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Iceland heralds Middle Eastern expansion push after Libya store success Friday, 10th May 2013
Image courtesy of Iceland
Frozen food retailer Iceland is set to kick off a radical international expansion push in the Middle East after its store in war-torn Tripoli mustered a group of loyal Libyan customers.
The grocer opened a store in the Libyan capital earlier this year - a move which garnered significant consumer interest. The Iceland Libya Facebook page has already gained 45,000 ‘likes’, despite the fact there is only one store in the region.
According to Retail Week, the business is planning to export Iceland-branded products to other retailers across the Middle East.
Boss Malcolm Walker told the industry newspaper that he was “amazed” by the grocer’s popularity in Libya, adding that the region presents a “big opportunity” for Iceland’s export business.
Indian cabinet approves Ikea's €1.5bn investment plan Friday, 3rd May 2013
Image courtesy of Ikea
India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) as cleared a EUR 1.5 billion investment plan by Swedish furniture retailer Ikea - an act which formally paves the way for the business to set up shop in Asia’s third-largest economy.
India opened the floodgates for foreign retailers to enter the region last year as it seeks to kickstart its economy.
The Indian Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approved Ikea’s investment proposal in February, but a final nod from the federal government is still needed before the furniture business can kick off expansion throughout the region in earnest.
Unilever moves to raise stake in Indian arm Tuesday, 30th April 2013
Image courtesy of Unilever
Unilever has offered to pay up to USD 5.4 billion to increase its stake in its Indian unit as it banks on the prolific spending power in Asia’s third-largest economy.
The company’s offer to boost its share to as much as three-quarters of Hindustan Unilever Ltd reflects Unilever’s commitment to emerging markets as business continues to be challenging in the United States and Europe.
"This represents a further step in Unilever's strategy to invest in emerging markets and offers a liquidity opportunity at what we believe to be an attractive premium for existing shareholders," Unilever's chief executive, Paul Polman, said in a statement.
According to Reuters, several analysts have said investors may be unwilling to part with their shares at the 600 rupees per share offer price - a situation that could force Unilever to settle for a stake smaller than the 22.52 per cent it outlines, or raise its offer price.
The offer is expected to begin in June.
High-end LA brands focus on London expansion Monday, 15th April 2013
Image courtesy of BCBG Max Azria
BCBG Max Azria and sister brand Hervé Léger are each planning to open stores and department store concessions across London over the next two years.
BCBG currently has one store in London on King’s Road in Chelsea. The company is reportedly looking at other locations including Regent Street, New Bond Street and Marylebone High Street.
Karl Lagerfeld to open first London store Friday, 12th April 2013
Image courtesy of Karl.com
Karl Lagerfeld is reportedly close to agreeing to open his first store based in the United Kingdom.
The Chanel designer has his own brand which debuted in Paris in February.
Lagerfeld is understood to be eyeing an outpost on South Molton Street in central London should be open by the end of the year.
Stores are also planned for Amsterdam and Paris in the near future.
Mothercare posts 4.8% sales dip Thursday, 11th April 2013
Image courtesy of PR Shots
Mothercare has posted a 4.8 per cent decline in fourth quarter group sales as the British arm of the business continues to falter.
The group today reported flat like-for-like sales in the 11 weeks to 30 March, compared to an 8.2 per cent decrease in the same period a year earlier and a 5.9 per cent drop in the third quarter.
Overseas sale rose 15.5 per cent in spite of persistent weakness in the eurozone economy.
James McGregor, director of the retail consultants Retail Remedy, commented:
"It's been a messy few years for Mothercare and while these figures are bad, they're not as bad as they could have been.
"Flat UK like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter will have given the retailer a glimmer of hope. That's how bad things have been.
"Mothercare is only in year one of a three-year turnaround plan so investors will cut it some slack. What it somehow needs to do is start generating the enthusiasm for the brand that surrounds it abroad.”
Shares in the business closed at 292 pence on Wednesday, valuing the business at £260 million.
Harris Tweed targets US and Canada for expansion plans Tuesday, 9th April 2013
Image courtesy of the Harris Tweed Facebook page
The largest producer of Harris Tweed is hoping to reignite interest in the heritage British fabric across the US and Canada.
North America was previously the largest export market for the cloth, but price wars waged between rival mills led to a dip in sales in the 1980s.
According to the BBC, Harris Tweed Hebrides has teamed up with an international advertising company in an effort to revive the market.
Margaret MacLeod, Harris Tweed Hebrides market development director, told BBC Alba: "Various things happened through the 1980s due to import issues and price wars between the different mills that really weren't helpful.
"But I think year on year we have seen that business come back.
"People are looking for style, looking for quality and looking for heritage and all of those things Harris Tweed can offer."
Asos to open Birmingham office Tuesday, 2nd April 2013
Asos is to open a regional office in Birmingham, creating 20 jobs in the city.
The fashion e-tailer will open an office at The Custard Factory in Digbeth by the end of April and has said that new staff will be charged with the task of creating new websites tailored to customers from France and Germany.
In a statement, Asos said that it’s: “taking advantage of one of the UK’s largest digital sector talent pools and a growing specialism in e-commerce across the city”, adding that 20 senior positions, which include senior software and database engineers, quality assurance analysts and development team leaders, could be increase by a further 30 roles by the end of the year.
Pete Marsden, chief information officer, said: "As a company Asos has grown, despite challenging economic times, because of the innovative approaches we take to meeting our customers’ demands.
“Our innovation comes from our people; we seek out and recruit the very best talent because we know that they are the key to our success. That is exactly what we are doing by creating a presence.”
H&M opens maiden store in Chile Monday, 25th March 2013
H&M has opened its first store in Chile.
The store, which covers 2,600 square feet, is in Santiago’s Costenera Center and carries the complete assortment of fashion and accessories for men, women and children alongside an exclusive collection created for the Chilean market.
Macu Alfaro, H&M’s country manager for Chile, said: "We have had an amazing response from our customers here in Santiago today and we look forward to bringing H&M’s concept of fashion and quality at the best price to Chile. We are also excited to finally be expanding our business concept here within South America and also in the Southern Hemisphere."
Cath Kidston prepares for European expansion Monday, 25th March 2013
Image courtesy of Cath Kidston
Cath Kidston is preparing to open 80 concessions in Spain as the business makes its first strides into Europe.
The retailer is currently in talks with El Corte Ingles about opening up concessions in some of the chain’s Spanish stores after pilot concessions that Cath Kidston opened at Christmas in Madrid, Palma and Mallorca proved to be successful.
Chief executive Kenny Wilson told The Telegraph: “The owners of El Corte Ingles in Spain approached us and said they’d seen our brand in Selfridges in London and thought it works brilliantly in a shop-in shop department store format.
"They wanted to try it in Spain so we’ve done a test in Madrid in the number one El Corte Ingles store. It’s been very, very successful... Clearly, if we can make the brand work in a pretty tough Spanish economy that gives us confidence that it can work across Western Europe.”