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Is House of Fraser next on the Qatari takeover? Monday, 6th May 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Speculation that House of Fraser could be taken over by Qatari investors surges as sources say a deal could be worth more than £300 million.
Citing City sources, the Daily Mail this weekend reported Qatari investors had been involved with talks concerning the acquisition of House of Fraser for several weeks. According to the paper, talks have already been held with some of the department store’s shareholders over a deal that would reunite House of Fraser with Qatari-owned Harrods.
Earlier this year the Qatari Investment Authority hit headlines after rumours emerged that it could be considering an £8 billion takeover bid of Marks & Spencer. However, the paper on Sunday reported that the only British retailer the investors are said to be interested in is House of Fraser.
The prospective deal would unite House of Fraser and Harrods for the first time in nearly thirty years. House of Fraser purchased Harrods in 1959, but where later separated when the Al Fayed family acquired the latter in a deal worth £615 million in 1985.
Is Marks & Spencer the next takeover target for Qatari investors? Monday, 18th March 2013
Photo credit: Marks & Spencer Plc
Weekend reports suggest the Qatar Investment Authority could be in the process of assembling a group of private equity investors to make an £8 billion bid on Marks & Spencer.
According to senior City sources cited by the Sunday Times, Qatari’s sovereign wealth fund has approached a number of private equity firms to gauge interest, as well as speaking to banks about financing the offer.
M&S shares traded almost 3 per cent higher by the end of last week as rumours of a bid spread across the City. The share price finished at 372.5p, although it is thought the department store could command about 500p a share, putting the offer at about £8.1 billion in total.
The deal would be the latest in a string of retail investments by the Qataris, following the much-publicised takeover of Harrods back in 2007, and the recent acquisition of the Valentino fashion house for EUR 700 million in July 2012.
Harrods to launch month-long Dior showcase Tuesday, 12th March 2013
Image courtesy of Dior 2013
The installation will see the legendary French fashion house open nine pop-up shops, an exhibition, smaller counters selling exclusive products and a 50-seat café which will serve lobster club sandwiches and Dior-branded cupcakes.
The window displays at the department store will show off ‘showers’ of J’adore perfume bottles and the famous Harrods teddy bear mascot dressed in pieces from the label.
Marigay McKee, chief merchant at Harrods, told WWD: “Dedicated events such as this provide an exciting opportunity to highlight one brand throughout the store in a significant way. Desirable, aspirational luxury is here to stay and dream investments are on most peoples’ wish lists.”
Tourists spend £4.5 bn in Britain’s shops Wednesday, 27th February 2013
Photo credit: New West End Company
Tourists spent £4.5 billion in shops during 2011, as it’s revealed Britain is one of the world’s most sought-after destinations for international shoppers.
New research by VisitBritain found an estimated 18 million foreign visitors spent £4.5 billion in Britain’s shops over the course of 2011, meaning 25 per cent of all expenditure by overseas visitors takes place on the UK’s high streets and department stores.
Unsurprisingly, as big name fashion brands continue to invest in their exposure to the UK market, the VisitBritain survey found the majority of tourists’ shopping budget was spent on clothes, with an estimated £2.3 billion generated by fashionable purchases. Souvenirs, gifts and household goods also made a dent in the pockets of tourists, accounting for around £1.6 billion of the shopping sprees.
Visiting London to shop remains a headline attraction for tourists, with 81 per cent of tourists planning on shopping in the capital. Of the 18 million visitors, French tourists remain the most prolific shoppers with over two million trips, followed by 1.63 million Germans, 1.63 million Americans, 1.3 million Irish and 1.1 million Spanish. Emerging BRIC markets also ranked highly with their propensity to shop, although it was the Gulf States that lead the way for splurges, with Gulf tourists spending an average £442 per head, Nigeria £432 and China £405. Russians came just below the top three, spending an average of £362.
As one of the most famous stores worldwide, ‘Shopping in Harrods’ was chosen as a top activity by 19 per cent of respondents across 19 countries analysed, when asked to select top three ‘only in Britain’ dream holiday activities.
