Thursday, March 3, 2011

February Retail Sales Rally Despite Cold Weather

February sales were strong despite rising gas prices and dropping temperatures, according to economists at Master Card Advisors’ SpendingPulse and the International Council of Shopping Centers.
The ICSC reported American chain-store sales climbed 4.2 percent in February compared with the same period last year. The result beat the ICSC’s forecast of a 2.5 percent to 3 percent gain. “The breadth and the strength of sales gains in February was encouraging as more retailers and retail segments participated in the improvement,” said Michael P. Niemira, the ICSC’s chief economist.

Michael McNamara, vice president of SpendingPulse, said February followed a trend of rising sales that began in fall 2010. “February held on to the momentum from the last few months. Ongoing strong performance by the financial markets and growing consumer confidence may have contributed to ongoing retail growth. … This is even in the face of the disruptive weather that put a damper on spending in several sectors,” he said.

According to SpendingPulse, February’s top performer was e-commerce. The category posted its fourth consecutive month of double-digit growth with a 13.2 percent increase in February compared with the same period last year. Apparel sales also did well, growing 6 percent.

For teen retailers, results were better than expected. Hot Topic Inc.’s February same-store sales declined only 1.4 percent, defying analysts’ predictions of a 5 percent drop. The City of Industry, Calif.–based retailer’s net sales declined 1.5 percent to $53.4 million in February.

Same-store sales for Zumiez Inc. shot up 12.8 percent in February. The Everett, Wash.–based retailer’s net sales jumped 18.3 percent to $32.7 million for the month.

Department-store giant Macy’s Inc. showed same-store-sales gains of 5.8 percent in February. Off-pricer Ross Stores Inc. reported a same-store-sales increase of 3 percent.

February’s retail sales almost stalled because of cold weather but then warmed up, according to Liz Pierce, an analyst for Newport Beach, Calif.–based financial-services firm Roth Capital Partners. The cold depressed both demand and sales for new spring merchandise. However, temperatures increased just as retailers promoted sales for the Valentine’s Day and the President’s Day weekends. However, Pierce believes the cold and fuel prices took a bite out of some of the month’s potential.

SpendingPulse’s McNamara also recommended retailers keep an eye on gas prices. “If gasoline prices continue to rise, this would mean less disposable income for other retail sectors,” he said. But increased prices at the fuel pump would ultimately benefit online retail.

Source : Apparel News Group

Canadian retailers go global

Amid growing competition from foreign retailers in their home market, more Canadian stores are testing the waters beyond their own borders.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd. confirmed Wednesday that its Joe Fresh apparel brand would open its first four U.S. stores later this year, including a site on New York City’s high profile Fifth Ave.

Iconic Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc., meanwhile, provided further details on its plans to open its first stores outside North America — starting in the Middle East.

At the same time, Quebec-based convenience store operator Alimentation Couche Tarde Inc. mused about the opportunity to buy gas stations in Europe, a formula that has worked well for it in the U.S. No specific plans were announced, an industry analyst said.

The moves come as more retailers in mature markets, including Canada, the U.S. and Europe, look beyond their borders for future growth, industry experts said.

Canada is experiencing a wave of foreign retailers, including U.S. based Target Corp., which threatens to shake up the status quo.

“I think it’s that Canada has a finite size and if you have a company that’s growing and doing well, eventually you have to decide whether you’re going to leap over the border,” said Perry Caicco, an analyst with CIBC World Markets and host of Wednesday’s Retail and Consumer Conference at which Loblaw and Couche Tarde made their remarks.

“The broader trend toward globalization is growing in leaps and bounds. Many markets have reached their saturation point so they’re looking at greener fields,” said Wendy Evans, a principal in the Toronto-based retail consulting firm Evans & Company Consultants Inc.

And while North American and European retailers initially test familiar waters in neighbouring countries, their ultimate goal is the young, emerging, high growth markets in Asia and South America, Evans said.

Loblaw said it plans to proceed cautiously in the U.S., a market where some Canadian retailers have underestimated the fierce level of competition.

“It will be very much a pilot project,” Loblaw president and deputy chairman Allan Leighton said.

Joe Fresh founder Joseph Mimran said later the brand is already well-known in the U.S.

“They keep asking for us to open stores south of the border,” said Mimran of Joseph Mimran & Associates, Creative Director Apparel, Home and Entertainment for Loblaw Cos Ltd.

The New York store will be located at 510 Fifth Ave. in an historic glass box on the corner of 43rd Street, near the New York Public Library and Bryant Park, Mimran said in a statement.

Tim Hortons said it’s also taking a prudent approach, partnering in the Middle East with Dubai-based Apparel Group, an experienced local operator with deep financial pockets and extensive real estate expertise.

The target region, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, is seen as a “gateway” to other emerging markets, said Tim Hortons president and chief executive officer Don Schroeder.

“Everyone talks about going to China and India. The playing field is littered with companies that jumped in,” Schroeder told the Star in an interview. The company has plans for 120 stores in the Middle East, starting with 5 this year.

Other Canadian retailers, include shoe and handbag specialist Aldo and lingerie chain La Senza, have successfully used the affluent Middle East as a springboard to other regions, Evans noted.

