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In Picture: Kings of Indigo unveils debut retail concept at Modefabriek

Amsterdam - Sustainable denim brand Kings of Indigo took the next step in opening its own mono brand store this week by unveiling its first retail concept at the 42nd edition of the Dutch fashion trade fair Modefabriek.

It was the first time the brand had a full scale stand at the trade fair, which drew a lot of attention from the visitors. “This is the first time we are testing out the retail concept in person and for the first time we are really thinking about what we are showing, and how we are presenting it,” explained Tony Tonnaer, founder and Creative Director of Kings of Indigo to FashionUnited. Inside the stand, the concept had a raw, industrial and reclaimed vintage feel, created by exposed brushed metal and recycled wood which aligns with the brand’s core values.

In Picture: Kings of Indigo unveils debut retail concept at Modefabriek

“I would say that we are a more modern day jeans brand - we are not that authentic, we have more of a contemporary feel compared to traditional denim retailers, who lean more towards the black coated steel hangers, wooden floors and vintage display case look.” Rather than tapping into that same aesthetic, Tonnaer created a concept, together with a design studio in Amsterdam, which aimed to convey the brand’s identity to consumers. “We tried to ensure it reflects our brand identity to the consumers, as well as our key values.”

In Picture: Kings of Indigo unveils debut retail concept at Modefabriek

However One of the main aspects of the retail concept sees all the materials used were as ‘green’ as possible. “Much like our products, I wanted to make sure that we use the best quality materials, which were also produced sustainably or recycled, and easily reusable and eventually recyclable.” For example, the pallets used to display the products are recycled pallets made from leftover wood chips, which were then layered with a biological was and covered it all with a transparent coating to give it a glossy finish.

In Picture: Kings of Indigo unveils debut retail concept at Modefabriek

“Much like our clothing, most of it it is made from recycled materials, but sugarcoated into something new. It is modern, well designed, but not ‘granola’ - like our collections.” The new concept also reflects the blend of American and Japanese design aesthetics which are found in Kings of Indigo garments, such as the hanging campaign photos, or the raw wood pallets and the reclaimed stools. “We have received a lot of positive commentary which is nice, because this is first time we have presented a retail concept to the public that we developed ourselves.”

In Picture: Kings of Indigo unveils debut retail concept at Modefabriek

So when can we expect to see the retail concept in store, in person? Little by little Tonnaer and his team are working on creating a modular retail system which can be implemented into Kings of Indigo’s own debut retail store, which is set to open its doors later this year, as well as in its shop-in-shops in department stores such as Selfridges. “We hope to use the concept to host events in store, such as Amsterdam Denim days, pop-up stores, as well as stand exhibits like this.” Tonnaer hopes to have found the ideal location for the denim brand’s first store by September this year, ideally somewhere in Amsterdam, but is not ruling out locations in neighbouring cities, like Haarlem.

In Picture: Kings of Indigo unveils debut retail concept at Modefabriek

Kings of Indigo hopes to open its first store by September or October this year. “It depends where we find a suitable location first, but Amsterdam would be the best because than I can easily pass by the store and even work a few days in store and speak to the store workers on a regular basis.”

Photos: Courtesy of KOI

AllSaints opens first store in Mexico

British fashion brand AllSaints has opened its first store in Mexico as the retailer looks to continue its expansion in Latin America.

The 2,368 square foot store in Mexico City’s Antara shopping centre, located in Polanco, offers menswear and womenswear collections alongside key looks from the autumn/winter 2016 collections and The Capital Collection handbag range.

The space has been designed with the distinctive AllSaints aesthetic, including tailor made fixtures and handcrafted industrial display units, whilst showcasing a unique feature wall displaying signature sewing machines against an LED backdrop.

The retailer’s debut in Mexico was facilitated by Grupo Sordo Madaleno, which currently operates across 25 retail locations hosting fashion, cosmetic and toy franchises.

Commenting on the opening, AllSaints chief executive William Kim, said: “Expansion in Latin America has always been an integral part to our growth strategy and we are thrilled to work with Group Sordo Madaleno on this venture.

