Category Archives: #uk
Mothercare used to have almost 400 stores, but will now have about 80 to 100. Photograph: Rex
Mothercare is to almost halve the size of its UK chain and stop selling clothes for older children as it tries to carve out a profitable future on the high street.
Mark Newton-Jones, Mothercare chief executive, said it would look to close up to 70 of its 152 UK stores as it adapts to a digital age where 41% of sales are rung up online.
“We are taking a fresh look at our estate and asking how many do we really need?” said Newton-Jones. “We’ve got six stores in Bristol – we don’t need six stores in Bristol. In Sheffield we’ve got five within a 20-minute drive time when we only need one or two. To cover all the major conurbations you only need 80 to 100 stores.”
At the start of this decade Mothercare was a ubiquitous presence on British high streets with closer to 400 stores but successive management teams have whittled away at that figure as the retailer struggled to compete with incursions by the supermarkets and online giant Amazon into what was once a specialist market.
Newton-Jones was hired in 2014 to lead a turnaround of Mothercare, but confidence was knocked by poor trading last summer. Since taking the helm he has closed 100 loss-making UK outlets and modernised 70% of the remaining stores.
Rather than competing in the cutthroat general kidswear market his strategy has focused on the lucrative niche of expectant parents and the paraphernalia required for newborns and toddler. It will now also stop selling clothes or toys for children older than four – previously its ranges ran up to age 10.
Pruning the UK chain, which has racked up losses of close to £100m over the last six years, has put it on the road to recovery with analysts predicting it will move into profit next year.
In recent years Mothercare has been forced to fall back on the success of its large overseas business but that is now facing headwinds of its own as shoppers in the Middle East – its biggest regional market outside the UK – spend less because of the slump in the oil price.
Pre-tax profits at Mothercare were flat at £19.7m on sales of £667.4m in the year to 25 March. Within that UK losses narrowed to £4.4m from £6.4m a year ago while underlying profits at its international business declined 13% to £35.2m. UK like-for-like sales were up 1.1%. The shares closed down more than 3% at 124p.
GlobalData analyst Sofie Willmott described the figures as “lacklustre” with the inclusion of online sales masking some poor store performances in the UK: “Given that Mothercare’s turnaround plan is in part focussed on investment in store refits we expected to be seeing more significant gains in UK store sales by now.”
Apple is planning a new Apple Store in Mexico as it continues to expand its presence around the globe. The new retail location will be located in the city of San Luis Potosi and construction is currently ongoing…
Specifically, the Apple Store will be located in a new section of the El Dorado Mall. While Apple has not yet confirmed details about the store, there is a sign with Apple branding where the store will be located that reads “Próximamente,” or “coming soon.”
Additionally, Apple has started hiring for the store, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple opened its first retail store in Mexico last September and is already working on another location in Mexico City. The San Luis Potosi will be the company’s third in Mexico. The new Mexico City location is said to be “flagship” in nature, with a design akin to that of Apple’s World Trade Center location in New York City. The store is said to be multi-level with the Genius Bar and retail space split from one another.
There’s no word on when Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location will open to the public, but the company is clearly moving things along as construction and hiring both continue. It’s also unclear just how big the new retail location will be and what sort of design traits it will share.
Elsewhere around the world, we reported last week that Apple will do a worldwide overnight refresh on older retail locations on May 16th. This effort will see Apple bring some of the qualities of its new flagships stores to older, smaller stores that can’t accommodate the full redesign. The changeover is best described as sort of a “‘halfway house’ between the original and new looks.
Apple also recently showed off motorized carbon fiber windows in its Dubai Mall store, and is working on the opening of a new Singapore store.
As always, we’ll update with more information about Apple’s new San Luis Potosi retail location as we get it. Do you have plans to visit this location when it opens to the public? Let us know down in the comments.
The London store in Regent Street will be the first Canada Goose shop in Europe. The Chicago store will be situated on Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.
Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose, said: “Opening our first European store is not only a milestone for Canada Goose, but it’s turning a dream into reality. London and Chicago are world-renowned shopping destinations and I’m proud to bring our Canadian heritage, experience and unparalleled product to their historic streets.”
Canada Goose will also be expanding its ecommerce channel to seven new markets this year including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria.
In 2016 Canada Goose opened its first two flagship stores in Toronto and New York, having launched its first ecommerce site in Canada in 2014. This was followed by the launch of online stores in the US in 2015 and the UK and France in 2016.
Canada Goose was founded in a small warehouse in Toronto in 1957 and has grown into one of the world’s leading makers of performance luxury apparel.
Due to take up his position on 31 July, Williamson will join House of Fraser from the Goodwood sporting estate. Having originally started at Goodwood in 2008 as chief financial officer, he was promoted to group managing director and in 2012 took up the position of chief executive.
Prior to this, he was head of finance at TUI Travel and has held a variety of other roles and across the leisure and hospitality sectors.
Frank Slevin, executive chairman of House of Fraser, said: “Having recently set out our vision for the future of House of Fraser, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Williamson as our new CEO. Alex is uniquely placed to execute our vision, and to contribute his extensive expertise of delivering compelling and engaging experiences for the customer.
“House of Fraser operates in an exciting and challenging market requiring an ability to innovate and manage an increasing pace of change. I am confident Alex will be able to add his perspective and skill of running the Goodwood Estate, one of the great British heritage brands to the benefit of our continued growth.”
Situated on the Upper Rose Gallery adjacent to Topshop, the 889 square foot shop recreates the look and feel of the legendary Smashbox Photo Studios in Los Angeles.
Anuschka Kuhnel, brand manager at Smashbox Cosmetics, said: “The new Bluewater standalone store is an exciting step for the Smashbox Cosmetics brand, further marking our move of opening standalone stores outside the capital in select locations. The enthusiasm and demand we have experienced for our brand amongst consumers throughout the South East makes Bluewater an exciting move for us.”
The news follows the launch of The White Company’s new upsized statement store earlier this month on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall and the opening of Gap’s new UK concept store on the lower Rose Gallery in March.
Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Smashbox Cosmetics is a fantastic addition to Bluewater’s outstanding offer. The new flagship retail space will further strengthen the health and beauty category of the scheme, and reinforce Bluewater’s position as the UK’s leading retail and leisure destination.”
Demise of firm fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell could aid administrators seeking to recover funds owed to creditors
Former bankrupt Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions bought BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.
Retail Acquisitions, the former owner of the collapsed BHS, is on the point of liquidation, potentially helping investigations into the demise of the department store chain.
The group, which bought BHS for £1 in 2015 and was fronted by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, has been accused of extracting an estimated £17m from BHS despite owning it for just 13 months before it went into administration in 2016. An estimated £6m was owed by Retail Acquisitions to BHS when it collapsed.
The failure of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a £571m pension deficit. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into its demise concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and accused Chappell of having “his fingers in the till”.
The Pensions Regulator is also understood to be seeking as much as £17m via legal action against Chappell and Retail Acquisitions (RAL) in relation to the pension deficit.
On Wednesday the high court heard insolvency proceedings for Retail Acquisitions, and the judge ruled it should be put into liquidation. The judgment has been temporarily stayed and is expected to be formally handed down in the next few days.
Duff & Phelps, which is acting to track and retrieve BHS assets for the company and its creditors, said: “Duff & Phelps, acting on behalf of BHS Group Ltd, is satisfied that RAL has been put into liquidation. The process of realising the assets of RAL can now commence to the benefit of all the creditors of the BHS companies.”
The insolvency will give administrators complete financial records of RAL giving clarity on where funds taken from BHS were moved on to with a view to potentially recovering them for shareholders.
Chappell said: “RAL is disappointed by the outcome of the hearing … The order has been stayed by the court until its written reasons are provided so that RAL has an opportunity to properly consider an appeal.
“It will look forward to those written reasons and will then be able to take advice and decide next steps, to include an appeal.”
The collapse of BHS is still being investigated by the Insolvency Service which could recommend that former directors of BHS are banned from being company directors in Britain. The Financial Reporting Council is also looking into the collapse, while the Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether to launch a formal investigation.
Chappell was also arrested last year as part of an HMRC investigation into unpaid taxes on profits made from the collapsed department store chain.
Apple’s first retail store in Singapore has been partially unveiled, providing the first official confirmation of the long-rumored Orchard Road location.
It was back in 2015 that Apple confirmed that it was opening a store on the island. At that point, the location wasn’t known, though there were strong signs pointing to the location on Orchard Road, the main upmarket retail area in the country …
Apple has now removed the barricades around the store, revealing a giant ‘Apple loves Singapore’ message in graphic form. The name of the store is also shown as Apple Orchard Road.
StraitsTimes notes that smaller versions of this graphic are used to signal the Creative Pros who will be available at the store.
