Category Archives: #retail

M&S reports 2.7 percent increase in Q1 sales
Marks and Spencer Group (M&S) said that the revenues increased 2.7 percent or 1.8 percent in constant currency, in the 13 weeks to July 1, 2017 to 2,531.5 million pounds (3,259 million dollars). Revenues in the UK were up 2.6 percent to 2,259.2 million pounds (2,910 million dollars) but like-for-like sales declined 0.5 percent.
Commenting on the results, Steve Rowe, M&S Chief Executive said in a media release: “Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced last year. I am pleased that we continue to grow full price sales in Clothing & Home, with reduced discounting and no clearance sale in the quarter.”
Q1 full-price sales increased 7 percent
The company’s Clothing & Home revenue was down 0.5 percent during the quarter to 852.1 million pounds (1,097 million dollars), while like-for-like sales were down 1.2 percent. The company said, in line with the strategy, full price sales were up 7 percent, as the number of promotions was reduced and there was no clearance sale in the quarter compared with one last year. M&S has commenced its summer sale today, a week later than last year, with terminal stock for the season significantly down.
International revenue increased 3.8 percent but declined 4 percent in constant currency to 272.3 million pounds (350 million dollars). The company’s retained owned and franchise revenue was up 9.4 percent or 1.4percent in constant currency. Consistent with the plans set out in November 2016, M&S closed 28 of 53 stores in the markets it is exiting.

McDonald’s scales back its Irish head-office team

A NUMBER of roles at McDonald’s Ireland corporate headquarters have been cut as part of a global cost-reduction, the Irish Independent has learned.

The ‘Sunday Independent’ reported at the weekend that McDonald’s is scaling back its head-office operations in Ireland, with the business set to be managed from the UK.
The managing director of the Irish business, Adrian Crean, is to leave the business this month and sources have said he will not be replaced.
Other staff at the head office in Clonskeagh, Dublin, were notified of the risk of redundancy in March of this year, according to a source close to the matter.
Through a series of redundancy consultation emails and meetings following the initial announcement, a number of employees were informed that their positions were “being removed from the structure”.
In an email sent on Friday, June 9, staff were told that McDonald’s Ireland MD Adrian Crean would be stepping down from the role on July 31 after a period of “gardening leave”.
The source told the Irish Independent that the original team in the head office of around 40 – “most of whom had worked with McDonalds for 15-30 years” – was being reduced to just six.
The senior staff were told that the changes to the Irish structure were originally put in motion in 2015 by CEO Steve Easterbrook, who had just taken over from Don Thompson.
“He identified a plan to achieve returns (to ensure continued investor support)… and alongside it a reduction in the cost of running the McDonald’s global business.
“A large part of these running costs is made up of salary costs.
“This means that we are identifying a number of roles which will be at risk of redundancy.”
The source said staff were offered alternative vacancies “in the restaurants in Ireland” or ‘outplacements’, meaning jobs based in the UK.
The affected employees are understood to be bound by confidentiality agreements that they are disinclined to break “or they will not receive their redundancy pay”.
McDonald’s opened its first Irish store in Grafton Street in May 1977 and operates in 92 stores nationwide.
McDonald’s Ireland said it was committed to its customers, franchisees and the 5,000 people who work in the restaurants across the country.
“For over a decade, the Irish business has been part of the UK and Ireland business unit and we have recently made some operational changes to reflect that structure,” said a spokesperson.
“In a planned restructuring, operations at the Dublin office are being scaled back.
“We are currently in a consultation process with our employees and are not able to give specific details while the new corporate structure is being finalised.
“However, McDonald’s staff and franchisees are already aware that Adrian Crean will be stepping down as McDonald’s’ Restaurants of Ireland managing director at the end of July.”

H&M to open six more stores in SA

The news follows on the group’s interim results, which showed a 32% rise in sales in rand terms in SA. The rise came at the expense of local retailers such as Mr Price and Edcon.

“We see a lot of potential in SA,” said H&M South African country manager Pär Darj.
Three stores will be opened in Cape Town from September to November. The remaining three will open in Witbank, Richards Bay and Durban during the course of the year.
The Canal Walk store in Cape Town – to be opened on November 18 – will cover more than 4,600m² on two levels.
“We are extremely excited to be opening yet another flagship in the western part of the country,” said Darj.
H&M’s expansion comes at a time when local and international fashion brands are finding it harder to eke out sales gains as consumers come under increased pressure.
International fashion brands Mango and Nine West, which were brought to SA by House of Busby, closed their stand-alone stores in March. British retailer River Island, which has a presence in Rosebank Mall, Sandton City and Mall of Africa in Gauteng, Canal Walk in Cape Town and elsewhere has exited the country in the past month.
Analysts have warned it is going to become even tougher for clothing retailers. Since the beginning of 2017, retailers of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods have experienced sharp declines.
The Statistics SA retail trade sales report for April showed this segment of goods recorded a 4.7% drop after a 5.1% decrease in March.

Store Twenty One goes into liquidation with loss of 900 jobs

West Midlands-based discount fashion retailer to close its 122 stores after battling losses for several years

Store Twenty One, Waterlooville, Hampshire, UK
Struggling fashion chain Store Twenty One is being liquidated with the loss of 900 retail jobs.

