Intu, which owns and manages shopping centres across the UK, has unveiled its proposals for the multi-million pound redevelopment of Nottingham's Intu Broadmarsh centre, as part of a formal public consultation process.

Intu’s proposals include a new open street extending Bridlesmith Gate to focus on luxury retailing, a new catering offering, a multi-screen cinema and new leisure facilities, as well as improved new route through the centre providing direct access between the train station and the rest of the city and a higher quality finish throughout the shopping centre.

These proposals take into account the views and ideas of more than 1,000 customers, and now the multi-million redevelopment plans will be display at the centre so that members of the public will be able to express their views by completing a survey.

Martin Breeden, regional director of Intu, said: “We are really pleased to unveil our proposals for the redevelopment of Intu Broadmarsh. We know there is demand from tenants for new spaces in Nottingham and we are already having discussions with some key brands.

“Intu is committed to the city of Nottingham and we have been working closely with Nottingham City Council to ensure that our proposals for Intu Broadmarsh complement the City Council’s vision for the city and in particular their plans for the southern part of Nottingham.”

Marni launches new Marni.com with Yoox GroupIn collaboration with Yoox Group, Marni has launched Marni.com as its new, inclusive way to harmonize fashion, editorial, and e-commerce with its brand.

As one of Melrose’s top-high fashion spots, Marni, an Italian fashion label, has become a widely known fashion house in Los Angeles. In a strip as accessible and trendy as Melrose, it’s hard to make a stand as a creative fashion line in the real world. However, the team at Marni have been hard at work in order to innovate a new way to keep their brand in the mix.

Considered one of the more popular brands in Los Angeles, the store has become more and more relevant in the Southern California world. Celebrities such as Ashley Olsen, Diane Kruger, and Ahna O’Reilly have all been spotted with Marni designs on them, keeping the label on the scene. Although A-list recognition has been beneficial, the brand relies more on creative ingenuity to refresh its brand.

As this their 20th successful year, the ineffable Italian brand has made its biggest change: a new website launch. Partnered with one of the top global internet retailers, Yoox Group, since 2006, the high-end fashion house is achieving a perfect balance of e-commerce and editorial perspective.

Now presenting more than just clothes, Marni.com opens up with their 2015 Resort Collection, introducing style, attitudes, and moods. This sophisticated experience guides you through these images in order to use them visually for the ultimate online experience. Emphasizing their most valued content, such as edgy photographs mixed perfectly of scenery, trendy pieces, and overall highlighted subjects.

Marni launches new Marni.com with Yoox Group

Increased net revenues for Yoox Group

Yoox Group, has proven beneficial results with increasing net revenues in the past. An increase in +15.1 percent from 2013 to 2014 paves the way for high hopes for 2015. As Marni is in collaboration with Yoox Group, they can expect to excel in the new year with strategic business and creative ideas. “This performance once again demonstrates the solidity of our business model and the great value of our team,” commented Federico Marchetti, Founder and CEO of Yoox Group. With help from Yoox Group, the new Marni.com is readily available.

With Yoox Group’s key performance indicators such as 15.2 million on average a month of unique visitors in 2014, Marni can foresee successful numbers in their newest project. “Despite the many unfavourable conditions affecting the whole of 2014, Yoox exceeded the 500 million euro net revenue threshold and registered EBITDA and net income growth,” stated Marchetti.

UK's online retailers to ship out 1 billion parcels in 2015

STUDY Online retailers in the UK are set to ship a record number of parcels by the end of this year, hitting one billion shipments, according to the estimates of a new study carried out by IMRG and MetaPack.

According to the IMPRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, 2015 will become a record breaking year for online retail orders, after witnessing volumes increasing 9.5 percent in January compared to the same month last year. Although this growth is still less than the predicted 13 percent increase previously predicted by the index, it is still higher than the 3.8 percent increase reported last January.

The index also established an increase in the average order value from online retail orders as well as a rise in the delivery quality of service offered by UK online retailers. "Although this is short of our 13 percent forecast growth for the full year, the pace of online shopping always picks in the spring so we expect this figure to increase to match our forecast fairly quickly," said Andrew Starkey, Head of e-logistics at IMRG in a statement.

"It is pleasing to see that after the trauma of Black Friday, the UK carrier industry has recovered quickly and the level of on time delivery and attempted delivery at 92.5 percent is at its highest January level since 2012." Both firms state that the ingrained trend leans toward a drop in online retail orders compared to the previous Christmas month of December, with this January month-on-month volumes slipping by 33 percent.