“With over 50 years expertise in the Mexican retail sector, Group Sordo Madaleno were an obvious partnership choice for us. Not only do they excel in their existing market, they share our passion for exceptional customer experience and bringing AllSaints’ contemporary designs and premium quality collections to fashion lovers in Mexico.”

The opening in Mexico follows the stores in Peru and Chile launched at the end of 2016. The retailer has 220 directly operated stores, franchises, concessions and outlets in 23 countries including the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East.

Image: AllSaints

J.Lindeberg to expand in North and South America

Swedish fashion brand J.Lindeberg plans e-commerce expansions into both North and South America this year, in a move that could boost its online revenue by more than 100 percent by 2018, the company said.

The move follows the recent expansion into the Canadian market, where the company believes there is a “huge opportunity”, with David Feiner, acting director of e-commerce, adding: “We see the online channel as a catalyst. We look forward to quickly expanding into these new territories.”

Jonas Andersson, president of US operations, said: ”Our success has been driven by well-executed strategies starting with a re-platform in summer of 2015. Controlling our own destiny by bringing e-commerce in-house, hiring a director dedicated to its growth, and partnering with eCommerce solutions provider BestRetail, has been a formula for success.”

J.Lindeberg, known for its men's and women's fashion, golf apparel and accessories, reports that it doubled its online business in 2015 and anticipates similar results for fiscal 2016, and this can only continue with the expansion into North and South America.

Andersson added: "We have barely scratched the surface for J.Lindeberg in the Americas, specifically online. We remain committed to fueling growth in this digital world and furthering our partnership with BestRetail.”

BestRetail is a provider of cloud-based retail platforms and provides J. Lindeberg with the platform for its online presence.

Founded in Stockholm in 1996, J.Lindeberg is distributed in more than 35 countries. It’s collections consist of menswear, womenswear, golf, and skiwear.

Image: J.Lindeberg website

Doddle, the leading provider of click and collect services for consumers with partners such as Amazon, Net-a-Porter and Asos, have launched ‘Powered by Doddle’, a click and collect solution that includes all the software, training, communications and analytics modules retailers need to enhance their own click and collect experience.

The ‘Powered by Doddle’ software supports a set of click and collect processes, including the receipt and storage of parcels, order fulfilment, the handling of expired parcels and paperless returns. The concept aims to leverage the best practices Doddle has in its own stores to streamline retailer click and collect offerings, which it states will improve efficiency, customer service and driving more sales.

The offering also allows retailers to customise their user experience with tailored e-mails, SMS and push notifications, as well as the interface used by staff, meaning that the brand is reflected accurately at each touchpoint. In addition, it also facilitates online order returns, gives access to other retail partners and offers training.

“With ‘Powered by Doddle’, retailers can now benefit from the best practices we have developed by running our specialist network and the two million parcel pickups and returns we have handled. Now is the time to seize the opportunity click and collect presents for their bottom line,” said Tim Robinson, chief executive at Doddle. “With 54 percent of UK consumers now picking up online orders in-store, a best-in-class click and collect service enables retailers to increase revenue, improve internal efficiency and deliver a superior user experience that keeps their customers coming back.”

Doddle’s streamlined user experience has earned the company a Net Promoter Score of 82, for directly improving retailers’ opportunity to increase customer loyalty through an improved click and collect user experience.

UK shoppers not keen on retail apps

A new report on British consumer's shopping habits shows UK customers are leaning towards online. It’s well documented that the younger the shopper, the more likely they are to shop via a website or an app.

A retail report by Apadmi, a company that develops mobile applications discovered that over half (55 percent) of all shoppers preferred to shop online rather than in-store because they believe it is quicker and less hassle.

Typically, those born in the millennial age bracket are technologically savvy and are very likely to embrace any new online developments introduced by their favourite retailers – 75 percent of the 18-24 demographic said they would comfortably shop online.

But, whilst many prefer the online shopping option over going into a store, only 17 percent of those in the survey said they have used a retail app.