The value clothing retailer, which was based in Solihull in the West Midlands, has entered compulsory liquidation and its 122 stores which ceased trading on Friday will not reopen. The company had been in a precarious financial situation since April when HM Revenue & Customs issued a winding-up notice over unpaid tax.
Store Twenty One, which was owned by Indian textiles company Alok Group, had a chequered financial history and had struggled to adapt as low-cost fashion rivals such as Primark expanded across the UK. In recent years its turnover had declined from £95m to £57m, a performance that was accompanied by sustained losses.
“It is very sad that matters have got to the stage where all the stores were closed by management on Friday following a prolonged period of uncertainty leading up to the liquidation,” said Simon Bonney, a partner at Quantuma, the corporate recovery and business advisory firm that is handling the liquidation.
“We are now in the process of conducting an orderly wind-down and would welcome contact from any interested parties who may wish to purchase assets of the company.”
Store Twenty One started in the 1930s as a manufacturing business supplying retailers including Marks & Spencer. It subsequently opened its own branches, selling seconds, but in the 1980s changed tack, rebranding the chain as QS.
In 1990 QS floated on the London Stock Exchange and went on to acquire sister chain Bewise. It was taken private in 2002 and sold again, to Alok, five years later. It rebranded again as Store Twenty One nearly a decade ago after a restructuring that involved the closure of 140 shops.
But it had been fighting for its survival since management failed to secure fresh investment following a company voluntary arrangement – a type of insolvency proceeding – in July 2016, which saw the closure of about 80 shops. After twice flirting with administration in recent months, the court finally issued a winding-up order this week.
“The traditional retail sector continues to face significant challenges, not least with the changes in business rates,” said Bonney. “The company was founded in 1932 and unfortunately it is another example of the difficulties arising in the current economy.”

Fashion retailer Max Fashion opens first store in Malaysia

OFFERING high quality fashionable products at great prices, Max Fashion has launched its first store in Malaysia at IOI City Mall, Putrajaya.

Max Fashion is part of the Landmark Group, which is one of the largest retail conglomerates in the Middle East and India with its headquarters in Dubai, UAE.
The store was launched by Landmark Group group director and board manager Ramanathan Hariharan. Also present was artiste Scha Al-Yahya.
“Max Fashion started in Dubai in 2004 and this year marks our 13th year in the fashion and footwear industry.
“We offer our customers trendy and fashionable items but at very reasonable prices,” said Ramanathan, adding that Max currently has a total of 400 stores with 10 million loyal customers.
Offering well-designed products at a bargain, Ramanathan believes there is an immense potential for growth and is looking forward to expanding to other parts of the country, especially in the Klang Valley.
“I believe this is the right time for our brand to enter the Malaysian market and I am very excited to engage with the customers,” he said.
Max Fashion hopes to provide the best shopping experience for their customers.
“We also want our customers to have a memorable shopping experience, so we broadened the scope of products to not only include clothes for men and women, but also trendy footwear and accessories,” he said.
In the next six months, Max Fashion will open several more stores in the country, specifically in the Klang Valley, and is working on an online store within the next year.

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.

$1bn Abu Dhabi mall on track for 2018 launch

UAE-based Gulf Capital said more than 76 per cent of the work has been completed on its $1-billion retail venture coming up in Abu Dhabi and is on track for opening by the end of 2018.
Al Maryah Central, located at Al Maryah Island, is a joint venture project between Gulf Capital and the US-based Related Company.
The project is progressing well, on tack and on budget. It will open by the end of next year, reported Gulf News, citing Gulf Capital’s top official.
“The construction will finish in September next year and we need a bit of time for getting approvals from the regulatory and governmental bodies before we open the mall,” stated CEO Dr Karim Al Solh.
The 2.8 million sq ft mall will feature the first Macy’s outside of the US, the first Bloomingdale’s in Abu Dhabi and 20 specialist Al Tayer stores as part of the 400 store retail offering.
In addition, Al Maryah Central will include 100 restaurants and cafés, a 21-screen Vox Cinema with Imax and a host of other attractions. Subsequent phases of the development will include residential units and a hotel in two high-rise towers.
According to him, the mall will have a mix of entertainment and dining that will drive a lot of traffic.
“About 20 per cent of the mall will have food and beverage component and 10 per cent entertainment. That is important because you just can’t have retail alone,” he noted.
“Apart from this, we are bringing a number of new brands to the region. This will be a unique mall on par with what you see in the US or Europe,” explained Al Sohl.
On the leasing activity, Al Solh said 50 per cent of the retail space is already leased with a number of new potential customers showing interest. “We are expecting 70 per cent of the mall to be leased by the end of this year,” he told Gulf News.
The new shopping mall will be linked to the adjacent property, The Galleria Mall, which opened in 2013 and was also developed by Gulf Related, said Al Sohl.
On its regional projects, the company chief said its residential project in Saudi Arabia will be built in phases due to slowdown in the economy. The firm is building 520 units including villas, town houses, and apartments.

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.

Tesco to trial Currys PC World outlets in store

Tesco and Dixons Carphone have announced a new partnership which will see two Currys PC World concessions opening within Tesco Extra stores this summer. The first store is scheduled to open in July at Tesco’s Milton Keynes Extra store, followed by a second concession at its Weston Favell Extra store in Northampton later in August.

A tailored range of Currys PC World products will be on offer in the outlets including televisions, computers, white goods and accessories. Laptop repairs, advice and comparison services – allowing customers to explore switching broadband and energy supply – will also be available.
‘We’re always looking at ways to offer our customers the best possible range of services in our stores. We think this is a winning combination for customers and look forward to opening the first outlet in our Milton Keynes store in July,’ says Matt Davies, UK CEO of Tesco. 
‘Customers tell us they want to pick up the latest electrical products conveniently and at competitive prices, with expert advice and from someone they trust to keep them working seamlessly. This trial gives them all of this during a weekly grocery shop, which we hope they will enjoy,’ adds Katie Bickerstaffe, UK & Ireland CEO of Dixons Carphone.

Joules sales up 19.6% in first full year on AIM

Joules has reported a near 20% rise in sales to £157m in the year to 28 May 2017, which marks its first full year as a listed company on AIM.

In its pre-close period trading statement the premium fashion and lifestyle brand said the business had had a strong start to FY17 followed by a strong Christmas and the growth was “a reflection of the brand’s expansion in the UK and international markets, Joules’ growing customer base, and the positive customer responses to both new and core ranges across product categories”.
Retail revenue was up by around 19.4% on the prior year driven by strong e-commerce growth and and the addition of 11 new stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Wholesale was up by approximately 20.3% and the group has upped its guidance for its full-year profit forecast.
“The appeal and strength of the Joules brand continues to resonate with our loyal and growing customer base. The brand’s growth continued in the second half of the financial year, building on the strong performance in H1. As a result of the brand’s momentum across channels and product categories, the Board anticipates reporting profits for the full year comfortably ahead of its previous expectations,” said CEO Colin Porter.
“Our focus on our brand and our customers as well as our steadfast commitment to product quality remain the bedrock for the Group’s growth and success. Underpinned by these strengths, the Board has confidence that Joules’ momentum will continue into FY18, despite the uncertain macro-economic outlook. This confidence is supported by the growth in our customer base and our exciting new store opening plans, as well as a robust Autumn/Winter wholesale order-book both in the UK and internationally,” Porter added.
The business will publish its preliminary results on 28 July.

