the core, from the organic cotton T-shirt to recycled cashmere jumpers, as well as functional items such as the two-in-one Series fish-tail parka that features a lightweight, weatherproof outer and a detachable padded lining designed for all-year wearing.

To ease customers through the ‘archive’ the layout features all the same colour together, and each style comes with a unique nine-digit ID code, identified by department, category, product and material, for instance anything in the women’s department has a 2, knitwear is 22, while cashmere is 087 and anything recycled is easily identified with an R at the end. This code also helps tie-in online with in-store, as shoppers can simple search online for the specific item to see if it comes in a new fabric or colour, and even to see if it their favourite items has been restocked.

In addition to Arket’s own-brand ‘archive’ collection, the store also features a number of “complementary” third-party brands mainly across shoes, accessories and homeware, such as Adidas, Nike and Veja, as well as less well known brands such as Danish toy brand Nature Zoo and stationery brand Deskstore of Sweden.

Arket opens debut store in London on August 25

The brand is also putting sustainability at the forefront of its proposition, with each piece featuring a tag displaying the country it was made in as well as the supplier and factory, and even informing customers about the care of the products in an attempt to prolong their lifespan and reduce waste.

On the brand’s website it states: “The starting point for each product is quality, building on the strengths of each production market. Value for money will be ensured by economies of scare, by initiatives like the yarn projects, and above all, by establishing enduring styles.

“The result will be a seasonless production flow, lower development costs, and the flexibility to refine over time. This will also help achieve strong, long-term relationships with suppliers working together towards the same goals.”

Such initiatives are showcased in its Merino Yarn Project, where Arket has designed a unique knitted fabric made from organic merino-wool fibres that runs throughout the collection, and the Cotton GSM programme that has developed four different weights from one fibre to create a core collection of jersey, meaning you can buy the same style in different weights for all-year round wearing.

The thing you notice most about H&M Group’s new brand is that it is very well-considered, from the design and layout of the store to the website and its ability to search by department, colour or even pattern, as well as material and where the piece was made, and the clothes itself, its pieces have literally been designed to be “widely accessible, well-made, and durable” for longevity.

Arket is being positioned as H&M Group’s most premium brand, trying to target a gap in the market between mid-priced and luxury, with fashion prices starting at 3 pounds for a pair of socks to around 300 pounds for a coat. It will sit alongside H&M Group’s other brands, which also happen to be its neighbours on Regent Street including fast-fashion brand H&M, & Other Stories, Cos, and Weekday, which recently opened, as well as Cheap Monday and Monki, both close by on Carnaby Street.

Coinciding with the Arket opening in London on August 25, the brand will also launch its e-commerce, shipping to 18 European markets including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. Consumers who signed up to the brand’s website before August 23 were sent out preview access to the website, along with a 20 percent discount code.

Commenting on the opening, managing director Lars Axelsson, said: “We’re very excited to reveal Arket to the public. We’ve been working towards this day for over two years, and look forward to finally meeting our first customers in London as well as throughout Europe online.”

The Regent Street Arket flagship will be followed up by a further London store in Covent Garden on Long Acre by the end of the year, which will house a bigger cafe, as well as openings in Copenhagen in September, and Munich, Brussels, and Stockholm planned for 2018.

Images: Danielle Wightman-Stone

Shoprite African retail giant eyes Poland, Europe

Shoprite, Africa’s largest food retailer, wants to expand to new continents and is eyeing Poland as its gateway to Europe, the Puls Biznesu daily has said, adding its scepticism.

Photo: Lars Frantzen/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht, who visited Poland last week and is in talks with two developers, said entering Eastern Europe would be easy because the African retail giant already has partners in the region, the Puls Biznesu daily said.

South African-based Steinhoff International, owner of the Abra furniture retailer which has 100 locations in Poland, is looking at a controlling stake in Shoprite, which has a market value of some PLN 35 billion (EUR 8 billion), the paper said.

The paper added that Steinhoff is controlled by South African businessman Christoffel Wiese, who is already Shoprite’s main shareholder.

Engelbrecht said Shoprite could use Steinhoff’s synergy in Poland, according to Puls Biznesu, but declined to give the paper details about its plans for expansion in Poland or how partnering with a furniture chain would benefit the food retailer.