There are 12 smaller groups of these icons close to the doors of the store. Each group of icon has a different red dot to represent the 12 local Creative Pros that Apple has selected.
Dubbed “Red Dot Heroes” by Apple, these Creative Pros are the liberal arts equivalent of Apple’s technical Geniuses that specialise in troubleshooting and repairs of products. Some of them will conduct free hands-on sessions at the upcoming Apple Orchard Road Store.
Apple first revealed its new ‘Today at Apple‘ initiative at its retail stores – with much greater focus on free workshops and help with creative projects – in a CBS interview last month, though we first learned about it last summer. The program was also a major focus at the recent opening of the spectacular Dubai store.
The opening date of the Singapore store isn’t yet known, though we have heard whispers about May 29. All of Apple’s operations in the country will be powered by solar energy.
The new 8,258 square foot shop will be situated on East Walk and will stock the brand’s full collections including Victoria’s Secret PINK.
Other premium brands at Intu Milton Keynes include Hugo Boss, Apple, Karen Millen and Michael Kors. The shopping centre attracts 35 million customers a year.
Nick Round, regional director at Intu, said: “With its high proportion of affluent customers and location in the heart of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities, Intu Milton Keynes is the perfect destination for desirable brands to flourish. The increasing number of aspirational brands like Victoria’s Secret joining Intu Milton Keynes is giving our customers even more great reasons to visit the centre thus helping all our retailers flourish.”
Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years1
Card Factory, which has more than 800 stores in Britain, has targeted opening 50 stores a year over the next three years
UK high street retailer the Card Factory is gearing up for its entry to the Irish market, three years after it first floated a plan to open as many as 100 outlets here.
New CEO Karen Hubbard, who has been in the role for just a year, has told investors that she intends to pursue a strategy of expanding in Ireland and that there is a “clear opportunity” to build a strong presence here.
The retailer has just established a company in Ireland to spearhead the expansion.
Over the next three years, Card Factory plans to open a total of about 50 stores a year.
At the beginning of February 2016, it had 814 outlets across the UK, including a handful in the North, a figure that had risen to 865 at the end of last January.
Listed on the stock market, Card Factory posted revenue of £398.2m (€473.2m) in its last financial year, with like-for-like increases of under 1pc.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was £98.5m (€117m), which was 3.8pc higher on the previous financial year. Its margin slipped slightly from 24.9pc to 24.7pc.
The profits fell as footfall to its stores declined.
But apart from paying a regular dividend, it also paid a special dividend to shareholders. It is a strong cash generator and has only a small amount of debt on its books.
The company floated on the stock market in May 2014, in an initial public offering that was widely seen as unsuccessful at the time.
But its market capitalisation has risen from £712m in 2014 to the current £1.1bn (€1.3bn).
Card Factory recently hired Edinburgh Woollen Mills finance boss Kristian Lee as its chief financial officer.
Marks & Spencer is to launch an online grocery shopping service this autumn as it looks to cash in on the success of its food halls.
The retailer confirmed that a team of executives was currently drawing up a battle plan ahead of trials this autumn, allowing M&S customers to order food online and have it delivered to their home.
While Britons may have fallen out of love with the M&S clothing ranges in recent years they have been heading in droves to its food aisles as they opt to pick up food for an evening meal rather than do a big weekly shop.
Until now selling food online has not made business sense for M&S as its customers do not typically spend enough on groceries on each visit to make the service profitable.
But the retailer has concluded it can no longer ignore what is the fastest growing section of the UK’s £180bn grocery market as new delivery services, such as AmazonFresh, which allows shoppers to order groceries at lunchtime and get the delivery in time for dinner, revolutionise the way Britain buys food.
Senior executives were informed of the plan at a meeting at Wembley, north-west London, on Wednesday.
“We continue to review food online carefully,” said Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S. “It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response. There are unanswered questions over what this means for M&S and we have a team looking at this now with a view to undertaking a soft trial in the autumn.”
M&S already sells a limited selection of party food and alcohol on its website but this would be the first time its wider grocery offer would be made available online.
The high-street store is different from other food retailers as it stocks just 7,000 products compared with 40,000 at most Tesco shops. It also focuses on exclusive own-brand products with only a limited number of household brands available in its stores. It is not clear how the retailer would overcome these hurdles if it were to offer customers a full grocery outlet.
“The economics of food online are not straightforward and it is not something that we are going to rush into until we have substantial customer insight and a better understanding of what is right for M&S and right for our customers,” Rowe added.
Tony Shiret, an independent retail analyst, said Rowe was finally “biting the bullet”. Shiret added: “If they don’t do food online they stand to lose market share to people who do. It’s become a basic expectation from customers.”
However, the analyst said the retailer would face a big challenge trying to make the service profitable. “It is going to be tricky for them because their shopping baskets are small as people use their stores to buy bits and pieces.”
Rowe, who began his retail career aged 15 as a Saturday boy at the M&S Croydon store in south London, and took over as chief executive last April, is seeking to revive the declining profits of the 132-year-old retailer. His biggest job is turning around its clothing arm which under his predecessor, Marc Bolland, relied on heavy discounting to attract shoppers. Rowe is also keen to exploit the success of its food arm.
Last year Rowe announced plans to shut 30 UK stores and convert 45 more into food-only shops as part of a business overhaul that would slash the amount of shopfloor space devoted to clothing and face the challenge posed by online shopping.
M&S confirmed the location of six of the affected stores, which included four large “full-line” stores – which sell clothing, homeware and food. They are in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in Slough, Berkshire, Warrington in Cheshire, and Wokingham, Surrey. The retailer also unveiled plans to open another 34 food shops in the next six months.
Fashion brand Guess has opened its largest UK store outside London, with a 465 sq m (5,000 sq ft) store in the Liverpool ONE development.
The store, designed in-house, is arranged over two floors. It features a clean, white interior, high-tech lighting and contrasting materials, in line with the chain’s recently updated branding and layout plans.
Merchandise is presented to offer ‘total looks,’ with accessories displayed in the centre of the store to maximise visibility.
“We are delighted to have opened this store and started trading during the busy Bank Holiday weekend. It has been a great opportunity for us to introduce the new store concept and branding to Liverpool ONE’s stylish shoppers and we have received very positive feedback in addition to strong sales already,” says Guess CEO Victor Herrero.
“The brand has created a great store, bringing the best of London to Liverpool,” says Miles Dunnett of property group Grosvenor Europe.
Primark’s new store in Birmingham is set to be the budget fashion retailer’s biggest store yet once it opens in December 2018.
Spanning 160,000sq ft across four floors, new store is located at the Birmingham Pavilions centre, which Primark is rumoured to have acquired for £60 million in 2014.
Its redevelopment plan to create its largest flagship store in the UK was approved in January 2016.
The opening of the new store will lead to the closure of the existing New Street store in Birmingham, but the retailer will relocate its staff as the new flagship is set to employ around 800 people – almost twice as the 460 New Street currently employs.
Once open, the new Birmingham store will be bigger than Primark’s current largest UK shop, which is in Manchester and spans across three floors of the former John Lewis building at around 155,000sq ft.
The supermarket is making a range of Russell Athletic clothing for men and women available on its Tu clothing website as part of its strategy to offer customers choice across different channels.
The partnership with Russell Athletic marks the first time Sainsbury’s female customers are able to buy branded clothing alongside Sainsbury’s Tu range. For men, it follows the success of leisurewear brand Admiral.
Sainsbury’s launched its first branded partnership with Admiral in stores and online in August 2015 and sales are now up 155% compared with the initial launch. The collection was originally available in 100 Sainsbury’s stores but has now been extended to 170 stores.
The supermarket said the partnership with Russell Athletic will enable it to grow its share of the ‘athleisure’ market.
Sainsbury’s commercial director James Brown added: “Sainsbury’s clothing business is quickly becoming a destination fashion brand, growing strongly over recent years and continuing to gain market share. Through working with brands we are able to offer our customers an even greater choice alongside our popular Tu range.”
In a statement, the company said its majority shareholder, JAB Luxury, is supportive of the process.
It also said the UK’s Takeover Panel has agreed that any discussions with third parties may be conducted within the context of a “formal sale process” to enable conversations with parties interested in making a proposal to take place on a confidential basis.
However, Jimmy Choo added that it is not currently in receipt of any approaches..
Jimmy Choo was founded in 1996 by couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon who later sold their shares. The company’s current chief executive is Pierre Denis, a former LVMH executive.
Private equity firm JAB Luxury holds 67.66% of Jimmy Choo’s issued share capital.
Debenhams has announced a turnaround plan that could see up to 10 UK stores reviewed for closure and 11 warehouses close down, placing hundreds of job at risk.
