Burberry cost cutting could see store closures

With an incoming chief executive a business will always undergo change, especially a company the size of British retailer Burberry.

Marco Gobbetti, who has relinquished chief designer Christopher Bailey of his management duties, is expected to visit all of Burberry's 500 stores as part of its turnaround efforts.

Gobbetti will see firsthand which stores are working, which require updating and which could be considered for closure.

Gobbetti, who started online one month ago, has the grand task of implementing the changes to deliver strong sales and pave the future for the iconic British brand.

Although Burberry posted a three per cent rise in sales the three months to June, largely driven by strong UK and Chinese sales, the new boss has taken on the task of cutting 100 million pounds from costs by 2019, reports the Retail Gazette.

In his previous role at Celine, Gobbetti earned a reputation for being tough on store quality, closing more stores than he opened while in charge.

In recent years Burberry has hammered ahead with store openings to meet increasing Chinese demand.

The tour is already underway in the US where Burberry operates from 74 stores, according to This is Money.

This market was one of the least profitable for the retailer last year, with sales falling five per cent in the year to March.

Photo credit: Burberry

11 Honoré aims to fill the gap in plus-size luxury e-commerce

London - Online luxury retailers, such as Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, and Matchesfashion have managed to carve out a name for themselves in the industry thanks to their unique fashion offering of high-end brands. However, although these premium fashion destinations succeeded in offering a wide range of designer and luxury brands and designers when it came to their sizing offering, they remained rather limited - like much of the higher-end part of the fashion market. However as waistlines around the world continue to grow, as does the demand for plus-size luxury fashion.

Enter 11 Honoré, the high-end fashion retailer exclusively catering to those US size 10 to 20 (UK size 14 to 24). 11 Honoré, which officially launched earlier this week, offers a number of premium designer brands, including ready-to-wear collections from Prabal Gurung, Marchesa, Zac Posen and Michael Kors. The plus-size premium fashion e-tailer, which sits alongside navabi, is the brainchild of co-founders Kathryn Retzer and Patrick Herning. Herning, a former executive at HL Group and founder of influencer and marketing engagement firm PMH Partners, combined his experience with brand building with Retzer own experience in fashion editorial, previously working for Allure, Vogue, and Town & Country, to create 11 Honoré.

11 Honoré offers luxury plus-size fashion

The two friends decided to team up last year to develop a site which offered a curated selection of plus-size fashion directly from the runway after spotting the gap in the market. “For the first time the plus-sized woman is getting the exact same option,” says 11 Honoré co-founder Patrick Herning to Business of Fashion. The luxury e-commerce launch comes as the market for plus-size designer fashion continues to remain underdeveloped, despite the fact that the average female size in the United States is size 16 according to the NPD Group. Although some higher-end brands fear that by offering an extended sizing range could put off their current, smaller size core clientele, others note it does not tie in with their overall brand image.

11 Honoré aims to fill the gap in plus-size luxury e-commerce

However, data from NPD also shows that sales of women’s plus-size fashion grew twice as fast as overall fashion sales in the US in 2016, reaching 21.4 billion dollars, underlining the untapped potential that lies within the plus-size market. Which is where 11 Honoré comes in. In addition, unlike other plus-size specialists, which tend to charge more for their garments as the production of a larger garment can be more complex and use more materials, 11 Honoré offers high-end and designers pieces at the same price of their ‘normal’ sized counterparts. “We know [the plus-size luxury consumer] is spending money in other categories,” added Herning. He noted that a number of the designer brands offered at 11 Honoré have been serving plus-size consumers for a while now, through their special order service.

“We are showing her, for the first time, that you can be aspirational and this is where you can find it."

Images: 11 Honoré website

Appear Here launches ‘Space for Ideas’ competition

Appear Here, the marketplace for short-term retail space, has announced the launch of its second ‘Space for Ideas’ competition, which looks to discover the next three “big retail ideas”.

The competition offers emerging brands and young designers with the chance to win a two-week, rent free flagship space in London, Paris and New York, as well as mentorship, design advice and budget to bring their idea to life.

The winners will have 3,000 pounds to spend as well as 7,800 pounds in design services from a leading retail design agency to help execute the vision, and Square POS and payment support technology including contactless and chip reader, dock and an iPad Air.

Appear Here founder and chief executive, Ross Bailey, said: “There is a magic in making an idea come to life. Which is why we want to give visionary designers, talented entrepreneurs, and budding creatives the chance to show the world what their ideas can do. We're looking for people who can create something truly unique in their space.

Appear Here launches ‘Space for Ideas’ competition

“At Appear Here we believe that when the right idea hits the right space, at the right time, great things can happen. When you think that brands like Paul Smith have managed to build global empires off the back of a market stall, or even Appear Here's own conception, which was sparked off the back of a small shop for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it's exciting to think what Space for Ideas can achieve by connecting these ideas to spaces in the world's best cities.”

Appear Here looking for the next three “big retail ideas” in ‘Space for Ideas’ competition

This years judging panel includes fashion and commerce names including Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of Warby Parker, Natalie Massenet, Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, and Ajaz Ahmed, founder of AKQA.

“Space for Ideas helps talented people turn ideas into reality. As an entrepreneur, I’m inspired by the energy and innovation that bubbles up through competition,” said Blumenthal.

Ahmed added: “Everything a brand does tells a story and the memorable stories are the ones told with simplicity and emotional resonance. A physical space is a canvas for awe and wonder. I’m excited to see what the next generation of visionaries create for Appear Here’s Space for Ideas competition.”

Appear Here launches ‘Space for Ideas’ competition

The competition is open until September 15, with the three winners set to be announced on September 21. Their store doors will then open to the public on October 18 – November 1.

Through Appear Here, brands like Littlesmith, Away and Mr. Doodle have scaled fast. Previous Space for Ideas winner Porterlight Bicycles, a custom cargo bike company, also secured an exclusive contract with Deliveroo and received international media attention, including a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 list for chief executive Lawrence Brand.

Launched in 2013, Appear Here has more than 4,000 retail spaces listed on its marketplace as of April 2017 in the UK, France and New York.

Images: Appear Here website

Shopping centre owner Intu is piloting paid-for virtual reality experiences at three of its most popular retail and leisure destinations over August, where customers can interact with characters from The Emoji Movie.

The pilot will take place in Merry Hill, Lakeside and Braehead, before Intu makes the decision on whether to roll out more virtual reality experiences to its 35 million customers nationwide, and will measure shoppers’ propensity to pay for virtual reality leisure experiences and the popularity of movie-related virtual reality content.

The virtual reality experience will cost 5 pounds and will allow consumers to interact with characters and worlds from the Emoji Movie, including exclusive content to the UK featuring specially recorded lines from the movie’s lead actors including James Corden.

Karen Harris, managing director of Intu’s digital innovation team said: “We are running a number of trials to look at the benefits of virtual reality and augmented reality in a modern shopping centre environment.

“We think there is enormous potential for these types of leisure experiences to drive up footfall, dwell time and likelihood of revisiting a shopping destination. Data from this trial will be used to understand how we can continue to take this technology forward.”

Intu ran its first complimentary virtual reality leisure pilot at Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham over December where customers were invited to step into a virtual winter wonderland and decorate a Christmas tree. In addition, augmented reality was added to Intu’s in-centre app over Easter to bring to life a number of Nick Jr. characters over the school holidays.

Westfield footfall boosted by athletics

Westfield Stratford City has seen a spike in footfall for the start of August, due to the return of athletics to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium, attracting 1.2 million visitors over the past 7 days making it the highest footfall week since the London 2012 Olympics.

The shopping centre once again reprised its role as “gateway to the games” and Westfield recorded a 29 percent year-on-year increase in visitors, in what it is calling the “Bolt factor”, and attracted 1.8 million visitors over the 10-day event.

Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer at Westfield UK/Europe, said: “We’ve seen a spike in footfall over the duration of yet another fantastic sporting event achieving our highest footfall since the Olympics. During the Olympic Year in 2012 Westfield Stratford City attracted 47 million visitors however now just five years on, Westfield Stratford City every year attracts over 47 million shoppers, making it the number one shopping centre in the UK.”

Westfield footfall boosted by athletics

Westfield Stratford City broke UK footfall records when it attracted 47 million people in its first year, nine million during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and set another British best last September when figures revealed it had drawn 220 million visitors in its first five years with retail sales of 5 billion pounds.

The centre is home to some 30 ‘UK first’ stores and concepts such as Victoria’s Secret, Stradivarius, Smiggle and an Ikea small format. New wins in the past 12 months include the opening of Swedish fashion brand H&M’s largest ever UK store in May 2017.

Images: courtesy of Westfield Stratford City

Footfall in July fell by 1.1 percent, compared to the previous year, showing a “sea change” in consumers’ willingness to spend, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard.

High street footfall declined by 2.1 percent, while shopping centres experienced a 1.3 percent fall, its fourth consecutive month of footfall decline. The only category to see growth in the monthly footfall monitor was retail parks, which saw an uplift of 1.7 percent.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director, said: "July’s results might well mark a sea change in consumers’ willingness to spend, as it was the first time since January that footfall dropped during both retail trading hours and into the evening.

