Category Archives: #retail
Lloyds Pharmacy closes 190 stores, blaming government cuts
Reduced funding, higher business rates and the apprenticeship levy created ‘challenging market conditions’
Lloyds Pharmacy has announced it will close nearly 200 stores across England because of changes in government policy, with its parent company also blaming funding cuts and the apprenticeship levy.
In an internal letter to staff Cormac Tobin, the managing director of Lloyds Pharmacy’s owner, Celesio UK, said around 190 pharmacies would cease to trade through a combination of closures and disinvestments.
The leaked internal memo to staff, which was verified by a spokesman for Celesio UK, said the business had been hit by pharmacy funding cuts, as well as higher business rates and the apprenticeship levy, which had made “market conditions challenging”.
“Community pharmacy needs to adapt to the changing requirements of patients and the NHS, indeed it should be part of the solution to an overstretched health service,” Tobin said in the memo.
“To achieve this, we need a new operational framework that creates a thriving pharmacy network that continues to offer essential integrated healthcare and is rooted in local communities.”
The number of staff who could be affected by the closures was not confirmed by a spokeswoman for Celesio UK, who said current employees may be moved to other locations. But some pharmacists have taken to social media to warn of hundreds of job losses.
Aisha Adnan, a locum pharmacist, posted: “A branch [on] average has five staff and that equates to roughly 1,000 staff being laid off, plus so many pharmacists and locum pharmacists [will] lose their jobs and patients [will] lose their trusted services. This is not the picture of health.”
Thorrun Govind, a pharmacist in north-west England, said: “This is going to impact the most vulnerable patients and, with the GP crisis and pressures on the NHS, the funding cuts were most unwelcome.
“Patients need an accessible healthcare professional to provide advice, medicines and so much more to reduce pressure on other NHS resources. The closure of these pharmacies is disappointing when pharmacists should be supported to provide much more for the NHS.
“I would like to see independent pharmacists prescribers enabled to allow pharmacies on the high street to become triage centres not a reduction in pharmacies.”
Tobin said the company would be taking steps to support staff and minimise disruption for patients.
Julie Cooper, the shadow minister for community care, described the decision as “a devastating blow for Lloyds Pharmacy staff and their patients right across the country. The government is taking hundreds of millions of pounds of support away from pharmacies and now we see that it is patients who will pay the price.”
Cooper urged ministers to outline plans to support “the hundreds of Lloyds Pharmacy jobs that are now at risk” and explain what support will be put in place for patients reliant on their service. “The Tories are prioritising saving money over care. They cannot just expect elderly patients to get their prescriptions via an online service, without any support with their medication,” she said.
A spokeswoman for No 10 said there were measures in place to ensure people could access a pharmacy. She said: “There are almost 12,000 private pharmacies in England and these closures make up just 1.6% of the number. We don’t have full information on the announcement as yet, but we do make sure that patients can access pharmacists where they need to.”
M&S clothing boss leaves weeks after starting new role while John Lewis director quits
A senior boss is leaving M&S’s clothing division
Marks & Spencer’s clothing recovery has been dealt a fresh blow after one of its senior directors quit while John Lewis’s boardroom is facing a reshuffle with the departure of a senior director.
Industry experts said that the departures were fresh signs of the challenges faced by retailers who are struggling to adapt to changing shopping habits in a tough environment.
Tom Athron, who most recently led John Lewis’s new venture business, is leaving, having lost out to Paula Nickolds earlier this year in the race to replace Andy Street.
Mr Athron has been with the partnership since 2005 as head of financial strategy before becoming buying director of Waitrose and finance director of Waitrose. After being overlooked for the John Lewis role the former investment director has been pushing John Lewis’s expansion into home services, such as approved tradesman who visit customers’ homes.
Paula Nickolds is now boss of John Lewis
Friends of Mr Athron said that he had resigned and was now looking for opportunities in digital retail after being pipped to the post by Ms Nickolds.
Meanwhile Jo Jenkins, who was made Marks & Spencer’s director of clothing earlier this month, is leaving to become chief executive of casual fashion chain White Stuff.
Her departure comes less than a month after the arrival of her boss Jill McDonald, who joined Marks & Spencer from Halfords to run its non-food business.
There is speculation that Ms Jenkins had wanted to be in charge of the division, but the retailer felt this would be too much of a leap and M&S wanted to recruit someone from outside the business with a strong operational background, rather than in just buying.
Ms Jenkins is leaving M&S to become CEO of White Stuff
Ms McDonald has no fashion retail experience but her stint running the UK arm of fast food chain McDonald’s is said to have given her a sharp awareness of how to use customer data.
With Ms Jenkins gone, Ms McDonald will be able to have a greater say in shaping her team rather than inheriting one. An M&S insider played down the chances of any disruption to the crucial Christmas trading period and said that festive lines had already been decided by July.
Stemming the steady decline in clothing sales remains a priority for M&S, with chief executive Steve Rowe only recently relinquishing control of the division. Mr Rowe has previously said the retailer gave customers “too many reasons not to shop with us” and has tried to wean the company off a destructive discounting cycle.
He has also set up a panel of retail shareholders who feed into the company on their views in an effort to address customer complaints about ill-fitting clothes, poor quality and excessively young ranges.
The efforts seem to be paying off so far, with M&S reporting a 1.2pc drop in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to July 1, compared to the 5.9pc plunge a year earlier.
Ms Jenkins, who has a six-month notice period, started at M&S as a range selector in 1987 before spending 15 years at rival Next. She returned in 2013 as director of lingerie and beauty, before taking responsibility for womenswear two years later.
“We’re delighted for Jo – she’s been a real talent here at M&S, which is reflected in the progress she has made both professionally and for the business,” the retailer said.
“Becoming chief executive at a company like White Stuff is a natural next step for her. We wish her all the very best with her new role.”
Privately owned White Stuff has 131 shops and 53 concessions, and turned over £153.6m last year. Ms Jenkins will replace Jeremy Seigal, formerly CEO of Superdrug-owner AS Watson UK, who announced his intention to stand down in July.
M&S stock dipped 0.6pc in morning trade but recouped its losses and was trading flat at 344.50p by early
Dubai Land Department chief says data shows ‘increasing demand’ across real estate sectord
Dubai Land Department (DLD) on Monday announced that the total value of real estate transactions for the first nine months of 2017 reached AED204 billion ($55.5 billion), achieved through 52,170 deals.
It said there were a total of 37,633 transactions for land, residential units and buildings, generating a value of over AED88 billion.
There were also 11,699 mortgage transactions worth AED102 billion and 2,838 other transactions worth AED14 billion.
Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director general of Dubai Land Department, said: “The data clearly shows an increasing demand across all property categories, including land plots for various forms of real estate development, as well as buildings and residential units, which means that we are attracting a wide variety of investors.”
He did not give a year-on-year comparison.
Bin Mejren added: “We expect the market to remain on this upward trajectory of sustained growth, and to see demand continuing to diversify across various real estate categories. The momentum of the market is being driven and sustained by several factors but particularly the upcoming launch of Expo 2020 Dubai.”
The latest DLD report shows that the land category attracted AED143.40 billion worth of investment, achieved from 11,169 transactions across sales, mortgages and other transaction categories. Building sales generated 5,014 transactions with a total value of AED12.72 billion, while 36,000 transactions for residential units of all types crossed the AED48.77 billion mark.
The report also revealed the top ten real estate sales areas in Dubai, with Burj Khalifa taking first place in terms of value with 1,650 transactions worth AED6.239 billion.
Business Bay followed in second place with 2,754 transactions worth AED5.570 billion, while Dubai Marina was ranked third place with 2,596 transactions totalling AED5.357 billion in value.
In terms of mortgages, Palm Jumeirah topped the list with 578 transactions exceeding AED11.38 billion in value, followed by Business Bay and Dubai Marina.
He will join the audit and remuneration committees and will become chairman of the audit committee in January 2018 when Mark Rolfe steps down from the Debenhams board.
With 30 years retail experience, Adams is a former finance director and deputy chief executive of House of Fraser and has also been chairman of Jessops and Moss Bros and a non-executive director at HMV.
He is currently chairman of Conviviality and a non-executive director at Halfords.
Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of Debenhams, said: “We are delighted to welcome David Adams to Debenhams. He has had a long and distinguished career in the retail and consumer goods industries. His knowledge of the consumer and leisure sectors as well as his financial credentials will be a great addition to the board.”
Hermès has opened ‘Through The Walls’, an immersive exhibition of the French luxury label’s home universe created especially for Singapore.
Showing at Hermès’ Liat Towers flagship store on Orchard Road, the world-first Hermès home exhibition will run from 7 to 29 October 2017.
In a bid to showcase its new collections for the home, under the artistic direction of Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, Hermès has tapped Parisian architecture firm RDAI to conceptualize the sleek space in Singapore.
The new outfit reflects the new line’s “functionality and beauty, rigour and fantasy,” an extension that hopes to resonate with Asian clients.
As such, the Hermès Singapore flagship has undertaken a striking reinvention, allowing customers to become fixated on furniture, and actually touch and feel the homewares.
“Through the Walls is an installation that sees spaces metamorphosed: architecture within architecture, a home within a home; the store becomes a place to live,” explained the Paris house, in a press release.
As well as retailing the interiors pieces – which include exquisitely crafted tableware, handcrafted wooden furniture pieces, and wrought leather accessories, and bespoke items such as a scarf cabinet, wallpaper and lighting – Through The Walls will also offer interactive workshops organised and available to the public.
Marking the new collection and pop-up, Hermès has also released a short film on its website. Entitled “Poetics Mechanics,” it features the brand’s objects in a personified manner, highlighting the form, material and function of each piece.