"The story of January 2015 is how UK retailers and carriers are continuing to cooperate ever more closely to sustain the successful rebound from the challenges of early December," added Angela O’Connell, Strategy and Marketing Director, MetaPack. "A year-on-year January increase in parcels dispatched is a great way to begin a year when we expect more innovation in delivery choices to enable the growth we and the IMRG are forecasting."

Marks & Spencer is due to close five of its stores in China, despite confirming debut openings in Beijing and Guangzhou.

The UK high street group said it will close five supporting stores in the greater Shanghai region by August, which it will begin opening new stores later this year.

M&S set out details of its plans Monday, first outlined last April, which will see 60 jobs cut and the total number of sites in China fall from 15 to 10.

That will be countered by those Beijing and Guangzhou openings together with growth in neighbouring Macau where a 1,000 square foot store will open at The Venetian Mall in November.

M&S also said it will also continue to invest in its existing major stores on the mainland with the “complete modernisation” of its flagship store on West Nanjing Road, Shanghai, this autumn. It will also invest in modernising its stores in Hong Kong during 2015/16.

M&S opened its first store in Hong Kong in 1988 and in China in 2008.

Online, the retailer also confirmed it launched a new dedicated kidswear store on TMall.com and a new clothing store on JD.com last month.

Dharavi x Snapdeal: world's largest slum joins world of commercial e-tail

IN DEPTH The lanes are narrow, the stench is overwhelming: welcome to Dharavi, one of the world's largest slums located in the heart of Mumbai, India. Finding a computer in any of the tiny households that are often not larger than 80 square feet (7.5 square meters) and double as workshops is unlikely, yet about 200 of those shops have tied up with Snapdeal, one of India's leading online market places, to sell products like leather belts, bags and fashion accessories online and for the first time nationwide. What does this first foray into the world of e-commerce mean for these artisans, the small and medium-sized enterprises, the community and similar communities around the world?

Snapdeal ties up with DharaviMarket.com

Snapdeal recently tied up with DharaviMarket.com, a for-profit initiative aimed at "making the skills of the squatter settlement more accessible to the middle/upper classes while providing the local, skilled craftsmen and artisans direct access to local and global markets", according to the website. This move benefits both as Dharavi Market can avail of Snapdeal's large, nationwide reach, popularity and its extensive shipping network, and Snapdeal can support its vision of "creating one million successful entrepreneurs within the next three years and empowering thousands of artisans and small businesses to sell nationally while supplying locally".

“At Snapdeal.com, we are constantly exploring innovative ways of promoting entrepreneurship and digitally enabling small-and-medium-sized businesses. Partnering with DharaviMarket.com is a Snapdeal endeavour aimed at empowering local artisans by providing a platform to promote and sell their indigenous products to a nationwide audience through a sustainable model," confirmed Amit Maheshwari, vice president, fashion at Snapdeal.com.

Dharavi x Snapdeal: world's largest slum joins world of commercial e-tail

Currently, around 200 local artisans and small and medium businesses from Dharavi are part of the new initiative, which is available on the Snapdeal website under the label “Dharavi Market”. Customers can currently find 157 products, ranging from leather goods such as belts, bags, handbags and caps to suitcases and men's wear such as jeans, shirts and shorts. Prices range from 330 rupees (5.33 US dollars/almost 5 euros) for a pair of men's shorts to around 7000 rupees (113 US dollars/around 100 euros) for a leather bag. In the future, Snapdeal wants to bring more Dharavi artisans and small and medium business entrepreneurs on board and create an exclusive store for them called the ‘Dharavi – Snapdeal store’.

“This initiative is a great example of how technology and business can come together to change the lives of millions of artisans in our country. It is my hope that Dharavi craftsmen will get their due recognition through this online store," commented Shabana Azmi, actor and social activist.

Dharavi x Snapdeal: world's largest slum joins world of commercial e-tail

For the local artisans and entrepreneurs, who often can't read or write, selling via the internet means that they now have to advertise their products professionally, many of them taking pictures of their merchandise for the first time in their lives, often on their regular cell phones or smartphones. Until now, they had no idea of e-commerce and how it works, selling directly in the slum or through closeby wholesale markets only. Snapdeal will provide assistance with the online cataloguing of products and will also help refine the product offerings by analyzing market-based insights.

Dharavi, the entrepreneurial powerhouse

Dharavi's total population is estimated at around one million people, sharing an area of only 217 hectares (2.17 square kilometers), which makes it one the world's most densely populated areas. Apart from the usual problems that arise when so many people share such close quarters – pollution, epidemics, conflicts - there is also a sense of community, pride and an energetic hustle and bustle that transforms into entrepreneurship. Many of the artisans making products here have been doing so for generations and contribute to the slum's annual revenues of billions of dollars.

Dharavi, already famous for its sheer size and popularized in movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Black Friday and Salaam Bombay, has a chance to sell its products to a global market, step-by-step, of which the tie-up with Snapdeal is an important milestone. Other e-tailers may follow suite and Dharavi could become a model for other artisans worldwide.

Dharavi x Snapdeal: world's largest slum joins world of commercial e-tail

Images: Snapdeal, workshop in Dharavi (M.M.), women selling pottery in Dharavi (Marcus Fornell), typical Mumbai slum (Simone Preuss)

Bergdorf Goodman sells internationally with Borderfree

US luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman has partnered with Borderfree, an international cross-border e-commerce solutions company, to open its website and sell to international shoppers with BFX, Borderfree’s new global e-nocommerce platform for retailers.

The partnership means that the American retailer will now be available for shoppers throughout the UK, as well as international customers in more than 100 countries and territories and in over 60 currencies, as Bergdorf Goodman looks to expand its audience through global markets.

Bergdorf Goodman sells internationally with Borderfree

The BFX platform means that the Bergdorf Goodman website now features a fully optimised international site experience, based on best practices and marketing insights while keeping the company’s brand at the forefront. In addition, the US retailer plans to roll out international ordering capabilities to its in-store sales associates to give them more tools to enhance their relationships with international clients.

“We recognise the enormous global e-commerce opportunity, particularly for luxury goods, and with BFX, we can immediately provide shoppers worldwide with a localised version of the Bergdorf Goodman website and offer international shipping,” said Bergdorf Goodman spokesperson Agatha Wirth, vice president of operations and strategic Initiatives. “Bergdorf Goodman is a historic, world-renowned brand with a significant international fan base, and we’re excited to bring BG straight to our customers, no matter where they are located.”

Bergdorf Goodman teams up with Borderfree to sell to international shoppers

Borderfree CEO Michael DeSimone, added: “Bergdorf Goodman is in high demand from international shoppers hungry for a taste of American luxury. By launching on Borderfree’s new BFX platform, Bergdorf Goodman has been able to dramatically reduce the timeline for expanding its e-commerce offerings overseas and create an enhanced customer experience both online and in-store.

“We look forward to extending BFX to more of our current and prospective customers, providing them with a highly customizable, managed service that enables retailers to rapidly react to customer behaviour and scale their international business.”

Piloted at the end of last year, BFX is a new platform from Borderfree that enables retailers in the UK and US to take advantage of the core Borderfree technology and services offering, while streamlining IT resources and implementation costs. With BFX technology, Borderfree can create a localised online shopping experience for international visitors with little to no work required from the retailer’s technology team, so by shifting away from an IT-intensive upfront implementation, retailers on the BFX platform can focus on growing their international business.

Italian fashion house Valentino is reportedly opening a flagship store on Old Bond Street “after fighting off competition”, according to the Evening Standard.

Valentino, who designed Keira Knightley’s Oscars gown, has reportedly signed a lease to open the flagship at 39 Old Bond Street, which is currently housing womenswear chain Max Mara.

The store will be addition to its Sloane Street store in Knightsbridge, and will see the fashion label sitting alongside other big names including Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada.

There has been no confirmation on when the store might open.

LLA to add retail units as part of major 100 million pound redevelopment plan

London Luton Airport (LLA) has introduced a major commercial tender programme ahead of plans to more than double the amount of retail space to over 8,700 square meters.

The new retail, which will comprises of 48 retail units, is part of the 100 million pound redevelopment plan of the airport to increase annual capacity from 12 million to 18 million passengers.

London Luton Airport to open new retail units

The new commercial tender plan launch comes as the travel retail market continues to grow, increasing 12 percent per year, according to Exane BNP Paribas.

LLA to add retail units as part of major 100 million pound redevelopment plan

47 of the new units will be separated into four distinct sectors: Luxury, affordable luxury, high street and food and beverage. The categorization of the sectors is designed to offer future retailers the best locations and adjacencies for their brands whilst maximizing the impact of each store. The remaining unit will become a 1,700 square meter Duty-Free flagship store.

"The launch of our commercial tender programme is another significant milestone in our 100 million pounds transformation of LLA," said Rupert Lawrie, Commercial Director at LLA. "Doubling the size of our retail space and bringing in new fashion and catering concepts is central to our plans to give passengers the best possible experience."

LLA to add retail units as part of major 100 million pound redevelopment plan

Next to the commercial tender scheme, LLA will also launch a new 1 million pound executive lounge area, with sleep pods as well as a spa. The more upscale service is designed to cater for the airport's increasing number of business travellers.

"Travel retail is one of the most attractive categories for brands. Not only does it promise profitable stores, but the broad catchment of airports represents a fantastic brand-building opportunity. We're very excited by the level of interest in the so far, particularly from luxury and premium fashion stores."

JustFab expands into apparel, adds men's

As if the fast-fashion field isn’t crowded enough with brands like Zara, H&M, and Express, JustFab has decided to be the next label that will attempt to conquer the fast fashion market. The brand, which became known for carrying jewelry, handbags, shoes, and denim at accessible price points, dipped their feet into the apparel pool last year, and will be adding 5,000 stock units to their site, as well as introducing Fabletics for men this year.

In an ever competitive retail field somehow there is always room for more fast-fashion. People love and need their clothes at accessible price points, and the fast-fashion industry does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon with stores like Zara expanding all over New York, and H&M committing to opening one store per-year throughout all of 2015. JustFab has sought out all the right tools in trying to make sure that they can compete with the other successful fast-fashion chains.

In August 2014, JustFab closed on an 85 million dollar Series D round led by San Francisco-based Passport Special Opportunity Fund. After the capital raised, the company is supposedly valued at 1 billion dollars. Three months ago, JustFab hired Yuchin Mao, formerly of C&C California, to head up their design department. The brand will be kicking off ready-to-wear this April with the theme of the collection being pop paradise. We can expect a bit of nautical flavor in there as well.

JustFab to expand their apparel options

The company has set a modest sales goal for itself for their first year, with a projected plan of 50 million dollars for their apparel division for the 2015 fiscal year. They still do expect their overall sales to end up at the 500 million dollar mark up from 400 million dollars last year. As JustFab is continuing their expansion they have their sights set on opening a hub on the West Coast. The brands primary operation is in Louisville, Kentucky where orders are shipped and fulfilled, and the bulk of their 2000 customer service employees are located.

The company relocated their offices to Apollo Street last year, and have plans to move 15 sewing machines in there so samples can be made in house. The new headquarters also includes studios for photo shoots, as well as production rooms and green rooms for visiting celebrities. The company’s store in Glendale, California, which opened in 2013, was their first venture into brick-and-mortar. While they are keeping brick-and-mortar in mind they have no concrete plans for new physical store locations yet. “Maybe at some point we could look at locations where we have a heavy population [of members] and give the consumer both options to touch and feel the product and open up instead of the more traditional way of ‘OK, I’m going to negotiate this lease. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope people show up,’” co-CEO Don Ressler told Women’s Wear Daily.

With rumors of a potential IPO, with Ressler not ruling it out as a possibility or confirming it will happen, JustFab seems set up for a very promising 2015 year. Fast-fashion chains better watch out, because JustFab looks like it will be quite the competitor. JustFab is poised to be just fabulous.

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

Thursday, February 26 is a special day for British high street label Topshop - it marks the opening of the brand's debut European flagship store, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Located within the bustling shopping street de Kalverstraat, the 1,170 square meter store is the first of what could be many stand alone Topshop-Topman stores to open across Europe.

"The opportunity just came along for us to open a flagship store in Amsterdam, the store building was the first one to come along, so we just said 'let's go for it, it's right for us,’” explained Clare Drummond, senior international press manager for Topshop to FashionUnited, who was present for the debut store’s opening.

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

"The opportunity just came along for us to open a flagship store in Amsterdam"

Even though Topshop already has a series of concession stands present within departments store across France, Germany and the Netherlands, the high street label felt that the time was right to begin pursuing European expansion with the presence of it’s own stand alone stores. "I wouldn't say it was necessarily difficult for us to find a suitable building for our first flagship store here, we have scouts all over Europe looking for places all the time,” added Drummond.

The three storey floor is housed in the former bookstore de Slegte, with Topman occupying the basement and Topshop ranges including beauty, Boutique and Premium taking up the remaining two floors. The new store’s interior layout feels slightly wider, offering customers more space to browse the collections, whilst exposed brick walls have been whitewashed or covered with pale wooden panelling to reflect a clean, minimalistic feel.