Puls Biznesu said that the Polish market was saturated with well-established fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and while a South African takeover of an existing chain would be a feasible way of entering Poland, building its brand from scratch in Europe would “not be easy”. (vb)

Sunglass Hut Opens New Store In Hangzhou

International sunglasses retailer Sunglass Hut opened a new store in Hangzhou's Intime Wulin store, which is the brand's third store in the city following the ones in Hangzhou Kerry Centre and Hangzhou Bailian Outlets.
Sunglass Hut has reached cooperation with many first-tier brands, including Ray-Ban, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Tiffany & Co., and Coach.
It started as a small independent store in Miami in 1971 and it developed 100 chain stores in Miami by 1986, reaching annual sales of USD24 million. By 1991, Sunglass Hut's annual sales exceeded USD100 million and by 1996, the company seized 30% share of the American sunglasses market.
By the end of 2016, Sunglass Hut already opened 3,269 retail stores in 28 countries and regions around the world, including 3,104 retail stores in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, South Africa, and Latin America; and 165 authorized retail stores in Middle East and India.
For the Greater China region, Sunglass Hut had nearly 40 retail stores, including 13 in Hong Kong, seven in Shanghai, and three in Beijing.

New Look sales nosedive in ‘disappointing’ first quarter

• Underlying operating profit slumped 60%
• UK like-for-like sales dropped 7.5%
• Overall revenue down 4.4%
The fashion retailer recorded a 4.4% drop in revenue to £338.7m in the 13 weeks to June 24, exacerbated by a 7.5% plummet in UK like-for-like sales.
The retailer’s underlying operating profit plunged 60% to £12.1m whilst EBITDA fell 37% to £27.2m, which the business attributed to a “challenging UK sales performance and investment in strategic initiatives.”
New Look posted declines in its own-brand like-for-like sales and own-website sales of 8.2% and 0.6% respectively, while its third-party ecommerce sales rose 15.7%.
Chinese expansion
The fast-fashion retailer opened 17 new stores in China during the period, taking its bricks-and-mortar footprint in the country to 127.
The retailer, which posted a slump in full-year profits in June, also trialled a new store concept in the UK during the period.
Chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “As expected, the UK market has remained difficult, which has resulted in a disappointing quarter of trading. We have managed the business accordingly by controlling costs, tactical investment in our strategic initiatives and enhancing our product proposition.
“We remain committed to our long-term strategy of diversifying the business and reducing our dependence on the UK high street, and are confident that we will see improvements, but expect these to take time.
“Looking ahead, we expect the consumer economy to remain fragile and challenging market conditions to persist into 2018. We will continue to manage our business prudently and focus on providing our customers with exceptional product and real value for money.”
The fashion retailer’s latest results come shortly after a raft of changes to its senior team.
The retailer’s menswear boss Christopher Englinde and footwear director Amanda Wain exited the business in June.
Shortly afterwards, New Look appointed former Zara Basic head of product Paula Dumont Lopez as its new chief creative officer, succeeding Roger Wightman.
Dumont will join the retailer in September.
The fast fashion retailer also poached Mango womenswear director Rosa Gutierrez Sanchez to bolster its buying, merchandising and design departments, although she has joined the business on a contract basis.

J.C. Penney Plummets After Loss Renews Concerns About Retail

J.C. Penney is the bearer of more bad news for department-store investors.
On Friday morning, the company followed Macy’s Inc., Kohl’s Corp. and Dillard’s Inc. in reporting declining sales in the second quarter. J.C. Penney also posted a deeper loss than analysts expected — hurt by clearance sales — sending the shares on their worst decline in more than four years.

The results renewed fears that there’s no end in sight for the department-store industry’s drought. J.C. Penney Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison is trying to win back customers by expanding the company’s partnership with cosmetic retailer Sephora and bolstering the assortment of high-price items, like appliances. The company is also pushing services like salons that require shoppers to come into stores. But progress has been slow.
The company also is closing about 140 underperforming stores. And the liquidation of inventory in 127 of those locations hurt profit in the period, Ellison said in a statement.
“These events were isolated to the second quarter,” he said, adding that the company expects to “deliver improved results in the back half of the year.”
But investors saw little reason for optimism. The shares tumbled as much as 18 percent to $3.85 after the report was released, the biggest intraday drop since February 2013. That followed a 43 percent decline this year through Thursday’s close, bringing the stock to a record low.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
The rout suggests investors don’t think the weak results can be attributed just to one-time liquidation sales, Citigroup Inc. analyst Paul Lejuez said in a note. J.C. Penney may need to give further assurances to investors, he said.
“They will have to provide more detail for the market to better understand what happened,” Lejuez said.
The selling frenzy weighed on other department-store stocks, including Nordstrom Inc., which had been seen as an outlier in the industry’s gloom. That company posted a surprise quarterly sales gain on Thursday evening, and its shares had gained in late trading. But the rally evaporated on Friday morning after J.C. Penney’s report. The stock fell 2.5 percent to $43.74.
Red Ink
Same-store sales at J.C. Penney fell 1.3 percent in the period, which ended July 29. That compared with the 1.2 percent decline projected by analysts, according to Consensus Metrix. The loss was 9 cents a share in the second quarter, excluding some items. Analysts estimated a 4-cent deficit on average.