This new homeware focus comes on the back of the Hermes’ store revamp in 2016. Reopened in May 2017, clients are now privy to a much bigger space, with a devotion to furniture and home accessories.
The sudden focus on home lines has been sweeping luxury retail in recent weeks.
This month, Gucci announced and launched its first-ever homewares collection, while New York jewellery Tiffany & Co. will unveil its first home collections under its new artistic director, this November.
Daa, the operator of Dublin airport, has confirmed the main retail area in the departures lounge of terminal two at the airport is set to be revamped.
Tender documents seen by DFNIonline show daa is looking for a panel of six construction companies to work on the refit, which will include the fit out of a 1,350sq m duty-free store, over the next three years. The panel of construction companies will bid for the work in the airport’s retail areas as it arises in the coming years.
The work will primarily take in Aer Rianta International (ARI)’s The Loop outlet in the terminal. A spokesman for the airport operator confirmed the work was initially planned for ARI’s directly operated stores, but that other third-party concessionaires in the terminal can decide to use a firm from the panel if they wish to refurbish their stores.
A two-phase project
Phase one of the initial project will see a new 410sq m liquor store added to the terminal for ARI and five new concession retail units developed. The concession units will be a 60sq m sunglasses store, a 60sq m luggage store, an 80sq m watches/jewellery store and two fashion stores (60sq m and 80sq m).
The main part of the second phase of the works will see the contractors fit out a new 1,350sq m duty-free store for ARI. Two direct retail fashion units (60sq m and 80sq m) will also be fitted out and the existing Irish Memories unit will have a soft refurbishment.
The refurbishment works will be the €600m ($706m) terminal’s first major upgrade since its opening in 2010.
Luxury men’s fashion and accessories brand Alfred Dunhill has opened a new store in Beijing.
Nestled on Jianguo Road in the Chaoyang District, the latest China branch is located on Level 2 of Beijing’s SKP Shopping Centre. It features Dunhill’s famous retail Home design concept: elegant, sophisticated and masculine, with design accents that mimic Dunhill’s flagship store in London.
Taking the store count in Beijing to four (including two outlet stores), the new flagship offers the complete range of Dunhill products for men, including ready-to-wear, bespoke suiting, leather goods, and accessories, in which it started out producing first as a saddler back in England in 1893.
Nowadays, Dunhill is a division of Richemont, the Swiss-based, South African-owned group that is the third largest luxury conglomerate in the world. Dunhill, which owns a global chain of some 70 boutiques, is today located across every continent in most major cities.
In bid to bolster its global sales reach, Dunhill in early 2017 recruited Mark Weston as its new creative director, poaching him from Burberry.
After the showing of his Spring 2018 collection in London in June, Weston spoke to reporters about the “international” direction that he wished to take the quintessentially British brand.
“What I want for Dunhill is to be relevant. To make great clothing, for our times. To be British, but with an international outlook,” Weston said, after his June menswear show in London.
The new Dunhill store opening follows a string of store closures in China by the British luxury brand last year. According to the latest report by the investment research and management company Bernstein, Dunhill — along with fellow Briton Burberry — reported the most store closures in China between July 2016 and July 2017.
For the twelve month period China witnessed 62 net closures of luxury brand stores, the largest number observed by the research firm compared to other significant markets.
Marc Jacobs opens first online flagship store in China
Oct 18, 2017
Marc Jacobs has recently launched first online flagship store in China with Viplux, the flagship luxury channel for international luxury and premium brands on vip.com. The Marc Jacobs China-based online flagship is offering its hip hop-inspired fall 2017 collection to 300 million vip.com members.
Marc Jacobs chose Viplux as its partner due to Viplux’s dedication to creating end-to-end, high-end shopping experiences.
“The cooperation between Viplux and Marc Jacobs is a testament to Viplux’s expertise in understanding how to “become one” with the spirit of the specific brand, and to match that with market growth,” said vip.com co-founder, Arthur Hong.
Vip.com launched in 2008 its first foray into the luxury brands e-commerce field with Viplux. Marc Jacobs is among several fashion labels to open flagship stores on Viplux, including Armani, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Diesel, Roberto Cavalli, Sergio Rossi and Trussardi.
Womenswear brand Galvan is set to open its debut retail concept, which will comprise of a showroom, bridal atelier, office, and archive space for the independent label.
Located at Clarendon Cross, Notting Hill, the studio will allow customer to purchase current collection, pre-order from next collection, as well as place orders from Galvan’s archive of previous collections, ahead of the service being launched online next year.
The studio will also be a bridal atelier for its upcoming bridal collection, which will offer “effortless, timeless and clean” options for all kinds of weddings from civil ceremony to late night party to daytime brunch, the brand states on its website, as well as looks for bridesmaids.
“Our philosophy is to put the customer at the core of everything we do, and to make the shopping experience as easy as possible,” said Paul O’Regan, chief executive officer at Galvan. “Galvan Studios provide the antidote to anonymous shopping. Intimate and transparent, these are spaces which give customers insight into the brand and its vision. We are excited to offer a suite of services that truly address the shopping desires and habits of our London customers.”
In addition, the studio can assist with complimentary fittings for online purchases, as well as offer free home delivery for any purchases made in the studio. Additional services launching includes complimentary fittings at home for up to 8 garments, with purchases only being charge after fitting.
London-label Galvan opens ‘studio’ retail concept
The womenswear label known its eveningwear as worn by A-list stars including Emma Watson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, has also confirmed that has plans to open further studios in New York and Los Angeles.
London-based Galvan launched in 2014 by four women from the worlds of fashion and contemporary art, Anna-Christin Haas, Sola Harrison, Carolyn Hodler, and Katherine Holmgren.
The contemporary label is stocked globally including Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Opening Ceremony, Bergdorf Goodman, Elyse Walker, Boutique 1, Avenue 32 and Moda Operandi, as well as online at matchesfashion.com and Net-a-Porter.
Sainsbury Cuts Jobs as Brexit Puts Online Retailers Off U.K.
The U.K. retail industry’s Brexit-linked turmoil deepened as J Sainsbury Plc said it would cut as many as 2,000 jobs, Zalando SE said the market is losing attractiveness and rival online fashion site Asos Plc discussed contingency plans.
Sainsbury’s move follows Tesco Plc, which announced 1,200 head-office job cuts in June. Asos, which sells clothing and accessories online, said Tuesday it may handle more of its distribution activities out of Germany if the U.K. falls out of the European customs union. That could put a damper on growth prospects for its 4,000-employee warehouse in Barnsley, England (a town where 68 percent of voters favored Brexit), although the company is continuing to invest in the site for now.
Brexit is heaping more upheaval on an already embattled industry. The country’s grocers have been grappling with discount rivals and higher staffing costs, while fashion retailers struggle against consumers’ preference to spend their disposable income on leisure activities rather than clothing.
The pound’s decline since the Brexit vote has pushed up sourcing costs: U.K. inflation climbed to its highest rate in more than five years in September, led by food and transport. And the risk of the U.K. falling out of the customs union leaves retailers wondering how they will be able to stock their shelves amid backlogs at ports.
Zalando, a German online clothing retailer that’s Europe’s biggest response so far to Amazon.com Inc., said Wednesday that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is weighing on the market’s prospects.
“We would like to ramp up investments in our U.K. business, but Brexit is posing a problem,” Zalando Co-Chief Executive Officer Rubin Ritter said in a phone interview. “If the new regime limits the flow of goods, it would be a challenge.”
Sainsbury said 1,400 payroll and administrative jobs in its supermarket business may be made obsolete by the introduction of a new information-technology system. It will also ax as many as 600 further human-resources roles due to a restructuring that will consolidate activities among Sainsbury’s supermarkets, home-goods and electronics seller Argos and Sainsbury’s Bank.
Asos on Tuesday reported sales growth in the U.K. decelerated to 16 percent, making it the company’s worst-performing region. That pales in comparison with the 47 percent spurt in its international business. Asos now gets almost two-thirds of its 1.88 billion pounds ($2.49 billion) in annual retail sales outside its home country.
Sainsbury’s latest round of cuts is the largest single amount the grocer has made under Chief Executive Officer Mike Coupe. The London-based retailer is in the final year of its three-year plan to slash costs by 500 million pounds and has said a new three-year plan to cut 500 million pounds of costs will begin next year.
Lifestyle retailer Fat Face will extend its closing times during the festive break and plans to shut 40 stores on Boxing Day, Drapers has learned.
The Boxing Day closures, which take place on the same day its winter Sale period starts, are four times greater than last year’s pilot, when 10 shops shut on the day. The exact store locations are expected to be confirmed next week.
Fat Face boss Anthony Thompson told Drapers it is also closing stores at 2pm on Christmas Eve to prepare for its Sale period, marking the first time the retailer will shut its doors earlier than its high street rivals.
Meanwhile, 210 of Fat Face’s 222 UK stores will close on New Year’s Day. Thompson said that although it has closed some stores on 1 January in previous years, it has “not been done on such scale” before.
The retailer outlined its plans to staff in an internal conference last week.
Thompson said: “We are preparing to go into the season at full price, as we believe customers want price integrity at Christmas.
“Family and price integrity are very important issues to us. We’re taking the opportunity to give time back to both our customers and our teams to spend with their families, as well as reassuring customers they can buy from us with confidence, and get real value with their purchases.”
The retailer has also vowed not to slash prices during discounting extravaganza Black Friday (24 November) and in the lead-up to Christmas again this year.
If any of the retailer’s prices change in the period from 15 November to 23 December, it has said it will refund the difference for customers.
It emerged in January that Fat Face’s stance against discounting before Christmas delivered 7.9% growth on full-price sales for the 54 days to 24 December 2016, compared with the same period in the previous year.