Both Tim Hortons and Joe Fresh plan to open more stores in existing markets, they said.

Tim Hortons reported Wednesday that fourth quarter net income grew to $377.1 million, mainly on the sale of its 50 per cent stake in Maidstone Bakeries.

Revenue declined 3.5 per cent to $643.5 million as the quarter contained one less week.

Sales at stores open more than a year rose 6.3 per cent in the U.S. and 3.9 per cent in Canada, where most of its 3,500 outlets are located, the company said.

The company announced it would boost its quarterly divided by 31 per cent to 17 cents per common share and a $445 million buyback of its shares.

Source : Toronto Star

Friday, February 8, 2008

Nokia announces launch of Flagship London Store at 240 Regent Street

Nokia today announced that its pioneering UK Flagship Store on London's Regent Street will open its doors to the public on 8th February 2008.

Designed to set the benchmark in technology retailing practice, through the creation of an upscale, high-energy environment, Nokia Regent Street promises the ultimate shopping experience for Nokia's wide portfolio of mobile devices.

Simon Ainslie, Managing Director Nokia UK commented, "In championing our brand, Nokia Regent Street will be dynamic, original and beautifully designed. The store will provide world-class customer service and deliver a unique experience enhancing our customer's lifestyles."

"The Nokia Flagship Store pioneers new technologies and techniques, setting a new standard in the retail world as a whole. At Nokia Regent Street, everyone will be able to test the latest Nokia mobile phones and multimedia computers, and learn about Nokia's range of services and technologies in a comfortable, cutting-edge environment."

To promote the launch of Nokia Regent Street, Nokia has created Meet London, a unique exhibition that brings together the creative talent of four high profile Londoners representing film, music, sport and art to produce a series of one-off, intimate portraits that capture London in 2008. The portraits from Jaime Winstone, Dizzee Rascal, Darren Bent and Rankin will be displayed in store from 7 February 2008. They will also be available to view on Nokia's Meet London online gallery -

Nokia Regent Street is the eighth store to be launched as part of the Nokia Flagship Store strategy, which aims at covering major locations globally.

The entrance to the two story experience is marked with the vivid "Nokia blue". Flooring and ceiling uses Finnish inspired Silvered Birch while the interior is distinguished by the use of perimeter LCD screens and translucent walls, back-lit by mood-evoking LEDs.

Inside the store, three intuitive zones supported by specially trained staff will simplify the purchasing process and encourage interaction with consumers. The 'Product Zone', featuring Nokia's live product portfolio where the newest devices form the focus for in-store marketing and the 'Solutions Zone' is designed to showcase the complete mobile experience encompassing music, navigation, video, imaging, Internet, gaming and mobile office capabilities.

Once consumers have seen and interacted with the latest Nokia products available, the 'Support Zone' provides a quieter space, allowing customers to set up their new device, look at service provider options and try out any new mobile enhancements.

The Regent Street location will also house Nokia's prestigious luxury line, Vertu, in a uniquely styled lounge. To compliment the handcrafted luxury nature of the range, the Vertu lounge interior uses low-iron, back painted glass, Carrera marble and high polished stainless steel.

Each Nokia device will be connected to the Internet and paired with supporting products such as stereo speakers, headsets, LCD screens, photo printers and laptops to demonstrate the complete mobile lifestyle which Nokia's range of devices can provide.

The Flagship Stores project forms the top end of Nokia's retail strategy that includes more than 350,000 retail outlets globally. All of these outlets remain essential to Nokia's on going success and continue to be the key sales channels.


The Nokia Flagship Stores are owned, managed and operated by Nokia.

All staff at the new Nokia Flagship store are graduates of the award winning Nokia Academy program, making them experts in providing accurate and personalised advice to help solve all consumer queries and concerns.

Nokia Flagship Store locations:

- Moscow - Tverskaya Street - launched on December 9th 2005
- Chicago - North Michigan Avenue - launched on June 24th 2006
- Hong Kong - Causeway Bay - launched on July 17th 2006
- Helsinki - Aleksanterinkatu - launched on August 19th 2006
- New York - Fifth Avenue - launched on September 9th 2006
- Mexico City - Polanco District - launched on December 14th 2006
- Shanghai - Nanjing Road East - launched on 29th October 2007
- London - Regent Street - to open on 8th February 2008
- London - Heathrow Terminal 5 - to open in March 2008

About Nokia

Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. Nokia makes a wide range of mobile devices and provides people with experiences in music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games and business mobility through these devices. Nokia also provides equipment, solutions and services for communications networks.

Source : Nokia Communications

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Slight acceleration in Jan shop prices

British Retail Consortium presents the Scotland shop price January 2008. Year-on-Year: Shop prices in Scotland were 1.0% higher compared with a year ago, showing a slight acceleration from December's 0.8% year-on-year rise but still below the 1.1% in October and November.

Month-on-Month: In January shop prices were 0.2% lower compared with the previous month, the first time prices have fallen month-on-month since July 2007. Discounting taking place after the Christmas period has led to the reduction in shop prices.