So shoppers are clearly keen to use more convenient methods, but won’t go out of their way to use a retail app unless it offers a different customer experience than online, such as cashback or incentives unique to the app platform.

54 percent of their survey respondents echoed this sentiment, saying they wanted better incentives and loyalty schemes in their retail app.

Photo credit:Apadmi apps, source: Apadmi website

Government urged not to take retail for granted

A new report from Intu and Revo is calling on the Government to do more to support and promote the retail industry, as its findings show that international retailers find many of the features of the UK retail market attractive, but the UK’s business rates regime is putting off potential new entrants.

The research conducted on behalf of Revo and Intu by Conlumino among 130 international retailers, found the UK is seen as attractive across 36 key factors including solid economic growth rate, a sensible approach to labour relations, low corporate tax rate and sound digital infrastructure.

However, almost three-quarters of the retailers surveyed said they would consider other countries in preference to the UK for expanding their business; with the stand-out issue being the high level of UK property taxes, especially business rates.

With the industry generating 326 billion pounds in sales each year and directly employing around 3 million people, the voice of retail property Revo and intu, owner of many of the UK’s largest and most popular retail destinations, is calling on the government to review the entire structure of business rates which they state is currently a “disincentive for inward investment and makes the UK uncompetitive”.

Government urged not to take retail for granted

Intu chief executive, David Fischel, said: “The good news is that overseas retailers are interested in the UK because it is a large market, has sensible employment regulations, low corporation tax and a sound digital infrastructure. However, almost three-quarters of the retailers surveyed said they would consider other countries in preference to the UK for expanding their business.”

UK business rates putting new retailer entrants

Revo chief executive, Ed Cooke, added: “Retail is a Great British success story, admired around the world for its creativity and innovation. The sector is supported by a dynamic and evolving retail property industry, which is adapting in response to retailer needs, shaped by changing consumer shopping habits.

“Although successful our research shows how, at a time of great political and economic uncertainly, we must take things to another level. Specifically, by looking again at property taxation, to create a more internationally competitive tax environment, and also by more actively prompting our market abroad.”

Other recommendations within the report include promoting the UK to international retailers, addressing issues relating to planning and providing more help to navigate the complex legislative and wider regulatory landscape.

The report interviewed 130 international retailers with a collective turnover of 1.5 trillion pounds, consisting of those already in the UK, those considering the UK for expansion and those where the UK is not on their expansion plans. They were asked about their international expansion plans and to rate the UK on 36 factors, identifying barriers to investing in the UK and ranking the UK against other retail markets.

Images: courtesy of Intu

More than 90 percent of British shoppers have stated that they have “fallen out of love” with the January sales, according to a new study from MasterCard.

The reason shoppers no longer feel the post-Christmas clearance as a must-visit is because there are too many deals and promotional discounts throughout the year, and especially in the run-up to Christmas.

The report reveals that 48 percent of shoppers made cut-price purchases in the days immediately before Christmas, compared to 44 percent buying discounted items in the January sales.

UK shoppers are also demanding better deals than before, with two-thirds (65 percent) stating that an item has to be reduced by more than 30 percent to qualify as a bargain, while more than a quarter (26 percent) said they wouldn’t get their wallet out unless the price of an item was slashed by more than 50 percent. More than a third of shoppers (37 percent) admitted their expectation of price cuts is higher compared to last year.

MasterCard believes that the loss of appeal in the January sales is due to a combination of sales fatigue, and scepticism around pricing, as British shoppers become savvier about what they spend their money on.

More than half of people (58 percent) said they could not face the crowds, while over a third (37 percent) said they didn’t trust the accuracy of discounts advertised, and 31 percent of shoppers shunned the sales to avoid buying things they don’t need. In addition, 26 percent stated that the find the sales too stressful to bother with, while 24 percent said they can never find anything they really want.

"The January sales appear to have lost their lustre for many shoppers, as sales fatigue has set in." said MasterCard’s UK and Ireland president Mark Barnett. "This situation has been heightened by pre-Christmas price cuts, together with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are cannibalising the Boxing Day and January sales. By the time the New Year discounts hit the shelves, many consumers have already had their fill of bargains.”