Lidl US announces tie-up with fashion designer Heidi Klum

Lidl U.S. announced on Tuesday that it will exclusively feature a new fashion collection by supermodel/fashion designer Heidi Klum, launching later this year in stores in Europe and the U.S. according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.

The no-frills retailer, which like Klum hails from Germany, describes the collection as “high-end, yet affordable.” In addition to the Klum collection, Lidl will host other ‘Lidl Fashion Weeks,’ which will feature various fashion collections in stores at certain times throughout the year, the company said.
Lidl, which operates about 10,000 stores in 27 countries throughout Europe, recently announced it will open its first nine stores in cities along the east coast of the U.S. on June 15.
Redoubled competition from no-frills grocery companies hailing from Germany — fast-growing Aldi and its Trader Joe’s sibling, and U.S. newcomer Lidl — poses a dramatic threat to U.S. grocery stores, particularly Walmart, which depends on grocery for more than half of its revenue.
Lidl poses a problem especially for Walmart because it sells not just groceries, but also home goods and apparel, according to Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York retail consulting and investment banking firm Davidowitz & Associates.
Both Lidl and Aldi run their stores with limited merchandising, store brands and bottom-barrel prices, an approach that defies the common notion that the U.S. consumer wants choice — and their prices are as much as a third lower than many rivals. “Aldi and Lidl really know what the hell they’re doing, and Lidl is even more of a direct threat to Walmart than Aldi and Trader Joe’s,” he said. “Their stores are bigger [than Aldi and Trader Joe’s], and they have all kinds of other merchandise.”
Nick Egelanian, president of retail real estate consulting firm SiteWorks, says Walmart is distracted by Amazon in particular and digital sales more generally, and doesn’t seem to realize the threat from the German companies, which have successfully disrupted retail in Europe, igniting a bruising price war in the U.K. “If I ran Walmart, I would be much more concerned about [Lidl coming to America] than about Amazon,” Egelanian told Retail Dive last year.
The tie-up with Klum is also a challenge to Target, which has reasserted its merchandising differentiation (innovated to compete with Walmart on more than price) with similar partnerships with designers for its home goods and apparel. It’s most recent collaborations include a furniture offering from mid-century design brand Dwell and a limited-edition fashion collection from designer Victoria Beckham.
“Lidl is known for making quality products at affordable prices and I’m proud to partner with them on this fashion collaboration,” Klum said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. “I had so much fun designing the pieces in this collection and can’t wait for you to see it. I hope you love it as much as I do!”

House of Fraser named best multichannel retailer

House of Fraser is the best high street retailer that also sells online in the UK, according to a new report.

The annual Multichannel Retail Report scores and ranks 187 high street retailers selling online, identifying the top 10 the industry should benchmark against.
Following House of Fraser in the top 10 are Schuh, Argos, B&Q, Screwfix, Karen Millen, Marks & Spencer, Superdry, Coast and Warehouse.
The list also identified the bottom 10, which offer less-than-optimal multichannel experiences for customers.
The high street retailers that made the bottom 10 include Nespresso, Oak Furniture Land, Smythson, Mulberry, Party Delights, Cameraworld, Miu Miu, The Whiskey Shop, Multiyork Furniture, and Thomas Pink.
Meanwhile, the most improved retailers for 2017 include F.Hinds, Dior, Mamas & Papas and Richer Sounds.
The list and rankings were compiled based on the core tenets of multichannel retailing, covering facets such as technology, customer experience and delivery.
The Multichannel Retail Report also indicated that 22 per cent of retailers were still failing to offer a persistent cart – whereby customers can add items on one devise while logged in and access it on another device later. However, this is a marked improvement from 2015’s figure of 31 per cent.
When it comes to checkout, the report found that 44 per cent of retailers lack transparency andndo not show accepted payment types until the basket page, while only 11% of retailers offer login/registration with social media.
In addition, 19 per cent of retailers don’t offer next day delivery – a method favoured by 52 per cent of consumers, according to a 2017 YouGov survey.

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

South Africa’s Mr Price posts first annual profit drop in 16 years

Mr Price earnings up due to successful retail formula
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Mr Price Group Ltd posted a 12 percent drop in full-year earnings, the first drop in annual profit since 2001, as consumers struggle in a sluggish economy.
The no-frills retailer, which also sells homeware and furniture, is facing increased competition from international chains Zara, H&M and Cotton On and has lost market share as local competitors, such as the ailing Edcon, mark down stock.
“This was the Group’s first earnings decrease in 16 years during a very difficult trading period,” Chief Executive Stuart Bird.
Mr Price blamed a drop in sales on weak consumer sentiment as political turmoil culminated in President Jacob Zuma firing finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March and credit ratings agencies downgraded the nation to sub-investment grade shortly after.
“Cabinet reshuffles and downgrades by ratings agencies have caused further exchange rate volatility, which the consumer ultimately has to absorb,” the company said.
Mr Price, which has grown over the past three decades by undercutting competitors and catering to thrifty shoppers’ fashion needs, said a mild winter caused rivals to mark down stock to match its own prices, further weighing on sales.
Edcon, an unlisted retailer, has had to restructure debt and clear old stock at much lower prices. Woolworths also marked down stock in what its chief executive Ian Moir described as a “feeding frenzy”.
“The retail environment has become more competitive, with any growth in a stagnant market coming from increased market share,” Mr Price said in a statement.
Diluted headline earnings per share fell to 887.9 cents in the year to end-March, from 1,012.9 cents in the previous year.
Mr Price maintained its full-year dividend at 667 cents per share.
The company said improvement in the consumer environment is likely to only be gradual, but added that it was seeing encouraging signs in the current financial year.