The retailer said in January that it had a record week of full-price sales in the week to Christmas Eve, and had 22% less inventory going into Sale than 2015.
Fat Face also operates six stores in the US, bringing total store count to 228. These will remain open on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
The firm’s chief executive, Muchiri Wahome, says the move comes after South Africa-based Mr Price Group Ltd approached Deacons with a proposal to purchase the chain of stores.
“The proposed transaction will be subject to various conditions that include requisite approvals from regulatory authorities and the shareholders of Deacons through a shareholders’ meeting to be convened once the sale agreement has been finalized,” said Mr Wahome in a statement yesterday.
Mr Price Group Ltd plans to purchase the Mr Price Home and Mr Price apparel brands which have been operating in Kenya since 2007, effectively ending Deacons’ 10-year franchise deal with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed South African company.
The deal, if approved by regulatory authorities, will see the South African firm take over all 11 Mr Price Home and Mr Price apparel stores in Kenya.
The proposed deal comes amid a 12 per cent drop in earnings for the Johannesburg-based firm, marking its first drop in annual profit since 2001 as South African consumers slowed purchases in a struggling economy.
Deacons suffered a similar fate this year after posting a half-year net loss of Sh180 million citing a tough operating environment. Net loss for the period (June 30) deepened by 242.81 per cent as inflation ate into the spending power of consumers amid rising expenses.
Deacons’ principal business is to operate retail establishments including franchise and department stores selling ladies, men’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories among other items in East Africa.
Deacons’ exclusive franchise deal with South Africa’s luxury fashion brand Woolworths ended in 2013 after the multinational took full ownership of its Kenyan subsidiary.
“We had a franchise (agreement) then it moved to a joint venture and Woolworths will now be an independent brand run by them (Woolworths Holdings),” said Mr Wahome at the time.
Dubai-based Lulu group launches India’s first Toys”R”Us store in Bengaluru
The store opened to a huge crowd, with the first customer buying toys worth more than Rs. 1 lakh.
Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group has launched the global retail toy brand Toys“R”Us in India, with the first store being opened in Bangalore, today.
The first store, touted to be an experiential one, has opened at Phoenix Market City, Bangalore and was met with a huge crowd on its opening day. Tablez India, a division of LuLu group, will run the stores.
In India, the brand has launched the store in two formats – Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us, a one-stop destination for baby essentials.
The store offers a full range of toys for both boys and girls in the age group 3 to 11 years and will sell everything from action figures to dolls, books, role play kits, remote-controlled cars, blasters, plush, wheel goods and bikes,
On the occasion of the launch of the store, Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Tablez India, said “We are delighted at setting up the first Toys“R”Us store in Bengaluru. India is among the fastest growing market for toys retail and is growing at a rate of 15 to 20% percent annually. We are planning to expand our stores in other parts of the country. We are aiming to have our second store in Delhi by November this year and by end of this financial year we will have two more stores in Chennai and Mumbai.”
Swedish fashion retailer H&M said third-quarter profits were adversely affected by heavy discounting of the retailer’s summer collection, in a bid to boost sales over the warmer months.
The world’s second-largest clothing retailer said net profits fell 20 percent in the three-month period ending August 2017. Net profit in the third quarter fell from SKr4.8bn a year earlier to SKr3.8bn ($470m). Sales increased 5 percent to SKr59.4bn.
Moreover, in the first nine months of its business year, sales rose just 4 per cent in local currencies. The fast-fashion firm’s new annual target is 10-15 per cent growth, according to Karl-Johan Persson, chief executive of the family-controlled group.
Persson told the Financial Times he was hopeful that the company could reach the target next year. “It is an ambitious goal but it’s realistic. We have to be humble not having reached it this year or last. Also it is a challenging market,” he added.
Helping H&M recover, the affordable European retailer – who’s suffered at the hands of online stores Asos and Zalando, as well as cheaper fashion chains such as Primark – plans to close 90 stores globally in 2017. In return, H&M will focus on its e-commerce.
The group said online sales should increase by at least a quarter in 2017. It added that in some markets, online sales already make up 25-30 percent of its revenues.
H&M plans to invest more in online shopping, including giving customers different and faster delivery options and increasing the product range. It is also investing in its supply chain in an attempt to reduce the amount of inventory it holds and cut the time it takes to get products into shops.
H&M recently opened its first shops in Colombia, Iceland, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. It operates more than 380 stores worldwide.
Italian luxury house of Gucci has recently opened a new children’s clothing store in Dubai at the Dubai Mall. The store features Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s signature style. The store stocks the complete range of products for kids of the brand.
Fitness brand Sweaty Betty has opened its first European flagship at No. 1 Carnaby Street in London. The prominent 204 sq m store is located at the south entrance to Carnaby Street and is the result of the brand upscaling from its existing store on Beak Street where it has been a resident since 2002.
’19 years and over 50 shops later, I’m so excited to introduce our flagship: No. 1 Carnaby. We spent years dreaming up this concept, I have even handpicked all of the partners to ensure they had a similar value and ethos to the Sweaty Betty brand, to live a balanced life that goes beyond fitness,’ says Tamara Hill-Norton, founder of Sweaty Betty.
The shop is arranged over ground and basement floors allowing the brand to expand and offer its full clothing, accessories and equipment collections, as well as housing a studio space for exclusive wellness events, giving a wider customer experience.
‘Our brief was to design a location filled with fashion, food, fitness and beauty, where you could come with your friends do a workout, grab a smoothie bowl, shop and get pampered,’ says a spokesperson on the Sweaty Betty in-house store design team. ‘Design wise we wanted to encourage our customer to spend time in store, bringing the fun side of our brand alive with unexpected touches including neon and graphic illustrations. My favourite example of this is the lockers in The Studio; from the outside they are really minimal and chic, then once you open the door you’ll find a fun feminist quote hand-illustrated by Lo Parkin.’
The design team wanted to stay true to the brand using its signature grey tones and fluoro pops that it has become known for. The space is really industrial, so to take No.1 Carnaby to the next level, the designers used bright neon installations throughout the space inspired by the lights of Soho. In the shop area itself, the shopping experience has been simplified using blackened steel fixtures and touches of marble and concrete.
As the main concept of the space was to create an area where women would come and want to hang out, homely touches were added, including hanging plants, oak furniture and lots of cushions and rugs.
‘In retail spaces designers now have to think, is this Instagrammable? At Sweaty Betty we love motivational quotes, so you will notice these throughout the store; on a mirror, or a big neon, as they are a huge part of our brand. To ensure these stayed true to our look, we used stencilling for a premium, long-lasting finish,’ says the spokesperson.
‘Our visual merchandising in-store has really elevated our retail space, we love telling a story of the collection with a selection of beautiful imagery, typography and at the moment a vase filled with eucalyptus all displayed on a shelf like a collage. You’ll also see this reflected in the windows; to launch our new Power Leggings we’ve got three girls acting out the store through really fun props.’
The café area has a huge communal table and hanging chairs, to encourage customers to sit and enjoy the space. ‘We’ve tried to think of everything, from organic Bamford products in the showers to specially designed cups in Farm Girl to ensure the ultimate customer experience.’
Sweaty Betty joins other recent additions including Urban Decay, G.H. Bass and Estee Edit who have all chosen Carnaby for their first global or UK flagship store.
Saudi jeweller L’azurde signs deal to buy rival
Retailer says agreement inked to acquire 100% equity stake of Izdiad Commercial Company of Arabia
Saudi jewellery giant L’azurde has announced plans to buy a competitor operating in the affordable luxury sector in the Gulf kingdom.
L’azurde for Jewelry Company said in a statement that the board has approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tamkeen Industrial & Trading Company to acquire 100 percent equity stake of Izdiad Commercial Company of Arabia.
L’azurde, which raised SR477.3 million ($127 million) from its initial public offering in 2016, makes gold and diamond jewellery in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and distributes to wholesale markets in 52 countries, mainly in the Middle East.
The statement said the duration for the MoU is for a period of eight weeks from the signing date, extendable on the parties’ agreement.
It added that the transaction final price is subject to certain conditions and the outcome of the legal, financial and commercial due diligences and signing the final share purchase agreement between the parties.
The transaction is expected to be financed by bank credit facilities and cash generated from operational activities.
Topshop and Topman New Zealand to close stores
Topshop and Topman New Zealand are closing its Auckland and Wellington store after a failed attempt to find a buyer for the fast-fashion retailer.
Topshop and Topman is operated by Top Retail in New Zealand, with the firm entering voluntary administration in early September on the back of consecutive losses.
The UK-based retailer came to New Zealand in 2014, with Kiwi clothing firm Barkers, Christchurch property investor Philip Carter and fashion designer Karen Walker taking the rights to own, develop and operate the brand locally.
Topman/Topshop opened on Auckland’s Queen Street and on Wellington’s Lambton Quay, with plans to add two more stores as well as an online store by the end of the year 2017.
Conor McElhinney and Kare Johnstone of McGrathNicol said in a statement that “after conducting a detailed assessment of the business and following conclusion of a sale process for the business and assets in whole or in part”, the stores would close after 1 October 2017, but could close earlier if they run out of stock, according to local media.
“It is with regret that we have had to inform staff today that the business is unable to continue trading and that Topshop and Topman will no longer have a presence in New Zealand from Sunday,” the receivers said.
“We would like to thank the directors of Top Retail for their support, which has enabled gift cards to be redeemed during the receivership trading period, and staff for their commitment since our appointment.”
Topshop’s Australian arm was put into receivership in May 2017.
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Primark fans, take a deep breath, because we’ve got some amazing news for you.
