Category Archives: #international

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.

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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.

Nyx sits pretty with debut UK store (pics)

The beauty retailer, which L’Oreal acquired in 2014 for $500m (£403.6m) rolled out its first standalone store in the UK in the London shopping centre this month.

The 2,100 sq ft outlet carries 1800 SKUs and a statement from the retailer said its product range caters to “16-34 year old make-up enthusiasts.”
Founded in 1999 by Toni Ko, Nyx Professional Makeup aims to offer shoppers professional quality make-up at an affordable price point.
Since then, the retailer has established itself a cult beauty brand amongst millennial shoppers in the US, amassing 10.7m Instagram followers.
When L’Oreal snapped up Nyx Professional Makeup in 2014, US president and chief executive Frédéric Rozé said the retailer had done a “tremendous job of harnessing the power of social media, digital marketing and multichannel distribution”, which had made it stand out to the beauty giant.
The specialist retailer operates through an ecommerce website as well as a variety of concessions and a growing standalone bricks-and-mortar store estate.
Nyx Professional Makeup is part of L’Oreal’s slew of specialist health and beauty brands including Urban Decay, Kiehl’s and The Body Shop, which the cosmetics giant put up for sale earlier this year and has piqued the interest of potential bidders including Advent International and CJ Group.

Apple reportedly opening new flagship retail store in Mexico City

Not long after opening its first Mexico City retail location, Apple is planning a new flagship retail store in the city. Apple currently intends on the store being “flagship” in nature, with a design akin to that of Apple’s World Trade Center location in New York City…

The new details come via a report from AppleInsider, which cites a “person familiar with the matter.” Apple is said to be taking over large retail space in Antara Fashion Hall, which was most recently occupied by Crate & Barrel. The location is twice the size of Apple’s current Mexico City store in Centro Santa Fe mall’s high-end Via Santa Fe wing.
The design of the new Ciudad de Mexico store is said to be similar to that of the new World Trade Center store in New York City, which just opened last August. The store features high-end design traits such as a high ceilings, a 37-foot custom-built TV screen, and much more. Apple’s new Ciudad de Mexico store is also expected to be multi-level, meaning the Genius Bar and retail space might be split from one another, similar to other multi-level Apple Stores around the world.
The Antara Fashion Hall first opened its doors in 2006 and comes in at over half a million square feet. It features 3 floors of retail space, restaurants, and a movie theater. It’s located three blocks north of Avenida Presidente Masaryk, which is known for its high-end, luxury shopping amenities.
Specific details about when Apple plans to open its new flagship retail location remain unclear, but it’s likely a long way away at this point. The news of Apple’s newest Mexico City location comes as its first retail space in the city, opened last September, is experiencing unusually high sales and struggling to keep up with demand.
Today’s report also adds details such that Apple is mulling an expansion in Brazil. Company officials are reportedly in the process of determining whether or not Apple will open two additional stores in the country, including one new flagship location in Sao Paulo. As of now, Apple operates two retail locations in Brazil.

H&M to open largest UK store at Westfield Stratford

H&M is opening a new Westfield Stratford store on 21 April. The retailer is relocating from its current location and expanding its offering to become the largest store in the UK and IE portfolio and one of the largest H&Ms in the world.

Situated over three floors and covering 5,074 sq m of sales space, Westfield Stratford City will offer fashion-forward collections across ladieswear, menswear, Divided and kidswear. The store will also stock the brand’s homeware and beauty ranges. 
‘H&M is delighted to be expanding in Westfield Stratford. The new store will become our largest in the UK and IE, as well as a global flagship store. Westfield Stratford gives the brand an exciting opportunity to showcase our entire fashion offering to both new and existing customers,’ says Carlos Duarte, H&M’s country manager UK & IE.

Prada opens new boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York

To celebrate the recent opening of the new Prada women’s ready-to-wear boutique in Saks Fifth Avenue, the prestigious department store has dedicated the six store windows on Fifth Avenue to the Prada Spring/Summer 2017 collection.

The unique setting features a sequence of three different scenarios, using rubberized elements in alternating color shades with soft forms that suggest a natural, abstract landscape.
At approximately 100 square metres, located on the third floor of the store, the new store reflects Prada’s aesthetic principles and strong brand identity.
The Prada Spring/Summer 2017 collections are displayed on different levels in front of the dynamic background for a relaxed, comfortable and dreamy atmosphere.

Reebok to open 500 FitHub stores in China by 2020

London – Reebok is set to expand its presence in China by opening 500 FitHub stores across the country by 2020, as part of its wider strategy to become the leading sportswear brand in the region.
The move sees the footwear and fitness label, held by Adidas Group, go head to head with US rival Nike which is currently viewed as the marker leader in the country. The expansion push sees Reebok team up with Belle International Holdings, one of China’s leading footwear retailers, who will assist the brand in rolling our its FitHub concept stores across the region. At the moment Reebok counts seven FitHub stores in China, with stores in key cities such as Beijing, Hangzhou and Qingdao as the sportswear label aims to open an additional 50 stores in the region this year.