Fiona Moriarty, Director, SRC comments:

“Scotland’s annual shop price inflation in January remained lower than the rest of the UK, as it has for most of last year. Scottish consumers continued to be protected by intense competition between retailers, ensuring much of the impact of cost increases was absorbed by retailers themselves and not passed on.”

Mike Watkins, Senior Manager, Retailer Services, Nielsen comments:

“Any inflationary pressure from seasonal, dairy or cereal-based foods is being outweighed by falls in non-food prices. Scottish retailers will need to continue to keep prices low to attract shoppers if the economic cycle turns against retailers in the next few months“.

Source :

Monday, February 4, 2008

Arvind Mills to implement Oracle ERP for its retail outlets

Textile major Arvind Mills Limited has decided to implement Oracle' s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to manage its growing chain of retail outlets. The project cost is estimated at around Rs10 crore.

Arvind Mills has two retail store formats, Mega Mart Outlet Centres (large discount stores), and the smaller Mega Mart stores. For the short term, Arvind Mills is looking to open eight large stores in cities such as Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, while it plans to expand its smaller stores to tier II cities.

With each store requiring an investment of around Rs4 crore, the total outlay of Rs400 crore would be funded from internal accruals. As per Sanjay Lalbhai, managing director of Arvind Mills, last year retail stores contributed Rs100 crore to the top line of the company, and a 6 per cent profit. He said the Mega Mart Outlet Centre has been positioned as a discount store, with the tag line 'Sale on. 365 days.'

According to J Suresh, CEO, Arvind Brands & Retail, which is the retail arm of Arvind Mills, the company plans to have 30 large discount stores and 200 Mega Marts across 100 cities, and plans to achieve revenues of Rs2,000 crore by 2012. Presently, the company has 75 outlets in 25 cities.

Unlike the smaller Mega Mart stores that sell in-house brands, the large stores stock other brands as well. K E Venkatachalapathy, business head, Mega Mart says that in order to provide value to other brand owners, the company has tied-up with a minimum number of brands while offering sizeable shelf space of around 200 to 250 sq ft.

Source :

Friday, February 1, 2008

Putian set to bring largest Shoes & Clothing Center

Recently, over hundred enterprises from Wenzhou and Shaoxing city formally signed an investment accord to pitch-in for Putian Shoes and Clothing Center. Leaders from the local Government attended the signing ceremony.

While analyzing the reasons for such investment in this particular center, Experts opined that the local shoes-making industry has a huge demand in the market. Local preferential policies and strategic geographical position of the centre had the potential to lure flocks of traders.

Further, due to proper market planning many leather manufacturers and dealers from many areas like Guangzhou, and Henan Province have been doing business with the local footwear manufacturing enterprises for quite some time.

The Putian Shoes and Clothing Center, located in Fujian Province, covers over 320 mu, is built with an investment of around 300 million yuan. With over 1600 shops the Centre is set to become the largest shoes and clothing wholesale market in the region. Sources report that the first project is already on the verge of completion.

Source :

Pantaloon Retail Announces Launch of Big Bazaar in Barrdhaman City

Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited, a part of the Future Group, today announced the launch of its flagship hypermarket retail store – Big Bazaar – in Barrdhaman city. With this launch the company has further enhanced its reach to the masses in Eastern India having 14 Big Bazaar stores, while for the country; the count goes upto 80 stores.

Big Bazaar is widely known for its unbelievable pricing and unmatched offers throughout the year. Spread over an area of 62,000 sq.ft, Big Bazaar located at Barddhaman Arcade, 66 B B Ghosh Road, will cater to every single household needs for the citizens of the city and its neighbourhood towns.

Says Mr. Sandeep Marwaha, Head Operation, East Zone, Pantaloon Retail (I) Ltd., "Big Bazaar will bring convenience plus rich shopping experience to the people of Barrdhaman. We are a consumer-driven company and we ensure that all our Big Bazaar stores fulfills the needs of the entire household under one roof.

“Big Bazaar maintains stringent procurement norms and quality control measures to ensure quality products sold at every Big Bazaar stores. We are confident of our offerings both in quality and competitive pricing, which has earned us the trust of millions of family across the country, added Mr. Marwaha.”

Trusted by millions of family across the country, Big Bazaar will bring value to customers shopping, with its unmatched offers, discounts and unbelievable round the year promotions on all categories be it personal care products, garments, footwear, toys, home d├ęcor, home utilities, kitchen utilities, packed food, pulses, fruits or vegetables, groceries and many more.

About Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited

Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited is a leading retailer with a turnover of over Rs. 3550 crore for the financial year 2006-07. Headquartered in Mumbai, the company operates through primarily the ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Value’ formats through multiple delivery mechanisms and lines of business — some of them being, fashion, food, general merchandise, home, leisure and entertainment, financial services, communications and wellness. The company has stores in 51 cities across the country, constituting over 6 million square feet of retail space. The company caters to the ‘Lifestyle’ segment through its 35 Pantaloons Stores and 5 Central Malls, as well as its other concepts. In ‘Value’ retailing it is present through 78 Big Bazaar hypermarkets, 113 Food Bazaars and other delivery formats.

Source : Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited