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Weekday to open first UK store

Weekday, the Swedish apparel chain headed by the H&M group will open their first UK store on London’s Regent Street on August 18, 2017.

The new store is set to combine ambient lighting and natural materials to create a casual, inviting atmosphere. Spread over 650 square metres and two floors, the store will offer a unique design that ‘respects the beauty of the historical building while maintaining the nerve and aesthetics of the brand’ said Weekday in a press statement. The store will hold all of the brand’s extensive collection for Women, Men as well as Weekday Jeans and a small selection of external brands.

“We are very happy to finally be able to announce our expansion into the UK. It has always been on our agenda to open up a store in this great fashion country and especially in the inspiring city of London. We believe in a modern and youthful approach to fashion and we are confident that the UK is a great fit for our offer. We look forward to seeing how our collections are received,” said David Thörewik, Managing Director of Weekday

During the opening week, customers can purchase an exclusive Weekday AW17 limited edition collection featuring neo-futuristic elements and on Saturday, August 19, the store will be giving away a pair of jeans to the first 100 customers through the doors.

The brand announced back in February that they would be adding London and Paris locations to their portfolio, currently counting 29 standalone stores in nine European countries, and ecommerce sites in 18 countries. The brand is planning to further their British expansion and will announce another store opening sometime this Autumn/Winter season.

Weekday launched in 2002 and are known for their ‘modern and mindful fashion that appeals to urban, conscious and style aware young adults’.

Photo courtesy of Weekday

Valentino integrates shoppable video for exclusive AW17 pre-launch on Mytheresa

Mytheresa, the online luxury fashion retailer has teamed up with Valentino to exclusively launch a curated selection of the fashion house’s Autumn/Winter 17 collection on Tuesday July 26, a week prior to the official collection launch. The pre-launch will be accompanied by a shoppable video featuring the collection and the music of Eliot Sumner.

With the fashion industry in transition, brands like Valentino are taking advantage of the low costs and broad consumer reach that comes with digital marketing, with shoppable videos offering consumers a unique way to shop.

Two minutes in length, the Mytheresa video features young models sporting pieces from the Valentino AW17 collection. Shot in London and directed by Joanna Nordahl, the short film is backed by Eliot Sumner’s ‘Species’, a song which channels gender and cultural diversity. This theme is then translated into Nordahl’s video where diverse models create an “urban feel” for the collection as they explore the city.

Valentino integrates shoppable video for exclusive AW17 pre-launch on Mytheresa

Sumner, an English singer, songwriter and the daughter of musician Sting and actress Trudie Styler wrote ‘Species’“about how we’re evolving into this new species where things can be totally genderless and unidentifiable” Sumner commented in a press statement. Nordahl discussed how she “felt instantly attracted to the collection and the “Species” track that was attached to the film. The combination felt like an interesting starting point to create something a bit different with a lot of room for expression and characters,” in an interview with Mytheresa.

Smartzer have provided the shoppable video, using hotspots throughout the video with click-throughs to the Mytheresa site where consumers can purchase the featured Valentino designs.

The creative concept of the video was explored by REM Ruini e Mariotti studios, known for their work on the Valentino SS15 campaign, which they received two Gold 2015 World Luxury awards for.

MyTheresa have collaborated with designer brands Prada, Acne and Miu Miu this year, now adding Valentino to the list in an effort to stay relevant in the crowded retail market.

Photos and video courtesy of MyTheresa

Coach to open at Bluewater

American luxury accessories brand Coach is opening its first store in the south east of England at Bluewater this September.

Coach has acquired a 1,750 square foot store located on the Lower Guildhall, adjacent to House of Fraser. The store will house the brand’s full range of men’s and women’s products.

President of Coach Europe Andrew Stanleick said: “Coach are delighted to open in Bluewater this autumn as it is known as a fantastic shopping destination. We look forward to launching the Coach modern luxury experience and collections to the South East.”

Coach to open at Bluewater

In addition, Belgian chocolatier Godiva has announced it has signed up to a 600 square foot store, which will open this autumn, while natural and organic health and beauty brand, Neal’s Yard Remedies has taken a 495 square foot unit.

Russell Loveland, portfolio director at Landsec, co-owner and asset manager of Bluewater, said: “Coach is another great addition to Bluewater’s line-up of prestigious international retailers, with their boutique complementing our existing comprehensive range of the very best of brands from around the world.

“Both Godiva and Neal’s Yard Remedies are two very popular luxury additions and will have strong appeal amongst our guests, and both brands highlight Bluewater’s position as Europe’s leading retail and leisure destination.”

Coach to open at Bluewater

The brands are the latest in a series of international retailers to join the line-up at Bluewater in recent months. These include the opening of Smashbox’s first store in the South East at the centre and the launch of Missguided's first store outside of London.

Images: courtesy of Coach

Tourists fuel billions in retail spending

Retailers and Ramadan have always been fast friends, but this year the 'Ramadan rush' has seen an exceptional surge in retail sales.

The figures in the UK could surpass 2.4 billion pounds in sales this summer, with Middle Eastern shoppers spending 59 percent more over Eid, according to card service processor Worldpay.