The news comes as the department store released its interim half-year results for the 26 weeks to March 4, which shows an uptick in sales and like-for-likes but a drop in profits.
Chief executive Sergio Bucher, who took over the helm last October, said the “Debenhams Redesigned” turnaround strategy aimed at boosting the department store chain’s appeal as a “destination” shop and improving its online offering.
The plan includes a review of up to 10 of its 165 UK stores for possible closure over the next five years and shift around 2000 staff to customer-facing roles.
The overhaul will also see the retailer begin consultation to shut one of its three central distribution centres run by DHL, plus 10 smaller in-house warehouses.
According to Press Association, the DHL warehouse employs 220 staff and will shut in two years’ time, although Debenhams hopes to be able to redeploy many staff affected by the smaller warehouse closures.
The Debenhams Redesigned strategy also see the retailer axe in-house brands, leave non-core international markets, declutter stores with 10 per cent reduction in stock options, remove barriers to online and in-store shopping, and offer customers more “experiences” as part of a drive to lure shoppers back to its stores.
“Our customers are changing the way they shop and we are changing too,” Bucher said.
“Shopping with Debenhams should be effortless, reliable and fun whichever channel our customers use.
“We will be a destination for ‘social shopping’ with mobile the unifying platform for interacting with our customers.
“If we deliver differentiated and distinctive brands, services and experiences both online and in stores, our customers will visit us more frequently and, having simplified our operations to make us more efficient, we will be able to serve them better and make better use of our resources.”
Details of Bucher’s turnaround plans came as the retailer announced a 6.4 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £87.8 million for the six months period of the interim report.
Debenhams’ overall EBITDA was also down by 2.5 per cent to £149.1 million, dragged down by a six per cent drop in the UK market EBITDA compared to the 13.1 per cent spike international EBITDA.
However, the department store chain’s overall sales was up by 2.9 per cent to £1.67 billion, with like-for-likes in the UK edging up by 0.5 per cent.
Online performance in the UK performed exceptionally well, driven by a 64 per cent surge in mobile orders.
“I’d like to thank the executive team and all our colleagues, who made sure that we were able to deliver a great experience for our customers over the peak trading period, and who are now working hard to implement our new strategy,” Bucher said.
“This will set Debenhams on course for a successful and profitable future.”
The openings comprise 34 new food stores and two clothing, home and food stores.
These include Foodhalls in Bishopsgate, London, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields, Manchester and Strood in Kent and new locations for M&S with clothing, home and food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July.
Over 1,400 new customer assistant and management jobs will be created by the new shops.
However, the retailer has proposed closing six shops and is consulting with colleagues and their representatives in the stores in Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop.
If the proposals go ahead, all 380 colleagues in the affected stores would be guaranteed redeployment at a nearby store.
Five-year store plan
The plan is part of M&S’s five-year UK store programme that it unveiled in November after a full review of its UK estate.
M&S’s plan to grow its food business but to sell clothing and home from fewer, “more inspirational” locations that offer better ranging and availability.
The strategy includes opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home from 60 fewer locations.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers.
“However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing.
“Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.
“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers.
“It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only.
“Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.”
M&S currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full-line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.
Luxury lifestyle brand The White Company has upsized its store at Bluewater in Kent. The retailer has also doubled in presence to create a 546 sq m statement store on Bluewater’s lower Guildhall. Adjacent to Hobbs, Russell & Bromley and the recently opened Michael Kors, the store has been designed by an in-house team and evolves The White Company’s classic look, with the emphasis on creating a calm and inviting retail experience.
The new statement store combines the brand’s complete range of exclusive lifestyle products, from women’s fashion and accessories to homewares, beauty products and The Little White Company’s childrenswear.
‘This newly opened White Company store is a great addition to Bluewater. The upsizing of the site to a statement store highlights Bluewater’s success for the brand as a location, enabling them to offer the best possible expression of their brand and a more comprehensive product range. Together with other exciting retailers joining the scheme, including Missguided which opens in the summer, Bluewater continues to offer an industry leading retail line-up,’ says Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater.
Sarah King, director of Property at The White Company, adds: ‘We are delighted to open the doors of our new statement store at Bluewater, a site that has been a longstanding top performing location for us. The new fit-out embodies our brand perfectly and will enable customers to discover an expanded product range and enjoy an inviting and seamless White Company experience.’
This summer, Missguided is making its first move outside London at Bluewater, with the launch of a 1,486 sq m statement store on the lower Rose Gallery.
London – Although Juicy Couture has seen somewhat of a revival recently, it seems as if parent company’s Authentic Brands Group best efforts were not enough to keep the brand afloat in the UK. The fashion brand, best known for its bling velour tracksuits favoured by the likes of Paris Hilton over a decade ago, is set to pull out of the UK market.
At the moment the label currently counts two stores in the London – one on Regent Street and another in Westfield White City, in addition to an outlet in Bicester and a store in Bluewater. But a report from the Telegraph states Juicy Couture is set to close its UK stores and will only retain an online presence in the UK.
Juicy Couture also counts a number of concessions in Harrods, Selfridges and Topshop in the UK, but it remains unclear what Authentic Brands Group aims to do with its concessions. The move follows on from fellow US brand Banana Republic’s withdrawal from the UK amid increasing difficult trading conditions.
ABG acquired Juicy Couture four years ago for 195 million dollars. The licensing company is best known for its celebrity brands, such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. FashionUnited has contacted Authentic Brands Group for additional commentary.
Losses at Pep & Co, the bargain fashion chain backed by South Africa’s retail billionaire Christo Wiese, soared last year on the back of its rampant expansion plan.
The company, which opened 50 shops last year, was launched by South Africa’s Steinhoff in a move to target cash-strapped families in towns not yet colonised by rival Primark. The company has continued its store opening programme and now has 95 shops as of last week.
Pep & Co’s holding company, Pepkor UK, recorded sales of £29m in its first year of having shops open but pre-tax losses grew from £4.3m to £18.9m in the year to 24 September 2016. A spokesman clarified that the £4.3m of losses was before its shops had opened in 2015.
Steinhoff last year also bought Poundland in a £610m takeover and has since unveiled plans to introduce 100 Pep & Co fashion concessions within the single-priced retailer’s larger shops.
Around 95pc of Pep & Co clothes cost £10 or less, although Adrian Mountford, managing director, said earlier this year that the retail chain might have to re-think its £1 t-shirts as the weaker pound meant the chain was losing money on those products.
The sterling slump since the EU referendum has prompted a steep jump in import costs for fashion retailers which source the majority of clothes from Asia in dollars. Pep & Co has said it hopes to minimise the return of inflation by securing better deals with suppliers as sales volumes increase.
Last month Steinhoff appointed administrators to 60 unprofitable 99p Stores shops that had shut following an ill-fated takeover by Poundland a year earlier.
Mr Wiese’s investment vehicle has already pumped £20m into the UK Pep & Co venture.
Department store to axe underperforming brands amid ‘challenging trading conditions’
House of Fraser has been trying to diversify away from its faltering home market but progress has been slow
UK department store chain House of Fraser has warned of “subdued” trading and “volatility” in the retail sector, despite doubling last year’s slender profit margins and making a long-awaited start to its Chinese expansion.
The retailer, which recorded £1.3bn in gross transactions in the year to January 28, notched up a profit of £3.4m before tax and exceptional items, according to a trading update released on Tuesday.
Chief financial officer Colin Elliot said the “strong” results came “despite continued challenging trading conditions across the retail sector”.
British retailers are contending with sharply higher import costs, with sterling now trading about 15 per cent lower against the dollar than it did on June 23, the day the UK voted to leave the EU.
Analysts say the hardest-hit companies will be those that sell undifferentiated products that leave them little leeway to pass higher costs on to consumers.
House of Fraser said it was discontinuing “five underperforming house brands”, focusing its efforts on more popular offerings.
Own-label sales at the chain declined 2.1 per cent last year, even as sales of branded products increased 3.6 per cent.
Womenswear sales fell 0.6 per cent, in a year in which clothes shopping seemed to go out of fashion, with official statistics recording the first sustained decline in the nation’s wardrobe additions for more than a decade.
While House of Fraser has for several years been trying to diversify away from its faltering home market, progress has been slow.
Sanpower Group chairman Yuan Yafei talked boldly about his plans to take the House of Fraser chain global when his conglomerate bought the 166-year-old UK department store in 2014.
The Chinese entrepreneur and former local government official promised to inject capital into the cash-strapped retailer, open outposts in Russia and the Middle East — and, most importantly, push into China, with up to 50 new stores under the name “Oriental Fraser”.
Little of that has happened, although the Chinese debut finally came in December with the opening of a store in Nanjing, which had originally been slated for 2015.