Primark is set to open a brand new store – and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. The biggest in the UK, in actual fact.
The new store, which is going to be inside centre:mk shopping complex in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, will be opening its doors to customers next year.
The store is going to be spread across 75,000 square feet and will feature every single item in the Primark range.
We can’t cope.
Of course, we’re sad that the store is only opening in Milton Keynes – we’d like to have a gigantic Primark everywhere we go.
But apparently, it’s come in response to lots of requests by shoppers who were asked where they would most like to do a bit of Primark shopping.
Kevin Duffy, centre manager of centre:mk, is excited about adding the Primark store to the shopping complex.
He said: ‘We are thrilled to announce that Primark will be joining our fantastic selection of fashion and beauty brands at centre:mk next year.
‘Primark is a firm fashion favourite, and so we look forward to attracting more visitors by expanding the centre’s fashion retail mix.’
Currently, we’re unsure of when the store will be opening and how many floors it’s going to include.
So right now, we’re just going to have to sit back, attempt to relax, and pray that there’s going to be an entire section dedicated to Primark’s false nails
Hyundai Department Store announced that it will open COS brand mall at The Hyundai.com.
COS also launched the official online store in Korea. Price at online mall is the same as the offline mall.
COS is a fashion brand that offers a collection of high quality at reasonable prices based on modern and practical design.
Launched in London, UK in 2007, it currently operates stores in 35 countries around the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, and is being sold online in 20 countries.
In Korea, there are 11 offline stores, including Hyundai Department Store Trade Center and Pangyo Branch.
Hyundai Department Store expects to have more young customers in their 20s and 30s, which are the main target of online shopping, through the launch of the course brand on Hyundai.com.
According to the analysis of the sales by age group of COS in Hyundai Department Store trade center and Pangyo branch, 30s (31.9%) and 20s (28.8%) were ranked first and second respectively.
The official of Hyundai Department Store said, “As competition in online shopping mall gets tougher, sole products that do not sell at other online malls are attracting attention as major competitiveness.”
“We will introduce various brands to offer shopping experiences for customers in the future,” he added.
In the meanwhile, H&M Group’s premium spa brand, & Other Stories, is also in the process of launching an online store. In 2017, & Other Stories opened three stores in Apgujeong, Starfield Hanam and Starfield Goyang in Seoul.
Since & Other Stories launched the first online mall in2013, it is currently operating in 14 countries and Korea becomes 15th online selling country.
The online mall is scheduled to open in Korea this autumn and the date is not yet confirmed.
Harvey Nichols to open new store in Doha
Luxury retailer Harvey Nichols has confirmed plans to a new store in Doha. The department store group said it has signed a licence agreement with Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Group to open an outlet in Doha Festival City.
The 7,432 square-metre store is scheduled to open early 2018 and will sell an “exclusive edit” of fashion, homeware and beauty brands. It is the first high-end, international department store to be confirmed as a tenant by Doha Festival City. Upon completion, Doha Festival City Mall will be Qatar’s largest shopping mall with a gross leasable area of some 250,000 square metres.
It will house 550 outlets including 85 restaurants and cafes, the country’s first-of-its-kind Entertainment Zone, which will include VOX Cinemas and a snow park and will feature around 8,000 parking spaces. Phase one of the mall was completed last March and included the construction of Qatar’s first IKEA store.
Doha Festival City
Primark takes biggest letting in 25 years at Centre:MK
Primark is set to take over the former BHS store at Centre:MK in Milton Keynes, marking the shopping centre’s largest letting in quarter of a century.
The discount fashion retailer has penned a deal to move into the 75,000sq ft space, a year after BHS vacated the premises.
Of the 160 BHS stores which now stand vacant, only around 40 per cent have been filled as demand for large retail spaces falters.
Brands like Primark and Sports Direct have taken around 25 of the 160, while a further 35 have planning permission or have secured tenants for the near future.
The space will see the former BHS location on Silbury Arcade extended and is set to be handed over to Primark for fitting next year.
Over £60 million has recently been earmarked for investment in the shopping centre in what is being dubbed the “re-imagining an icon strategy”.
Joint owners Hermes Investment Management and AustralianSuper said the letting was a milestone in their rejuvenation strategy, following repeated visitor surveys highlighting Primark as the most requested brand.
CEO Jeff Bezos has allocated $5 billion toward Amazon’s expansion in India
Amazon.com is set to buy a 5 percent stake in Indian retailer Shoppers Stop, valued at $27.6 million (1.79 billion-rupee), as the US company steps up efforts to gain ground in the fast-growing consumer market.
Shoppers Stop’s board approved the issuance of 4.4 million shares to a unit of Amazon for 407.78 rupees ($6.28) each, the Mumbai-based company said in an emailed statement late Saturday. As part of the deal, Amazon experience centres – which let customers test out the products available online – will be set up across Shoppers Stop’s network of 80 bricks-and-mortar stores in India.
CEO Jeff Bezos has allocated $5 billion toward Amazon’s expansion in India as it seeks to secure an advantage over local rivals in the South Asian nation. The e-commerce giant has a lot riding in the country after its washout in China, where the dominance of Alibaba Group and other domestic players made Amazon’s entry difficult.
Shoppers Stop, which sells cosmetics to clothing and home appliances at its outlets, will have an exclusive flagship store on Amazon’s Indian site where it will retail its entire portfolio of more than 400 brands, the company said. Shares of Shoppers Stop have gained 45 percent this year and closed at 418.1 rupees on Friday in Mumbai.
The deal will be Amazon’s first investment in a publicly traded retailer in India.
New Balance to open 40 new stores across Gulf by 2020
The athletic shoemaker sees strong demand for its style of trainer throughout the region
New Balance, the Boston-based maker of trainers and running shoes, is planning to aggressively expand its presence in the Gulf region, increasing its store count to 50 by 2020, its regional manager has said.
The announcement came as the footwear and athletic clothing manufacturer opened its first flagship store in the Middle East at Dubai Mall.
“The launch of this store is the pinnacle of our progress in the Middle East, but it is also just the start,” said Stuart Henwood, Country Manager for the Middle East and India, New Balance.
Henwood says he has been very encouraged by what he has seen since the store had its soft opening around one month ago.
“This is a prime mall, and for the brand to be in this location is key from a sales perspective and also from a marketing perspective,” he said.
The senior executive, who has previously run the company’s Asian business, refused to confirm how long New Balance had to wait for the highly sought-after retail space (Dubai Mall has a waiting list of years in some cases for brands looking to open stores there), or how much New Balance was paying to be in Dubai Mall.
“It’s an important statement to be here,” Henwood said.
New Balance, founded in 1906 in the United States, currently has 10 stores across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Henwood said.
“Opening this store in Dubai Mall has encouraged us to open more stores, and working with the Apparel Group has been a big benefit,” he said.
The Apparel Group is a franchisee partner that operates brands such as Tim Hortons, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nautica, holding exclusive relationships with different malls throughout the region.
“We are always looking at expanding our global footprint, and looking at emerging markets,” Henwood said, in reference to the brand’s aggressive push throughout the Middle East.
“There’s good business to be done here,” he added, noting Saudi Arabia’s large population and the willingness of young people in the Gulf to spend significant amounts of money on shoes.
As a result, Saudi Arabia will see at least one new store open in the next three months in Riyadh, whilst the further 39 that Henwood has touted to arrive in the next three years will be across locations in Saudi, Kuwait, and Egypt among others, according to Henwood.
British department store chain House of Fraser half-year earnings fell to an 8.6 million pound loss for the 26 weeks to July 29, 2017, down significantly from its EBITDA profit of 900,000 pounds for H1 2016.
House of Fraser’s like-for-like sales and profits for the first half of the year dropped after being heavily disrupted by HoF’s new online platform launch and “significant discounting” of its in-house womenswear labels. Like-for-like sales fell 5.2 percent compared to 2016 and online sales dropped 9.8 percent during the 26 week period following the roll-out of House of Fraser’s 25 million pounds revamped online store in April. Gross profit slipped 5 percent from 207.2 million pounds in H1 2016 to 196.9 million pounds in H1 2017 as HoF cut prices to move old stock.
HoF sees 5 percent decline in profits for H1 2017
However, in spite of the sales and profits hit HoF remains upbeat about achieving growth in its final quarter, as the impacts caused by its new online platform and womenswear ranges were mainly over. House of Fraser’s new ecommerce system is said to be “working well” as “good progress” has been made to recover sale volumes. The department store group announced that it aims to be trading normally by the beginning of its final quarter in its trading update.
HoF also announced that it has completed the launch of its new womenswear in-house labels, which saw five existing womenswear brands dropped and the remaining four relaunched for AW17. The new collections have been “well received” so far, with “initial revenues” exceeding expectations” added the company. In addition, HoF also began its 18 million pound investment scheme in its distribution centre to increase capacity, drive operational efficiencies and improve profitability during the first half of the year.
The department store chain predicts this investment will deliver 5 million pounds of efficiency savings during the second half of the year, increasing to a run rate benefit of 15 million pounds of efficiency savings by the time the project is completed by mid-2018. House of Fraser also opened its first new store in the UK in nine years time during the first half go 2017. Located in Rushden Lakes, the store opened its doors on August 24. HoF also closed a loss-making store in Leicester and aims to shut an additional location in Aylesbury.
“My observations after a few weeks are that since Sanpower acquired the business in 2014 the primary focus has been on stabilising an enterprise that had been starved of investment for many years,” said Alex Williamson, CEO of House of Fraser. “Whether it be refinancing the business, the investment of over 100 million pounds in capital expenditure since the acquisition or a root-and-branch upgrade of the executive team, much has already been done to prepare us for significant transformation.”