Reebok’s FitHub concept store was designed to compliment the labels new positioning within the sportswear market and features in-store classes, events and fitness experts in store to offer customers tailored advice on products. As the sportswear and fitness market continues to rapidly expand in China, the region has become a key sector for international players like Adidas and Nike to expand in. “For a fitness brand, there is no better country to invest in right now than China,” said Chad Wittman, general manager of Reebok Greater China to China Daily.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy putting together a China strategy that meets the specific needs of Chinese consumers in terms of product, messaging and experiences.” In addition to offering Reebok’s global range of apparel, footwear and fitness equipment, the label is set to offer custom-made products targeted specifically at Chinese consumers. At the moment the brand is focusing on three main categories: running, training and classics. The former is set to become a key focus in China for the brand this year, as running has seen a surge in popularity in China over the past few years.

H&M sales rise in SA bad news for local retailers

The retailer’s sales increased 39% in rand terms from the nine stores it has in operation 

Swedish retailer H&M has continued on its winning streak in SA, dodging the malaise to which domestic retail players have succumbed.
In the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, H&M’s sales increased 39% in rand terms to about R356m from the nine stores it has in operation.
H&M SA opened its 10th store in Nelspruit last week. Its 11th store will be opened in Polokwane at the Mall of the North on April 8. Europe’s second-largest retailer is one of many global players who have moved to SA in a bid to increase market share and search for untapped markets in the hopes of bolstering performance.
Mergence equity analyst Peter Takaendesa said H&M was growing faster than bigger local retailers due to a combination of strong investment into new stores, effective marketing and “possibly better-positioned product offering”. H&M’s results have come at the expense of Woolworths, Truworths and Mr Price who released less than stellar trading updates and results earlier in 2017.
“We estimate that their [H&M] revenue market share in the South African market is only about 1% now and believe they will continue to gain market share off this low base as well as the factors identified above,” said Takaendesa.
The analyst said the accelerated levels of new store roll-outs were not only taking place in SA but also across some of their operating countries, so “this is a deliberate strategy driven at the group level”.

World Retail Congress opens in Dubai

The World Retail Congress (WRC) begins on Tuesday in Dubai amid weak consumer demand, caused by a strong dollar and job concerns. Brick-and-mortar retail has also suffered as ecommerce begins to grow in popularity across the region.
The 11th edition of the event, being held at the Madinat Jumeirah from April 4 to April 8 under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will see over 1,500 delegates in attendance.

With opening remarks from Sultan Al Mansouri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, and Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, attendees are expected to be addressed over the course of the four day event by industry leaders such as Jo Malone, founder of Jo Malone, Ravi Thakran, group president of LVMH for South & South East Asia and Middle East, and Robert Welanetz, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Properties.

Developers in the UAE are currently hoping to capitalise on the growing number of visitors to the country in the run up to Expo 2020.
Dubai hopes to attract 20 million tourists that year, an increase of around five million in the next three years.

Retailers are currently focusing on delivering unique experiences to differentiate their product, whilst utilising insight into consumer behaviours and attitudes to stay agile and retain customers.

A government emphasis on the tourism sector, competitive deals, and tax-free salaries spurred a decade-long boom in the retail sector in Dubai.

However, in an Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) economic report released at the end of 2016, Monica Malek, Chief Economist at ADCB, said, “The rise in inflation over our forecast horizon should continue to contribute to the soft consumer-spending backdrop. Wider consumer sentiment is expected to remain weak due to job uncertainties.”

Hamad Bu Amim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said in a statement: “After the tremendous success of the 10th World Retail Congress in Dubai, the chamber is very pleased to host the 11th edition here again. This year’s theme is very topical and reflects the changes in the retail sector, especially the growing trend of ecommerce. More so, Dubai’s retail market is forecasted to surpass $52 billion in sales by 2020 with average annual growth of more than 8 per cent.”

Agent Provocateur’s Australian stores close down under new ownership

Questions about the future of Agent Provocateur have been raised again after the retailer confirmed it would close down all of its Australian stores and concessions.