Edcon shuts stores in bid to save sales

Retail cannibalisation is becoming a significant feature in the domestic market and it is for this reason that Edcon is shutting down stores where it can, says CEO Bernie Brookes.

Edcon shuts stores in bid to save salesRetail cannibalisation occurs when a company’s new stores steal customers from existing stores. This can reduce overall sales even though sales in the new stores generally do well. Cannibalisation can hurt sales volumes and market share.

“As the leases come up, we are reviewing the stores to see if we should keep them open or not,” said Brookes.
“It’s the most sensible thing to do, especially if you consider the market as it is right now. If you look at Mall of Africa, for example, our store there has taken sales away from stores close to that area.
“In some cases, we are looking at reducing store size by closing certain departments or floors,” said Brookes.
In the year ended 25 March, Edcon closed eight Edgars stores, four Jet stores and five Jet Mart stores. The retailer closed seven stores in its speciality division that includes CNA, Red Square and Boardmans.
Brookes said fewer stores would be opened in the future.

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%.

Mothercare looks to almost halve number of UK stores

Mothercare used to have almost 400 stores, but will now have about 80 to 100. Photograph: Rex
Mothercare is to almost halve the size of its UK chain and stop selling clothes for older children as it tries to carve out a profitable future on the high street.
Mark Newton-Jones, Mothercare chief executive, said it would look to close up to 70 of its 152 UK stores as it adapts to a digital age where 41% of sales are rung up online.
“We are taking a fresh look at our estate and asking how many do we really need?” said Newton-Jones. “We’ve got six stores in Bristol – we don’t need six stores in Bristol. In Sheffield we’ve got five within a 20-minute drive time when we only need one or two. To cover all the major conurbations you only need 80 to 100 stores.”
At the start of this decade Mothercare was a ubiquitous presence on British high streets with closer to 400 stores but successive management teams have whittled away at that figure as the retailer struggled to compete with incursions by the supermarkets and online giant Amazon into what was once a specialist market.
Newton-Jones was hired in 2014 to lead a turnaround of Mothercare, but confidence was knocked by poor trading last summer. Since taking the helm he has closed 100 loss-making UK outlets and modernised 70% of the remaining stores.
Rather than competing in the cutthroat general kidswear market his strategy has focused on the lucrative niche of expectant parents and the paraphernalia required for newborns and toddler. It will now also stop selling clothes or toys for children older than four – previously its ranges ran up to age 10.
Pruning the UK chain, which has racked up losses of close to £100m over the last six years, has put it on the road to recovery with analysts predicting it will move into profit next year.
In recent years Mothercare has been forced to fall back on the success of its large overseas business but that is now facing headwinds of its own as shoppers in the Middle East – its biggest regional market outside the UK – spend less because of the slump in the oil price.
Pre-tax profits at Mothercare were flat at £19.7m on sales of £667.4m in the year to 25 March. Within that UK losses narrowed to £4.4m from £6.4m a year ago while underlying profits at its international business declined 13% to £35.2m. UK like-for-like sales were up 1.1%. The shares closed down more than 3% at 124p.
GlobalData analyst Sofie Willmott described the figures as “lacklustre” with the inclusion of online sales masking some poor store performances in the UK: “Given that Mothercare’s turnaround plan is in part focussed on investment in store refits we expected to be seeing more significant gains in UK store sales by now.”

Dubai prepares for three-day shopping bonanza

Dubai retailers are gearing up for a three-day ‘Super Sale’ in the emirate starting Thursday May 18.

More than 750 retailers across the emirate – more than 250 brands – will slash prices, knocking between 30 percent and 90 percent off products.
Some of the brands offering discounts include Guess, Steve Madden, Kurt Geiger, Roberto Cavalli, Galeries Lafayette, Furla, Missoni, Boutique 1, Scotch and Soda, Balmain, Aldo, Toms, Birkenstock, Charles & Keith, Nine West, Desigual, Al Jaber Optical, IDdesign, Marlin Furniture, Porsche Design and Disney Fashion.
More than 1,000 retail outlets across Dubai will offer discounts on a range of electronics, jewellery, toys, homewear, furniture, apparel and fashion.
The pre-Ramandan sale is organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

Apple planning new Mexico retail location in San Luis Potosi mall

Apple is planning a new Apple Store in Mexico as it continues to expand its presence around the globe. The new retail location will be located in the city of San Luis Potosi and construction is currently ongoing…

Specifically, the Apple Store will be located in a new section of the El Dorado Mall. While Apple has not yet confirmed details about the store, there is a sign with Apple branding where the store will be located that reads “Próximamente,” or “coming soon.”
Additionally, Apple has started hiring for the store, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple opened its first retail store in Mexico last September and is already working on another location in Mexico City. The San Luis Potosi will be the company’s third in Mexico. The new Mexico City location is said to be “flagship” in nature, with a design akin to that of Apple’s World Trade Center location in New York City. The store is said to be multi-level with the Genius Bar and retail space split from one another.
There’s no word on when Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location will open to the public, but the company is clearly moving things along as construction and hiring both continue. It’s also unclear just how big the new retail location will be and what sort of design traits it will share.
Elsewhere around the world, we reported last week that Apple will do a worldwide overnight refresh on older retail locations on May 16th. This effort will see Apple bring some of the qualities of its new flagships stores to older, smaller stores that can’t accommodate the full redesign. The changeover is best described as sort of a “‘halfway house’ between the original and new looks.
Apple also recently showed off motorized carbon fiber windows in its Dubai Mall store, and is working on the opening of a new Singapore store.
As always, we’ll update with more information about Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location as we get it. Do you have plans to visit this location when it opens to the public? Let us know down in the comments.

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.