“House of Fraser has much to be optimistic about. This is just the start of our journey with several other projects designed to provide additional sales and costs savings as part of the overall Transformation Programme due to commence shortly. I am excited about what lies ahead for the business and I am optimistic for the future. With the support of Sanpower, we are building the right foundations that position us well to deliver on our ambitions for sustainable profit growth.”
Max Mara opens redesigned flagship store in New York at Madison Avenue
The opening event of the Max Mara flagship in New York unveiled not only the stunning reimagined space, but saw the release of a special edition mini Whitney Bag. While the bag boasts vibrant, jewel-tone colors and a luxe velvet material, the newly conceptualized store boasts approximately 5,000 square feet in the Victorian-style building located on Madison Avenue and 68th Street.
The refurbished space, designed by Duccio Grassi Architects, highlights the spirit of the Max Mara brand through a manifestation of its Italian heritage and contemporary energy.
Fat Face has promoted four of its senior staff to director level as part of an ongoing investment drive to improve its products and ecommerce divisions.
Emma Shaw has been promoted from head of design to design director, while Kate Brown was promoted from head of buying and quality to buying and quality director.
Shaw and Brown have been with the lifestyle and fashion retailer since 2011 and 2014 respectively.
Meanwhile, Nick Stevenson has been promoted from head of merchandising and sourcing to director of the same area, and Paul Wright has been promoted from head of ecommerce to ecommerce director.
Both Stevenson and Wright have been with Fat Face since 2011.
Fat Face chief executive Anthony Thompson: “I always think that internal promotions are a reflection of the talent in any organisation, and I am delighted for Emma, Kate, Nick and Paul.
“This announcement also reflects our determination to continue to invest in product and develop a truly multichannel business.”
half-year earnings sunk to an £8.6m loss
Profits at House of Fraser have come under strain after the launch of a new web platform and “significant discounting” took its toll on the retailer.
The department store chain said half-year earnings sunk to an £8.6m (€9.7m) loss, down from a £900,000 profit in 2016, as website sales suffered from the roll-out of a £25m online sales platform.
Gross profits also slipped 5pc to £196.9m over the period, as the group slashed prices on old stock to pave the way for a new womenswear brand.
Gross transaction value hit £545.8m, with like-for-like sales dropping 5.2pc compared to last year.
However, the retailer said it was optimistic about delivering growth in the final quarter, as the impacts of launching the new online platform and womenswear range were largely behind it.
Chief executive Alex Williamson, who joined the firm earlier this year, said: “My observations after a few weeks are that since Sanpower acquired the business in 2014 the primary focus has been on stabilising an enterprise that had been starved of investment for many years.
“Whether it be refinancing the business, the investment of over £100m in capital expenditure since the acquisition or a root and branch upgrade of the executive team, much has already been done to prepare us for significant transformation.
“And House of Fraser has much to be optimistic about.
“Our new House Brand Womenswear collections for autumn/winter have been launched and our customers’ response to date has been very encouraging.
“Our new web platform greatly improves our customers’ experience and online margins whilst our investment in the distribution centre will deliver cost savings through improved operational efficiencies.”
House of Fraser, which employs 5,000 people and has 59 department stores in the UK and Ireland, opened its first store for nine years in August at Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire.
Toys ‘R’ Us forced to file for US bankruptcy
September 20 2017 2:30 AM
Toys R Us Stock
US retail giant Toys ‘R’ Us filed has for bankruptcy, under a debt load piled on the business in a private-equity buyout a decade ago.
The company listed debt and assets of more than $1bn each in Chapter 11 documents at the US Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia.
Prior to filing, the chain secured more than $3bn in financing from lenders including a JPMorgan-led bank syndicate and certain existing lenders to fund operations while it restructures, according to a company statement.
The funding is subject to court approval.
US debtor-in-position loans allow a company to tap new lenders who get preferential security, while it goes through Chapter 11, helping the business trade throughout its insolvency process.
Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t announce plans to close stores, and said its locations across the globe would continue normal operations.
“Like any retailer, decisions about any future store closings – and openings – will continue to be made based on what makes the best sense for the business,” a spokesman said.
The bankruptcy filing is the latest blow to a brick-and-mortar retail industry reeling from store closures, sluggish footfall and the rise of Amazon.com.
A dozen big US retailers have filed for creditor protection this year. (Bloomberg)
Kuwait’s Alshaya invests in Alabbar’s e-commerce platform Noon
Retail franchise operator acquires stake in soon to be launched online marketplace
Kuwait-based retail franchise operator MH Alshaya Co has acquired a strategic stake in Noon, the region’s new e-commerce platform, it said on Thursday.
Additionally, Alshaya said it will become a seller on Noon’s marketplace platform, listing a portfolio of international brands covering the fashion, health & beauty and home and lifestyle categories.
The company did not say how much it paid for the stake in Noon, which is set to launch later this year.
Alshaya becomes the latest large retailer to list its products on Noon, which serves as a digital platform for retailers to reach online customers in the Middle East.
Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya, said: “We see great value in our partnership with Noon, which complements our existing online channels. We are impressed by Noon’s capabilities, and we are excited to partner with the Noon team to present a winning value proposition for the region’s online shoppers.
“Our partnership with Noon will allow us to expand our customer base, reach new market segments, and participate in the next level of growth in regional e-commerce.”
Mohamed Alabbar, founder of Noon, added: “It is our privilege to partner with Alshaya and give our customers access to Alshaya’s leading international brands. Noon brings a new business model for e-commerce, developing a strong supply chain that benefits regional businesses. We will work with the region’s leading brands and retailers to help them grow their business through Noon.”
In July, Faraz Khalid, the former co-founder and managing director of fashion online retailer Namshi, was appointed CEO of Noon.
SOUQ.com today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Wing.ae, a marketplace for merchants and couriers in the UAE, providing innovative mobile and web-based user-friendly delivery solutions for businesses and individual consumers. SOUQ.com previously invested in Wing.ae and will be acquiring 100% of the company.
Wing.ae now has the full backing of SOUQ.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, and this investment demonstrates the continued commitment of all three companies to provide SOUQ.com customers with a world class experience. Wing.ae will continue to invest in growing its same and next day delivery service in the region, enabling greater convenience for Wing.ae’s customers, including SOUQ.com.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, SOUQ.com CEO & Co-Founder, comments: “At SOUQ.com, our customers will remain our key focus and we will continue to deliver an exceptional online shopping experience. Fast dependable delivery is key to this, and Wing.ae provides SOUQ.com customers with more convenience for their same and next day delivery. With Amazon’s support, we are putting all our efforts in providing an ever-improving shopping experience for customers in the Middle East.”
“The UAE is a leading e-commerce and smart hub in the region, and in this demanding business we work to fill the logistics supply gaps to offer customers the excellent service they want as fast as possible,” says Muzaffar Karabev, CEO and Co-Founder of WING.ae. “With the support of SOUQ.com, Wing will accelerate investments into our technology, infrastructure and regional coverage to provide innovative delivery solutions and to make online shopping for SOUQ.com customers and merchants even more convenient.”
Online sales at BHS grow 35% thanks to new start-up mentality.
The MD of BHS.com has revealed sales at the online retailer have increased by over a third in Q2.
Speaking to the Press Association, BHS.com MD Kevan Mallinder said sales grew 35%, bolstered by its womenswear clothing range which increased 350% over the period.
He told the Press Association: “Because we are privately owned by the Al Mana Group, they want to see the business succeed over the long term, which brings a different aspect to the decisions.”
Mallinder was bought in to direct the e-tailer six months ago, coming from food delivery firm Abel & Cole.
The much-loved British brand, BHS, entered administration in April 2016 leading to the loss of 11,000 jobs. An ongoing enquiry is investigating the controversy surrounding the retailer’s pension deficit.
Following the openings of Arket and Weekday on London’s Regent Street in August, parent company H&M has announced plans to open two new Monki stores, one at Westfield Stratford and the other at Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. Both stores will adopt the Monki World concept, leading customers into an imaginery universe that has inspired 115 stores.
With fitting rooms decorated across a spectrum of rainbow colours, Sea of Scallops tables, shimmering features and exclusive Monki World facade, the new stores will offer the full storytelling experience.
Although technically the Swedish fashion brand’s debut in the Scottish market, the 480 sq m Glasgow store will cater to an existing fan base that already gets its fashion fix online.
The 370 sq m Westfield Stratford store will mark Monki’s third retail space in England, alongside its Carnaby Street and Bristol stores.
UK retail giant Marks & Spencer reportedly in discussions over deal for Hong Kong and Macau operations
UAE-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim is reportedly in talks with UK retail giant Marks & Spencer for the possible purchase and franchising of its business in Hong Kong and Macau.
The UK’s Financial Times said the talks could see Al-Futtaim become the sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau, adding that M&S has operated in Hong Kong since 1988 and has 27 stores in the city.
Al-Futtaim has worked with M&S since it opened the British retailer’s first store in Dubai in 1998.
The deal covers only the company’s retail business and its Hong Kong sourcing operations will remain wholly-owned, the FT added.
“As reported at the year-end results presentation in May 2017, given the current low-growth economy and resultant poor retail environment, the most significant near-term opportunity is to regain lost market share in the two divisions, MRP Apparel and Miladys, which underperformed in the previous financial year,” the group said.
The group reported in the trading update that for the first four months of its 2018 financial year, total retail sales were up 6.2% in the 18 weeks to August 5. For April, May and June, MRP Apparel and Miladys reported sales growth of 10.1% at current prices, far ahead of the 4.8% growth that Statistics SA reported for the retail sector.
The trading statement was well received, with Mr Price’s share price closing 3.45% higher at R187.50 on Friday.