Three out of the four Agent Provocateur retail locations in Australia have already closed, with the last location in Westfield, Sydney, poised to shutter its doors.
According to reports in News Corp Australia media outlets, the last store is selling its remaining stock and would shut once it was sold, or by mid-May, as Agent Provocateur’s new owners aims to focus on the European market.
The now-closed locations include a store in Little Collins Street, Melbourne, and two concessions in department store chain David Jones.
The store closure affects a total of 20 employees in Australia, with 15 workers holding a full-time contract. 
However, Agent Provocateur will retain an online presence in Australia through its international website.
The news comes less than a month after the British lingerie retailer’s fall into administration and subsequent sale to Four Holdings Ltd – in which Sports Directs holds a 25 percent stake – in a pre-pack administration deal.
The deal saw Four Holdings acquire the brand’s UK division and Agent Provocateur global branding rights, but not its international portfolio, leaving 100 retail outlets at risk.
Agent Provocateur was offloaded by private equity firm 3i for around £27.5 million.
A pre-pack administration is when a business is placed into insolvency proceedings and its assets are immediately acquired by a new owner.
They are often criticised as businesses are able to shed its debts to creditors, and the details of Agent Provocateur’s debts have not been disclosed.
The retail chain’s co-founder, Joe Corré said the sale of the lingerie retailer to a firm backed by Ashley was “a disgrace to British business” and a “phenomenal stitch-up”.
He also said the “preposterous” transaction between private equity firm 3i and Four Holdings would “face a phenomenal swath of litigation actions”.
Since the sale, Sports Direct has clarified in a statement that it was not the new owner of Agent Provocateur, stressing its 25 percent stake in Four Holdings, which is also the parent company of fashion agency Four Marketing.

Apple shares latest vision for new Chicago River retail store 

Apple shares latest vision for new Chicago River retail store as roof and curved glass put in placeWe’ve known for a while now that Apple is planning a new flagship waterfront retail store along the Chicago River, and now Apple has shared a new render of what the location will look like after construction wraps up. We also get a look at progress at the site with a new video walkthrough this week.

Apple was granted approval for the project back in November 2015, and 9to5Mac reported that demolition of the previous site and new construction for the upcoming flagship Apple Store was underway last December.
Today the Chicago Tribune has the latest renderings from Apple of what the upcoming retail space is expected to look like when the project is complete. The photo at the top shows the street level view of the glass structure with a massive rooftop centered in an open public space.
Foster + Partners, the same firm behind the new Apple Park campus design, is also responsible for what the Tribune says is a $27 million project, although the store still has no target opening date.
New photos included in the report do show further progress since we last checked in including the curved glass edges in place and the roof being installed this week. The Tribune even says construction workers signed the final support beam used for the new Apple Store.

Mulberry launches new entity to operate its businesses in Asia

The move follows the signing of a new business agreement with Challice Limited.

Mulberry Asia will begin trading in Hong Kong from 3 April. In addition, a subsidiary in China and a branch office in Taiwan are expected to be operational this year once the business secures relevant business licences for the territories.

The Mulberry Group owns 60% of the share capital of Mulberry Asia while Challice holds the remaining 40%. Mulberry Asia will initially operate two stores in China, one in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan. It will also manage regional wholesale operations.
These are supported by the group’s Chinese language mulberry.com site and omnichannel platform throughout the region.
In addition to local marketing initiatives, Mulberry plans to invest around £3 million in additional support in North Asia over the next two years to build brand awareness in the region and capitalise on international tourist flows to the UK, Europe and North America. In the near term, the brand’s store network will be enhanced with a new store in Shanghai as well as relocation of its existing stores in Hong Kong and Beijing.
Thierry Andretta, Mulberry chief executive, said: “We are delighted to launch Mulberry Asia, which enables us to advance our international strategy of developing the brand’s retail and omnichannel model in a key luxury market. We see significant growth opportunity in the region and look forward to taking this major step forward in fulfilling Mulberry’s global potential.”

IKEA Announces Affordable Smart Lighting Product Range

Swedish home furniture store IKEA announced its own affordable smart lighting system today called Trådfri, which means “wireless” in Swedish. 
The Smart Lighting range of products includes Trådfri LED bulbs, a remote dimmer switch puck, a gateway kit, a motion sensor kit, and dimming lights. IKEA is also introducing a selection of LED light panels and doors that can be built into cabinets for the bedroom and kitchen. 
The Gateway starter kit will cost around $80 and includes two bulbs, a remote, and a gateway hub to connect everything to the app. The Trådfri bulbs have three white color temperature options (2200K, 2700K, and 4000K) that IKEA claims each last around 25,000 hours. 

“The Ikea vision is to bring affordable home furnishing solutions to the many people. We know from research that existing smart lighting technology is perceived to be too expensive and difficult to understand, so we have worked to remove those barriers to make smart lighting more accessible,” IKEA Home Furnishing expert Helen Longford said in a statement.

Like the Philips Hue series, IKEA’s first range of automated lighting products is based on the ZigBee Light Link standard that got released in a number European countries late last year and should see a larger rollout at the end of this month. 
IKEA gives a March 31 availability date for the lighting range in Sweden, with the range expected to arrive in the U.K in April, making them likely to roll out to other countries soon. The IKEA website makes no mention of compatibility with existing smart home platforms like Apple HomeKit, but support for other standards seems likely at some point down the line.