Canada Goose chooses London for first European store

The London store in Regent Street will be the first Canada Goose shop in Europe. The Chicago store will be situated on Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose, said: “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.”
Canada Goose will also be expanding its ecommerce channel to seven new markets this year including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria.
In 2016 Canada Goose opened its first two flagship stores in Toronto and New York, having launched its first ecommerce site in Canada in 2014. This was followed by the launch of online stores in the US in 2015 and the UK and France in 2016.
Canada Goose was founded in a small warehouse in Toronto in 1957 and has grown into one of the world’s leading makers of performance luxury apparel.

House of Fraser names new chief executive

Due to take up his position on 31 July, Williamson will join House of Fraser from the Goodwood sporting estate. Having originally started at Goodwood in 2008 as chief financial officer, he was promoted to group managing director and in 2012 took up the position of chief executive.

Prior to this, he was head of finance at TUI Travel and has held a variety of other roles and across the leisure and hospitality sectors.
Frank Slevin, executive chairman of House of Fraser, said: “Having recently set out our vision for the future of House of Fraser, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Williamson as our new CEO. Alex is uniquely placed to execute our vision, and to contribute his extensive expertise of delivering compelling and engaging experiences for the customer.
“House of Fraser operates in an exciting and challenging market requiring an ability to innovate and manage an increasing pace of change. I am confident Alex will be able to add his perspective and skill of running the Goodwood Estate, one of the great British heritage brands to the benefit of our continued growth.”

Smashbox launches first South East store at Bluewater

Situated on the Upper Rose Gallery adjacent to Topshop, the 889 square foot shop recreates the look and feel of the legendary Smashbox Photo Studios in Los Angeles.

Anuschka Kuhnel, brand manager at Smashbox Cosmetics, said: “The new Bluewater standalone store is an exciting step for the Smashbox Cosmetics brand, further marking our move of opening standalone stores outside the capital in select locations. The enthusiasm and demand we have experienced for our brand amongst consumers throughout the South East makes Bluewater an exciting move for us.”
The news follows the launch of The White Company’s new upsized statement store earlier this month on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall and the opening of Gap’s new UK concept store on the lower Rose Gallery in March.
Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Smashbox Cosmetics is a fantastic addition to Bluewater’s outstanding offer. The new flagship retail space will further strengthen the health and beauty category of the scheme, and reinforce Bluewater’s position as the UK’s leading retail and leisure destination.”

Sheikh Mohammed launches Dubai’s new $1.7bn mega-project

Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed has announced the launch of Marsa Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s latest tourist destination development in the emirate.
The $1.7 billion (AED 6.3bn) mega-project, spread across 4 million sq. ft, will be developed on new two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Marsa (Arabic for marina) Al Arab is expected to be completed by 2020.
One island will be dedicated to entertainment and family tourism, while the other comprises an exclusive luxury resort. The two islands will add 2.2 kilometres of beach frontage, as well as three new hotels and a number of new tourist attractions.
The family resort island will see Jumeirah Group introduce new leisure concepts and services as well as a new family-oriented hotel. To boost guest experience, Wild Wadi Waterpark will be moved from its current road-side location closer to the beach, and will be more than double its existing size when fully completed.
Dubai Holding will also develop ‘Marine Park’, a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre in the Middle East, with a live theatre of a 1,000 seat capacity that will attract world-class shows to showcase various elements of marine life.

Marsa Al Arab will also include a private marina and a yacht club, as well as diverse food and beverage offerings, as well as a helipad.
Complementing Madinat Jumeirah, the development will include a mixed-use convention centre capable of hosting large international conferences and festivals. The convention centre will be supported by a new hotel, offering a selection of services for businessmen and corporates.
The project will also include a large retail space stretching across 20,000 sq. m, which will replace the current Wild Wadi Water Park area.

The shopping centre will consist of international high-end brands, as well as a selection of restaurants and coffee shops to meet the needs of its luxurious shoppers. Marsa Al Arab will also offer 300 sea-front residential apartments in the heart of the development.
Together, the enhanced Wild Wadi and Marine Park will sprawl over an area of 2.5 million sq. ft.
The new family destination will house a dedicated theatre with a capacity of 1,700 seats, which will become home to the world-renowned show Cirque du Soleil for the first time in the Middle East.
Dubai Holding will develop 140 luxury villas on the ‘exclusive private island’, which will include a marina for its residents. Located on the left of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the luxury villas will be operated by Jumeirah Group. The island will also host a boutique hotel equipped with world-class facilities that reflect ‘Marsa Al Arab’s status as an attractive destination for elite travellers.
Overall, Dubai Holding will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Jumeirah Group’s portfolio, bringing its total offering to 8,428 rooms. There will be 400 new F&B outlets throughout the destination.
The existing hotels in the vicinity will be transformed into a unified tourist destination.
The development will offer pedestrian pathways, a jogging track, large swimming pool and a cycling course, allowing its residents to practice a diverse selection of physical activities.
Location of the two islands – on the left is the luxury island, located behind Jumeirah Al Qasr and Madinat Jumeirah. On the right, the island located behind Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah Beach.
Jumeirah Group will offer 10,000 additional parking spaces to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors, as well as work closely with various government entities and other relevant companies to provide a rapid transport network to interconnect the resorts and entertainment destinations, facilitating fast and easy movement throughout Marsa Al Arab.
The project will break ground in June 2017 and will completed by late 2020.

In addition, Dubai Holding will launch the Dubai Pearl Museum to showcase a historical collection of rare and ancient pearls from the region and worldwide. The Dubai Pearl Museum aims to shed light on the lives of the divers as well as the tools they used to find the precious jewels, reflecting the UAE’s heritage, culture and national pride.
“The launch of this new and ambitious project is in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to provide the finest and rewarding tourist experiences for visitors to Dubai, as well as enhance Dubai’s position as a global tourist destination,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman, Dubai Holding.
“We are proud of the vital role that Dubai Holding plays in this sector through supporting innovation and contributing to the economic diversification of Dubai.”

