Retail news from around the globe

Jamie Oliver restaurants collapse

Jamie Oliver’s UK restaurant chain has collapsed, putting more than 1000 people out of work, a victim, at least in part, of increasing competition and escalating rents.

“I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade,” said Oliver, who rose to fame as a television celebrity chef before founding a network of high-street restaurants in 2008.”

“I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected.”

Critics have said that Oliver’s undeniable skills as a TV personality and chef did not extend to running a large and complex hospitality business. His UK restaurant chain employed about 1300 people in 25 outlets bearing the brands Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa steakhouse and Jamie Oliver’s Diner. They are now in administration.

Financial firm KPMG, which will oversee the process, said all but three of the group’s 25 eateries would close.

UK news media reported the process did not affect the business’s international operations which are largely run by local franchise partners.

Spar expands footprint in China

Grocery retail franchise Spar International will open more than 150,000sqm of retail sales space in China this year.

The Dutch multinational group’s store-development plans include compact hypermarkets and a “new generation” of supermarkets in northern and southern China.

Spar International was introduced to China in 2004 with the signing of a licence agreement for Shandong Province. This was followed by the addition of more partners, and now Spar has a presence in seven provinces in China.

The group operates more than 13,000 stores in 48 countries worldwide. It is coming off a strong financial year with global sales of €35.8 billion ($58 billion). Spar launched 335 new locations last year, and entered four new countries.

“Our strong network of Spar partners and supply chains across four continents gives the brand a competitive advantage in an increasingly global marketplace,” said Spar CEO Tobias Wasmuht, “while our multi-format strategy allows us to respond to changing customer needs.”

Tapestry to open 100 stores in Asia

Tapestry, the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, plans to open about 100 stores in Asia this year, most of them in China.

The New York-based company is focusing its growth on regions where it believes it is underrepresented, namely Greater China, Southeast Asia and Europe.

According to the company’s latest results filing, it plans to open between 60 and 70 new Kate Spade stores this year and another 30 for Stuart Weitzman.

“China has emerged as the second-largest luxury market in the world, according to Euromonitor, and we expect the country to continue to drive growth for Coach, and Tapestry, over the foreseeable future,” the company said.

Coach’s comparable store sales rose by 1 per cent during the third quarter, or by 2 per cent on a constant-currency basis, driven by strong international growth and increased online sales.

Tapestry also unveiled its biggest buyback plan in nearly seven years – more than US$1 billion in stock, representing about 11 per cent of its shares outstanding. Shares rose 17 per cent in New York in response.

Prada pushes to end discounting

Italian luxury goods group Prada said it would shrink its wholesale network in Italy and Europe in a push to have uniform prices for its products across different outlets and reduce markdowns.

The Milan-based company said in March it would stop offering end-of-season promotions at its own shops in a bid to boost margins and protect its brand.

The fashion house also announced it will stop using fur in its collections. The ban will come into effect this September for its spring/summer 2020 women’s collections, although items that have already been made will continue to be sold, The Guardian reports.

The move has come about in collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of more than 40 animal protection organisations working together to end animal cruelty.

On pricing, Prada joined a number of rivals that have been striving to control it better as they face an increasingly fragmented market in which prices have been put under pressure by booming online sales.

Prada said it would end relations with some Italian and European wholesale partners and gradually replace them with new digital and e-commerce players.

Nordstrom ready for Manhattan

Luxury department store chain Nordstrom is set to open its new Manhattan flagship location on October 24.

With Nordstrom and rival Neiman Marcus both coming to town in 2019, it should prove to be a memorable year for New York retail. The city has long been home to some of the world’s most prominent luxury department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s.

According to the Business of Fashion website, plans to open a full-line Nordstrom in the city were initially announced in 2012, but the Seattle-based retailer has had New York aspirations for more than two decades.
The new store will be a seven-story, 320,000sqf store landmark on West 57th Street.

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