Sales growth in the overall apparel segment, which includes MRP Sport, was 8.7% in the 18 weeks to August 5. The homeware division struggled, however, with sales declining 1%, due to a 2.1% fall in sales at MRP Home, partially offset by a 1.7% increase at Sheet Street.
Online sales were 6.4% higher. Those at MRP Sport and MRP Home growth tracked physical store sales growth, while MRP Apparel recorded very strong growth of 20.1%.
Group cash sales increased 6.3%, making up 82.6% of total sales. Credit sales increased 5.4%. Weighted average trading space was 2.6% higher.
Other income grew 3.4%, to R372.0m. Debtors’ interest and fees grew 7.7% and insurance revenue climbed 18%.
A temporary slowdown in cellular revenue growth, which fell 8.1%, resulted from a focus on process improvements and product mix changes.
Commentators expect some respite for the retailer sector in the last quarter of 2017.
McDonald’s workers are staging their first UK strike since the US burger chain opened in Britain over forty years ago, amid a heated row over zero-hours contracts and claims of workplace bullying.
The 24 hour strike began at midnight at two outlets owned by the fast food giant which has been selling its burgers to Britons since 1974.
The Baker’s, Food and Allies Workers Union (BFAWU) said the staff had been left no alternative but to take “the historic step” after McDonald’s management failed to meet calls for better job security by ending controversial zero-hours contracts.
<img class=”responsive article-body-image-image” src=”/content/dam/business/2016/02/18/McDonalds_Burger_E_3299494b_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqpJliwavx4coWFCaEkEsb3kvxIt-lGGWCWqwLa_RXJU8.jpg?imwidth=480″ alt=”Burger”>
Credit: Fir Mamat/Alamy
The fast food workers in Crayford, near Dartford, and Cambridge are not officially unionised but are being represented by the BFAWU on this matter. The union’s ballot found 95.7pc in favour of strike.
“Despite all the attempts to change McDonald’s approach and help them become a fairer employer, nothing has been done on their side. Nothing has changed. Empty promises have been made. Yet nothing has been delivered,” said Ian Hodson, national leader of the BFAWU.
The staff are calling for pay to be increased to £10 an hour, up from the minimum wage of £7.50 for staff aged 25 and above. BFAWU said the fight for higher wages follows a campaign in the US, where staff are fighting for $15 an hour.
McDonald’s, which employs about 85,000 people in the UK, said it gave its staff the choice of flexible or fixed contracts with minimum guaranteed hours, but 86pc chose to stay on flexible contracts.
A spokesman for the fast food giant said the grievance is related solely to internal procedures and would affect less than 0.01pc of its workforce across just two of its 1,270 UK restaurants.
“McDonald’s UK and its franchisees have delivered three pay rises since April 2016, this has increased the average hourly pay rate by 15pc,” the spokesman added.
Mr Hobson said the voice against low pay “will not go away”.
“There is growing global movement calling for the fair and decent treatment of workers. In the US for example, the Service Employees International Union have shown the importance of collective action – with their ‘Fight for $15’ campaign having seen more than 10 million workers move towards a $15 minimum wage, and with 20 million workers in total having won wage increases since 2012,” he said.
“Hopefully, senior figures at McDonald’s will be listening,” he added.
The ew store is part of the first phase of The Knightsbridge Estate K1 development (1, Sloane Street) and will see Burberry relocating its local flagship from nearby Brompton Road where it currently trades from twin men’s and women’s shops. The new move to a site not far from Harvey Nichols will give it the chance to consolidate all men’s and women’s product into one flagship location on four floors and covering an area of over 15,000 sq ft.
The fashion brand and the property company have worked together before with Chelsfield having been responsible for the label’s Bond Street flagship back in 2005.
Despite a raft of openings in recent years, Burberry is carefully targeting its investment at present and only recently scrapped plans to revive the Temple Works mill in Leeds as well as delaying a decision about building a new factory on a neighbouring site. It is also reported to be looking at its London offices with a view to cutting costs.
But the brand is clearly still investing where it can see major returns. It has invested heavily refining its product offer, adding new star bags that appear to be making a major impact on its balance sheet. And it has licensed its beauty ops to specialist Coty, as well as opening a China-specific website.
The new Knightsbridge store is part of this very focused strategy with the area being a key beneficiary of the booming luxury tourist trade in London.
Burberry new store London at 1 Sloane Street
British handbag and accessories brand Radley is set to return to the American market, following its withdrawal six years ago, after signing an exclusive deal with US department store chain Macy’s.
The deal, will see Radley opening concessions in 100 Macy’s stores by Christmas, with as many as 300 possible within the next 12 months, as the handbag brand attempts to crack the US market, according to reports in The Times.
“It was poorly thought through and the execution was even worse,” chief executive Justin Stead said in an interview with The Times. “This time around we’re going back with a very well thought through plan. I think it’s going to pay huge dividends.”
The move follows the private equity-backed company selling its products on TV shopping channel QVC, which was declared a success as Stead told the newspaper that during its hour-long show it sold out of its 750,000 dollars of product in just 30 minutes.
Acquired by private equity house Bregal Freshstream last year, it said at the time it saw “significant potential” in expanding Radley to the international market.
Radley was founded in 1998 and has around 32 standalone UK stores, it is also sold in John Lewis, House of Fraser and other department stores and independent retailers, as well as via its website.
Poundland given one of the biggest ever retail food safety fines as mouse droppings found on baby clothes
The discount chain had to close one of its busiest stores when evidence of mouse droppings and urine were found on food shelves alongside gnawed and soiled packets of biscuits, nuts, sweets and popcorn
Poundland has been fined one of the biggest ever retail food safety fines (Image: PA)
A mouse infestation – with droppings found on baby clothes – has landed Poundland with one of the biggest ever retail food safety fines.
The discount chain had to close one of its busiest stores when evidence of mouse droppings and urine were found on food shelves alongside gnawed and soiled packets of biscuits, nuts, sweets and popcorn.
The problem, at the shop in Wandsworth, London, was deemed to be a widespread and uncontrolled rodent infestation by health inspectors.
Droppings were found throughout the store and the behind-the-scenes storage areas of the discount store, including on baby clothes.
The retail giant is now counting the cost of ignoring the major mouse infestation at its store in Wandsworth, London, after being hit by magistrates with what is believed to be one of the country’s heaviest ever retail food safety fines.
The problem was found to be widespread (Image: EyeEm)
The company copped the whopping fine after a court heard the London shop had to be closed using emergency powers in January last year after food safety inspectors uncovered the infestation.
Cllr Jonathan Cook, community safety spokesman, said: “This was a very serious rodent infestation in a busy and popular retailer so there was a very real and significant risk to public health.
“When our inspectors uncovered the scale of the problem they had absolutely no option other than use their emergency powers to order the entire store’s immediate closure.
“It was not permitted to reopen until the company was able to prove it had dealt with the problems and taken adequate steps to prevent it happening again.
“This episode showed a complete lack of regard for customer’s health and welfare and is reflected in the very substantial fine imposed on the company by the court .
“Food retail businesses must ensure that they do not jeopardise public health in any way if they don’t want to suffer a similar fate.”
Wimbledon magistrates court heard that Poundland Limited had been previously prosecuted on three occasions for similar outbreaks at other stories, including a £73,000 fine at Birmingham crown court, a £12,000 fine at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court and a £33,000 fine at Luton magistrates’ court.
In this case Poundland Limited pleaded guilty to four offences and in addition to the £100,000 fine the company was also ordered to pay £12,368 towards Wandsworth Council’s costs in bringing the case to court, reports the Daily Record .
Digital innovation is revolutionising the retail landscape in the Middle East – and not only online
The growth of retail in the Middle East has been nothing short of remarkable. London, Paris, Milan and New York still inevitably dominate the global shopping scene, but as pioneers in the retail space, emerging markets such as the Middle East are becoming very much the watchword for innovation.
But whilst the retail scene is a crucial catalyst for attracting footfall in the Middle East, as the digital economy develops, bricks-and-mortar locations need to evolve to stay relevant for future decades. Technology clearly plays a central role in this. With the rise of e-commerce in the region, it is now more important than ever that the physical mall develops and keeps apace with the changing demands of the consumer.
Take the success story of Majid Al Futtaim’s Mall of the Emirates, for instance. One can easily spend a day inside Mall of the Emirates; you can eat, drink, go to the cinema and even go skiing all before you have even thought about shopping. And this experience is far from unique. The Beach in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR) also seamlessly integrates commerce and entertainment, combining shopping, the sea and an outdoor cinema.
With the UAE’s population expected to grow to 10 million by 2030, aided by more expats and Expo 2020 tourism, the retail destination/proposition as an integrated social, entertainment and leisure destination is likely to boom. After 50 years of operating in the region, this is something Atkins is seeing more of — both in the retail space and wider sectors.
A blurring of lines, with buildings becoming multi-functional and multi-faceted can be seen in some of the region’s most important projects, such as the Burj Al Arab, Bahrain Trade Centre, Durrat Al Bahrain and the Dubai Opera. Creating an integrated retail and leisure centre destination is critical to fuse the social and urban space. And it is the customer experience that is driving this approach.
Motorola, for example, has created a personal shopping device where shoppers can scan their items as they select them, significantly reducing checkout time. Beauty retailers such as Sephora are experimenting with a virtual reality mirror, enabling shoppers to test different eyeshadows and lipsticks without applying them to their skin.
Big data will help retailers understand and market to their consumers better, suggesting products that may be relevant even before the customer has walked through the door.
All of these aspects will make the physical retail outlet more efficient. Checkout space will be reduced because customers will be able to complete transactions virtually from inside the dressing room or on their mobile phones, eliminating the need to queue.