Musgrave unveils new brand identity

To celebrate the anniversary of brothers Thomas and Stuart Musgrave launching the business just over 140 years ago, Musgrave has unveiled a new brand identity.
The company has revealed a new logo – a modified version of the Musgrave chairman in 1902’s signature – which will now rollout across the entire Musgrave business.
Commenting on the new brand identity, Musgrave CEO Chris Martin described it as “a symbol of Musgrave’s heritage and the pride we share in being a sixth-generation Irish family business”.
He added that the new identity “will support our ethos of Growing Good Business as we continue to expand our retail, wholesale and export offering”.
Musgrave’s brands comprise SuperValu, Centra, Daybreak and Marketplace. Together with its retail partners, the business employs over 35,000 people in the Republic of Ireland alone – making it the State’s largest private sector employer.
Musgrave’s Growing Good Business strategy has also seen the company explore new opportunities, including the rollout of Frank & Honest, its new artisan take away coffee brand which has been launched in SuperValu and Centra. The strategy has also encompassed the development of a food emporium at its Musgrave Marketplace in two locations in Dublin; the launch of Chipmongers, it’s new foodservice franchise; and export to China through a partnership with Alibaba which has seen Musgrave start to export SuperValu products.
“Food retail is our core business and we are focused on strengthening the leadership position of our brands through our food leadership agenda, through investing in digital and by building on the foundation of our success,” Martin added.

Retail Acquisitions, which bought BHS for £1, heads for liquidation

Demise of firm fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell could aid administrators seeking to recover funds owed to creditors

 Former bankrupt Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions bought BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.

Retail Acquisitions, the former owner of the collapsed BHS, is on the point of liquidation, potentially helping investigations into the demise of the department store chain.

The group, which bought BHS for £1 in 2015 and was fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, has been accused of extracting an estimated £17m from BHS despite owning it for just 13 months before it went into administration in 2016. An estimated £6m was owed by Retail Acquisitions to BHS when it collapsed.
The failure of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m pension deficit. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into its demise concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and accused Chappell of having “his fingers in the till”.
The Pensions Regulator is also understood to be seeking as much as £17m via legal action against Chappell and Retail Acquisitions (RAL) in relation to the pension deficit.
On Wednesday the high court heard insolvency proceedings for Retail Acquisitions, and the judge ruled it should be put into liquidation. The judgment has been temporarily stayed and is expected to be formally handed down in the next few days.
Duff & Phelps, which is acting to track and retrieve BHS assets for the company and its creditors, said: “Duff & Phelps, acting on behalf of BHS Group Ltd, is satisfied that RAL has been put into liquidation. The process of realising the assets of RAL can now commence to the benefit of all the creditors of the BHS companies.”
The insolvency will give administrators complete financial records of RAL giving clarity on where funds taken from BHS were moved on to with a view to potentially recovering them for shareholders.
Chappell said: “RAL is disappointed by the outcome of the hearing … The order has been stayed by the court until its written reasons are provided so that RAL has an opportunity to properly consider an appeal.
“It will look forward to those written reasons and will then be able to take advice and decide next steps, to include an appeal.”
The collapse of BHS is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service which could recommend that former directors of BHS are banned from being company directors in Britain. The Financial Reporting Council is also looking into the collapse, while the Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a formal investigation.
Chappell was also arrested last year as part of an HMRC investigation into unpaid taxes on profits made from the collapsed department store chain.

Location of first Apple Store in Singapore finally officially confirmed

Apple’s first retail store in Singapore has been partially unveiled, providing the first official confirmation of the long-rumored Orchard Road location.
It was back in 2015 that Apple confirmed that it was opening a store on the island. At that point, the location wasn’t known, though there were strong signs pointing to the location on Orchard Road, the main upmarket retail area in the country …

Apple has now removed the barricades around the store, revealing a giant ‘Apple loves Singapore’ message in graphic form. The name of the store is also shown as Apple Orchard Road.
StraitsTimes notes that smaller versions of this graphic are used to signal the Creative Pros who will be available at the store.
There are 12 smaller groups of these icons close to the doors of the store. Each group of icon has a different red dot to represent the 12 local Creative Pros that Apple has selected.
Dubbed “Red Dot Heroes” by Apple, these Creative Pros are the liberal arts equivalent of Apple’s technical Geniuses that specialise in troubleshooting and repairs of products. Some of them will conduct free hands-on sessions at the upcoming Apple Orchard Road Store.
Apple first revealed its new ‘Today at Apple‘ initiative at its retail stores – with much greater focus on free workshops and help with creative projects – in a CBS interview last month, though we first learned about it last summer. The program was also a major focus at the recent opening of the spectacular Dubai store.
The opening date of the Singapore store isn’t yet known, though we have heard whispers about May 29. All of Apple’s operations in the country will be powered by solar energy.

Victoria’s Secret to debut at Milton Keynes

The new 8,258 square foot shop will be situated on East Walk and will stock the brand’s full collections including Victoria’s Secret PINK.

Other premium brands at Intu Milton Keynes include Hugo Boss, Apple, Karen Millen and Michael Kors. The shopping centre attracts 35 million customers a year.
Nick Round, regional director at Intu, said: “With its high proportion of affluent customers and location in the heart of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities, Intu Milton Keynes is the perfect destination for desirable brands to flourish. The increasing number of aspirational brands like Victoria’s Secret joining Intu Milton Keynes is giving our customers even more great reasons to visit the centre thus helping all our retailers flourish.”

UK card chain to expand into Ireland

 Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years1
Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years

UK high street retailer the Card Factory is gearing up for its entry to the Irish market, three years after it first floated a plan to open as many as 100 outlets here.
New CEO Karen Hubbard, who has been in the role for just a year, has told investors that she intends to pursue a strategy of expanding in Ireland and that there is a “clear opportunity” to build a strong presence here.
The retailer has just established a company in Ireland to spearhead the expansion.
Over the next three years, Card Factory plans to open a total of about 50 stores a year.
At the beginning of February 2016, it had 814 outlets across the UK, including a handful in the North, a figure that had risen to 865 at the end of last January.
Listed on the stock market, Card Factory posted revenue of £398.2m (€473.2m) in its last financial year, with like-for-like increases of under 1pc.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was £98.5m (€117m), which was 3.8pc higher on the previous financial year. Its margin slipped slightly from 24.9pc to 24.7pc.
The profits fell as footfall to its stores declined.
But apart from paying a regular dividend, it also paid a special dividend to shareholders. It is a strong cash generator and has only a small amount of debt on its books.
The company floated on the stock market in May 2014, in an initial public offering that was widely seen as unsuccessful at the time.
But its market capitalisation has risen from £712m in 2014 to the current £1.1bn (€1.3bn).
Card Factory recently hired Edinburgh Woollen Mills finance boss Kristian Lee as its chief financial officer.