“Shopping in Britain is seen around the world as a positive and welcoming experience, and one of the things VisitBritain promotes to encourage visitors.” Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain said.
“It’s not just purchasing designer goods at Harrods, or rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous on Chelsea’s King’s Road that lures visitors to the UK - a huge number also make the trip to seek out bargains, whether it’s finding the best deals on designer goods at Bicester Village and the McArthurGlen Retail Outlets, or hitting the high street in Edinburgh or Manchester.
“Our shopping experience is world class, with high quality, desirable British brands enticing international visitors at all times of the year and providing real value for money against our competitors."
Harrods closes piano department after 118 years Monday, 4th February 2013
Image courtesy of Harrods
Harrods has closed its piano department after sales of the instrument plummeted over a period of several years.
Employees told The Times that pianos no longer “warrant the space” in the store. “If a customer wanted to buy a piano, we would deal with it, but we’d do it on a case-by-case basis. [Sales have] been declining over a long period of time.”
Sarah Brown appointed to Harrods board Thursday, 22nd November 2012
Sarah Brown, the spouse of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has been appointed as a non-executive director of Harrods.
Mrs Brown joined the board on 1 September, according to The Independent.
A spokesman for Qatar Holding, owners of Harrods, said Mrs Brown would provide “input and insight into the company’s strategic initiatives and overall business”. The company said she would also be involved in developing its “corporate social responsibility programmes”.
In a statement, Mrs Brown said: "I look forward to my return to business in joining the Harrods Group board and welcome the opportunity to work on the marketing and corporate social responsibility plans for this world-renowned British brand."
Harrods opens new distribution centre Wednesday, 17th October 2012
Photo credit: Harrods
Harrods opens new distribution centre in Berkshire to serve Knightsbridge and airport stores.
According to the BBC, the new centre will create more than 100 jobs at its new centre on Mill Lane in Thatcham. The centre will become the historic department store’s sole UK distribution base, set to sustain the retailer’s growth for the next 25 years.
Harrods managing director Michael Ward officially opened the centre on Monday with Thatcham town mayor John Boyd.
Speaking to the BBC, Harrods distribution and supply chain director Dawson Parker said that after a long search, the site would be an ideal base.
"There's excellent transport links to the M4, the M3, the A4 and the A30," he said.
"We need those in order to go into Knightsbridge to our main store and also to our popular airport locations.
"Thatcham also has a great reputation for an outstanding workforce and we were delighted to be able to tap into that."
Harrods recruited half of its new workforce locally, whilst a number of existing Harrods employees relocated from their previous base in London.
Harrods owners collect £100m dividend after record year Monday, 30th July 2012
The Qatari owners of world famous London department store Harrods have paid themselves an impressive £100 million dividend after the retailer announced record annual profits.
Qatar Holding snapped up the store for £1.5 billion in May 2010 from its previous owner, Mohamed al-Fayed.
Harrods pre-tax profits grew 15 per cent to £125.3 million last year.
Turnover was up by 11 per cent to £651.7 million.
During the period, Harrods increased its online offering and began to deliver to more than 30 countries including Saudi Arabia, India and Australia.
Harrods heralds Christmas department opening Thursday, 26th July 2012
The sun is shining, noses across the country are red raw as clouds of bothersome pollen float on the summer breeze and many of us are considering sacking off work to go and bask in the glorious July rays.
So, of course, Harrods has chosen to open the doors of its brand new festive shop today.
As Londoners bathe in the sunshine, a fully-suited Santa is to arrive at the famous department store today to welcome customers to the Christmas World Department, which covers a huge 8,000 square feet.
The department includes a snow globe village, a pop-up gingerbread shop front and a full-size alpine ski chalet.
Selfridges finance director jumps ship to Harrods Friday, 13th July 2012
John Edgar, group finance director at Selfridges, will step down from his role to take up a similar position at Harrods.
Having worked at Selfridges since 2008, Edgar will now take up the role of chief financial officer at Harrods, replacing Benedict Smith.
Edgar has previously worked at Woolworths, after spending seven years as director of strategy at House of Fraser.