Whilst e-commerce is growing in fortitude in the region (bolstered by the likes of Amazon’s acquisition of Souq.com), we still see the need for interaction with the product. The Middle East has a culture that favours the personal experience, and so whilst technology won’t replace this, it can still absolutely enhance it.
What we predict in years to come is how the experience will change. For example, instead of going to a car showroom to see a range of models, customers will be able to interact with virtual car models instead of physical ones. The need for an extensive physical stock may become redundant, thus streamlining and reducing the retail space to make it more profitable.
Car parks may also become redundant. The real estate footprint for car parks alone is currently extensive and costly. In the future, we will see more sophisticated transport offerings, with an increased choice of public transport, and autonomous vehicles reducing the need for large amounts of land dedicated purely to the housing of private cars. And less space for cars means more space for retail and opportunities to generate more revenue.
But of course, whilst there are numerous opportunities that technology presents to the Middle East retail sector, this is not without its challenges. Unlike their developed counterparts, shopping destinations in the Middle East have one major issue to contend with: the climate. With temperatures well into the mid-40s in the summer months, how should retailers respond to the natural environment?
This poses both a problem and an opportunity. Whilst shopper footfall increases in the summer as tourists and residents seek sanctuary in the cool environments of the malls, engineers and designers need to ensure that all adjoining infrastructure is set up to cope with the extreme temperatures.
Customer experience and comfort fundamentally remains key. Most amenities need to be enclosed, with covered walkways and transport infrastructure located close by. Those shopping areas that have outdoor elements, such as Citywalk and Boxpark in Dubai, require careful thought and planning to ensure they remain attractive, year-round destinations.
The future of retail in the Middle East is far from a one-size-fits-all approach. The digital world is fundamentally changing the way we shop. No longer are malls simply a collection of physical stores or somewhere to go for a few hours at the weekend; they are becoming fully integrated communities that fuse together social and urban environments. For the Middle East to compete on the world stage, it will be vital that the retail sector embraces digital innovation offline as well as online.
The chief executive of New Look is to step down just over two years after his turnaround of the high street fashion chain paved the way for its £2bn sale.
Sky News has learnt that Anders Kristiansen is to leave the company, which is majority-owned by South African investor Brait, in the coming weeks.
His departure is expected to be announced on Friday, according to a person close to New Look.
Mr Kristiansen, who previously ran a major Danish retailer’s huge Chinese operations and also held a senior job at Staples, the office supplies group, is expected to move to an undisclosed role elsewhere in the coming months.
His nearly-five year tenure at the company was characterised by significant expansion of its store network in China, where New Look is targeting 500 shops over the next few years, and the stellar growth of its digital business into the UK’s third-largest online fashion brand.
He has also presided over a recent shake-up of his executive team, recruiting Paula Dumont Lopez from Zara-owner Inditex to sharpen its product offering.
Brait’s takeover of New Look in 2015 cemented the presence in the UK retail and leisure sectors of South Africa’s Wiese family, which also has interests in chains such as Iceland and Virgin Active.
News of the change in leadership at New Look will nevertheless come during a challenging period for the mid-market clothing retailer and many other British fashion retailers hit by weakening consumer spending and the weakness of sterling.
Earlier this month, New Look reported a 7.5% fall in UK like-for-like sales in the quarter to June 24, with underlying operating profit declining sharply to just over £12m.
Mr Kristiansen is expected to be replaced temporarily by Danny Barrasso, New Look’s UK and Ireland managing director, while its board hunts a permanent successor.
The company now trades from nearly 600 outlets in the UK and almost 300 more in international markets – including more than 125 in China.
Announcing the results this month, Mr Kristiansen described the UK as a “difficult” market, saying: “As expected, the UK market has remained difficult, which has resulted in a disappointing quarter of trading.
“We have managed the business accordingly by controlling costs, tactical investment in our strategic initiatives and enhancing our product proposition.
“We remain committed to our long-term strategy of diversifying the business and reducing our dependence on the UK high street, and are confident that we will see improvements, but expect these to take time.”
Mr Kristiansen, who has in recent weeks been a vocal advocate for improved clothing factory conditions in the UK, could not be reached for comment on Thursday night.
A New Look spokeswoman declined to comment.
Abercrombie & Fitch to open first store in Jeddah as part of Middle East expansion
0The new store will launch in the Red Sea Mall in September and will offer the brand’s Autumn/Winter collection for men, women and children.
The expansion is part of a franchise agreement between Majid Al Futtaim Fashion and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Majid Al Futtaim introduced the Abercrombie & Fitch brand to Kuwait in 2015 by opening stores at 360 Mall and The Avenues, followed by a flagship store in Mall of the Emirates. Two further stores opened in Qatar at Doha Festival City and Mall of Qatar in March 2017. Including the launch in Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim partners with Abercrombie & Fitch on a total of six Abercrombie & Fitch and three Abercrombie kids stores in the Middle East in a mix of franchise and joint venture arrangements.
The 728 square metre store in Jeddah will open in a new extension of the Red Sea Mall.
Fran Horowitz, chief executive of Abercrombie & Fitch, said: “We are looking forward to bringing our unique Abercrombie & Fitch store-based brand experience to our customers in Saudi Arabia, and complementing our existing omnichannel capabilities, supporting our goal of providing our customers with the ability to engage with our brands, whenever, wherever and however they choose to do so. We are proud to have Majid Al Futtaim as a partner to drive and support our continued expansion throughout the region.”
The franchise agreement will see the brands eventually expanding into Oman and Bahrain.
Swedish fashion and lifestyle brand Arket, from the H&M Group, has unveiled its long-awaited debut flagship store on Regent Street, ahead of its official opening on Friday, August 25.
Located within the unit that once house Banana Republic, Arket has transformed the 17,000 square foot space into a calm, modern and very grey environment, with bespoke terrazzo stone floor, cement-grey walls and an OCD-neat layout that is light, airy and simple in its construction.
The interior has been developed by the brand’s in-house team and centres around the simplest of contraction elements – the plank, and features larch, birch, ash, stainless steel, aluminium, rubber, textile and bespoke terrazzo stone, all chosen for their “practical needs of the construction” explains Arket “in order to waste as little raw material as possible”.
“The plank creates the entire system vertically as well as horizontally and is reused on tabletops and mirrors. It is the repetition of this simple element and the monochrome palette that forms the concept,” the brand adds on the design on its Instagram.
The whole idea of Arket is to be a fast-fashion disrupter, the brand is looking to offer “durable products designed to be used and loved for a long time” with items geared around the whole family, which is why the store houses menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, as well as homeware and a cafe, which is based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto, featuring a vegetarian menu.
Arket aims to disrupt the UK high street with London launch
What instantly hits you when you walk into the store is the space, the design and OCD approach to the styling of the clothes and accessories means that you feel calm. There isn’t masses of rails to weave around, no huge displays of mannequins showcasing the latest trends, instead there are shelves not filled, racks are evenly spread out in colours, and tables are covered with individual items rather than piles.The design is definitely all about attention to detail, it makes you focus on the quality of the product and adds a more luxurious feel to the traditional high street shopping experience.
Also a surprise is that Arket has given menswear the unprecedented ground floor spot, with the men’s tailoring and knitwear being the first thing customers will see when they enter. The menswear then leads into the very Instagram-friendly homeware and beauty department at the heart of the store, which I’m sure will be a firm favourite with consumers. Rounding off the ground floor is the vegetarian cafe, which has its own entrance opposite Liberty’s, which is probably the most exciting prospect as they really are hoping that Arket will be more than just a clothes shop but rather a shopping destination.
Upstairs is dedicated to a womenswear and childrenswear, showcasing the curated edit of its ‘archive’ collection, which sets about creating the building blocks to creating a capsule wardrobe filled with an “everyday uniform” of quality staples in a minimalistic design in fabrics such as organic cotton, silk, recycled cashmere, wool, and polyester yarn made from used plastic bottles, all colour coded across the floor.
Essentially, Arket is billing itself as the “modern-day market” offering wearable pieces that focus more on quality, simplicity and functionality, rather than trend. While you won’t see the latest catwalk copies at Arket, like you would in H&M, you will see seasonal updates to the core collection, such as colour and material changes.
There will be comparisons made regarding the fashion offering to sister brand Cos, however, the aesthetic is more classic and traditional at Arket, with premium staples being at the core, from the organic cotton T-shirt to recycled cashmere jumpers, as well as functional items such as the two-in-one Series fish-tail parka that features a lightweight, weatherproof outer and a detachable padded lining designed for all-year wearing.
To ease customers through the ‘archive’ the layout features all the same colour together, and each style comes with a unique nine-digit ID code, identified by department, category, product and material, for instance anything in the women’s department has a 2, knitwear is 22, while cashmere is 087 and anything recycled is easily identified with an R at the end. This code also helps tie-in online with in-store, as shoppers can simple search online for the specific item to see if it comes in a new fabric or colour, and even to see if it their favourite items has been restocked.
In addition to Arket’s own-brand ‘archive’ collection, the store also features a number of “complementary” third-party brands mainly across shoes, accessories and homeware, such as Adidas, Nike and Veja, as well as less well known brands such as Danish toy brand Nature Zoo and stationery brand Deskstore of Sweden.
Arket opens debut store in London on August 25
The brand is also putting sustainability at the forefront of its proposition, with each piece featuring a tag displaying the country it was made in as well as the supplier and factory, and even informing customers about the care of the products in an attempt to prolong their lifespan and reduce waste.
On the brand’s website it states: “The starting point for each product is quality, building on the strengths of each production market. Value for money will be ensured by economies of scare, by initiatives like the yarn projects, and above all, by establishing enduring styles.