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were found to be the biggest let down for consumers with 26 percent saying they were worse than last year, while 22 percent of shoppers thought the January sales were a flop compared to previous years.

Guess to open flagship in Liverpool

Fashion retailer Guess is to open a 5,000 square foot flagship store on Liverpool One’s Paradise Street this spring.

The store will mark the brand’s first in the north west of England and will stock the complete Guess collection, including denim for men and women, as well as watches, sunglasses, footwear, and the Guess kids and Marciano ranges.

Guess to open flagship in Liverpool

Victor Herrero, chief executive of Guess, said: “Liverpool One has a reputation for being very fashion forward and at the heart of a city that has a unique sense of style, both of which made it an obvious choice for a Guess flagship.

“Confirming that decision was the growth on Paradise Street, where we are joining a collection of complementary brands that marks out Liverpool One as very distinctive, not just in the region, but the UK as a whole.”

Guess to open flagship in Liverpool

The signing of Guess follows the opening of other regional flagships on Paradise Street including Jack Wolfskin, Lindt, Smiggle and Urban Decay. The five new international retailers total almost 11,000 square feet of fashion and lifestyle floor space.

Miles Dunnett from Grosvenor Europe, said: “The momentum behind Paradise Street continues with Guess, an excellent new addition to Liverpool One’s line-up of international brands. Liverpool is highly regarded as one of the most fashion conscious cities in Europe and Guess cements Liverpool One’s position as a prime retail and leisure destination.”

Guess to open flagship in Liverpool

In 2016, Liverpool One’s footfall reached 29 million while sales grew by 8 percent compared to 2015, and it saw more than 20 brands open including a new regional flagship for Victoria’s Secret.

Images: courtesy of Guess

One of the UK’s largest retail property groups British Land has recorded a 0.6 percent year-on-year retail sales growth in the three months to the end of December.

However, the property giant also saw a drop of 0.6 percent in its footfall. Despite the decline, British Land states that both the dip in retail footfall and sales growth continue to outperform industry benchmarks.

The third quarter trading update also revealed that British Land secured 314,000 square foot of retail lettings in the period, with renewals also coming in at nearly nine percent ahead of their estimated rental value. While occupancy rates for its properties remained at 97 percent throughout the quarter.

“British Land has had a positive quarter reflecting the strong positioning of our portfolio and our engagement with occupiers and consumers,” said British Land chief executive Chris Grigg. “We have completed over 400,000 square foot of lettings across the business and are progressing discussions with a broad range of occupiers.”

Grigg added: “Retail footfall and sales growth continue to outperform industry benchmarks and we have made further disposals of non-core assets and residential units ahead of valuation. The business is well placed; we remain mindful of potential headwinds going forward.”

The number of internet users in China -- already the world's highest -- reached 731 million in December, authorities said, as e-commerce drives consumer demand across the Asian giant.

Total internet users rose 6.2 percent from the end of December 2015 and equals the entire population of Europe, the government-linked China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said in a statement Sunday on its website.

E-commerce is a vital part of the government's efforts to China into a consumer demand-driven economy, although Beijing also imposes strict controls on online content, barring citizens from accessing major websites including Facebook and Google.

The government is pushing a so-called "internet plus" project that aims to expand the role of online technology in the economy. The number of people who go online through cellphones has reached 695 million, or 95.1 percent, as computers lose their appeal, according to the CNNIC.

Online consumption via ecommerce has become an increasingly important part of the economy, the statement said, adding that its contribution to GDP growth is gradually increasing.

As of December 12, the number of people in China who used online payments had reached 475 million, up 14.0 percent year on year, according to the CNNIC.

In one example of the growing power of China's online shoppers, consumers spent 17.8 billion dollars in e-commerce giant Alibaba's biggest online shopping promotion on November 11 last year, more than twice the five-day desktop sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in the US last year. (AFP)