“Over the last few months the growing importance of the leisure based trip has become a key part of the narrative when talking about retail destinations, but a 0.5 percent drop in footfall post 5 pm in July is the first evidence of a tightening of purse strings on casual dining and leisure trips.”

The East and South East were the only two regions that saw footfall growth in July, with the fastest growth in the East, which has now seen eight months of consecutive footfall growth. East Midlands showed the fastest decline on the high street of all the regions, down 4.7 percent.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, added: “Most shopping destinations saw a decline in footfall in July compared with the previous year. Even high streets, which have seen fairly stable growth over recent months, reported a decline. Retail parks were the exception and have fared relatively well since March this year reflecting in part lower rental costs compared to prime and town centre locations as well as convenience for shoppers.

“The overall decline in footfall translated into weak sales performance for stores in non-food particularly, which fell further into negative territory as consumers rein back spending on non-essential items.”

Overall, the steepest decline in footfall in July occurred in the South West and Greater London, both showing a fall of 2.1 percent. Wales showed the first decline in seven months, at 0.9 percent, while Scotland saw a further decline from 0.2 percent in June to 0.4 percent in July.

Nike launch new Sneakrs app

Nike have launched yet another mobile app, this time focussing solely on their trainers.

Sneakrs, an extension to Nike’s desktop site, offers users insight into Nike’s latest sneaker drops as well as the production process behind some of the most sought after designs.

Users will be the first to know about flash drops of sneakers such as the Air Jordan 1 Royal, Air Jordan XI Space Jam, Flyknit and Air Max 97 - available for lucky users to buy in the app from August 18.

Sneakrs is available to iOS and Android users in 19 countries and 14 languages including UK, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, France.

Photo courtesy of Nike

Landsec, the UK’s largest listed commercial property company, has installed the biggest solar panel system at a retail site in the UK on the roof of the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds.

The installation will generate 680,000-kilowatt hour of power a year, enough electricity to power over 200 UK homes for 12 months. The social panels will supply 39 percent of the daytime electricity used in the mall areas of the centre.

In its first year, the system that features 2,902 individual social panels, will reduce carbon emissions at White Rose by 250 tonnes, the equivalent of over half a million miles of passenger car emissions.

The move is part of an ongoing sustainability strategy at the centre, which includes a comprehensive bio-diversity programme alongside energy efficiency measures and a focus on reducing food waste. In addition, the social panels will maximise on-site renewable energy generation, reduce electricity consumption from the grid and deliver significant financial benefits to retailers based at White Rose.

Scott Parsons, managing director, retail, Landsec, said: “We are extremely proud to have set a UK-wide benchmark for renewable electricity. Landsec is committed to setting and achieving ambitious sustainability targets and this is a fantastic example of how innovative thinking can benefit both retailers and the environment.”

Seiko opens latest boutique in London

Japanese watch brand Seiko has opened its latest boutique on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London.

The boutique, which marks the luxury watch brand’s first standalone store in London, follows opening in Sydney and Frankfurt and will showcase Seiko’s Astron GPS Solar, Presage, Prospex, and Premier collections. In addition, there will be a special area dedicated to the widest selection of its premier collection, Grand Seiko, anywhere in Europe.

Seiko opens latest boutique in London

Commenting on the opening, Seiko president and chief operating officer, Shuji Takahashi, said: "We have long wanted to open a Seiko Boutique in London and I am delighted that we have now found the perfect location where we can show the world the full range of our Seiko and Grand Seiko collections. I can promise every visitor a uniquely enjoyable and informative experience of our watches and of what makes them special."

Seiko opens latest boutique in London

The flagship store will also sell selected watches from the luxury Credor brand, including the celebrated handmade Eichi, Minute Repeater and Fugaku Tourbillon creations that have, until now, never been shown in Britain.

Seiko opens latest boutique in London

The luxury brand teamed the opening to coincide with the Athletics World Championships in the capital as the watch maker is the official time keeper for the event.

Images: courtesy of Seiko

Zara debuts baby boutique in London

High street retailer Zara has debuted its first boutique in London dedicated to baby wear.

Zara and its Inditex-parent company are one of the world's largest retailers, best known for its fashionable men's, women's and homeware ranges.

The new baby boutique is based in London's Covent Garden at 52 Long Acre and is the first store entirely stocked with baby clothing and accessories.

The store stocks fashion ranges from newborns to babies aged 12 months, and for children aged three months to four years.

Zara debuts baby boutique in London

Zara currently operates in over 90 markets around the world and operates over 7,000 stores.

Photo credit: Zara AW17 kidswear campaign, source: Zara.com