Still, overall revenue came in a bit above projections. The company posted $2.96 billion in net sales, compared with an estimate of $2.85 billion.
“While broader retail remains challenged, we are encouraged by the improved performance in our total apparel business, including a significant acceleration in kids’ apparel,” Ellison said.

Aldo to acquire Camuto Group

The Camuto family will continue to own and operate its apparel businesses following the acquisition.
Aldo, which is also a family business, said the purchase will increase both companies' capabilities and reach, and enhance their ability to offer the widest selection of footwear, handbags, and accessories through all channels, including owned stores, franchise, online and wholesale. 

David Bensadoun, Aldo Group's chief executive, said: "We are thrilled to have found a partner that has the skills and infrastructure required to support our vision. Both of our companies are heavily product oriented, and they each evolved in different ways.
"While the Aldo Group comes from retail and has focused on international expansion, Camuto Group is an expert in wholesale and a powerful player in the US market. We are very excited about the ways the two organisations can help each other grow, leveraging each other's strengths."
Based in Connecticut in the US, Camuto was founded by Vince Camuto in 2001. Its products are sold in more than 5.400 outlets worldwide. Alex Del Cielo, Louise Camuto, and the executive team have recently led the company through a period of steady growth.  Del Cielo will remain in his role as chief executive after the acquisition and will report to Bensadoun.  
Meanwhile, Aldo was established in 1972 and has 3,000 points of sales in over 100 countries.
Bensadoun added: "A huge part of our attraction to the Camuto Group is an understanding of their amazing design skills, excellent distribution network, and sourcing capabilities. We also believe the Aldo Group's broad international and cross-channel experience will unlock Camuto Group's global potential. This is the perfect combination to drive long-term, sustainable growth and strengthen our overall platform."

Australian homewares retailer House plots UK launch



Australian homewares specialist House is plotting an assault on the UK market, Retail Week can reveal.
House, which is owned by Global Retail Brands, has thrown down the gauntlet to the likes of Lakeland and John Lewis with plans to open 75 stores within the next three years.
It aims to open its first tranche of shops by April 2018 and will also launch a transactional ecommerce platform after identifying the UK as its preferred market to kick-start an overseas push.
House, which has 104 stores in its native Australia, describes itself as a kitchen, cooking, dining and entertaining specialist.
The retailer’s stores typically carry 4,000 core SKUs including cookware, glassware, small electrical appliances, knives and crockery.

Its Australian website sells an additional 8,000 lines, including products in the bathroom, bedroom, décor and pet categories.
House said its stores aim to “inspire customers to cook and create and entertain at home,” with service and customer interaction forming a key part of its proposition.
It gives all new store managers and assistant store managers AUS$8,000 of products for them to use at home so that they “know the product backwards” and can have “passionate” and personalised discussions with shoppers.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Abercrombie & Fitch to launch on Alibaba’s Tmall

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

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

Michael Kors eyes 100 more China stores on new retail strategy

Michael Kors plans to open around 100 new stores in China in next three years, as the US brand continues to plan for mass global retail closures, forming part of its recently revealed “Runway 2020” restructuring program to turn dwindling sales around.

Michael Kors’ initial restructuring announcement came in early June, after the brand posted a double-digit same-store sales percentage decline in the fourth quarter ending April. It was here that Michael Kors said it would shutter 125 stores worldwide.
“We think that the [accessories market] is down slightly in North America. We think it’s flattish in Europe. We think it’s up slightly in Asia,” John D. Idol, Michael Kors’ chairman and chief executive officer, told WWD in a recent interview.
The New York-based luxury leathergoods and accessories added that its main growth drivers moving forward will be its retail presence in Asia and its surging men’s category — each of which have the potential to become $1 billion segments of the brand.
Growth in Asia is the main, most achievable goal, according to Idol, with plans for 100 stores to be added in China alone and more elsewhere in the region over the next few years. There are 111 Michael Kors stores in Asia in operation now.

In addition, some 100 global stores will be renovated to sell better a new Michael Kors luxury collection, and reposition the high-end factor of Michael Kors to a bored clientele. Speciality salons for shoes are another area of planned growth for the brand.
The company also wishes to minimise wholesale, aiming for a revived Michael Kors brand that is 30 per cent wholesale and 70 per cent retail.
With the aforementioned retail and product changes in put in place, Michael Kors said it expected revenue of $4.25 billion for fiscal year 2018 and also forecasts a high single-digit drop in same-store sales.
For the fourth quarter ended April 1, total sales fell 11.2 per cent to $1.06 billion. Analysts had expected $1.05 billion.

Swarovski debuts Perth flagship store

Swarovski Perth flagship store opening Australia – Retail in Asia
Crystal maker and jeweller Swarovski has opened its Perth flagship store, the second store in Australia to feature the brand’s crystal drop chandelier, as part of its new retail design.
Located in Perth Hay Street Mall, the new Western Australia store boasts Swarovski’s new ‘crystal forest’ outfit, which was unveiled at the opening of the Austrian firm’s Sydney store in May.
Updating the store layout, Swarovski employed renowned architect Tokujin Yoshioka as part of the brand’s plan to improve aesthetics across its distribution network.
Robert Buchbauer, member of the Swarovski Family and of the company’s CEO, said the new store design is “a tremendous illustration of Swarovski’s contemporary vision and taste for design.”

In an interview earlier in the year, Australia managing director of Swarovksi, Brett Spinks, said Australia was a “growing” market, adding that the high-end jeweller plans to roll out more new store in 2017.

“We see robust growth in our retail channel both online and in our physical [stores],” Brinks said.
“Due to this significant growth, we are delighted to be able to further meet our consumer demand by opening a number of new stores in 2017.”
The Australian watch and jewellery retailing industry grew by an annualised 2.9% over the five years through 2016-17, to reach $3.3 billion, according to Ibis World.

Starbucks shares sink to 8th-straight loss after analyst downgrade

Shares of Starbucks Corp. sank Wednesday to an eighth straight loss, after a Wedbush Securities analyst downgraded the coffee giant for the first time, on concerns that investors may be too optimistic about the sales outlook.

The stock SBUX, -1.07% shed as much as 1.7% intraday before closing down 1.1%, after tumbling 5.6% over the past seven sessions. The current losing streak matches the eight-session stretch ending Jan. 3, 2017, which at the time was the longest since a 10-session losing streak ending Nov. 14, 2008.
Wedbush analyst Nick Seytan cut his rating to neutral, after being at outperform since he started covering the company in September 2013. He kept his stock-price target at $65, which was 7.8% above current levels.
Just before the losing streak started, the stock had soared 13% in three months to a record close of $64.57 on June 2, amid expectations of a ramp-up in comparable-store sales.
Seytan said that the sales outlook followed signs of improving trends in March and April. He suggested, however, that the current share-price levels may imply that investors are too upbeat to hold on to his bullish stance.

“We now view current 2017 and 2018 expectations as realistic and valuation as fair,” Seytan wrote in a note to clients. “Checks indicate U.S. [comparable-store sales] acceleration, but acceleration is in line to slightly below expectations.”

This shelter dog trying a unicorn frappuccino is magical
Same-store-sales growth is currently expected to accelerate to 5% for the third quarter, ending this month, and then to 5.2% for the fourth quarter, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet, from 3% growth in the second quarter. Starbucks is scheduled to report third-quarter results after the July 27 close.
“Given in-line U.S. checks, we no longer see upside to margins,” Seytan wrote. “We would expect any potential upside to be reinvested in partner and technology initiatives.”
Starbucks shares have gained 8.6% in 2017, while the SPDR Consumer Discretionary exchange-traded fund XLY, -0.06% has rallied 11.6% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.10% has climbed 8.9%.