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.

M&S to trial online food delivery service this autumn

Marks & Spencer is to launch an online grocery shopping service this autumn as it looks to cash in on the success of its food halls.

The retailer confirmed that a team of executives was currently drawing up a battle plan ahead of trials this autumn, allowing M&S customers to order food online and have it delivered to their home.
While Britons may have fallen out of love with the M&S clothing ranges in recent years they have been heading in droves to its food aisles as they opt to pick up food for an evening meal rather than do a big weekly shop.
Until now selling food online has not made business sense for M&S as its customers do not typically spend enough on groceries on each visit to make the service profitable.
But the retailer has concluded it can no longer ignore what is the fastest growing section of the UK’s £180bn grocery market as new delivery services, such as AmazonFresh, which allows shoppers to order groceries at lunchtime and get the delivery in time for dinner, revolutionise the way Britain buys food.
Senior executives were informed of the plan at a meeting at Wembley, north-west London, on Wednesday.
“We continue to review food online carefully,” said Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S. “It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response. There are unanswered questions over what this means for M&S and we have a team looking at this now with a view to undertaking a soft trial in the autumn.”

M&S already sells a limited selection of party food and alcohol on its website but this would be the first time its wider grocery offer would be made available online.

The high-street store is different from other food retailers as it stocks just 7,000 products compared with 40,000 at most Tesco shops. It also focuses on exclusive own-brand products with only a limited number of household brands available in its stores. It is not clear how the retailer would overcome these hurdles if it were to offer customers a full grocery outlet.
“The economics of food online are not straightforward and it is not something that we are going to rush into until we have substantial customer insight and a better understanding of what is right for M&S and right for our customers,” Rowe added.
Tony Shiret, an independent retail analyst, said Rowe was finally “biting the bullet”. Shiret added: “If they don’t do food online they stand to lose market share to people who do. It’s become a basic expectation from customers.”

However, the analyst said the retailer would face a big challenge trying to make the service profitable. “It is going to be tricky for them because their shopping baskets are small as people use their stores to buy bits and pieces.”
Rowe, who began his retail career aged 15 as a Saturday boy at the M&S Croydon store in south London, and took over as chief executive last April, is seeking to revive the declining profits of the 132-year-old retailer. His biggest job is turning around its clothing arm which under his predecessor, Marc Bolland, relied on heavy discounting to attract shoppers. Rowe is also keen to exploit the success of its food arm.
Last year Rowe announced plans to shut 30 UK stores and convert 45 more into food-only shops as part of a business overhaul that would slash the amount of shopfloor space devoted to clothing and face the challenge posed by online shopping.
M&S confirmed the location of six of the affected stores, which included four large “full-line” stores – which sell clothing, homeware and food. They are in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in Slough, Berkshire, Warrington in Cheshire, and Wokingham, Surrey. The retailer also unveiled plans to open another 34 food shops in the next six months.

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.
 

Primark’s new Birmingham store will be its biggest yet

Primark’s new store in Birmingham is set to be the budget fashion retailer’s biggest store yet once it opens in December 2018.

Spanning 160,000sq ft across four floors, new store is located at the Birmingham Pavilions centre, which Primark is rumoured to have acquired for £60 million in 2014.
Its redevelopment plan to create its largest flagship store in the UK was approved in January 2016.

The opening of the new store will lead to the closure of the existing New Street store in Birmingham, but the retailer will relocate its staff as the new flagship is set to employ around 800 people – almost twice as the 460 New Street currently employs.

Once open, the new Birmingham store will be bigger than Primark’s current largest UK shop, which is in Manchester and spans across three floors of the former John Lewis building at around 155,000sq ft.

Mall of Africa celebrates 1st birthday

Morné Wilken, CEO of Attacq, explained that Attacq regards the Mall of Africa as one of its most valuable assets in the Attacq property portfolio.
“This mall is the realisation of a very significant vision and a long-term business journey. We identified a gap in the market to develop something extraordinary in the Waterfall area in the centre of Gauteng, the financial hub of South Africa,” said Wilken.
The 133 000m² first phase has more than 300 retailers and restaurants. When the mall opened on 28 April last year, more than 123 000 people visited the mall. In the eleven months to the end of March this year, over 13 700 000 people had visited the mall at an average monthly visitors’ rate of over 1 200 000 visitors per month.
The best performing months were May 2016 with 1 537 661 visitors and December when 1 517 899 visited the Mall of Africa, according to Wilken.
Despite tough economic times, the Mall of Africa achieved a turnover of R3 427 184 526 for the eleven months of trading to March 2017, at an average of R311 562 229 per month with a highlight month of R491 145 650 turnover achieved in December.
As part of the sustainable environmental approach, a solar rooftop photovoltaic plant, with 15 080 solar panels, has been installed on the roof of the mall. 

(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.

Sainsbury’s teams up with Russell Athletic

The supermarket is making a range of Russell Athletic clothing for men and women available on its Tu clothing website as part of its strategy to offer customers choice across different channels.
The partnership with Russell Athletic marks the first time Sainsbury’s female customers are able to buy branded clothing alongside Sainsbury’s Tu range. For men, it follows the success of leisurewear brand Admiral.
Sainsbury’s launched its first branded partnership with Admiral in stores and online in August 2015 and sales are now up 155% compared with the initial launch. The collection was originally available in 100 Sainsbury’s stores but has now been extended to 170 stores.
The supermarket said the partnership with Russell Athletic will enable it to grow its share of the ‘athleisure’ market.
Sainsbury’s commercial director James Brown added: “Sainsbury’s clothing business is quickly becoming a destination fashion brand, growing strongly over recent years and continuing to gain market share. Through working with brands we are able to offer our customers an even greater choice alongside our popular Tu range.”