The shop, which opened with a parade drummers in traditional bearskin hats, occupies six storeys and sells a “quintessentially English” range of items from more than 300 brands, Sanpower said at the time.
House of Fraser has repeatedly changed hands over the past three decades, with stints under the ownership of the al-Fayed family and the Icelandic investment group Baugur, which collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, as well as a stock market listing.
Next boss Lord Wolfson has missed out on his annual bonus for the first time in 18 years amid tough times on the British high street.
Wolfson’s total pay package dived by 58% to £1.8m in the year to 28 January, according to the fashion and homewares retailer’s annual report published on Tuesday, after a key earnings per share target was missed. Last year, Wolfson earned a £503,000 annual bonus as part of his £4.3m total pay package.
Total remuneration for Next’s board almost halved as all directors missed out on their annual bonus after a failure to stock enough wardrobe staples contributed to the chain’s first drop in annual profits for eight years.
The company has also struggled in a tough market as shoppers spend less on clothes and more on eating out and holidays while competition online, where Next once offered far superior service, has increased as the likes of Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have modernised their operations.
However, all the directors were awarded a payout in recognition of Next’s long-term shares and earnings performance over the three years to January. Wolfson was awarded £606,000 in shares on top of his basic pay, down from £2.2m last year.
In the year ahead, Wolfson will get a 1% rise in basic salary to £773,000 and could earn up to £3.95m if he achieves the maximum possible bonus payouts.
New executive directors Michael Law and Jane Shields, who joined the board in 2013, will also get a 1% rise in basic salary to £416,000 each. But the annual report says the board handed Law, the operations director, and Shields, the sales and marketing director, a much lower pay rise than the 15% they had planned to implement this year in the light of poor profits.
Finance director Amanda James received a 16% pay rise to £416,200 in February but that was less than the 18% the board previously anticipated.
Wolfson has said he is “extremely cautious” about the outlook for the year ahead as shoppers continue to spend less on clothes, growth in consumer incomes weakens and prices rise as a result of the fall in sterling.
House of Fraser finance director Colin Elliot said on Tuesday he was also cautious and expecting “another challenging year” in 2017 amid uncertainty over the UK’s relationship with Europe and the snap general election announced on Tuesday.
He said the department store chain would be updating its shops and adding in more restaurants and cafes as it tried to use its high street space differently in the face of a tough clothing market. The group is planning to drop five own-label womenswear lines including Therapy, Linea Weekend, Episode and Dickins & Jones as part of the shift in emphasis.
Elliot said womenswear had been the toughest sector for House of Fraser in 2016 but strong sales of beauty products and a good Christmas helped more than double pre-tax profits, before exceptional items, to £3.4m. Sales remained steady at £1.3bn, helped by a 16% rise online.
Chairman Frank Slevin said a new chief executive for House of Fraser, to replace Nigel Oddy who formally exits later this month, would be announced very soon. He said the group’s Chinese owner Sanpower, which bought a controlling stake in 2014, was committed to opening stores in its homeland despite rumours that it might have lost interest. “House of Fraser is not up for sale,” Slevin said.
The beauty retailer, which L’Oreal acquired in 2014 for $500m (£403.6m) rolled out its first standalone store in the UK in the London shopping centre this month.
The 2,100 sq ft outlet carries 1800 SKUs and a statement from the retailer said its product range caters to “16-34 year old make-up enthusiasts.”
Founded in 1999 by Toni Ko, Nyx Professional Makeup aims to offer shoppers professional quality make-up at an affordable price point.
Since then, the retailer has established itself a cult beauty brand amongst millennial shoppers in the US, amassing 10.7m Instagram followers.
When L’Oreal snapped up Nyx Professional Makeup in 2014, US president and chief executive Frédéric Rozé said the retailer had done a “tremendous job of harnessing the power of social media, digital marketing and multichannel distribution”, which had made it stand out to the beauty giant.
The specialist retailer operates through an ecommerce website as well as a variety of concessions and a growing standalone bricks-and-mortar store estate.
Nyx Professional Makeup is part of L’Oreal’s slew of specialist health and beauty brands including Urban Decay, Kiehl’s and The Body Shop, which the cosmetics giant put up for sale earlier this year and has piqued the interest of potential bidders including Advent International and CJ Group.
The retailer will hold a ‘Supper Club’ at the shop in Haywards Heath where customers will be able to have a restaurant quality meal created by chefs from its three Cookery Schools. Customers will be able to choose from an exclusive three course menu, which will include nibbles and drinks, for £35.
Waitrose will transform the mezzanine level store café for eight evenings throughout April and May and has begun taking bookings for the 50 places available each evening. The space will feature music and ambient lighting with tables laid out for both couples and larger groups.
This is the first time the concept has been launched at a new store after it was trialled for a short period last year in Waitrose’s Newbury and Salisbury stores.
Manager of the Waitrose Cookery Schools, Karen Himsworth, said: “This aims to deliver the next level of in store dining at Waitrose, building upon concepts like our sushi bars and wine bars. We want to make our stores a food destination in the evenings as well as in the day.
“We realise a supermarket might not spring to mind when people are thinking about dining out in the evening, but we want that to change. Our aim is to create an atmosphere that is inviting whether you are having a meal for two or out with a group of friends.”
Waitrose said it hopes to continue the evenings at the Haywards Heath store once the trial has finished and will also look how it might introduce the concept in other branches.
H&M is opening a new Westfield Stratford store on 21 April. The retailer is relocating from its current location and expanding its offering to become the largest store in the UK and IE portfolio and one of the largest H&Ms in the world.
Situated over three floors and covering 5,074 sq m of sales space, Westfield Stratford City will offer fashion-forward collections across ladieswear, menswear, Divided and kidswear. The store will also stock the brand’s homeware and beauty ranges.
‘H&M is delighted to be expanding in Westfield Stratford. The new store will become our largest in the UK and IE, as well as a global flagship store. Westfield Stratford gives the brand an exciting opportunity to showcase our entire fashion offering to both new and existing customers,’ says Carlos Duarte, H&M’s country manager UK & IE.
Offering clothing for women, men and children as well homewares, the London store will open in the early autumn and online in 18 European countries. The group is then planning to launch stores in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich.
Ulrika Bernhardtz, ARKET creative director, said: “It both relates to our origin in the Nordic tradition of functional, long-lasting design and symbolises the blank sheet, the sense of optimism and possibility we felt creating this new brand.”
The assortment will include ARKET’s own brand ready-to-wear, accessories and homeware items in addition to a selection of products from other brands. Stores will also include a café where the location permits.
Lars Axelsson, ARKET managing director, said: “A fantastic team with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise have come together to build ARKET. We’re very excited to soon reveal the brand and share our collections with customers.”
London – Reebok is set to expand its presence in China by opening 500 FitHub stores across the country by 2020, as part of its wider strategy to become the leading sportswear brand in the region.
The move sees the footwear and fitness label, held by Adidas Group, go head to head with US rival Nike which is currently viewed as the marker leader in the country. The expansion push sees Reebok team up with Belle International Holdings, one of China’s leading footwear retailers, who will assist the brand in rolling our its FitHub concept stores across the region. At the moment Reebok counts seven FitHub stores in China, with stores in key cities such as Beijing, Hangzhou and Qingdao as the sportswear label aims to open an additional 50 stores in the region this year.
Reebok’s FitHub concept store was designed to compliment the labels new positioning within the sportswear market and features in-store classes, events and fitness experts in store to offer customers tailored advice on products. As the sportswear and fitness market continues to rapidly expand in China, the region has become a key sector for international players like Adidas and Nike to expand in. “For a fitness brand, there is no better country to invest in right now than China,” said Chad Wittman, general manager of Reebok Greater China to China Daily.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy putting together a China strategy that meets the specific needs of Chinese consumers in terms of product, messaging and experiences.” In addition to offering Reebok’s global range of apparel, footwear and fitness equipment, the label is set to offer custom-made products targeted specifically at Chinese consumers. At the moment the brand is focusing on three main categories: running, training and classics. The former is set to become a key focus in China for the brand this year, as running has seen a surge in popularity in China over the past few years.
Kuwait-based Kamco Investment Company on Sunday said it has purchased Amazon UK’s largest distribution warehouse for $77 million (AED281m).
The warehouse in Dunfermline, Scotland, has been leased to Amazon UK Services until October 2031. Amazon employs 2,100 staff at the warehouse, which handles 38 percent of the 143 million packages that e-retailer handles per annum.
Kamco said it aims to achieve a targeted cash yield of 6.50 percent per annum and an expected internal rate of return (IRR) of 7 percent per annum during the investment period.
Faisal Sarkhou, chief executive officer, Kamco, said: “This achievement marks yet another step towards reaching our strategic objectives and future vision to enhance our operational performance and expand our real estate investments platform on a regional and international scale, in a way that is beneficial to our shareholders.”