Global Brands Group posts 11.6 percent rise in annual revenue

Announcing its first set of 12-month results since moving the company’s financial year end date to March 31, Global Brands Group said that it achieved a solid performance despite a tough business environment. During the reporting period, the group revenue increased by 11.6 percent to 3,891 million dollars. The company’s total margin improved from 33.9 percent to 36.4 percent as a percentage of revenue.
“I am pleased to report that Global Brands delivered solid results for the year ended 31 March 2017. Despite a tough business environment, we achieved one of the strongest levels of topline growth in the industry, alongside continued improvement in our margins and profitability,” commented Bruce Rockowitz, the company’s Chief Executive Officer & Vice Chairman in a media release.
Operating profit rises 64.5 percent
The company added that compared to the same period last year, both core operating profit and net profit attributable to shareholders posted a strong increase of 64.5 percent and 89.4 percent and reached 173 million dollars and 90 million dollars, respectively, while adjusted net profit attributable to shareholders also increased by 49.4 percent to 72 million dollars. The company’s EBITDA increased by 26.3 percent to 380 million dollars.
Global Brands discloses its results in accordance with the group’s four business verticals: kids, men’s and women’s fashion, footwear and accessories, and brand management. For the reporting period, the company said, kids business performed strongly because its characters business continued to deliver consistently, while kids fashion business also performed well on the back of strong growth of brands such as Under Armour. Segment revenue grew by 3.9 percent to 1,603 million dollars, while total margin increased by 9.9 percent to 584 million dollars. Core operating profit increased by 62.2 percent to 76 million dollars.
Revenue from men’s and women’s fashion increased by 31.5 percent to 820 million dollars compared to the same period last year, while total margin increased by 47.8 percent to 353 million dollars due to growth of businesses as well as the addition of new licenses. For the reporting period, core operating profit increased by 78.6 percent to 73 million dollars.
Revenue from footwear and accessories segment increased by 5.6 percent to 1,281 million dollars, while total margin increased by 13.6 percent to 428 million dollars due to new businesses and improved business mix in favour of higher-margin businesses. Footwear and accessories recorded a core operating profit of 8 million dollars for the period under review.
Brand management business saw considerable growth, largely driven by the formation of CAA-GBG, with revenue reaching 188 million dollars and total margin of 50 million dollars. Core operating profit for the reporting period was 17 million dollars.
The geographic split of the group’s revenue was 80 percent North America, 15 percent Europe/Middle East and 5 percent Asia.
Over the course of the past three financial years, our first Three-Year Plan as an independent company, we have made significant strides in establishing a solid foundation for our business and were able to deliver compound annual growth of 5.8 percent in revenue, and 9 percent in core operating profit, and 8.7 percent in EBITDA, while total margin percentage increased by over 500 basis points. As we enter into our new Three-Year Plan (fiscal year 2018 to 2020), we will continue to focus on growth with the goal of reaching 5 billion dollars in revenue by the end of fiscal year 2020, improving our total margin percentage by 150 basis points, and increasing EBITDA by 50 percent,” added Rockowitz.

Amazon retains top spot as most valuable global retail brand

Amazon has once again been named the world’s most valuable retail brand in the annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands ranking published by WPP and Kantar Millward Brown.
The online giant took fourth spot in the ranking behind technology firms Google, Apple and Microsoft, but Amazon did achieve the highest dollar value growth of all the brands in the top 100 ranking, increasing by 40.3 billion dollars, up 41 percent to 139.3 billion dollars.
The ranking said that Amazon’s growth was linked to its continuing innovation and its focus on its technology ecosystem honed to meet multiple consumer needs such as online shopping, rapid delivery, and entertainment, as well as introducing new artificial intelligence-enabled services including grocery delivery and personal assistant Alexa.
David Roth, chief executive EMEA and Asia, The Store WPP, said: “This year’s BrandZ global top 100 continues to demonstrate that strong brands deliver superior shareholder value and returns regardless of disruptive external climates.
“Dubbed the ‘The Frightful Five’ by some, the tech giants that head the rankings are more like the ‘Fearsome Five’ to their competitors, given their huge brand power and a seemingly unassailable market position.”
Other highlights in this year’s ranking included Adidas being the fastest-rising brand by percentage growth as it increased 58 percent in value, because “its retro sneakers connected perfectly with the fashion moment and the brand made operational and marketing changes to strengthen its US business”, said the report.
The fastest-rising category was retail, increasing 14 percent, but the report also added that beyond the numbers, the category faced new turbulence, as both Amazon and Alibaba (ranked 14th) prepared to open extensive networks of physical stores, and Walmart (ranked 31st) acquired an e-commerce startup. While luxury only saw a 4 percent increase in brand value on last year.
Other retail and luxury brands to make the top 100 included Nike taking 26th place, while Yves Saint Laurent was the highest-ranking luxury brand at 29, and Zara was the top high street fashion chain at 34. Hermes made the cut at 41, while Gucci was down in 80th place.
In the apparel category of the report it noted that there the two category growth drivers, sportswear and fast fashion, struggled last year. The apparel Top 10 declined 7 percent in value, following a 14 percent rise a year ago, as shoppers purchased with more discretion, looking for durability and value, and favouring brands that were on trend, such as Adidas, said the report.