Jimmy Choo puts itself up for sale

In a statement, the company said its majority shareholder, JAB Luxury, is supportive of the process.

It also said the UK’s Takeover Panel has agreed that any discussions with third parties may be conducted within the context of a “formal sale process” to enable conversations with parties interested in making a proposal to take place on a confidential basis.
However, Jimmy Choo added that it is not currently in receipt of any approaches..
Jimmy Choo was founded in 1996 by couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon who later sold their shares. The company’s current chief executive is Pierre Denis, a former LVMH executive.
Private equity firm JAB Luxury holds 67.66% of Jimmy Choo’s issued share capital.

Power cut plunges Dubai Mall into darkness

Dubai Mall, one of the world’s biggest shopping centres, was plunged into darkness on Monday evening after experiencing a power cut for nearly two hours.

According to photos posted on social media, hundreds of shoppers were forced to wander the mall in the dark. Lights went out and escalators stopped working at about 7.15pm local time.
At just before 9.15pm, Dubai Media, which initially announced the power outage, said the power had been restored.
The Dubai Mall issued a statement saying it regretted the inconvenience caused to shoppers and thanking them for their patience.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said the outage was caused by a problem with a cable at Dubai Mall Metro Station.
One Twitter user said earlier that shoppers were using the flashlight on their phones to navigate around the mall.
Another said: “Power still out, almost an hour now. No announcements from security or management. Very poor.”

Debenhams eyes closure of 11 warehouses and 10 UK stores

Debenhams has announced a turnaround plan that could see up to 10 UK stores reviewed for closure and 11 warehouses close down, placing hundreds of job at risk.

The news comes as the department store released its interim half-year results for the 26 weeks to March 4, which shows an uptick in sales and like-for-likes but a drop in profits.
Chief executive Sergio Bucher, who took over the helm last October, said the “Debenhams Redesigned” turnaround strategy aimed at boosting the department store chain’s appeal as a “destination” shop and improving its online offering.
The plan includes a review of up to 10 of its 165 UK stores for possible closure over the next five years and shift around 2000 staff to customer-facing roles.
The overhaul will also see the retailer begin consultation to shut one of its three central distribution centres run by DHL, plus 10 smaller in-house warehouses.
According to Press Association, the DHL warehouse employs 220 staff and will shut in two years’ time, although Debenhams hopes to be able to redeploy many staff affected by the smaller warehouse closures.
The Debenhams Redesigned strategy also see the retailer axe in-house brands, leave non-core international markets, declutter stores with 10 per cent reduction in stock options, remove barriers to online and in-store shopping, and offer customers more “experiences” as part of a drive to lure shoppers back to its stores.
“Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too,” Bucher said.
“Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use. 
“We will be a destination for ‘social shopping’ with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers. 
“If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources.”
Details of Bucher’s turnaround plans came as the retailer announced a 6.4 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £87.8 million for the six months period of the interim report. 
Debenhams’ overall EBITDA was also down by 2.5 per cent to £149.1 million, dragged down by a six per cent drop in the UK market EBITDA compared to the 13.1 per cent spike international EBITDA.
However, the department store chain’s overall sales was up by 2.9 per cent to £1.67 billion, with like-for-likes in the UK edging up by 0.5 per cent.
Online performance in the UK performed exceptionally well, driven by a 64 per cent surge in mobile orders.
“I’d like to thank the executive team and all our colleagues, who made sure that we were able to deliver a great experience for our customers over the peak trading period, and who are now working hard to implement our new strategy,” Bucher said.
“This will set Debenhams on course for a successful and profitable future.”

M&S unveils details of UK stores overhaul

The openings comprise 34 new food stores and two clothing, home and food stores.

These include Foodhalls in Bishopsgate, London, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields, Manchester and Strood in Kent and new locations for M&S with clothing, home and food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July.
Over 1,400 new customer assistant and management jobs will be created by the new shops.
However, the retailer has proposed closing six shops and is consulting with colleagues and their representatives in the stores in Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop.
If the proposals go ahead, all 380 colleagues in the affected stores would be guaranteed redeployment at a nearby store.
Five-year store plan
The plan is part of M&S’s five-year UK store programme that it unveiled in November after a full review of its UK estate. 
M&S’s plan to grow its food business but to sell clothing and home from fewer, “more inspirational” locations that offer better ranging and availability.
The strategy includes opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home from 60 fewer locations. 
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers.
“However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing.
“Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.
“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers.
“It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only.
“Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.” 
M&S currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full-line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.

The White Company opens upsized store at Bluewater

Luxury lifestyle brand The White Company has upsized its store at Bluewater in Kent. The retailer has also doubled in presence to create a 546 sq m statement store on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall. Adjacent to Hobbs, Russell & Bromley and the recently opened Michael Kors, the store has been designed by an in-house team and evolves The White Company’s classic look, with the emphasis on creating a calm and inviting retail experience.

The new statement store combines the brand’s complete range of exclusive lifestyle products, from women’s fashion and accessories to homewares, beauty products and The Little White Company’s childrenswear. 

‘This newly opened White Company store is a great addition to Bluewater. The upsizing of the site to a statement store highlights Bluewater’s success for the brand as a location, enabling them to offer the best possible expression of their brand and a more comprehensive product range. Together with other exciting retailers joining the scheme, including Missguided which opens in the summer, Bluewater continues to offer an industry leading retail line-up,’ says Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater. 

Sarah King, director of Property at The White Company, adds: ‘We are delighted to open the doors of our new statement store at Bluewater, a site that has been a longstanding top performing location for us. The new fit-out embodies our brand perfectly and will enable customers to discover an expanded product range and enjoy an inviting and seamless White Company experience.’ 
This summer, Missguided is making its first move outside London at Bluewater, with the launch of a 1,486 sq m statement store on the lower Rose Gallery.