“The result will be a seasonless production flow, lower development costs, and the flexibility to refine over time. This will also help achieve strong, long-term relationships with suppliers working together towards the same goals.”
Such initiatives are showcased in its Merino Yarn Project, where Arket has designed a unique knitted fabric made from organic merino-wool fibres that runs throughout the collection, and the Cotton GSM programme that has developed four different weights from one fibre to create a core collection of jersey, meaning you can buy the same style in different weights for all-year round wearing.
The thing you notice most about H&M Group’s new brand is that it is very well-considered, from the design and layout of the store to the website and its ability to search by department, colour or even pattern, as well as material and where the piece was made, and the clothes itself, its pieces have literally been designed to be “widely accessible, well-made, and durable” for longevity.
Arket is being positioned as H&M Group’s most premium brand, trying to target a gap in the market between mid-priced and luxury, with fashion prices starting at 3 pounds for a pair of socks to around 300 pounds for a coat. It will sit alongside H&M Group’s other brands, which also happen to be its neighbours on Regent Street including fast-fashion brand H&M, & Other Stories, Cos, and Weekday, which recently opened, as well as Cheap Monday and Monki, both close by on Carnaby Street.
Coinciding with the Arket opening in London on August 25, the brand will also launch its e-commerce, shipping to 18 European markets including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. Consumers who signed up to the brand’s website before August 23 were sent out preview access to the website, along with a 20 percent discount code.
Commenting on the opening, managing director Lars Axelsson, said: “We’re very excited to reveal Arket to the public. We’ve been working towards this day for over two years, and look forward to finally meeting our first customers in London as well as throughout Europe online.”
The Regent Street Arket flagship will be followed up by a further London store in Covent Garden on Long Acre by the end of the year, which will house a bigger cafe, as well as openings in Copenhagen in September, and Munich, Brussels, and Stockholm planned for 2018.
Images: Danielle Wightman-Stone
Arcadia, which owned BHS until it was sold to Dominic Chappell-led consortium, reaches deal with store’s liquidators
Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire has agreed to pay £30m to unsecured creditors of BHS following the collapse of the department store chain with the loss of 11,000 jobs.
Arcadia, which owned BHS until it was sold to a consortium led by Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015, on Friday agreed the deal with BHS’s liquidators, FRP Advisory, which will drop legal action filed against Green’s company.
A spokesman for FRP said: “The liquidators of SHB Realisations, formerly BHS, reached an agreement with Arcadia Group in relation to a number of matters, including Arcadia’s floating charge dated 14 April 2015.
“We can confirm that as part of the agreement, over £30m was released from reserves held in relation to Arcadia’s secured claim into the monies available for BHS unsecured creditors and the floating charge is to be released.”
The settlement avoids the prospect of the retail billionaire fighting a lengthy legal battle over the demise of BHS.
Green avoided another legal battle with the pension regulator by agreeing to pay £363m to rescue the BHS pension scheme.
Chappell is to be prosecuted by the pensions watchdog for failing to provide information for an investigation into its sale.
Chappell headed Retail Acquisitions, the company that acquired BHS. A year later, it collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a pension deficit of £571m.
The Pensions Regulator is prosecuting Chappell for failing to comply with three notices for information issued under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004. Failure to provide such information without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence that can result in a fine.
Green, who was pictured on Instagram spraying bottles of champagne among women in bikinis, also on Friday announced a deal to buy four franchise-run Topshop stores in Australia which collapsed into administration in May.
Emaar Properties has unveiled plans to build a new mall in the Dubai Hills Estate, one of the largest master-planned communities being developed in Dubai, UAE, in joint venture with Meraas.
Scheduled to open in late 2019, Dubai Hills Mall will feature 2 million sq ft of leasable space spread out over ground and first floor levels, more than 750 retail and food and beverage outlets, family entertainment.
The mall will also feature a cineplex, a 65,000-sq-ft hypermarket, seven anchor retail experience stores, and dedicated parking spaces for over 7,000 vehicles.
Located on the corner for Al Khail Road and Umm Suqeim street, the mall can be seamlessly accessed from Downtown Dubai, Emirates Hills, Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches and other nearby communities.
The architecture and interiors take inspiration from the concept of a central courtyard with a series of interconnected streetscapes. The angular layout provides easy orientation and a clear focus on the central space for events and special features. The exterior boulevards and concert spaces offer more leisure options, making the mall a perfect escape for all types of visitors, Emaar said.
Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, said: “As the centrepiece of Dubai Hills Estate, a Smart city of the future, the Dubai Hills Mall will bring incredible value to the mega-development and further energise Dubai’s retail sector.”
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “Integrating advanced technology features with the principles of a regional mall, it will be a socially and culturally inspiring space for people, young and old, residents and visitors, to meet, connect and relax.”
The mall complements the destination’s high-end residential, commercial and office spaces, chic hospitality offerings, enriching leisure facilities and its prestigious golf fairways.
Dubai Hills Estate includes a championship golf course and a central park surrounded by 4,400 villas and townhouses, and 22,000 apartments. – TradeArabia News Service
Shoprite, Africa’s largest food retailer, wants to expand to new continents and is eyeing Poland as its gateway to Europe, the Puls Biznesu daily has said, adding its scepticism.
Photo: Lars Frantzen/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht, who visited Poland last week and is in talks with two developers, said entering Eastern Europe would be easy because the African retail giant already has partners in the region, the Puls Biznesu daily said.
South African-based Steinhoff International, owner of the Abra furniture retailer which has 100 locations in Poland, is looking at a controlling stake in Shoprite, which has a market value of some PLN 35 billion (EUR 8 billion), the paper said.
The paper added that Steinhoff is controlled by South African businessman Christoffel Wiese, who is already Shoprite’s main shareholder.
Engelbrecht said Shoprite could use Steinhoff’s synergy in Poland, according to Puls Biznesu, but declined to give the paper details about its plans for expansion in Poland or how partnering with a furniture chain would benefit the food retailer.
Puls Biznesu said that the Polish market was saturated with well-established fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and while a South African takeover of an existing chain would be a feasible way of entering Poland, building its brand from scratch in Europe would “not be easy”. (vb)
Tiffany reported its financial results for the three months (“second quarter”) and six months (“first half”) ended July 31, 2017. In both periods, modest net sales increases and improved operating margins contributed to growth in diluted earnings per share.
In the second quarter: Worldwide net sales increased 3% to $960 million, while comparable store sales declined 2%. Management noted an increase in wholesale sales of diamonds, increased wholesale sales in the AsiaPacific region and strong e-commerce sales growth. Overall, growth in fashion and designer jewelry sales contrasted with softness in other jewelry categories. Net earnings rose 9% to $115 million, or $0.92 per diluted share, from $106 million, or $0.84 per diluted share in the prior year.
In the first half: Worldwide net sales of $1.9 billion were 2% higher than the prior year, while comparable store sales were 2% below the prior year, due to similar trends as noted above. Net earnings rose 8% to $208 million, or $1.66 per diluted share, from $193 million, or $1.53 per diluted share, a year ago.
The head of retail for Gant’s UK and Irish arm has resigned after almost five years in the position.
Darren Whelpton-Smith has moved on to rugby leisurewear brand Raging Bull as its head of retail, wholesale and ecommerce.
Whelpton-Smith is a former area manager for fashion chains Levi’s and Republic, and his last role before Gant was working as Fat Face’s area manager for nothern England for four years.
He joined Gant in 2012, and under his leadership he oversaw the opening of the brand’s new global flagship on Regent Street in London less than 12 months ago.
Meanwhile, Raging Bull was founded by former England rugby union player Phil Vickery and its collections are primarily sold through department stores and via its own website.
In collaboration with Meraas, Emaar Properties has unveiled Dubai Hills Mall project, a family retail district within master development Dubai Hills Estate, slated to elevate the emirate’s retail offering upon completion in 2019.
The highly-anticipated destination will boast over 18.75ha of gross leasable area accommodating some 750 fashion and dining outlets.
Complementing the lifestyle landmarks of the location, the venue will also attract visitors with four major family entertainment and leisure centres, including a cineplex, outdoor concert area, hypermarket and seven anchor retail experience stores, among others.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman, Emaar Properties, said, “Dubai Hills Mall will stand out in the retail sector, and support the tourism and hospitality sectors through highly engaging leisure and entertainment attractions.”
Dominic Chappell, the former BHS owner, is to be prosecuted by The Pensions Regulator for failing to provide information to an investigation into the sale of the collapsed retailer.
Mr Chappell headed up Retail Acquisitions, the company that acquired BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.
The TPR said it is prosecuting Mr Chappell for failing to comply with three notices issued under Section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004.
Sir Philip Green sold BHS to Chappell in 2015 for just £1 (PA)
The notices were issued to Mr Chappell on April 26 2016, May 13 2016 and February 20 2017, it added.
Mr Chappell has been summonsed to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on September 20 2017 to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse.
BHS plunged into administration last year, impacting 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders, leaving a £571 million pension deficit.
BHS went into administration last year (Lauren Hurley/PA)
The Pensions Regulator has pledged to flex its muscles recently, saying in July that it “will not hesitate” to prosecute companies or individuals if they refuse to hand over information.
After a drawn-out saga that included a parliamentary inquiry and public outcry over both Mr Chappell’s and Sir Philip’s conduct, the Topshop tycoon agreed to pay £363 million to settle the BHS pension scheme in February.
Under Mr Chappell’s tenure as owner of BHS, £8.4 million was taken out of the chain by Retail Acquisitions, with £6 million still owed when it collapsed last year.
Retail Acquisitions was put into liquidation in May although Mr Chappell, a former bankrupt, said at the time he would challenge the court ruling.