H&M firms up plans for Arket brand

As H&M braces for the opening of its first Arket store, it is already putting a plan in motion for its second location.

The fast-fashion chain announced in March that is plans to launch its new brand, Arket, in early fall. Arket, H&M’s first new brand in three years, will feature merchandise men, women and children, and a smaller, curated assortment of home goods.

The chain announced that the first Arket, which is Swedish for “sheet of paper,” will initially open its first store in London, and online in 18 European markets. However, the company announced that a second London location is also now in the works, according to The Retail Gazette.
H&M still plans to introduce Arket in Copenhagen, Brussels and Munich, the report added.

Regatta makes American debut

British outdoor and leisure clothing brand Regatta Great Outdoors is making its US retail store debut exclusively at Sears with 11 shop-in-shop locations through the New England area.
“We chose Sears for our American debut because their customers align well to the type of enthusiasts who have fallen in love with the Regatta brand in Britain and across Europe,” said Keith Black, chief executive of Regatta Great Outdoors. “With its seasonality, vast outdoor adventure and leisure options, New England is the perfect region to introduce the brand.”
The Regatta outdoors collection is now featured in 1,800 square foot shops inside the following Massachusetts Sears locations: Saugus, Burlington, Auburn, Peabody, Braintree, Natick and Hyannis, as well as Salem and Nashua, N.H., Warwick, R.I., and South Burlington, Vt. In addition, the Regatta collection will also be available on Sears.com starting this autumn.
“Our members’ tastes change quickly so we are always looking for partners who can help keep our assortment fresh,” said David Pastrana, president of Sears Apparel. “Regatta is a long-established apparel leader that knows its customer well and was selective about who they made their US debut with. Sears is proud to be Regatta’s exclusive home and we welcome American shoppers to discover this great brand.”
Based in Manchester, Regatta Great Outdoors is one of Europe’s most popular outdoor clothing, footwear and equipment brands, and offers active, performance, outdoor, and leisure wear for women, men and children.

J.Crew CEO of 14 years Mickey Drexler departs

US fashion brand J.Crew has announced its long-standing chief executive Mickey Drexler is to step down.

The retail veteran who helmed the company for 14 years will stay on as chairman while former president of West Elm, Jim Brett, steps in to take over the role.
The surprise announcement follows recent news that the company’s creative leader of 26 years, Jenna Lyons, would also depart. T
he pair are attributed to spearheading the company’s success both in the US and internationally.
“This is an exciting time for J.Crew as we continue to make significant changes to position our company for long-term success,” Drexler said in a statement.
READ MORE: J.Crew launches value label to help revive sales
“As chairman and an owner of the company, it is my responsibility to focus on the future of J.Crew and find the right leadership to execute on our strategic plans.”
Recently J.Crew, which trades in seven UK locations, announced plans to cut 150 jobs as its $1.5 billion (£1.16) debt continues to hinder its turnaround strategy.
Drexler has successfully led turnaround efforts at Ann Taylor and Gap in the past, but admitted to the Wall Street Journal he didn’t anticipate just what an influence technology would have on the industry.
“Jim has a proven track record of pushing for innovation and growing omnichannel brands,” Drexler said.
“I look forward to moving into my new role and assist Jim and the team in every way possible to help ensure a smooth and successful transition.”

The Foschini Group could be bringing some of its 22 brands to Australia:

The Foschini Group could be bringing some of its 22 brands to Australia: What will land first?
Aussie retailers could soon see yet another influx of new competition, with South African retail giant The Foschini Group (TFG) saying it’s considering bringing some of its 22 retail brands Down Under.
Speaking to Fairfax, TFG chief executive Doug Murray said the group is looking to build a “mini-TFG here in Australia” after its $302 million acquisition of Retail Apparel Group last week.
The acquisition will see TFG add menswear brands Tarocash, .yd and Connor, as well as women’s activewear brand Rockwear to its stable. Foschini already has a number of brands across, jewellery, homewares, tech, and other specialty fashion.
Murray told Fairfax the group is looking to start a brand migration to Australia with its jewellery retailers, specifically diamond jewellery and watch retailer AmericanSwiss.
“We’ll go through each of our brands and do our research and make the call of which brands come in under this platform,” Murray told Fairfax.
“We’ve done full market research on jewellery … and we believe there would be an opportunity to bring one of our jewellery chains here, probably AmericanSwiss.”
The other jewellery chains under TFG’s umbrella are Sterns and Mat and May.
However, retail expert and academic at Queensland University of Technology School of Business Gary Mortimer believes the Australian jewellery retail space is crowded, and a jewellery or watch retailer would be “the last business I would consider opening here in Australia”.
“We’ve got a number of high profile jewellery retailers such as Prouds and Michael Hill which are starting to position themselves further up in the market,” Mortimer told SmartCompany.
“It’s a tough market to crack as the type of purchases made there are frequently related to discretionary spending which has recently been quite low in Australia.”
TFG also owns two different sports retailing brands; Sportscene and TotalSports, and Murray believes there’s possibility to bring one to Australia along with homewares brand @home.
However, Foschini might leave its “ladieswear” business out of the equation for some time.
“Sports is certainly one we’ve spoken about and we’d like to see how we could take that one forward,” Murray told Fairfax.
“Foschini is a very good ladies wear business but to bring another ladies wear business into Australia … we might get there one day but at the moment there are other opportunities.”
Mortimer believes TFG’s overall strategy makes sense, as Australian shoppers are keen to try out new brands, and there hasn’t been a “great deal of choice” in areas such as sportswear, which have been dominated mostly by Rebel Sports or Super Amart.
This has changed somewhat in recent times, with global retailer JD Sports opening its first store last month, and French sporting retailer Decathlon on the way.
Both Murray and Mortimer believe these specialty-focused stores are the future of Australian retail, with Murray highlighting TFG’s position as a specialty retailer.
“We are not department store lovers, we think department store retailing is generally out of favour long-term worldwide – you can see that in America and Australia and South Africa,” Murray told Fairfax.
Mortimer agrees, saying the days of department stores “are numbered”, with retailers like Myer shutting a number of their regional stores.
“The way Australian consumers shop today is not with department stores, as we’ve got such a great range of specialty stores,” he says.
“Shoppers are more likely to walk into a specific brand’s store than a multiple level department store.”
TFG’s brands include:
• Charles & Keith
• Colette (South African franchise)
• DonnaClaire
• Fabiani
• Foschini
• G‑Star Raw (stores already in Australia)
• Markham
• Next
• Phase Eight
• SODA Bloc
• Duesouth
• Sportscene
• Totalsports
• Exact
• The FIX
• @home
• @homelivingspace
• American Swiss
• Mat & May
• Sterns
• hi
SmartCompany contacted TFG but did not receive a response prior to publication.

Sears is closing 72 stores — here’s the full list

Sears is closing 72 more stores, in addition to the more than 180 that have already been announced this year. 

The company released a list internally on Tuesday of the closing stores, which includes 16 Sears stores, 49 Kmart stores, and seven auto centers.
Most of the stores will close in September.
Sears did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The closures will bring Sears’ store count to about 1,200, down from 2,073 five years ago.
Here’s a list of the closing stores, which was obtained by Business Insider.
Sears
Chico, CA, store 2048