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

"Everytime we go into a new market and we open a new store, it's always new. We are not like other high street retailers who say right this is what our store design looks like for the next year, no we always do something new and fresh, depending on the layout of the store and our customer journey.” The store’s interior is like, as the flagship store manager says: “The British Topshop style, with a Dutch twist.”

New flagship store: 'British Topshop style, with a Dutch Twist'

The debut flagship store also seems to highlight more of the range’s casual wear, which reflects the Dutch markets taste. “In Amsterdam, and in Holland in general, style wise it's a more casual market, with big denim lovers, so we gave our denim range more space here,” points out Drummond. “Boutique and Premium downstairs also has more space than other markets, so we really look at the market first and style our store layout accordingly. I would say for Amsterdam, this is the sort of store we want.”

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

Despite Amsterdam developing into a major denim hub, newcomer Topshop will most likely have to acquaint many customers with their extensive denim range, which price wise sits slightly higher than competing high street brands such as Forever 21 or Pull & Bear, but is justifiable to the brand due to their superior quality, fit and design.

“Topman is quite a casual buy as well,” adds Amy Moran, Topman PR manager. “There is a smaller area for suiting but we are hoping to grow that as well eventually and introduce it to Amsterdam a bit more. We also have a few exclusive items that were designed for our Amsterdam opening, a few hoodies and T-shirts with a subtle nod to the city."

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

This is not the first time that Topshop has designed an exclusive range in honor of a new store opening. When Topshop first opened its flagship store in Hong Kong, the label launched a range of beanies and T-shirts as well. “When we opened a big store in 5th Avenue, New York last November we placed an entire floor of suiting, because that is what our preferred West-Coast customer wants,” says Drummond. “We also did a few exclusives for the opening there too."

Topshop Amsterdam offers complimentary styling service

Another additional feature for the European flagship store is Topshop’s exclusive personal styling service, which is complimentary for anyone to use. The store currently has two full-time stylists for the new store, who have been hand picked and trained by their team back in London to help customers develop a full wardrobe, or pick an outfit for the night, whatever the occasion may be.

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

"Really, it's just meant to feel like a really special day for the customer, whether it's a mum taking her daughter shopping, or friends celebrating their birthdays, they can get cupcakes too, it's designed to be fun." Topshop aims to always have at least one stylist in-store at all times and customers are free to book appointment ahead of time or just approach a stylist on the shop floor when they need assistance. The service is another way Topshop aims to differentiate itself from other brands, whilst they plan their European expansion scheme.

“Although our main focus over the last couple of years has been the United States, it’s shifting now to Europe,” explains Drummond. “Last year we only had stores in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles, but now we have another store in New York, in San Diego, Washington DC, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta. So we have doubled our stores there in the last year. But now our focus is Europe. Over the next two years we plan on opening stores in Germany, Belgium and France."

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

Topshop shifts expansion focus from United States to Europe

The high street label does not have any concrete plans as of yet when they will be opening more European stores, but would like to open stores in neighbouring Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne as well. “But the thing we have to keep in mind when we are looking for a suitable location for Topshop-Topman store is it has to be a building for a flagship store. It has to be able to accommodate both brands, which is the reason it's taken us a while to open our first store.”

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

“Let's say we were going to open a store in Berlin, then we would have to find a store that is big enough, more like our Oxford Circus flagship, where you can get cupcakes or frozen yoghurt, get your ears pierced or a tattoo, have your hair and makeup done - we love that. It’s very much part of our brand DNA, our concept, it's about offering a lifestyle experience in-store, which sets Topshop apart from other high street retailers as well. So that does make it difficult for us to find the right space that can give you that experience."

Prior to locating the space on de Kalverstraat, Topshop opened a 150 square meter concession stand within premium department store, De Bijenkorf, along with a 149 square meter Topman stand. The shop-in-shop will remain in Amsterdam however, as it is still an important selling point for the label, attracting many international visitors as well as local customers.

Topshop opens debut EU flagship store ahead of expansion push

Topshop aims to offer customers the complete "lifestyle experience in-store"

The question remains, does Topshop plan on opening any more stores in the Netherlands? "For the moment we just want to see how this store in Amsterdam does before opening any other stores in the Netherlands,” states Drummond. “The focus is now on other European cities at the moment. But you never know what could happen in the future."