Confirmed: Emaar Malls submits $800m bid for Souq.com

Emaar said the acquisition would be in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping
Emaar said the acquisition would be in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping
Emaar Malls has submitted an $800 million bid to take over e-commerce giant Souq.com, the company has confirmed.
In a bourse statement, Emaar Malls confirmed that it lodged the offer with Souq.com’s shareholders “in line with the strategy to align e-commerce with physical shopping”.
The statement, signed by Ahmad Thani Al Matrooshi, said the bid has not been accepted as yet.
“If the bid is approved, the impact on Emaar Mall’s profit for the quarter in which the acquisition is completed and for the year 2017, will not be material,” the statement added.
Quoting sources familiar to the bid, Arabian Business reported at the weekend that Emaar Malls, a unit of Emaar Properties, had lodged the bid to take over Souq.com, which is thought to have included a $500 million convertible deposit.
Last week Amazon agreed in principle to a 100 percent takeover of Souq.com, in a deal believed be worth around $580m.
However, it is understood that Souq has an “exclusivity” clause as part of its negotiations with Amazon – meaning it would not be able to accept a counter offer while still in sale talks.
Sources suggest the Amazon deal is being driven by New York based Tiger Global Management which has a substantial stake in Souq.
However, other small shareholders in Souq are yet to commit to a sale that could see Souq undervalued by almost $220 million, in comparison to the offer from Emaar Malls.
Souq’s smaller shareholder include South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) and Baillie Gifford.
Souq.com raised $75 million from Cape Town-based Naspers in March 2014, in a deal it said at the time was the largest for an Internet-based business in the region. But it is not clear whether Naspers is now backing the Amazon deal.

Apple opens three new retail stores around the globe 

As expected, Apple today opened three new retail stores around the globe. The company opened a new location in Cologne, Germany, another one in Miami, Florida, and last but not least one in Nanjing Jinmao.
We’ve rounded up some images of the grand opening experiences at all three locations, so head below to check them out..

The new Cologne, Germany location at Schildergasse has been in the works for quite a while now, but it’s now open to the public. We shared photos of the construction process a few months ago, showing the store start to take shape. Original photos of Apple’s signature wooden tables from the store can be dated back all the way to April of 2015, though.
Images and video of the Schildergasse grand opening come courtesy of Macerkopf. The first visitors to the store this morning received a free Apple t-shirt. The new (RED) iPhone 7, 9.7-inch iPad, and iPhone cases + Apple Watch bands were also all available to purchase this morning.
As for the new Miami store, reports of its existence first began last year when it was rumored that the Apple Store would be the ‘largest retail store’ in a new Miami shopping center. A variety of customers shared images from the Miami opening on Twitter. Customers were lined up out front for hours in advance of the opening.
Lastly, Apple today also opened a new retail store in Nanjing Jinmao Place. There aren’t as many images of this opening, but it appears that it too opened in typical Apple celebratory style.

Busby to shut Nine West and Mango

Head of marketing Leane Adolph said on Wednesday all free-standing stores under both these brands would close by the end of March.

“The company regularly reviews the portfolio’s performance and relevance to market and decided to move the Mango business into the store-in-store concept within Edgars. Similarly, with Nine West, we will keep a wholesale presence [for handbags] in the SA market through Edgars,” she said.
The House of Busby owns the exclusive rights to both Mango and Nine West. The Nine West licence was acquired in 1999 and, until recently, had 13 stand-alone stores throughout the country. Nine West sells footwear, handbags, eyewear and accessories.
The Mango licence was acquired in 2006 and there were nine stand-alone stores in SA. Mango now has 35 store-in-stores in Edgars stores nationwide. Mango sells apparel and accessories. Adolph said that rumours of Busby coming under business rescue were untrue, adding it was not expected that there would be any job losses as a result of the decision to close shop for the brands as affected staff would be accommodated within the group’s structures.
The House of Busby was delisted from the JSE in May 2008, when management, together with Ethos Private Equity, acquired control. The Busby enterprise is valued at about R1.3bn. Busby also owns exclusive rights to many other well-known international brands in SA including Aldo, Forever New, Guess, Steve Madden and Call it Spring.
In the past year, it has acquired the master licences for two new brands, Women’secret and 3INA, which further diversified its portfolio from footwear, apparel and luggage to include intimate apparel and cosmetics.
Adolph said the group was confident that the rejigging of the portfolio would allow it to focus on the growth of the newly acquired brands and to optimise its existing portfolio, “re-emphasising the importance of great customer service and a commitment to delivering consistent, quality, international product at prices that reflect customer value”.
Independent analyst Syd Vianello said it was possible that the group’s pricing model had made Mango and Nine West uncompetitive in a market that was under stress and searching for lower price points.