Dalton, GA, store 2615

Biloxi, MS, store 2256

Asheboro, NC, store 2645

Minot, ND, store 2152

Vineland, NJ, store 2374

Columbus, OH, store 1150

Elyria, OH, store 1310

Columbus, OH, store 1370

Franklin, OH, store 2940

Midwest City, OK, store 1261

Richmond, VA, store 1445

Columbia, SC, store 1525

Texarkana, TX, store 2567

Sherman, TX, store 2627

St. George, UT, store 2220

Kmart
Dothan, AL, store 3082

Muscle Shoals, AL, store 7045

Little Rock, AR, store 3120

Bullhead City (Riviera), AZ, store 3375

Blythe, CA, store 3881

Sacramento, CA, store 4117

Manteca, CA, store 4862

Sacramento, CA, store 4117

Manteca, CA, store 4862

Fort Oglethorpe, GA, store 3083

Calhoun, GA, store 9625

Iowa City, IA, store 4315

Marshalltown, IA, store 7583

Mishawaka, IN, store 4152

Newburyport, MA, store 9147

Elkton, MD, store 9524

Traverse City, MI, store 3009

West Branch, MI, store 3864

Cheboygan, MI, store 9245

Mantua, NJ, store 3060

Manahawkin, NJ, store 3641

Las Cruces, NM, store 3682

Alamogordo, NM, store 9119

Las Vegas, NV, store 3680

Henderson, NV, store 3857

Sparks, NV, store 4151

Liverpool, NY, store 3352

Malone, NY, store 3943

Cortland, NY, store 7134

Watertown, NY, store 7432

Wooster, OH, store 4875

Streetsboro, OH, store 9676

Tulsa, OK, store 4473

Roseburg, OR, store 7580

Butler, PA, store 4771

Belle Vernon, PA, store 7120

Indiana, PA, store 7217

Summerville, SC, store 3606

Seneca, SC, store 9320

Madison, TN, store 4093

Johnson City, TN, store 7353

El Paso, TX, store 3491

El Paso, TX, store 7347

Virginia Beach, VA, store 3560

Virginia Beach, VA, store 3801

West Allis, WI, store 3618

La Crosse, WI, store 4089

Medford, WI, store 7656

Lewisburg, WV, store 7582

Sheridan, WY, store 9074

Spanish Fork, UT, store 7425

Sears Auto Center
Elyria, OH, store 6060

Midwest City, OK, store 6509

Columbia, SC, store 6013

Texarkana, TX, store 6739

Sherman, TX, store 6929

St. George, UT, store 2653

Richmond, VA, store 7505

Canada Goose to open two international flagships

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

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

Geox unveils new store concept ‘X Store’

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

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

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

Coach to re-enter the Russian market

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach could buy Jimmy Choo

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

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

Guess opens biggest UK store outside London at Liverpool One

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

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

(Pics)Apple’s Incredible New Retail Store in Dubai

Boasting unobstructed views of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, via a 180-foot wide, artistically designed carbon fiber array of motorized windows, Apple’s latest upscale retail store will be opening tomorrow, April 27th, 2017, at the swanky Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates.
Designed in collaborating with Foster + Partners — the same design team behind Cupertino’s brand-new Apple Park headquarters — the Dubai Mall Apple Store features an ever-changing array of 37.5-foot tall windows, overlain with super-strong carbon fiber panels that are capable of meticulously shifting orientation based on the fluctuations of external temperature in Dubai.
“To mitigate Dubai’s climate, Foster + Parters designed eighteen 37.5-foot-high motorized ‘Solar Wings’ that respond to the ever-changing environmental conditions,” the company wrote in its official press release about the grand-opening. “When the sun is at its hottest they cool the store, and in the evenings they open to welcome everyone to the public terrace. Inspired by the the traditional Arabic Mashrabiya, each ‘Solar Wing’ is locally fabricated from 340 carbon fiber reinforced polymer rods, and at 180 feet wide, the 18 panels make up one of the world’s largest kinetic art installations.”
These magnificent carbon fiber windows will also provide visitors an unobstructed view of one of Dubai’s greatest attractions: the Sama Dubai — a spectacular water fountain show that takes place every evening, and is conveniently located right below the Apple Store terrace at Dubai Mall.
Appropriately, Apple in its press release has invited visitors of the new location to enjoy the beautiful fountain array, which can be seen taking place in the first of two YouTube videos below. Also be sure to check out the second YouTube video, which gives us a glimpse of the Dubai Mall Apple Store, itself, and the surrounding area.

The company was sure to emphasize in its press release that the grand-opening of the Dubai Mall Apple Store is a way to draw more attention to its recently announced workshop series — dubbed Today at Apple — which will essentially embody a series of free education courses, focusing on a variety of topics including art, design, photography, and software coding, among other concepts.
“At the heart of every Apple Store is the drive to educate and inspire,” the company said, while adding that “Today at Apple will launch at Apple Dubai Mall and in all 495 Apple stores next month with new sessions across photo and video, music, coding, art and design, and more, led by highly-trained team members.”
The Dubai Mall Apple Store will also host a variety of high-profile events, many boasting live music, conversations with film-makers and photographers, and additional live workshops hosted by some of the world’s leading talent on the subject at hand.

Juicy Couture set to pull out of the UK market

London – Although Juicy Couture has seen somewhat of a revival recently, it seems as if parent company’s Authentic Brands Group best efforts were not enough to keep the brand afloat in the UK. The fashion brand, best known for its bling velour tracksuits favoured by the likes of Paris Hilton over a decade ago, is set to pull out of the UK market.
At the moment the label currently counts two stores in the London – one on Regent Street and another in Westfield White City, in addition to an outlet in Bicester and a store in Bluewater. But a report from the Telegraph states Juicy Couture is set to close its UK stores and will only retain an online presence in the UK.
Juicy Couture also counts a number of concessions in Harrods, Selfridges and Topshop in the UK, but it remains unclear what Authentic Brands Group aims to do with its concessions. The move follows on from fellow US brand Banana Republic’s withdrawal from the UK amid increasing difficult trading conditions.
ABG acquired Juicy Couture four years ago for 195 million dollars. The licensing company is best known for its celebrity brands, such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. FashionUnited has contacted Authentic Brands Group for additional commentary.