Company chief investment officer Khaled Fouad said the transaction highlights the acquisition of a new category of income-generating assets that are leased to Amazon, in aim of diversifying sources of income.
Kamco’s alternative investment team currently manages more than $250 million in real estate across 11 regional and international properties.
Fitness brand Sweaty Betty has announced plans to open its first European flagship at 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.
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.
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.
New York fashion house Coach has chosen the Bullring to open its first standalone store in Birmingham. This store will be the second outside of London for Coach, with the first opening its doors at Victoria Quarter, part of Victoria Gate in Leeds. The 280 sq m space will be located on the upper east level of the mall and will offer the retailer’s full range of bags, footwear, outerwear and accessories.
‘This latest signing reflects the strength of Bullring’s leading retail mix, attracting high-end, aspirational brands to the city. We’re delighted to welcome Coach’s first standalone store in the city, which significantly strengthens the already dynamic retail line-up at the centre,’ says Iain Mitchell, UK commercial director at Hammerson.
Andrew Stanleick, president of Coach Europe, adds: ‘We are delighted to be opening our first standalone store in Birmingham. Bullring has a reputation as the region’s premier retail destination, and so it is a perfect fit for Coach. Following a successful launch in Leeds’ Victoria Quarter last week we are looking forward to bringing Coach’s modern luxury concept and collections to Birmingham.’
The move follows the signing of a new business agreement with Challice Limited.
Mulberry Asia will begin trading in Hong Kong from 3 April. In addition, a subsidiary in China and a branch office in Taiwan are expected to be operational this year once the business secures relevant business licences for the territories.
The Mulberry Group owns 60% of the share capital of Mulberry Asia while Challice holds the remaining 40%. Mulberry Asia will initially operate two stores in China, one in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan. It will also manage regional wholesale operations.
These are supported by the group’s Chinese language mulberry.com site and omnichannel platform throughout the region.
In addition to local marketing initiatives, Mulberry plans to invest around £3 million in additional support in North Asia over the next two years to build brand awareness in the region and capitalise on international tourist flows to the UK, Europe and North America. In the near term, the brand’s store network will be enhanced with a new store in Shanghai as well as relocation of its existing stores in Hong Kong and Beijing.
Thierry Andretta, Mulberry chief executive, said: “We are delighted to launch Mulberry Asia, which enables us to advance our international strategy of developing the brand’s retail and omnichannel model in a key luxury market. We see significant growth opportunity in the region and look forward to taking this major step forward in fulfilling Mulberry’s global potential.”
The head of Tesco’s international arm Trevor Masters has announced his departure from the company as the retailer shrinks its overseas operations.
Masters, chief executive of Tesco International, is set to leave the company at the end of May following a 38-year career with the UK’s largest retailer.
His responsibilities will be split between two senior executives who have played key roles in the retailer’s turnaround.
Tony Hoggett will take over the role as chief executive of Tesco Asia, a role Masters’ held before his promotion to head of Tesco International.
Hoggett has been with Tesco for 27 years and currently holds the role of UK chief operating officer.
Matt Simister will take over from Masters in Europe, taking the role of chief executive of Tesco Central Europe, following a 21-year career at Tesco and moving from his current role of food sourcing director.
This follows a decline in international expansion for the retailer under the new chief executive Dave Lewis, having left South Korea and Turkey completely since he joined in 2014.
“Tony and Matt’s work has been at the heart of Tesco’s turnaround over the last two years and I’m delighted that they will join our executive committee,” Lewis said.
“Their new roles will allow us to focus on the different opportunities presented in Asia and Central Europe.”
A thousand jobs are at risk at the discount fashion retailer Store Twenty One, formerly known as Quality Seconds, which is in talks with its lenders after defaulting on rent payments.
The company struck a rescue deal with creditors last year through a controversial company voluntary arrangement (CVA), but is still struggling as more pain sweeps the high street.
Last week Brantano collapsed into administration, Agent Provocateur was sold in a rescue deal to Mike Ashley and Jones Bootmaker teetered on the brink.
It is believed Store Twenty One is talking to its lender, State Bank of India, to try to prop up the business as tough trading conditions exacerbate its balance sheet woes. It has apparently not yet broken the terms of its CVA, but a quarterly rent date at the end of March could tip it into a precarious position. Landlords outside the arrangement have complained that the store is struggling to meet payments.
The CVA deal last year allowed the retailer to shut 77 shops and persuaded landlords for 17 of its 202 stores to take a 25pc rent cut. Landlords for more than 80 other stores were asked to accept monthly rents rather than quarterly payments.
At the time, the business owed more than £2.6m in tax to HMRC and was being pursued by local authorities over unpaid business rates. Other suppliers were due to receive just 10p in the pound.
The company, which can trace its roots to 1932, was listed on the stock market until 2002 before collapsing into administration in 2006. It was bought out of administration in 2007 by Grabal Alok, an Indian textile manufacturer, which rebranded QS as Store Twenty One. But the financial crisis meant the State Bank of India had to provide financing. It hired AlixPartners last year to restructure its business and if the CVA fails, it is likely the firm will be appointed as administrator.
Store Twenty One’s financial documents reveal it has not made a profit since Grabal Alok took over.
Supermarket giant Tesco will unlock 100,000 of its coin-operated shopping trolleys after it failed to convert them in time for the circulation of the new £1.
The new, lighter and reportedly more secure 12-sided coin enters circulation on Tuesday, beginning a six-month transition period before the old “round pound” ceases to be legal tender.
Meanwhile, supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi have said all of their trolleys have been updated ahead of the Tuesday deadline.
Local authorities are already coping with a surge in the number of abandoned trolleys, after a tax on plastic bags came into force that encouraged some shoppers to leave supermarkets with the carts.
Tesco said trolleys across “fewer than 200” of its shops will be unlocked from Tuesday as the store upgrades them to accept the new coin.
A Tesco spokesperson offered assurances that all trolleys would be upgraded by the time the new round pound ceases to be legal tender on 15 October.
“We’re replacing the locks on our trolleys to accept old and new pound coins as well as existing trolley tokens,” they said.
“As an interim measure we will unlock trolleys while this process is completed and we will continue to have colleagues on hand to attend trolleys in our stores, so our customers aren’t affected by the changes.”
It recently emerged that the new £1 coin could pose problems for drivers, with an estimated one in ten parking meters not ready for the change.
Online shopping behemoth Amazon has avoided a $1.5bn (£1.2bn) tax bill after winning a legal dispute in a US tax court.
Judge Albert Lauber rejected a variety of arguments presented by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), bringing to an end a lengthy court battle.
Ruling in favour of the world’s largest online retailer, he said it was legal for Amazon to have funnelled its European sales through a low-tax Luxembourg sub-company in 2005 and 2006, instead of the US.
Amazon said that if it had lost it could have had been forced to pay a US tax bill as high as $1.5bn and potentially faced “significant” tax liabilities in the years to come.
The company – which according to Forbes is the world’s 12th most valuable brand – made $2.37bn of profit in 2016, four times what it made in the four previous years combined.
Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird Equity Research told Reuters the ruling “should shield Amazon from potentially significant tax obligations to the IRS covering years beyond the ones covered in the lawsuit.”
Yet Amazon could still face additional tax bills in Europe if Brussels officials choose to take further action.
Technology retailer Maplin has unveiled a new store concept in Cambridge, allowing customers to fully engage with the latest Smart Home technology. The 290 sq m space at the Beehive Shopping Centre has been designed in distinct departments to showcase the benefits of, and allow interaction with, smart technology for the home.
Design consultancy 20.20’s brief was to position Maplin as the go-to retailer for Smart Home products, attracting and engaging with a new type of customer, whilst retaining the retailer’s loyal customer base.
When analysing the customer research and market data, 20.20 recognised that advice in the dynamic Smart Home technology sector is being provided by individual brands rather than retailers. This insight created an opportunity where Maplin could target an already active customer base and take ownership of the sector by enhancing the expertise of their in-store colleagues, to create a new omni-channel store experience.
With this in mind, the central area of the store was transformed into a ‘Smart Life’ hub, with a distinctive LED lighting feature above it. Products are set up and displayed on tables, ready for customers to try out. By playing and interacting with the different brands and devices customers are able to see the benefits the technology can bring to their lives. Interactive tablets allow customers to browse product information, helping them make decisions at the point of sale, while store colleagues are on hand to offer advice. A new consultation space has been created where customers can further discuss their requirements, and arrange home audits and installation services with store colleagues.
Away from the ‘Smart Life’ area, store adjacencies have been reimagined to improve shoppability – from CCTV to Home Party equipment; to a new Gaming experience; to easier and quicker shopping for Electrical and Digital components.