The weaker sterling quashed margins but increased sales at luxury retailers, who saw a 63 per cent boost over the festival.

Tourists fuel billions in retail spending

Americans and Russians took advantage of weaker sterling

American and Russian tourists were also large contributors to the surge in spending, with sales growing 25 and 19 per cent respectively in June, no doubt attracted to the falling pound.

“Sterling’s slump is continuing to attract visitors in their droves, safe in the knowledge that their holiday cash will stretch a little further,” Worldpay UK’s chief marketing officer James Frost told the Retail Gazette. “Eid provides a useful barometer for foreign spending more broadly. The latest figures from this year’s festival point towards a summer spending frenzy from overseas visitors looking to cash in on the weak pound.”

“It tends to be London that grabs the headlines when it comes to tourist spending, but the reality is destinations right across the UK are benefiting from an influx of free-spending tourists.

“Businesses in Scotland and Wales have already seen foreign spending surge by as much as 27 percent compared to last year, and this could increase further in July and August.

“By investing to make their businesses more attractive to global customer, retailers and tourist hotpots across the UK could make serious gains from the pound’s performance this summer.”

Photo credit: Central London map, Oxford Street, courtesy of OxfordStreet.co.uk

Louis Vuitton launches e-commerce in China

China can now say hello to shopping for Louis Vuitton online. The luxury fashion brand has launched e-commerce in the country to tap the booming online shopping market there.

While Louis Vuitton has had a presence in China since 1992 when they opened their Beijing store, this is their first e-commerce venture for the country. On Thursday, louisvuitton.cn officially launched. The site offers bags, small leather goods, shoes, accessories, watches, jewelry, luggage and writing instruments.

Louis Vuitton enter Chinese online shopping market

E-commerce is available for the following cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Haerbin and Wuhan. In a statement, Louis Vuitton said they plan on expanding to more Chinese cities at a later date.

While luxury brand were long resistant to e-commerce, they have been steady to embrace it over the past several years. The expansion into China marks the eleventh market for Louis Vuitton's e-commerce. The company first launched e-commerce in France, and also offers online sales in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, the U. S., Canada, Brazil, Japan and Australia.

In China, payment can be made via UnionPay, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

photo: via Louisvuitton.cn
Nike launches new app in six European countries

Nike, the global sportswear retailer, has launched their new app, ‘Nike’ in six additional countries.

Now available to iOS and Android users in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, Nike’s new app provides exclusive content to ‘Nike Plus’ members, the retailer’s free membership service.

Laid out in a feed style, the app is personalised to a member’s interests - described by the sport retailer as ‘‘your exclusive access to everything Nike.” Users are prompted to choose topics, including specific sports as well as lifestyle, cities, sports teams and products to follow on the app. The app also offers access to exclusive product releases as well as experiences and services. Training content from top athletes can also be unlocked, and the in-app store gives benefits such as free shipping.

In addition, the Nike app offers exclusive benefits to some users depending on their city. For example, users in London may gain inside access to the city’s top football clubs on a match day, Paris members could receive styling tips from top editors, Berlin user’s could gain a reserved product and Amsterdam football players may gain free custom boot embroidery.

The new Nike App joins Nike’s wide range of applications available to UK iOS and Android users including Nike+ Training Club, Nike+ Run Club, Nike+ Fuel and Nike+ Move.

Photo courtesy of Nike

Abercrombie & Fitch to launch on Alibaba’s TMall

Abercrombie & Fitch, the struggling US apparel brand, is set to launch on Alibaba Group’s Tmall, China’s largest consumer platform for brands and retailers.

Abercrombie & Fitch have seen success in China, operating ten physical stores as well as a recent flagship store opening in Hong Kong’s Harbour City. The brand also have a local website, abercrombie.cn. The US apparel retailer will launch its full offering of Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids products on Tmall, on July 26.

Catering for a wider audience, who do not have access to a physical store, Abercrombie & Fitch joins sister brand Hollister, who launched on Tmall in 2014. “Building on our Hollister brand's successful partnership with the leader in China's online retail space, we are excited to bring our A&F brand experience to the broader Chinese market, beyond the reach of our physical stores through Tmall," said Fran Horowitz, Chief Executive Officer of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Since reevaluating their target market to consumers in their twenties who shop digitally, Abercrombie & Fitch currently aligns better with Tmall demographics; 75 percent of which are under the age of 35 and 80 percent of sales take place on mobile devices.

Tmall supplies brands with innovative marketing tools such as live-streaming, helping to provide consumers with a personalised and interactive shopping experience. “Abercrombie is focused on delivering both an engaging and seamless experience for its customers, whenever, wherever, and however they choose to shop,” the brand noted in a press statement. The brand are also planning to provide additional omni-channel capabilities to consumers through Tmall.

"We are excited to welcome Abercrombie & Fitch to the Tmall platform," said Jessica Liu, President of Tmall Fashion, Alibaba Group. "Abercrombie is an iconic global brand that consumers, both on our platform and in China, have sought out for some time. We look forward to connecting our consumer base to the brand and working with Abercrombie & Fitch to further its international growth."

Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Fitch, website

Warm weather boosted UK retail for June says ONS

Warm weather, strong summer collections and sales have helped boost clothing sales across the UK, according to new data from The Office for National Statistics (ONS). ONS released data representing a percentage rise of 0.4 percent in value of UK retail sales this June, compared to a month earlier in May, which saw a decrease of 1.1 percent in value.

June’s increase in value contributed to a 1.6 percent overall rise in value for Q2, compared to the first quarter of 2017 which saw an overall fall of 1.4 percent in sales according to ONS. "Looking at the quarterly data, the underlying trend as suggested by the three-month on three-month movement is one of growth, following a fall in quarter 1, suggesting a relatively flat first half of 2017," said Kate Davies, Office for National Statistics Senior Statistician.

This flat first half of the year follows uncertainty around the aftermath of the Brexit vote last June - though, “any anxiety over the general election, Brexit or the squeeze on disposable incomes appears to have been put to one side for the moment,” said Richard Lim, Chief Executive, Retail Economics - an independent economics research consultancy focused on the UK retail industry.

“June’s retail sales bounced back as warmer weather drove shoppers onto the high street. As temperatures soared, consumers decided to refresh their summer wardrobes with clothing and footwear retailers performing particularly well,” continued Lim.

The weather was not responsible for all rising figures though, with online sales equating to approximately 16.2 percent of retail spending, increasing by 15.9 percent year-on-year excluding sales of automotive fuel. Store prices have also increased by an average 2.7 percent since last June. Encouraged by summer discounting, consumer spending has increased by 5.7 percent year-on-year, proving that June’s warm weather was not the only contribution to increased figures.

As Britain begins negotiations to leave the European Union, retailers will be hoping that shoppers remain resilient, although expected pressures to households with rising inflation leaves the retail industry with as much uncertainty as the consumers.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Afriek goes to London with pop-up shop in Shoreditch

London - Afriek has opened its debut pop-up store in London, marking the start of its international expansion. Best known for its hand-made tailored blazers, the young fashion brand, founded by Sivan Breemhaar and Kars Gerrits, offers sustainable designs which are made in by local tailors in Rwanda Africa.

The pop-up shop, located on Rivington Street 1-3, Shoreditch, marks the brand's first retail foray outside of its home market, the Netherlands. The move signals Afriek expansion plans, as the brand aims to open another pop-up store in Paris in the future to continue growing its international presence.

Afriek goes to London with pop-up shop in Shoreditch

"We have done some research on how to bring our brand abroad and found that London would be the best next step for us," explained Breemhaar to FashionUnited. "Our brand focuses on the cosmopolitan citizen, open to traveling, cultures and new ideas. Shoreditch, next to Camden and Brixton came out best for locations for our pop-up shop and we chose Shoreditch as this was the best venue we could find."

The pop-up shop, which is set to run for one week from July 18 to 23, features a curated selection of Afriek men's, women's wear as well as accessories. "Since we opened we received a lot of positive feedback for the choice of the location from customers, and Londoners are even more enthusiastic about our brand than we could've imagined," added Breemhaar.

Afriek goes to London with pop-up shop in Shoreditch

In addition to running the pop-up shop, the brand is also in close contact with a number of stores in London to stock their new SS18 collection. "We are looking for further visibility in the UK market through collaborations with online platforms, musicians, and influencers. We are planning a few more pop-up shops in the same location through which we hope to create more visibility for our local stockists and web shop as we ship internationally."

Photos: courtesy of Afriek

Amazon launches Spark, with shoppable images

Amazon has launched a new addition to its app: Amazon Spark, thereby allowing users to shop for products via images. This new ‘see now, buy now’ option was developed to encourage social interaction online by sharing and commenting on images.

Similar to social platform Pinterest, Amazon users - who must be Prime membership holders to use Spark, are able to discover images related to their chosen interests, such as ‘Style & Fashion’ or ‘Food’. Images are shown in an Instagram style feed, allowing users to share images to their own Amazon profile and comment with expertise about products and experiences.The main feature however, is the capability to click the products in the images and buy them instantly from Amazon.

Amazon Spark taps into ‘see now, buy now’ with shoppable photos

This is not the first time social platforms have seen the opportunity for a ‘shoppable photos’ app, Instagram launched a similar feature with a number of brands back in March. However, Amazon is the first online retailer to seize the opportunity - continuing to innovate their portfolio of products with a move towards social media.

Amazon, who are in ‘prime’ position for a shoppable image app - just saw their biggest ever ‘Prime Day’ sale event on July 11, reporting a 60 percent growth on global sales compared to last year, processing “tens of millions” of purchases made through the Amazon app. The sale day, which surpassed Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures also saw the registration of more new Prime members than on any previous single day.

The launch of Amazon Spark also follows the launch of Prime Wardrobe, a service that allows users to try up to five items before buying. With a clear focus on fashion, Amazon appointed new president, Christine Beauchamp in May and have recently added brands such as Nike to their portfolio - joining a plethora of high-street and designer brands available for users to purchase directly from Amazon.

Currently only available to US users, Amazon Spark will still have a huge starting audience to test whether the new addition to the app will live up to other shoppable image technologies.

Photo courtesy of Amazon