A new in-store communication system has been designed to enhance the product stories through the use of engaging graphics, digital tablets and POS. The idea here is to connect with customers on an emotional level and engage them according to their shopping behaviour, leading to a seamless and confident purchase.
Hollie Down, 20.20’s design lead, says this radical new concept store will change the way customers shop and make Maplin the destination retailer for Smart Home technology: ‘We have created a place where today’s customers can understand and engage with exciting new products and interact with friendly, knowledgeable store colleagues to discover and purchase the smart devices they need – whether they want a safer home, a more connected space, or just to be at the forefront of technology.
‘Smart products are still relatively new, and many customers haven’t had the chance to try them out. The Cambridge store has been designed to offer a real omni-channel experience, bridging the gap between the physical store and Maplin’s new online offering, which will match the store language.’
Oliver Meakin, CEO of Maplin, says: ‘We chose to work with 20.20 on our Store of the Future because we felt that they would challenge us to stretch our thinking; making us feel uncomfortable in order to move our store proposition forward.
‘We could not have made the leap without their support throughout the journey. Our fantastic, reinvigorated store is trading substantially ahead of expectations – which is down to the hard work of teams at Maplin and 20.20. Everyone involved should feel extremely proud, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with 20.20 as we optimise the proposition for rollout.’
The new store concept has been a fantastic success, with trading significantly outperforming the rest of the chain, and Smart Home sales increases of more than 130 per cent.
Hermès has recently opened a new store in London on the corner of Cadogan Place and Sloane Street. The new store which covers 400 sqm 0n two floors houses every one of Hermès’ 16 métiers.
The interior, which took just under a year to design and build, was presented to the studio as a blank canvas. Upon visiting it for the fist time, Montel says one thing was immediately clear: ‘Here, the star of the shop is not the shop itself, it’s the garden,’ he says gesturing to the store’s leafy view of Cadogan Square Gardens where a bright yellow mimosa tree is currently in full bloom.
The new London store will showcase a range of exclusive products including the re-issued London Bag in four limited-edition colourways. The bag, first created in 1962 features a clasp reminiscent of the epaulettes on the London Police Officers uniforms. In addition, a Yamaha Virago motorbike, which was covered in Hermès leather, is on display for the first time in the UK as an example of le sur-mesure services available at the store.
London – Fashion and homeware retailer Matalan has expanded its international footprint with the opening of two new stores in Malta.
The new stores, located in the centre of Sliema and Fgura, Malta, offer Matalan full range of products, including menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and accessories as well as homeware. The two new stores, which employ 60 members of staff, follow on from Matalan previous stores openings at The Strand in Sliema and Zabbar Road, Fgura. All of Matalan stores in Malta are operated by the retailer’s local franchise partner, the Camilleri Group.
Matalan expands its global footprint with new store openings in Malta
“We are thrilled to be opening our first stores in Malta, trading has been very strong in both of our new stores exceeding our expectations; we have been delighted by the local customers’ reactions to our product ranges and our competitive price position,” commented *Damian Hopkins, International Director at Matalan. *The new stores build on Matalan’s international portfolio, which counts 23 stores.
Matalan opened its first international franchise store in Dubai in 2010 and has developed a strong international presence throughout the Middle East region since then. At the moment Matalan is currently looking to expand in other Eastern Europe countries, following its debut store opening in Armenia in October 2016. Matalan currently operates 227 stores throughout the UK in addition to its e-commerce platform and 25 overseas franchise stores.
Sales fell 6.7% to £178.6m for the year to 30 June 2016, while operating profit before exceptional items dropped 63% year on year to £4m, accounts filed at Companies House show.
The exceptional items include restructuring costs from the firm’s reorganisation of design teams, products and collections. Paul Smith consolidated seven lines into two last year: Paul Smith and the more contemporary collection PS by Paul Smith.
Operating profit after exceptional items was up 20% on the previous year to £11m and profit for the year was £7.9m compared to £6.1m in 2015. The firm paid out £4.4m in dividends, up from £3.7m in 2015.
“Retail sales are expected to overtake wholesale as our biggest channel for the first time in the coming year,” said director Ashley Long, pointing to a move towards strategically placed stores and key wholesale accounts, which support a comprehensive omnichannel service.
Wholesale remained its largest channel in the year but, due to weak demand in core markets of the UK, France, Russia and parts of Asia, sales fell 13% year on year.
Retail sales increased by 2.2%, and fell 2% on a like-for-like basis, reflecting a mixed performance across its core markets and the closure of the Fifth Avenue store in New York in January 2016.
During the year, the firm opened new stores in Glasgow and Dover Street Market in London. It has since relocated on Rue St Honore in Paris and opened in Birmingham and Sydney.
Online sales increased by 11% during the year, representing 16% of sales – up from 13% in 2015.
“While the wholesale market is in a period of rapid change, we do anticipate sales stabilising in the future,” said Long.
“Geographically we saw many challenges in the year. In Europe our traditional independent wholesale customer base continued to shrink. In Asia, outside of Japan, we saw a general slowdown in the ready to wear markets. In the Middle East our partners experienced low customer confidence brought about by the unsettled political situation. However, the US, Australia and South Africa all saw positive growth in the year.”
The firm said it continued to reduce overheads and had sought to become more agile in response to the market conditions and uncertainties following the Brexit vote and other external factors.
But Long added: “We expect the current challenging trading conditions to continue for the foreseeable future.”
The company said its new collections have been well received, with like-for-like retail sales up 1% on last year and overall retail sales up 7% since the year end.
Paul Smith launched his first collection for men in 1970 and for women in 1994.
There are plans to open more stores in malls across New York state, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The retailer reported “significant growth” in the second year of its US ecommerce business in its last full-year.
It unveiled surging profits against strong comparables despite a “difficult trading environment”.
Pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items, were up 50% to £17.2m in its full-year to March 26.
Sales rose 12.6% to £184.3m in the 12 months, during which the retailer opened two new stores in Meadowhall, Sheffield, and Birmingham. It now has 56 stores across the UK.
Boss Will Kernan departed last month, following five years at The White Company, to join specialist sports retailer Wiggle, replacing Stefan Barden at the helm.
UK Retail Sales for Amazon Approaching 10 Billion Dollars
March 19, 2017
The United Kingdom is the world’s sixth largest economy, with a retail market estimated at $358 billion for 2016. As one of the world’s oldest and most mature economies, the UK will not grow at a rapid pace, certainly not with Brexit waiting to become a huge spanner in the works of the UK’s future growth prospects.
Nevertheless, it is a multi-hundred-billion-dollar economy that will, at least, grow in low single digits over the next few years. The UK’s e-commerce market has been growing steadily over the years, and should continue to help the economy’s growth engine chug along over the next several years.
Arguably the most famous retailer to invade England, Amazon recorded 6.3 billion pounds ($9.03 billion) in sales from Britain in 2015, an increase of 8 percent over the year before. Amazon’s international sales were $35.418 billion in 2015, which means UK retail has been contributing nearly a fourth of Amazon’s entire overseas sales.
Source: Tesco 2016 Annual Report
On the ground, Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, reported nearly $43 billion in sales from their home market in 2016, and the company is struggling to keep sales growing. With more than 6.3 billion pounds from the UK to its name, Amazon is slowly inching up in the UK market.
Amazon is a relative weakling compared to big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Tesco, especially when it comes to grocery retail. And that’s fortunate for the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK, and Wal-Mart, Costco, Target et al back in the U.S.
That makes Amazon’s success and ongoing progress in the UK retail segment even more significant.
According to data from Kantar.com, Amazon is not even in the picture as far as the UK’s grocery retail segment is concerned. It is one of Amazon’s known achilles points, and it will take years for their grocery efforts to bear fruit, in a manner of speaking.
On the positive side (for Amazon), the bulk of their growth in the UK is coming from the non-grocery segment, which means they’re eating into that market – consumer electronics, books, digital products, smart devices and so on – much faster. Too fast for the comfort of companies like Tesco, in fact.
And Amazon is not about to stop pushing in the UK retail market. The more Amazon’s gross merchandise value grows in a particular region, the higher Amazon’s investment in fulfillment centers, logistics and other capital expenses in the region. As investments increase in lockstep with the size of Amazon’s business in that region, margins will slowly keep improving, as they’ve already shown in the United States.
The high-end winter clothing retailer and brand, which trades in around 50 countries worldwide through hundreds of concessions and an ecommerce platform, will move into 244 Regent Street – the unit formerly occupied by Armani Exchange.
Sources close to the situation told Retail Week that the deal for Canada Goose to acquire the lease on the Crown Estate-owned unit was “a done deal”.
It is understood that Canada Goose plans to open its doors in the autumn, in time to capitalise on the busy Christmas trading period.
The shop will be Canada Goose’s third standalone store anywhere in the world, having opened its doors in Toronto and New York to much fanfare late last year.
Retail Week understands the business is pursuing a strategy to open a number of other flagships in key cities across the globe over the next few years as part of its rapid growth plans.
Canada Goose’s revenues have rocketed by more than 450% in the past five years alone.
London’s shoppers can expect an experience-focused shopping trip when the store opens later this year.
When it revealed plans to open its first two stores in Canada and the US a year ago, Canada Goose said the shops would “deliver unparalleled service, putting experience at the forefront of every interaction”.
It invested in training to ensure its shop-floor staff became “not only product experts, but true brand ambassadors”.
Canada Goose also boasted that the stores would stock “a full assortment of every seasonal collection with the largest variety of colours and sizes anywhere in the world”.
Retail property consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs, which advised Canada Goose on its search for a UK store, declined to comment.
Details of the premium parka-maker’s plans to launch a bricks-and-mortar presence in London emerged just a day after it floated on the New York Stock Exchange.
After setting its IPO at $12.78 (£10.35) per share, the price surged 26% to $16.08 (£13) on the first day of trading.
The successful stock market debut valued the company at $1.7bn (£1.37bn).
The business was founded in Toronto by Sam Tick 60 years ago, under the name Metro Sportswear, which initially specialised in woollen vests, raincoats and snowmobile suits.
In the 1970s, Tick’s son-in-law David Reiss – no relation to his namesake who founded British fashion retailer Reiss – joined the company and established the label Snow Goose, which later became Canada Goose, branching out into Arctic and mountain expedition coats.
The label made its on-screen film debut in 2004 when its jackets appeared in two Hollywood blockbusters, The Day After Tomorrow and National Treasure.
Private-equity group Bain Capital bought Canada Goose in 2013 and last year it opened its first two flagship stores, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, in October, and Wooster Street in New York City, in November.
The 10,000 square foot store on Bluewater’s lower Rose Gallery is situated next to the forthcoming Missguided shop, which is set to launch this summer.
Created by an in-house team, the new shop is the first of a new breed of UK concept stores for the fashion brand and includes women’s, men’s, kids and baby collections, as well as GapFit and Gap Body items. The store also features Denim Addict, which allows shoppers to personalise their denim with distressing, studs and patches. In addition, other products can be embroidered with names and initials.
Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Land Securities, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Gap’s decision to open their new concept store for the UK at Bluewater reaffirms its position as Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination. Gap’s store, which brings a number of innovations to the guest experience, is part of our strategy to create a select series of statement stores at Bluewater, where the emphasis is on providing something unique.”
The news follows the recent Plaza enhancement plans released at Bluewater which include the creation of four additional screens for the Showcase Cinema de Lux, as well as three new restaurants and two dedicated leisure spaces. Work has begun on-site and is due for completion by Christmas this year.
Kent was chief executive of real estate portal Propertyfinder until its acquisition by Zoopla, and also spent 15 years with Microsoft including three years as managing director of MSN UK.
She currently holds non-executive director roles at Pendragon, National Accident Helpline Group, Ascential, Coull and No Agent Technologies.
Kent will serve on the Audit and Risk and Nomination Committees.
Alan Parker, chairman of Mothercare, said: “I am delighted to welcome Gillian to Mothercare. She brings a wealth of experience in marketing, strategy and business development with particular emphasis on digital transformation which will add great value to our board.”
Banana Republic appoints new chief executive
16 March 2017 | by The Retail Bulletin
Breitbard will report to Art Peck, president and chief executive of Gap, who will continue to directly oversee Banana Republic until Breitbard joins the company in early May.
Peck said: “Mark brings significant retail leadership experience to Gap Inc., along with deep knowledge of the company and our customer. We know what Banana Republic is capable of, and Mark’s ability to drive transformation and innovation will help revitalize the brand and position it to achieve its long-term potential.”
Breitbard’s was chief executive of The Gymboree Corporation from 2013 until early 2017. From 2010 to 2013, he held leadership positions across Gap North America where he was instrumental in delivering the product-led resurgence of Gap’s North America business.
He also served as chief merchandising and creative officer of Old Navy from 2009 to early 2010. Other previous positions include leadership roles at Levi Strauss and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Due to launch on 22 March, the AND/OR brand has been created in collaboration with LA based denim specialists Calvin Rucker. The retailer will also sell a range of womenswear, shoes, accessories and lingerie to compliment the denim clothing.
The 90 piece range will initially be available online and in 15 shops with items featuring denim washes combined with finishes such as busted-out seams, distressing, bleaching and frayed hems. The different denim styles have been named after places in LA that inspired the collection.
The new collection follows the launch of John Lewis’s first luxury ready-to-wear range, Modern Rarity, last September. The launch helped the retailer’s own-brand womenswear sales to increase by 6.8% in the last financial year.
Jo Bennett, head of womenswear buying at John Lewis, said: “Having built a portfolio of powerhouse own-brand labels over the past few years, we felt there was something missing when it came to serving a younger woman.”
Iain Ewing, John Lewis head of design for womenswear and accessories, added: “This is the first time we have launched a brand across ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes and lingerie. Although the brand starts with denim, you can then add to this to create a fully versatile collection which serves a modern wardrobe.”
The AND/OR denim range will be priced from £85 to £120 while the AND/OR collection will start at £22 for a cotton tee to £250 for a leather jacket.
Worries: Directors of some of Sir Philip Green’s biggest brands have stepped down
A clear-out at the top of Arcadia has seen directors of some of Sir Philip Green’s biggest brands step down.
Burton, Miss Selfridge and Topshop/Topman have all said goodbye to bosses – with replacements yet to be installed.
Wesley Taylor, managing director of Burton, has left the business after more than ten years, with some suggesting he has walked out.
Craig McGregor, retail director at Topshop/Topman has also quit, to fill the same role at Specsavers.
And Yasmin Yusuf, creative director of Miss Selfridge, has stepped down after more than a decade at the womenswear brand.
The shake-up will pile further pressure on Green, 64, who is nursing a poor Christmas performance at his flagship Topshop stores.
It is understood sales slid 11 per cent over the festive period, although Arcadia has denied this is the case.
A spokesman for Arcadia declined to comment on the departures, but it is understood that a replacement for one of the roles is close to being announced.
The headache comes after Green last week agreed to cough-up £363million to plug the black hole in the BHS pension scheme.
It was part of a bid to salvage his reputation following months of criticism.
The cash went some way to protect the retirement income of 19,000 ex-employees from the collapsed High Street chain.
BHS failed a year after Green sold it to three-times bankrupt former racing driver Dominic Chappell – leaving a £571million pension deficit
The sale split BHS from the rest of Green’s retail empire, which includes brands such as Wallis and Dorothy Perkins.
The health of these chains is unknown, but this week it was revealed Green has agreed a deal to pump an extra £50million into the Arcadia pension fund to plug its deficit.
Fat Face has posted a rise in sales but its profits have been hit by the devalued sterling.
As a result, the retail chain successfully negotiated a “convenant reset” with lenders over its £149 million debt.
In its full year report, released last Friday, Fat Face’s pre-tax profits dropped by nine per cent to £22 million while its sales went up by 7.2 per cent to £220.2 million.
The sales were boosted by a 20.6 per cent jump in ecommerce sales, which made up 18.2 per cent of the retailer’s overall revenue.
Meanwhile, international revenue was flat, coming in at £4.9 million for the year.
Fat Face also opened eight new stores in its estate last year, bringing its total estate to 225 stores across the UK and Ireland.
Despite the post-Brexit decline in the pound taking its toll on profits thanks to rising costs associated with currency pressures, Fat Face had plans to open more new stores this year.
Partnership, which is owned by its staff, is expected to announce annual bonus of between 6% and 7% of salary, down from 10%
The owner of John Lewis and Waitrose is poised to cut the annual bonus it pays staff to the lowest level since the 1950s due to the pressure on retailers.
The John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by its staff, is expected to announce a bonus of between 6% and 7% of workers’ annual salary. This would be a cut from a 10% bonus last year – when the average payout was £1,585 for its 91,500 staff – and the fourth year in a row that John Lewis has cut the award. It will be the lowest bonus since 1954, when it stood at 4% of pay.
The cut in the bonus reflects the tough retail environment. The business, which covers department stores, supermarkets and online shopping, is expected to report a 10% fall in underlying annual profits for last year.
John Lewis staff own the company through a trust and take a share of its profits. The bonus, which is handed out to everyone at the group, from the chairman to shopfloor staff, has fallen significantly in recent years. It amounted to 17% of pay in 2013, 15% in 2014, 11% in 2015, and 10% last year.
The group started paying bonuses in cash in 1969. Previously it awarded shares, share promises, or a mixture of cash and stock. The first bonus was paid at the end of the first world war. The payout was suspended during the second world war and the early 1950s recession, and peaked at 24% of salary in the 1980s. The highest payout in recent years was 18% in 2011.
Despite enjoying strong trading over Christmas, the partnership warned in January that the annual bonus would be significantly lower than last year. Like other high street retailers, John Lewis stores have been affected by the growing popularity of online shopping. Waitrose is struggling against fierce competition from other grocers and recently unveiled plans for job cuts and six store closures.
The group is also likely to take a hit from the post-Brexit slump in sterling because it will increase the cost of importing goods. Sir Charlie Mayfield, chair of the partnership, described sterling as “the dog that hasn’t really barked”. He noted that the weaker pound – down about 20% since last June’s Brexit vote – would start affecting British businesses this year, as most buy currency six months to a year in advance.
Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said: “The John Lewis board is likely to be mindful of the fact that underlying profits look to have fallen by over 10% last year, despite a decent Christmas, and with trading in the new year off to a sluggish start, it will have to allow for the fact that profits will probably fall again this year as well – hence the significant pressure on the bonus that it flagged on 12 January.”
Bubb expects pretax profits to rise slightly from £306m to £310m, due to a pension funding boost, but trading profits are likely to be just over 10% down, at £431m.
The new managing director of the John Lewis department stores, Paula Nickolds, last month announced plans to cut as many as 800 jobs in its customer restaurants and store administration, its biggest ever round of redundancies.
Trafford Park site sold for £5m
The property was purchased by The Schroders MLIPUT for £4,968,000, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.24 per cent.
A Trafford Park industrial scheme has been sold for just short of £5m as investors – and occupiers – take advantage of the surge in shed values.
B8 Real Estate, acting on behalf of Aviva Investors, have sold a three-unit 64,924 sq ft multi-let industrial estate situated in a prominent location adjacent to the Parkway Circle roundabout in Trafford Park.
The property was purchased by The Schroders MLIPUT for £4,968,000, reflecting a net initial yield of 6.24%.
John Burrows of B8 Real Estate commented, ”We are pleased with the extremely strong level of interest generated, resulting in a host of bids being received for the property.
“The strength of the offers submitted highlights continued investor demand for prime assets against a supply shortage of good quality industrial properties.”
Schroders MLIPUT were represented by Cushman & Wakefield.
In a seprate deal office furnirture firm Woodstock Leabank has agreed the £2.5m sale and lease back of its Stockport premises, raising £2.5m
The sale and leaseback agreement has seen Property Alliance acquire the company’s 41,500 sq ft unit in Bredbury, Stockport for £2.5m. Woodstock Leabank has agreed a 10-year lease with Alliance for the space, paying a rent of £5.50 per sq ft.
Joe O’Malley from Woodstock Leabank added: “This agreement enables us to stay in our property, while minimising risk and unlocking capital which we can use for further investment to support our future growth plans.“
Retail tycoon says deal is part of a cash settlement with Pension Regulator which has now halted its enforcement action
Graham Ruddick and Sarah Butler Tuesday 28 February 2017 18.37 GMT First published on Tuesday 28 February 2017 14.42 GMT
The BHS collapse led to a high-profile parliamentary investigation and calls for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood
The BHS collapse led to a high-profile parliamentary investigation and calls for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood Photograph: Getty
Sir Philip Green has agreed to hand over £363m in cash to rescue the BHS pension scheme, and settle one of the biggest City rows of recent decades.
The deal with the Pensions Regulator, which is likely to help the billionaire keep his knighthood, follows the controversial collapse of the BHS department store chain last April, which led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and left a pension deficit assessed at £571m.
A high-profile parliamentary investigation into the demise of BHS concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and described the hole in the pension fund as “the unacceptable face of capitalism”. MPs voted in favour of stripping Green of his knighthood.
The billionaire tycoon owned BHS for 15 years until he sold it to Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt, for just £1 in March 2015. During his ownership, the Green family and other shareholders collected at least £580m from BHS in dividends, rental payments and interest on loans.
Green said the settlement with the regulator, which is supported by trustees of the BHS pensions scheme, represented a “significantly better outcome” for former BHS staff than the scheme entering the Pension Protection Fund, the government’s pensions lifeboat.
He added: “Once again I would like to apologise to the BHS pensioners for this last year of uncertainty, which was clearly never the intention when the business was sold in March 2015.
“I hope that this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them.”
Sir Philip Green is sad and very, very sorry to BHS workers
The pensions deal should calm the reputational storm which has engulfed Green, the self-styled king of the British high street. The 64-year-old fashion tycoon, who also owns Topshop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Burton, has been forced to curtail his public appearances since the scandal, including missing Topshop’s London Fashion Week show, where he usually has a front row seat.
Public anger over Green’s apparent reluctance to address the pensions gap focused on the tycoon’s £100m 300-foot superyacht, which was delivered as BHS collapsed, along with a new £46m private jet. He lost his temper on TV when approached in a Greek port by journalists and protesters fixed a “BHS Destroyer” banner to the yacht in harbour.
The pension settlement comes after the Pensions Regulator started legal action against Green last year in an attempt to force him to contribute cash to the pension scheme. This enforcement action has now been halted against Green, but legal proceedings are continuing against Chappell and his company, Retail Acquisitions, which acquired BHS from Green.
Lesley Titcomb, the chief executive of the Pensions Regulator, said: “The agreement we have reached with Sir Philip Green represents a strong outcome for the members of the BHS pension schemes. It takes account of the interests of both pensioners and the PPF, and brings a welcome level of certainty to present and future pensioners.”
Frank Field, the Labour MP who co-led the parliamentary investigation and led the calls for Green to make good the pension scheme, welcomed the deal. “I very much welcome this out-of-court settlement which is an important milestone in gaining the justice for BHS pensioners and former workers that we have been pushing for since beginning our inquiry into the downfall of BHS,” Field said.
However, BHS workers are still likely to suffer cuts to their pension benefits. The Pensions Regulator estimates that workers will on average receive around 88% of the value of their original benefits in a new pension scheme created by the settlement. This is a better outcome than if the BHS pension scheme had entered the Pension Protection Fund, a lifeboat for failed pension schemes, where workers would have received an estimated 75% to 79%.
Grant Atterbury, a former BHS worker, said the deal was “literally the least Green could do”. Atterbury is still unemployed and living on benefits after losing his job at the BHS in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, last August.
“This deal is great news for pensioners but it doesn’t improve my lot,” he said. “It is literally the least Green could do. He filled his pockets with a great deal more than he’s putting back into the pension pot. He has filled the black hole in the pension but there are still a lot of black holes including one on our high street. My opinion of him is as low as it was.”
John Ralfe, a pensions expert, added: “This is not Sir Philip Green as the all-conquering hero. This is Sir Philip making the best of a bad job.”
Green initially pledged to “sort” the problems facing the BHS pension scheme last June when he was questioned by MPs.
John Hannett, the general secretary of trade union Usdaw, said: “It is difficult to understand why this saga has been allowed to continue and why we have had to campaign for so long to get justice for our members.”
The Pensions Regulator said measuring the BHS deficit as £571m was not appropriate when working on a cash settlement because this figure is based on what the retirement scheme would have to pay an insurance company to guarantee its liabilities – which is expensive.
Green has already paid over the £343m into an escrow account as part of the settlement. An additional £20m will be spent on expenses and implementing the changes to the BHS pension scheme.
The deal will see the creation of a new pension scheme, which will be funded by Green’s cash injection. BHS workers will have the option of moving their pension into the new scheme, receiving a lump-sum payment, or remaining in the existing pension scheme, which will enter the PPF and see a 10% cut to existing benefits.
As much as £15m could be returned to Green if 90% of the eligible members decide to accept the lump sum. About 9,000 of the remaining 19,000 former staff in BHS’s two pension schemes will be offered the lump-sum payments.
Trustees sent an letter to pension members on Tuesday. The members will all be contacted within the next three months with a personal offer and they will have three months to decide what to do with their pension money.
The new scheme will be run via a “special purpose vehicle” and will not be attached to a sponsoring company, which pensions experts claim is risky. It is the first time such a vehicle has been cleared by regulators in the UK and £100m was added to the settlement to reduce fears about the scheme falling back into the PPF lifeboat in future.
Chris Martin, the chair of the BHS pension fund trustees, said the cash injection from Green put the new scheme on a “stable footing”.
He added: “The trustees have carefully considered all aspects of the deal and we are confident that this is a robust scheme that delivers improved and sustainable benefits.
“We are now in a position to confirm that members will be offered benefit improvements, enhanced flexibility, and just as importantly, long-term sustainability for their benefits.”